Archery Tag is a bit like dodgeball but with bows and (foam-tipped) arrows, and it's one of the hottest new sports. Young Post's junior reporters were invited for a few rounds of Archery Tag by Crossfire Archery, who first introduced it to Hong Kong. This is what they thought …
Seriously addictive fun
I'm not sure what I was expecting as I stepped onto the rough concrete. But I definitely thought there'd be more than there was.
There was a curious lack of "stuff" at Archery Tag: the venue was a derelict mall that gave off a pungent odour due to ongoing construction, and the "arena" was a narrow, unfinished frame of a room with a couple of equipment bags.
Once the game started however, all this was forgotten.
As soon as we had gone through the basics, we took our starting spots and waited for the referee to start the game.
After that, there was almost no time to think. My brain went through a series of progressions: reload, aim, fire, cover.
It took a lot more than those simple steps if we wanted to win though: to either shoot out five foam circles on the back wall of the opposition's side, or take out the entirety of their team is no easy feat, especially when you factor in how difficult archery is.
In-game play was as dynamic as it was varied: the large space, and mobile, inflatable shields made for an ever-changing environment.
Despite winning all three games our team played, I left the arena with a deep sense of dissatisfaction: I wanted to play more. Even without the pop music or glitzy disco lights you would see in many such locations, I was hooked.
I definitely recommend it, but, as usual with activities like this, the more the merrier.
An overwhelming success
As soon as the game started, we all ran to pick up a set of bow and arrows from the centre line and then rushed back to one of the shields to load an arrow. But even then, we didn't dare show ourselves to the enemies.
But as soon as one of the opponents exposed himself trying to hit one of our targets, I immediately released my arrow.
Thak! Yes, he's hit and he's out!
I got the greatest pleasure when I hit others because I felt clever and cunning. This sense of success overwhelmed me.
Ready for battle
Every time I fired an arrow (which looked like a marshmallow on a barbecue stick) I felt more and more confident and capable of handling basic archery.
I really loved the way we dodged and ducked behind the small shields as we reloaded our weapons. I really felt like I was part of a tiny war à la The Hunger Games.
Apart from shooting people with my cute arrow, I loved the way my small team worked as a cohesive unit. It was three on three, and even though we had never met each other before, my team and I were able to develop strategies and mini-plans to win.
I felt like Katniss Everdeen!
To summarise Archery Tag in three words, I'd say hot, fast, and the most thrilling war game I've played. Okay, that was 10, but this is superlative-worthy.
If you invited me to go again (wink wink), I'd say yes in a flash.
A real-life FPS
Dodging arrows, scoring headshots, and reloading nervously behind one-metre cushions: welcome to Archery Tag.
To win the game, you need to either shoot everyone on the opposing team, or hit their five styrofoam targets.
First, the instructors showed the basics, which included how to mount an arrow and shoot it.
Next, we were divided into teams. The referee placed the bows and arrows in the middle of the arena while we, the archers, stood on our own sides and waited for the signal so we could run and grab our weapons.
It was pretty much like being in The Hunger Games.
The rules of Archery Tag are similar to dodgeball. If you shoot an opponent, then that person is out.
Also, if you somehow managed to catch a fired arrow from the enemy, then you can revive an ousted person from your team.
At the beginning, I felt like a toddler struggling with rocket science, but I got better and better. So much better, in fact, than I scored a well-timed and well-aimed headshot against an opponent.
If you like first-person shooter games, you'll really like Archery Tag. You get to shoot relatively harmless arrows (they are foam-tipped) and you get to feel the pain and gain of a real shooting game.
Strategy meets savagery
You can either play Archery Tag like archery and try to shoot all the opponent's targets out, or play it like dodgeball and shoot all your opponents.
But unlike either archery or dodgeball, there's a lot of strategy and teamwork involved.
For example, there are light,
air-filled barricades you can move around; my team gathered all three on our side and made a wall. From the gaps between the triangle-shaped barricades, we could peek out and assess the position of our enemies and their targets, and shoot our arrows.
The games were exciting, quick, and most important of all, fun.