- Death screams serve more of a purpose than just being entertaining, they help your team pinpoint when someone goes down and is in need of medical attention. If you go down silently and no one realises, it can be a long time before someone comes to look for you, and by then you may have bled out.
- On that note, *always* make sure you’re buddied up with someone and keep tabs on where they are. Good communication within a team is vital and can make all the difference between success and an absolute shambles.
- Don’t ever ‘blind fire’ around a corner or over a barricade, it’s poor sportsmanship. Rule of thumb is that if you’re firing at someone, you must always be able to be hit in return.
- If you’re carrying a wounded person you can’t also fire at the same time, but you *can* use them as a human shield – what’s a few more bullet holes to them? If they argue, remind them that they’re unconscious.
- Try to keep mental track of your hit points rather than checking too often, as the light and beeping may give your position away. Also, if you’re getting low on hit points, you can visit your friendly local medic for ‘walking wounded’ treatment, which costs less medical supplies and gets you back to full health sooner and with less consequences.
- When running away from a monster, remember that you only need to outrun the person next to you, just remember to take the terrain into account and do so safely. (And try to remember where they are so you can go back to retrieve their body afterwards, it’s only fair).
- Do NOT, ever, set up your medical triage in the line of fire. Protect your medics!
- One beam from a tag toy can hit multiple people if they’re bunched up. When walking, it’s advisable to keep at least 1-2m between you and the next closest person, and never stand around in a group talking when there’s possible hostiles nearby. This is called a clusterf**k, and you’ll soon see why if you do it.
- The tag toys we use employ a very similar infrared beam to your TV’s remote control. It’s a beam of light and acts like it, meaning it can and will bounce or reflect off against particular surfaces. Anything shiny is particularly problematic, whether something metallic, a wet surface, or various types of vegetation. Holly bushes are lethal – seriously.
- When shot, your sensor has a 1.5 second delay before it can register another hit. Use this time wisely.
- Weather conditions will affect your laser tag toy’s effectiveness. Obviously rain is bad, and mist will limit the range, but – perhaps surprisingly – bright sunlight is the cause of a lot of problems. The bright light seems to dilute or scatter the infrared beam, so firing on an open field during a sunny day will give you far less range than firing under the dense cover of the trees. And on the subject of weather, shooting in snow is lethal – see above re: holly bushes.
- The infrared beam that comes out of your tag toy exits the muzzle as a cone before focusing down to a line – imagine it like a horizontal candle flame coming from the front of your toy. This means that people standing in front of you to the side are very likely to be caught in the ‘flame’. Never fire over someone’s shoulder, you will kill them and they will never let you live it down.
- Staying in one position while engaging the enemy generally makes it easier for them to figure out where you are, so it’s advisable to move location when they’re not looking – try to keep trees in between you and them. Also, communicate with your team to work together, flanking is one of the most effective techniques you can use.
- Think before you shoot, especially if an NPC goes running through the middle of your group. This is a favourite technique of evil NPCs (I’m giving away my secrets here…) because everyone invariably starts shooting and the friendly fire kills far more people than the NPC ever could. During the first Aliens game we did, I made very sure not to attack anyone during a particular encounter, and still three people died.
- While some people may like to fire as much as possible in the hopes that one shot will hit their target, I’d strongly advise against the ‘spray and pray’ approach. Get to know your toy, they’ll all be accurate up to a certain distance, but may wander slightly after that – remember to compensate for it (this is easier if you have your own toy and don’t have to use different loan kit each time). Firing excessively *will* get you noticed, and targeted, and probably dead.
- Night games are completely different: landmarks aren’t quite where you thought they were because everything looks strange, sounds are magnified, and you may find yourself jumping at shadows. Shadows will occasionally turn out to be Aliens, so it’s okay to jump.
- The main approach to LARPing in the dark is to have your torches on, as opposed to torches off. Torches on means everyone keeps their torches pointed outwards at chest height, trying to keep a fully visible perimeter at all times. There’s no hope of hiding your position when you’re torches on, but it does prevent NPCs from sneaking up on you.
Some players may try to argue that there's a chance of avoiding NPCs by going torches off, but realistically, the Game Runner (and thus the NPCs) are *always* going to know where the player team is, and it's just not worth risking a stumble in the dark for a touch of extra realisim. So play it safe and keep your torches on so you can see where you're walking.
- Keep in close communication and contact with your teammates. This should go without saying at all times, but it’s especially important in the dark. In the woods on a moonless night it’s possible to be within arm’s reach of someone and never know they’re there, so it’s very easy to become separated from your team, or have a malicious NPC sneak their way into your ranks before anyone realises.