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May maneuvers 2017: in the rage of battle

It’s no secret to anyone that May Maneuvers is the key annual laser tag event. For many going to MLTs has become a tradition, a must-do on the list of May holidays. This event is open to everyone: it does not matter how old you are or whether you are using equipment by another producer. Each participant comes to an MLT for the emotions it gives, for the friendly atmosphere, for the opportunity to learn the history of this wonderful event.

Yet again the event has been delivered by the LASERWAR company. We support any laser tag undertakings – tournaments, regional competitions and maneuvers – by souvenirs; for big events, we provide the technical base, supply regulations, documents to organizers and run a marketing campaign in social networks.

We must show how to host a big game, too. The May Maneuvers may serve as an example. We feel responsible to players and at the critical moment we decided to take on the maneuvers. That was a big challenge for our company and all our employees. Just imagine what a responsibility it is to organize such a major event 400 km away from home. Exhausting weekly trips for as long as three months, the expenses, countless news articles and comments, genuine loyalty and concern for the success of the MLT on the part of all the company workers. Few know how our employees created the scenario, answered questions in groups and planned the event during weekend and evening unpaid hours. Yet that’s what matters the most. It was a lot more important for us to make that game for the people who come to May Maneuvers year after year, for our clients and for all laser tag players in general. We have long realized that the MLT is a base that unites people, communities and players. Our purpose is to meet those people for whom we develop and produce equipment and who is fascinated about tactical games and laser tag in particular. We would like to meet with you more often! We also want every player to take part of the memorable event home with him. Therefore, at the event we give away original souvenirs to players, which have included car number plate frames, tactical grips, magnets, silicone bracelets, own brand t-shirts this year.

The 2017 MLT is remembered by the play territory, well organized catering and taking care of players’ other needs and the warm and welcoming atmosphere of May weekends. On 6 – 8 May, 458 people participated in the event, which made the game the biggest ever in Russia and possibly in the world.

The May Maneuvers have long become the event at which single-minded people gather together, a reason to play side by side with friends from various cities and countries. If you didn’t have time to come, we will tell you what the 2017 event was like and what was special about it.

PREPARATION

Traditionally, preparation to an MLT starts with choosing a polygon. A lot of factors are taken into consideration: the location, the transport accessibility, how well equipped the playground is, the living conditions.

The play territory must be given special attention. We understand that we must change the location at least once every 3 years. Players will hardly find it enjoyable going to the same polygon with the same scenario year in and year out.

Having considered loads of options, we opted for the Top Gun paintball playground. We made the right choice. By 6 May, the Alabino tank polygon, on the territory of which the 2016 game had been held, turned into a mud swamp. If the 2017 MLT had been held there, comfortable game would have been out of the question.

But it was not only the weather that made us go for the play area in Khotkovo. Looking at the territory of action, one would see that it was a lot more compact and convenient. Players did not have to walk over ruts and wet loamy soil, damage their combat boots and trainers, which had been the case in Alabino. Although real laser tag experts would only have got excited about such hardships. Besides, on the territory of the Top Gun, respawns were located not far, fortified objects and water pits were nearby – all these created favourable conditions for a non-stop game.

When we add to all the above mentioned a map that provided full information about the play area we will have a dynamic game process – no need to wait at respawn till a med kit revived a fighter for the battle. This year, nearly all the territory on the map has been brought into play – the terrain turned out to be very diverse indeed.

A few words about the map. It has already become a tradition to draw a new detailed map for each May Maneuvers event. Its A3 format is handy for finding one’s way, plan game moves. Such maps were given away to players upon registration, but that was not all.

In 2017, generals’ maps were placed on players’ bases. The 1.5 X 1.5 maps gave comprehensive information about notable objects of the scenario game and gave a good picture of the maneuvers.

Even then we realized that the 2017 MLT was going to surprize the players by the diversity and the size of the game polygon, as well as by how difficult it is to know one’s way around.

