Designing Wizard Tag Combat

How we designed the combat system for Wizard Tag.  Why we chose certain spells and how the well-established sport known as laser tag was transformed into our vision of a fun way to fight with magic.

Wizard Tag combat is more than just two or more people pretending to cast spells.  The combat is as real and intense as any combat simulation available, just with wands instead of blasters!

Designing Wizard Tag Combat

What made us think to put laser tag in a wand?

When we came up with the idea of Wizard Tag, we were combining great experiences that we had.  One of them was spending many weekends at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, strolling about in our house robes and casting spells with our interactive wands.  Another was when we played laser tag with families from my office.  

You may have read the origin story on our website that describes the day that we decided there should be laser tag in a magic wand, but this is the reasoning behind that decision.  

We wanted the wands that we played with to do more and it should look and feel and sound magical.

There are so many things that can be technologically inserted into wands, such as remote controls, flashlights, actually any IoT controls! Some of that had already been done and we wanted something enduring, something that you would go back to over and over, and practice with to improve.  That’s when we decided on laser tag in the wand.  

You would need to cast the spells correctly, just like with an interactive wand, or nothing would happen.  Building the game of laser tag into the wands gives you a reason to play (or practice) with them repeatedly.  A remote control wand is a great novelty item, and a flashlight wand can be useful, but ultimately, their specialized technological cousins are better and the novelty wears off.  However, the fun of playing a heart-pounding game of Wizard Tag can be repeated endlessly!

Which spells can you cast in Wizard Tag combat?

Wizard Tag combat incorporates the most common traits of many laser tag systems.

You usually have an option for short range and long range combat.  In the technological world, this would be like shotgun and sniper fire.  Usually the sniper has a slower rate of fire and the targeting must be more precise too.

These concepts are timeless for combat simulations, so we have the Fireball for short range, wide angle attacks; and the Ice Spike for long range, narrow angle attacks.  

In addition, we incorporated the ability to interrupt spells, which is not usually a feature in laser tag.  In the fantasy world, if you are doing a complex spell and take an arrow to the knee, you will certainly lose the concentration to bring the spell to completion!

By the same token, if you get hit by an Ice Spike while you are finishing off the wand gesture for your Fireball, it just won’t work!  

Every good magic system has counters, interrupts, and defensive spells.  We have plans for a lot more of these in the future, but the current system is simplified into two offensive spells, and one defensive spell, which is Shield.

The Shield is a great spell that you can cast quickly when you see enemies about to pounce.  It will make you impervious to attack for a short period of time; perhaps long enough to take cover or run away.  

The Shield spell is a gesture command with the wand that creates shapes in 3-dimensions!  The spell may not be as simple as drawing a circle with the wand tip, but it can be mastered by the most inexperienced of wizards.

Combined together with the different game modes, these three spells provide the foundation of Wizard Tag combat.  The different game modes change the goals for the combat, which can be team focused, have asymmetric roles, or other special rules.  The thing that doesn’t change is how you attack and defend.

Which is better, Science Fiction or Fantasy? Star Wars/Star Trek or Lord of The Rings/Harry Potter?

I am a fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy.  Another reason we wanted to put laser tag in a wand was that there is plenty of science fiction in the laser tag world.  The idea of playing the technological game and using it to simulate spells is the best combination!  

Personally, I like both Science Fiction and Fantasy, but the blend can be even better.  Some of my favorite novels are in the Urban Fantasy genre, which uses the modern world as a backdrop, complete with technology, but soaked through with magic.  The reason Urban Fantasy is so compelling is that we are one step closer to such a world than we are to classic fantasy like HP or LoTR!

The idea of magic permeating our reality is awesome, and that feeling is what we want to capture with Wizard Tag combat!

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. Do you read science fiction, fantasy, or both?
  2. Which do you prefer, and why?
  3. Have you read any Urban Fantasy, where magic and technology mix?
  4. What did you like or hate about it?
  5. Do you think “The Force” from Star Wars qualifies as “Magic” in a technological world?

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