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First we heard that ax throwing was on its way to the Boston area. Now archery tag has arrived.
Based in Ottawa, Ontario, Archery Games opened its first Boston-area location this past weekend. The indoor sport is a mix of dodge ball, paintball, and laser tag, according to owner Brian Seto.
Each tag session at Archery Games, a 13,000-square-foot Chelsea facility, includes 25 minutes of training and target practice with a referee, followed by 50 minutes of game play with up to 20 players per session.
“Everyone starts off on the fence — the back fences of their respective side — and all the arrows are in the middle,” Seto said. “The ref blows the whistle, music starts pumping, and they rush to the middle and the game starts.”
While all players need to sign a waiver prior to the session, Seto said that archery tag is safe and pain-free.
“A lot of people are really concerned with the actual safety of the arrows or how much pain it generates,” Seto said. “The arrows are foam-tipped, so it’s similar to a Nerf-style gun, I’d say. It is going pretty fast, but people get hit for the first time and they’re usually concerned, but then they proceed to just laugh at the first impact because they realize it’s not nearly as bad as they thought.”
Seto said adults and children will play in the same session without issue.
“We see kids shooting kids, adults shooting kids, and everyone has a great time,” he said. “There’s no bruising or marks left afterwards.”
Seto added that on the “super rare” occasion there is an injury at the facility, it is typically not due to the bows and arrows.
“You might see someone bash their knee on the floor or run into another player,” he said. “Even that’s super rare. It really doesn’t happen very often that people get hurt at the facility. It’s a very safe sport that parents put their kids in all the time.”
All equipment participants need to play, including paintball masks, bows, foam-tipped arrows, and arm guards, are provided by the facility.
And while archery tag is not something everyone has experienced, Seto said that players are surprised by their skills by the end of the session.
“Literally anyone can get into it,” Seto said. “It’s really cool to see someone who’s maybe not really good with sports tag someone who’s clearly more athletic than them or better with a bow.”
Seto said people may also be surprised by how physically tiring sessions can be.
“The biggest thing is probably the shock, the positive shock, of how much of a workout it is,” Seto said. “Since it has the name ‘archery’ attached to it, people think it’s very stationary, but it’s definitely not. People definitely should wear athletic footwear and clothing.”
During regular business hours, participants must be ages 10 and older, and a 75-minute session and equipment costs $27 per person. Groups of up to 60 people can pay $450 for a private session. (The referee will rotate in groups of 20.) Additionally, youth sessions for kids ages 7 to 12 are available on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. All sessions can be booked online.
Archery Games Boston is open Fridays from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Archery Games Boston, 121 Webster Ave.; archerygamesboston.com