A generic term used to refer to any game where the players shoot each other with light emiting guns, which are then delected by light sensors worn by each player.

Examples of this are: Lazer Tag, Laser Quest, Laser Command, Laser Challenge, and Laser Pro 9000.

Basic Laser Tag Strategy

Having played laser tag for quite a long time, I have seen newbies making the same mistakes over and over for years. Sometimes in laser tag, you must go against your intuition and do things that seem a bit weird for the sake of good strategy. Some of these pieces of advice should be truly obvious. Either way, reading this before you play for the first time (or second, or third, or so on) should make your life a lot easier.

1. Don't wear white.

When you wear white, you glow under a blacklight. You stick out. People look at you and go "Hey! I see a person there. Let's shoot him!" Or more frequently, "Hey! I see a n00b there! Let's follow him around and shoot him repeatedly!" Try for the dark colors, at least mostly.

2. Don't follow your teammates around.

This is the one thing I see new players doing most often. It seems natural to stay with your friends, so when you see an enemy you aren't completely defenseless. But when there is more than one person clustered closely together, if you shoot one of them you shoot them all. You also stick out considerably more than if you are by yourself. If you're scared, or if you don't know the arena, watch a game before you play if it's allowed.

3. Don't camp out. Especially on the first floor.

Assuming there are multiple floors to the arena, if you stay in one place on the first floor you will be shot from above. If you stay in one place anywhere for too long a time, people will find you and destroy you. The most natural places to hid seem to be in corners and down hallways. But you can easily get cornered here and be shot repeatedly. If you have to hide, don't stay in your hiding place for long.

4. Don't shoot your teammates. Please.

Many a time I have had my score decreased by an onslaught of n00bs popping up and shooting me because they heard something move. And said n00bs were on my team. It's very frustrating when someone on your own team shoots you, because you can't shoot them back in retaliation. Although I must admit to occasionally shooting people on my own team to get revenge for being shot by them.

5. Don't run.

This should be explicitly stated in the rules. Even if it isn't, don't run. More likely than not, you will trip over something and fall or run into a wall, seriously damaging the pack you are wearing, your gun, or hurting yourself. You will also attract attention to where you are if you are making noise, whether by running or by smacking into walls.

6. And while we're on the subject of not making noise...

Try to be quiet. No yelling "Gotcha!" when you shoot a frustrating opponent. No screeching when you get hit. No calling for teammates to meet you at such-and-such a location. Because this tells people exactly where you are, and that you're stupid enough to make loud noises when you should be trying to quietly stalk other players or quietly hide.

7. Develop a playing style that works for you.

It takes a lot of work to be both fast and accurate. After playing a few times, you will know what your style of play is like. Some people are slow to pull the trigger but have deadly aim. Some people are best at making themselves impossible to hit. Some people are great at ambushing newbies. Use this to your advantage. If you know you aren't to fast, try to not get right into the middle of the action. If your best ability is your mad quick-draw skills, though, lure other players into getting close to you.

8. If there are more than two teams...

If you see two members of opposite teams, neither of which you are, fighting each other, go ahead and shoot them both. More likely than not, they were so engaged with shooting each other that they won't see you until it's too late. This happens more often than you'd expect.

9. Don't shoot unless you think you'll hit something.

To improve your accuracy, don't take shots you know are impossible. And if you're sure you'll hit someone with your first shot, only shoot once. Don't just shoot around a corner blindly unless you are entirely positive somebody is there. I wouldn't suggest trying this tip until you're already decent at the game, because when you're new odds are you won't hit what you're aiming at.

10. Last but not least, don't be an ass.

If people hate you, they will follow you around and shoot you at every opportunity. Given a choice between two easy shots, they would pick you. So don't laugh when you shoot someone, because it just makes people mad. And don't make people angry outside the game either, because, consciously or not, it will carry over to inside the game and you will end up getting shot at waaaay too much.

Remember: it's only a game.

I play laserquest most weeks, so here are some tactics/strategys/hints and tips which I find useful.

