Unleash your inner Robin Hood with this new and unique form of combat-adventure activity at Skirmish Devon.

Combat based adventure games have been hugely popular for a while now, with paintball affirming itself as the go-to day out for adrenaline hungry groups of friends that want to settle some scores and get stuck in playing real life soldiers for the day. But now, there’s a new combat sport on the scene that offers the same interactive combat experience but using a completely different kind of weaponry.

Meet Archery Tag, one of the fastest growing sports of its kind. Using a bow and arrows, Archery Tag offers a unique chance to engage in combat using medieval style weaponry in a modern battleground to create a high intensity game where prior archery experience is not required.

“But shooting your friends with arrows doesn’t sound like the safest of ideas”, I hear you cry. Have no fear. Using specially designed foam-tipped arrows that retain accuracy whilst absorbing impact, there’s virtually no pain when being hit – just enough to let you know it’s happened and to stop you from turning into the Terminator without any worry.

Our two friendly marshalls introduced us to the arena and started by explaining the concept and going over some ground rules to keep the game fun but ultimately safe too. They then showed us how to properly load our arrows and gave us the chance to get some much-needed shooting practice. It was surprising how easy we all picked up the technique, so you really don’t need to worry if you’ve never shot a bow before!

Archery Tag uses a fairly small scale arena compared to paintballing but don’t let this fool you like it did us. The smaller environment only adds to the intensity of the games and if you’ve not finished your first game feeling like you’ve had a good workout then you’re not trying hard enough! Squatting behind a variety of forms of cover for long periods of time, from trees and bushes to weighted inflatables, is a real test for your quads and making a mad dash on an ammunition run really gets your heart beating.

Practice time over and misconceptions of our new found skills in place, it was time to let the games commence! We tried a couple of different game modes and we loved that the marshalls were happy to let us do more of what we liked best – always a winner. Our preferred game mode was having all of the arrows sat in ‘no man’s land’ in the middle of the arena, and starting out with each team backed against opposite ends. On the count of three, both teams charge their way to the middle to grab a maximum of two arrows each before retreating to their positions ready for battle. The aim here is to attack your opponents – a hit renders you out of the game but landing a catch on an arrow fired at you from an enemy player will ‘revive’ a member of your team back into the game. There are also three balls on three separate posts for each team and hitting all three of the opposing team’s balls will secure a win immediately.

The arrow catching added a unique game mechanic that required just the right level of skill to make the reward worthwhile, adding an extra tactical level to think about during gameplay, and with the 10 minute game timer constantly ticking it was a fun challenge to know whether to go for balls, kills or revives to get the win for that round. The need to keep heading back to ‘no man’s land’ to resupply added an extra element still and it was great fun using a suppressing volley of arrows as your teammate runs to get more to bring back for the next attack!

As with most of these activities, older clothes are recommended but protective overalls are supplied along with masks to avoid any danger of anything going in your eyes. Grippy shoes are also recommended for maximum manoeuvrability on the battlefield.

Due to the non-consumable nature of Archery Tag, as arrows are picked up and reused as you play, a 2 hour session for 10 or more players costs just £22.50 person which includes hire of mandatory masks and overalls if desired. Teams of 10 or more work best but smaller numbers can be accommodated too. In the near future you will be able to pick multiple activities to tie into a full day adventure package, so watch this space for prices on picking 2-3 activities including paintball, laser tag and even axe throwing!

For more information and to book your adventure, visit: www.skirmishdevon.co.uk

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