6 MAY

The May Maneuvers started with registration, supplying equipment to participants and sports tournament. This year, we adopted the most responsible approach to the preparatory stage. It is not that easy to register and equip 458 people. Nevertheless, we managed just fine.

We separated technical support, registration and equipment and devoted different buildings for each of the matters. People didn’t have to crowd in one room – instead, they knew perfectly well where they can have appealed to a particular place for what they needed. Those who had been to the 2015/2016 May Maneuvers noted that they received an excellent welcome.

Considering the remarks that had been made the previous year, we spent a whole day on giving out equipment and registration and offered the players a chance to rest after the tiring trip. All the participants were offered to stay on the tent site, to visit a LASERWAR mini exhibition, to have a good sleep, to have a meal cooked at the field kitchen and get themselves ready for the scenario part.

A few words about catering. This year, we wanted to boost the menu. The players that frequent military sports events must be fed up with the traditional porridges and toasts with pate. Therefore, at the 2017 MLT players savoured meatball soup, chicken chops and pasta, salads and other delicacies. There is no doubt that no other military sports ground can boast such a menu.

As to consumer services, we achieved same high level there. There was enough firewood and water for everyone – there would have been enough for 3 more days of maneuvers. Instead of toilet cabins, there were separate rooms with sinks, hot water and paper towels. Cleaner ladies kept the toilet area clean and tidy. You must agree that this is not frequently observed at mass events.

Comfort is not just an additional option – it is standard for all high-level events. Only at such conditions people do not get distracted by small things but can fully concentrate on the game process instead.

The 6 May game phase started with a sports tournament. 38 teams from Russia and Belarus clashed in a relentless laser tag confrontation.

The games were held on a balanced playground, where fighters were on even terms. Before the event we had heard a lot of controversial opinions about inflatable figures, yet we were sure that that was the only way to create a safe field where everyone would be able to concentrate on the combat actions of the team.

The tournament also saw a difference in refereeing. Any misbehaviour was punished and laser tag fighters that broke the rules were forced to leave the game. Therefore, only the strong teams that displayed coordinated and honest game for the whole duration of the tournament managed to reach the final.

The following teams received champion titles, company special diplomas, LASERWAR cups and souvenirs: Dream-Team (Bryansk), Lasgrad.Sergeants (Krasnogorsk) and Legion (Orenburg).

We doubt not these squads will be awarded champion title yet again next year. As to the other teams, they will have an opportunity to beat the leaders, thus proving that better results are attainable.

7 MAY

The morning of 7 May started with a breakfast, a morning line-up, division into teams, handing in flags and a group selfie photo. The generals of each of the sides had an own emblem, colour and a special base. At the respawns, there was everything for a comfortable game: water, electricity, a big map, a table and benches; a big star-shaped tent protected against rain. At 13:30, players were taken to bases and they all got the required colour. At 14:00 – the first introductory part and the scenario part in which over 400 people participated.

During the 13 hours of the first day, players planned diversions, established sets of radio electronic confrontation, freed their team mates from traps, destroyed fresh water pits and enemies’ protective constructions.

There was no time for rest. Anyway, every side was supplied with a first aid kit – it restored lives and cartridges, operating in a non-stop mode. The players were constantly fighting, cutting their way through thicket and controlling the key areas. Emotions run high and each team only let a few players at a time for lunch: no one wanted to lose advantageous positions. The day phase was filled with tactical moves, unexpected traps and precise shots. Not everyone was tough enough and only the strongest played till night time.

We had to cut the play time at night for safety reasons: players wouldn’t have enjoyed the idea of going back home with traumas at all! It must be noted that a scenario part for over 400 people cannot run smoothly throughout. During the first day, players, on the whole, enjoyed the game process, although there were some complaints.

Reducing the play time did not affect the game result in any way. Both the teams ended with same results.