The site I play at (in the UK) has packs with sets of sensors and LEDs. The LEDs come in two colours, Green and Red. The packs can also be set to display both colours, in which case you are on the Mixed.

When you get shot, you will enter your downtime (usually about 3 seconds). During this time, you cannot be shot and you cannot shoot. The LEDs on your pack go dark. Use this time to get away from whoever shot you!

You always get more points for a kill than you lose for getting killed, so it pays to be aggressive. If you get a negative score at then end of the game, either you were hopelessly outclassed or you picked up a dodgy pack. Better luck next time!

The locations of the sensors are:

Front: a ring of LEDs and sensors.

Back: a ring of LEDs and sensors, as on the front.

Shoulders: Two LEDs and a sensor. The sensor is closer to the head than the LEDs.

Front of the gun: LEDs above and below the laser emitter, sensors to either side. Watch out for people holding their guns sidewards!

Side of the gun: impossible to hit, don't even try.

There are two good postures, depending on your size.

If you are small, try crouching down. People will not be able to hit your front or back sensors, though your shoulders are very exposed. The main advantage is that tall people will not notice you so quickly, and will be surprised when they do! You are also more hidden by objects.

If you are (like me) quite tall, use this to your advantage. Walk towards the opponent with your profile (side) showing - this makes it harder for them to hit your front or back. Shoot down from above and go for the shoulders.

Most importantly, do NOT stay still. Move around, keep your sensors changing direction all the time, so nobody can hit you. When carried out well, this results in a very elegant, but above all random motion known as "The Dance". When you fist see two people Dancing with each other, you will probable laugh...until one of them tries it on you.

If you are playing a game with gun sensors on (most games I play), try not to keep your gun moving as well. It is very difficult to do this and still hit people, requires a lot of practice.

There are a few standard game types, which I will list first. Then there are some more unusual game types that my gang play. You will need the arena to yourself, and friendly staff who let you mess around with the settings.

Unlimited lives Deathmatch: all-on-all game, so you can shoot anyone and everyone. act like a berserker! In the safest possible way, of course...but you get far more points for a kill than you do for being killed (x2 or x3), so go get'em. The game is won by the player with the highest score at the end.

Limited lives Deathmatch: much more conservative play is required. Usually, these games are won by the last man standing.

Team games: the players are divided up into 2 or 3 teams, each with their own colour (Red, Green or Mixed). You can only shoot people on a different team, so don't bother going for your mates. There are two basic tactics, keep together or split up. If you stay together, you are a huge target and will get killed easily. On the other hand, if you find a loner you can easily mince them by concentrating fire. If you are a good player, however, you can split off from the team and snipe at the lovely target-rich masses making their way around.

The next lot or more unusual:

Alien(s): There are 1-3 Aliens (Green), who have 9 lives, a 5-second downtime and gun sensors off. The rest of the players are marines (Red), who have 3 lives each, a 2-second downtime, and gun sensors on. The marines have to hunt down the Aliens. The game is won by the team with the last man standing. The number of lives etc. may have to be adjusted depending on how many people are playing, and how good they are. Main point: strong aliens vs. weak marines.

VIP: the VIP (Mixed) has 1 life, 1 shot. His aim is to defuse the bomb by bringing it out of the arena before the time runs out. He is protected by Bodyguards (Green) who have 3 lives, and gun sensors on. The Assassins (Red) must kill the VIP before he can defuse the bomb. The bomb can only be touched by the VIP. The Assassins go into the arena about 15 seconds before anyone else. Warning 1: it is possible for the bodyguards to shoot the VIP. Don't do it. Warning 2: this game is wrecked if the Assassins charge in and shoot the VIP straight away. Play nicely, boys and girls.

Predator: there are 1-3 Predators (Green) who have unlimited lives and a 5-second downtime. The rest of the players are marines (Red) with 10 lives and a 3-second downtime. The Predators have to hunt down the marines. In a good game, the marines start holed up somewhere, and the Predators go hunting. It is better if the Predators run away when they are killed, and then come back for another charge (hance the longer downtime. Nearer the end of the game, it is better for the marines to split up and hide, until time out. If any marines are left at time out, they have won.

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