On July 3rd, most people were impatiently waiting for their Independence Day celebrations. Cookouts, Fireworks, and get-togethers were planned for this big American weekend. While the rest of the country was waiting, we were busy getting a leg up on celebrating the only way we know how: Laser Tag!
We kicked off the 10th Annual "Independence Eve Blast" with our usual pot-luck cookout. I think this is the first time we've ever had dogs and babies at the game, though... so we all had a lot of fun!
We also enjoyed record turn-out for the event. We had 32 in the picture but picked up another 5 through the rest of the event, so I was pretty stoked about the support we got. I've been complaining recently of low turnout numbers but this event made me realize that these events are more about the games, it's about getting together with everyone. Whether there's 5 or 35 players, it's still a good time. In the same way that Nerf and Laser Tag enthusiasts tend to get too caught up or serious about their hobbies, I tend to get too worked up on the details of these games and forge to enjoy it.
One thing that made it easier to to enjoy was the return of some well-missed veterans. Many good friends who have been with us from the start made it out to this event to celebrate with us. Some of them don't even live in town anymore, so it was a real treat to reconnect with them and play alongside (and against) them in this awesome scenario that is simply known as the "Independence Eve Blast". Many of them were THERE for the first one we held back in 2006, so it was great to have them here again!
2015 marks our 10th year doing this. Here's a video I made from last years event in case you missed it!
Hope all my US readers had a Happy 4th of July! And I guess all the readers in other countries will want to host games on nights when there are fireworks in the forecast. It's a grand ol' time!
Monday, June 29, 2015
Yeah, that seems to be the solution. I realized this last Friday at another one of our Laser Tag games this summer. I had previously speculated that the drop in attendance was because weather wasn't really cooperative this season but, upon enjoying upper 70s with a slight breeze and mostly sunny skies on June 26th for our 6th Game this season with a mere 7 players, I can only summarize that the key to having a big event is by offering food.
Yeah the big events each year are usually those with a cookout, but I was hoping there'd at least be SOME kind of interest in just the game itself. It's not really looking that way this season, which we are supposed to be celebrating our 10th Summer doing this. This season looks more like "we're really not interested unless there will be food." How do I know this? Well, after 6 weeks of games, here's the attendance turnout.
Week 1: Season Opener (Food) 38 players
Week 2: Mostly rained out, but we had 10 people show up
Week 3: Humid. 8 players showed up
Week 4: Humid again. 11 players showed up
Week 5: Humid, but cloudy. 12 players showed up.
Week 6: Beautiful weather. 7 players showed up.
Week 7 is our 10th Annual Independence Eve BLAST with about 20 players already signed up. The event is scheduled for this Friday. We'll have a pot luck cookout, like we did the first week.
This next event will mark the mid-point in the season. If it's going to take food to bribe people to come to these events anymore, there probably isn't going to be a Season 11. Being almost 30, having a home, a full-time job, and other interests now... it's no secret that I haven't had as much time devoted to all this before. Weekly games do take up whatever free Hobby time I have, but if I could be in my workshop getting something rolling instead of getting out there with 5-10 players every single week... well there's more productive things I could be doing with my time.
We'll see what the rest of the season holds. Weekly games are getting to be a weekly strain, so maybe it's time for a change?
Monday, June 22, 2015
Since we started hosting outdoor laser tag games every summer, the one thing that is always unpredictable is the weather. The Midwest is known for having a myriad of mixed conditions throughout each summer from Hot Humid weather to pleasant evenings to strong storms dumping buckets of rain. While that weather IS unpredictable, the attendance with each game gets very predictable.
This season is no exception, as the weather this summer has either been rainy and wet or unpleasantly humid. The first game of the season was cancelled due to rain. The second game was (which became the first) had record-breaking 38 player turnout and wonderful weather with a slight cooling breeze. The third game was pretty much rained out, but the 6 players who showed up managed to have fun watching movies together. Both the Fourth and Fifth games this summer were very very humid and we struggled to break 10 players for those.
I'm hoping weather cooperates a little more for the rest of the season, as we're almost at the halfway point. There's our big Independence Eve BLAST coming up on July 3rd that's a very popular event, but we're still at the mercy of what Mother Nature decides to do!
Thursday, June 11, 2015
It never fails. Even with a handful of unfinished projects, I still can't help myself from thinking of more ideas. Today's tinkering involved tearing into an N-Strike Elite Cam ECS-12. Upon learning just how easy it was to remove the camera section of the blaster, I found the blaster to be a nifty looking standalone rifle. However, with this big hole in the top of it, I was eager to find a clever way to seal up the top. On my workbench was a fresh-out-of-the-box Lazer Tag Augmented Reality (LTAR) blaster waiting to be added to my armory. It was the same color white as the ECS-12, so I instantly started thinking of an integration.
If I didn't know better, I'd say this was a legitimate Nerf product! The gap left by the Camera Optics on top of the ECS-12 is almost perfect for the top-half of an LTAR blaster. The lower portion of the LTAR has the Trigger, Shields, Reload, and Lock-on sensor housed, which could be omitted as it is in this mock-up. The trigger could easily be manipulated to double for both the Dart Blaster and LTAR (just as I have in my Demolisher Project), and there's already a button on the grip of the ECS-12 that could be used for either shields or reload.
With most of the internals and components of the LTAR wouldn't need to be relocated with a design like this, I could see this project being relatively easy to complete, as opposed to my M41A Pulse Rifle and Demolisher projects that require more labor-intensive integration. Does this concept seem cool enough to pursue? Or should I leave it alone and refocus on what I already have?