Such a result proves once more that the game settings in Khotkovo were balanced, the sides were divided correctly and the play territory was distributed in a right way, too. The pretty exhausted players yet had to face the final day of the Maneuvers.

8 MAY

It wasn’t going to be anywhere near easy. The sunny weather got replaced by an overcast one, light breeze and warmth – by snow and rain, dry paths became muddy.

The number of players dropped, therefore, the territory had to be reduced and the scenario had to be adapted for the changed conditions. The participants were to face the most troublesome day of confrontation. On 8 May, the laser tag fighters showed their stronger sides.

The guys creeped up close to the enemies’ positions, closely coordinated their moves, fired precise shots, worried for any miss. It’s no wonder why ardour ran so high: the confrontation couldn’t have ended in a draw. A couple of hours before the end of the game, the organizers deactivated the first aid kits, which meant that the players of both teams were left without respawn. Every shot counted then.

That was the very moment when the real champions revealed their characters. The blue team not only managed to shoot down all their rivals, but also to blow up the play object and steal the flag of the opposing team. On 8 May, the troops of the PMC defeated the Libyan side by fulfilling their mission and putting an end to that laser tag war.

MLT CRITICIZM

Every year, there have been attempts to sabotage the MLT before its start and after it has been over. At first, there are messages stating that everything is going to be really bad, there is no point in going to the event, the prices are too high and one had better stay at home. After the event, they say that there was no scenario, no objectives, how much the producer cashed in on the event, on their part ignoring the event year after year and failing to visit it out of political or any other motives.

Trolls and freaks take advantage of heated discussions and debates between the participants in the MLT group. They pull out negative phrases from discussions about a scenario or services and leave messages in other communities saying the game was overall poor, distribute negative information about organizers, and try to misinterpret facts in every possible way. If every person who enjoys MLTs leaves a comment and shows up such weirdos, all the community will benefit from this. It has been noted quite a while ago that those who don’t visit MLTs scream their heads off and show off as experts, but in fact they are low-down, useless nobodies.

As to the financial aspect of the matter, MLTs are loss-making for the producer. We invested over one million roubles on top of participants’ payments during the months of preparation. Some of the expenses may seem excessive: souvenirs, a website, presents, special equipment for the tournament and for presentations, for the headquarters, scenarios. But all these will come in handy next year, so we hope to achieve commercial viability in the future.

We regret not in the least and will continue investing into this event in the future. The May Maneuvers expand the laser tag market, unite communities and players from various parts of our immense motherland – being together with you matters a lot to us! In 2018, we will consider any offers of support in the organization of the May Maneuvers. We are always open to cooperation offers and welcome any help. Holding an event and writing a comment in social networks about how it should be done are two different things.

There are people who make fair critical remarks. We are grateful to those people for bringing out the problem matters that need to be fixed. These players sincerely want MLTs to improve. We do not believe it to be a coincidence, but all these people follow the rules:

  • Praise publicly – criticize privately;
  • As you criticize, offer a suggestion;
  • Criticize strictly to the point.

We would like to thank once again all those who really keep their fingers crossed for the future of the event. We will consider all the suggestions and complaints and will fix all the problem areas. Thank you everyone who sees the difference between to show off one’s wit in comments and offer helpful advice. Owing to your help, even more people will gather together for the 2018 May Maneuvers.

CONCLUSION

The 2017 MLT ended with formation at which the generals were acclaimed and achievements were summarized. What else was the 2017 laser tag remembered for? Was it only for the tournament and the scenario game?

It wasn’t. At the festival, the players were offered an opportunity to try out the equipment by Irbis, compare fire tag with other military sports games, attend the producer’s presentation and learn about how the industry would develop in the nearest future. What’s more, a marriage proposal was made during the 2017 MLT. Really, can this all be fully expressed by words? One had better come and experience the atmosphere for which players from different cities and countries gather together every year. May Maneuvers is the biggest laser tag event in Russia. See you in 2018!