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.