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The Book of the Howlings of Ming, Seeker After Arcane and Esoteric Truths
UNIT Planetfall 
5th-Mar-2007 01:41 pm
So I survived my first lasertagging weekend. Short version: great fun fighting alien plant monsters and Cybermen but still prefer airsofting.

Long version:
Last time I'd picked up a lasertag gun would have been 2000, at my then employers' annual kickoff event (other afternoon activities included blindfolded Land Rover driving, human table football and laser clay pigeon shooting!).

The trip up was straightforward enough, apart from the TomTom steering me off the M1 onto the A5 rather too early. Also rather touching to see signs for Hinckley as I approached the Cosgrove site. Alas, due to bad weather, the Friday night's play was abandoned which meant I could have gone to see The Men They Couldn't Hang at Kettering but it was still an opportunity to get to know everyone.

Main impressions:
  • Definitely a much stronger element of role-playing than with airsofting - pretty effective at setting the mood
  • This was much more atmospheric than the usual generic airsoft "assault building X, retrieve object Y" type briefings although it's clearly do-able in airsoft too e.g. Cookie's Stalinistan and Steve's UNIT games
  • However, initial pacing felt a bit slow compared with the typically frantic spray-and-pray airsoft battles - overall, not nearly as much physical exertion as airsofting
  • Very impressed by the efforts of the guys running the game - they clearly spent a lot of time on constructing props like an alien shuttle, plant monsters and pods etc
  • Their efforts were very effective. A definite OMFG! moment as a group of Cybermen came over a ridge towards us
  • The tag sensors remove the doubt about whether you've been hit or not which is good but I also miss the physical feedback from airsoft (e.g. knowing how much trouble you're in from how closely incoming pellets are whistling past your head, the slight sting from being hit etc)
  • Bit surprised that, 13 years after I had that first batch made up, I was still the only one kitted out with Battlefield-style winged glober UNIT patches
  • Sargeant Flood losing his mobile phone because he fell over backwards when rushed by an alien plant monster in the dark (phone subsequently found down a rabbit hole, which the site was littered with)
  • Slightly miffed that I'd ensured my PMR radios were fitted out with fresh batteries only to find that the scenario had "comms difficulties in the area" for most of the game (but that might have something to do with the order in which we pursued our objectives...
  • Apparently we surprised the game runners by coming from a totally unexpected direction in the night game - yeah, right, because we were really going to attack a defended position across an open field with a full moon overhead...
  • Beware of windows, holly and other highly reflective surfaces. I believe I accidentally got Tim with a reflected shot...
  • Accomodations were a tad er... cosy but they did include indoor showers and flushing toilets!
  • Watching the lunar eclipse was also fun
  • Somewhat amused by the idea of the Cybermen leaving their craft unattended and unlocked. Guess they don't have much petty crime on Telos or Mondas!
  • Idea of a Torchwood-themed game was mentioned but er... reservations... were expressed at some of the role-playing implications. A comment made: "If Farscape is Muppets in Space, Torchwood is Muppets in Cardiff!"
  • See also calapine's UNIT-Torchwood Deathmatch, referred to it by burntcopper

So, overall, great fun, certainly enough that I want to give it another go but airsofting remains my preferred shooty-shooty activity and I'm still not inclined to skip the ECW Muster on the late May Bank Holiday to go to Dropzone,even if one of the listed games is intriguingly described as "Historical romance"! Be especially interesting to compare impressions after this weekend's airsofting at Elite Epsom and Fort Widley.

Also impressed enough to start to think about getting my own weapon. The first, obvious choice was to convert the broken Academy SA-80 but a decent ranged lens units is big enough that I'd essentially have to fit it into a grenade launcher or torch shell. An M-16/M-203 combination also appeals. Actually, there's the old springer MP-5A3 too... Pistols won't be a problem as I have 2 knackered gas ones as well as a couple of springers which could be converted.

So, can anyone recommend any good retailers of cheap airsofts? Don't especially care about anything apart from price and how good the outer shells look.
5th-Mar-2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
Humm, sounds entertaining.

On an associated issue, if you want to flog off the broken SA-80, I have a use for one as a prop.
6th-Mar-2007 09:50 am (UTC)
Noted. Still debating what, if anything I want to get tagged up ATM.
5th-Mar-2007 06:53 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a good weekend.

Yeah UNIT win!

I "met" calapine at Redemption, she was part of the "Doctor Who and the Invasion of the fangirl" panel.
6th-Mar-2007 09:49 am (UTC)
Oh, it was. So, what were the key conclusions coming out of that panel? Five rounds rapid?
8th-Mar-2007 06:33 pm (UTC)
That it was a considered "a good thing" because now there's a fandom with all the shiny things like icons and fanart. Of course the room was mostly full of fangirls not the old sad geeks like Mark *g*
7th-Mar-2007 10:40 am (UTC)
"A definite OMFG! moment as a group of Cybermen came over a ridge towards us"

As I read that I could hear a song playing; What's that coming over the hill, is it a monster? Is it a mon-stah?
7th-Mar-2007 10:58 am (UTC)
Me, I was having Silver Nemesis flashbacks!
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