Call to Arms: War Games For The Weekend Warrior

For those on the hunt for out-of-the-box recreational activities, you’re in luck. Whether the weekend warrior type is looking to expel pent-up aggression or just wants something new and exciting, the fight is on. HERE! set sights on several local businesses specializing in combat simulation for a change of pace from the more common leisure activities.

Although you’d be hard-pressed to wrap your hands around an actual gun in China, paintball and laser tag provide a bit of friendly war action. Originally suspicious in regards to the caliber of war games in Dongguan, the visits we made were not disappointments.

What’s your choice of weapon? Take up arms with mock AK-47s, sniper rifles, machine guns or a gas powered paintball gun—some of these places offer them all, complete with recoil sound effects and helmets with exploding smoke charges for a death scene that is much more real.

First Blood

The first combat field is Real CS War Games located outdoors in the heart of Shuilian Mountain; a pleasant 30-minute jaunt. Although they only offer laser tag, separating this place from others, are trenches, bunkers and obstacles sprawled over an area of roughly 8,000 sq. meters. While fighting under the overgrown lychee trees that cover the field, it’s easy to imagine being in an actual battle amid the rusty oil drums, mud, mosquitoes and blaring guns.

Walking in, you will quickly realize there are no die-hard fanatics who frequent the grounds to kill innocent novices; instead you’re left with mostly company and group team-building exercises, and curious park visitors wandering in for fun. This is good news for those who have never tried the sport and makes for an even playing field mixed with average Joes and finance department clerks who’ve simply come to have a good time.

With the ticket price, you also get the choice of entering an amusement park located right outside the complex or taking a dip in the pool at the water-park after you finish duking it out with your friends. Both of which offer some fun attractions and look like a pretty good time if you don’t mind battling the undoubtedly sizable weekend crowds.

Although the weekend may be busy in Shuilian Mountain, we recommend coming on weekdays only if you have a group of 6 to 10 people as you will be the only people in the park. Typically weekdays are reserved for team-building events for local businesses, but they still allow for walk-on play. It’s recommended that you make reservations about a week in advance if you have a large group to ensure a spot on the field.

What you get:

0615_feature_3Your experience in The Real CS War Game includes camouflage combat fatigues to keep the mud off your clothes while crawling around in the trenches. If you’re planning a visit, bring some old shoes. There is plenty of mud. You will also have the option of getting instruction on how to best kill your friends from Mr. Zhan, resident ex-military coach. However, you better brush up on your Mandarin because there is no English spoken here. Not to worry, it’s pretty easy to get the full experience by simply pulling out your wallet—you’ll be pointed toward the field and guns once you’ve paid up.

After dressed and briefed, next comes selecting the gun that is to be connected via cable to a helmet covered in sensors and whistles to register your death. You get four very different options in choosing a weapon, all of which look like something out of a low-budget sci-fi film. But don’t be fooled, the gun/helmet combos are quite sophisticated. Your options range from low-accuracy/high number of rounds to higher accuracy long range guns with only two rounds that need to be cocked manually after they are spent.

The objective is simple, capture the flag on your opponents’ home base and return it to yours. There are no vests with sensors in this game, only head-shots count so be sure to keep your face out of the line of fire. We also recommend that you eat your B-vitamins or bring plenty of mosquito repellent because you’ll be eaten alive if you don’t.

The Great Escape

Next place on the list requires a bit of planning to get to, but we promise you won’t be sorry for the journey. War Game Union, located in the beautiful Goodview Hotel complex located right of the highway in Tangxia, offers a professional and exciting experience. If nervous about traveling an hour outside of town, you’ll be pleased to know the hotel offers plenty of other attractions, including swimming facilities equipped with slides and play areas for kids, wakeboarding on a private lake, jet skiing, kayaking, tennis or cycling on a private track around the lake.

Paintball in theory should involve plastic balls loaded with a water-based paint, but something was lost in translation when the sport made its debut in Tangxia six years ago.

This place is big, so don’t get lost at entry. There are signs displaying the War Game Union logo as a guide. On arrival you’ll be greeted by some very stern-looking Chinese men dressed in fatigues that give you the impression you’re now in basic training. Ignore this and go have a ton of fun blasting your buddies with small plastic pellets loaded with chalk.

Why chalk? We don’t know. Paintball in theory should involve plastic balls loaded with a water-based paint, but something was lost in translation when the sport made its debut in Tangxia six years ago. Either way, the effect is the same—a bruise inducing, sharp sting lets you know you’re dead. Hopped up on adrenalin, you won’t feel as much of the pain but we certainly recommend trying not to get shot.

The facility has two, outdoor, very professional-looking fields that are around 5,000 sq. meters littered with makeshift buildings, rusty cars and obstacles for a lasting fighting experience. If planning a visit to play either laser tag or paintball, be sure to book about a week in advance as there is usually limited space due to team-building events and good business.

The armory is loaded with everything you need for hours long battles.

The armory is loaded with everything you need for hours long battles.

What you get: paintball

You get four, 20-round magazines to fit a lifelike M-16 modified to use a CO2 canister in propelling plastic balls. If you run out of ammo, there is a RMB 30 charge for every magazine, so aim carefully if you’re thrifty. The games span a couple hours so plan to spend more on ammo.

0615_feature_4Just like The Real CS War Game, camouflage fatigues, a SWAT helmet and chest protector shield from flying plastic. The helmets are bulky and ill-fitting so be sure to find one that works for you. Don’t get caught naked-faced on this field.

Prior to playing, you can hone skills on a shooting range equipped with a few boring targets just a few meters away. To save money, head straight to the field to get a handle on your gun. It’s important to note that the accuracy of the gun is shifty and there are a lot of things that factor into this. Long story short, just point, shoot and hope the round goes where you want.

The aim is to attack and take territory from your enemy. Territories are separated by a caution line which must be breached in order to place your flag in the enemy’s base before time runs out. Once you’ve been shot, simply raise your gun in the air and walk off the field to wait for the next game. Games typically last 20 to 30 minutes and have a minimum of four, maximum of 50 players.

What you get: Laser tag

The same as the paintball, minus pain, laser tag offers additions at a cheaper price, but with a RMB 10 death fee, this is still serious business. Players are equipped with fatigues, a gun (all the same) and a vest and helmet wired into the gun.

If looking to feed an ego, players are ranked based on kills as well as one unusual aspect of play. Workers fire what they call UFOs (a.k.a. plastic Frisbees) which can be shot for extra points. When they or a player is shot, smoke charges eject to signify death has been met, hence the death tax. Unfortunately you cannot opt out of this so just smile and pay up.

According to their brochure, the age limit is 18-years-old for both paintball and laser tag, but our instructor informed us they were legally obligated to say this. The actual age limit is 10 for laser tag and 12 for paintball. If bringing kids, double-check while booking reservations—odds are there won’t be any problems.

A War Near You

Goodview Hotel War Game Union (Tangxia)
Daily 9am-6pm
Contact: 8729-9333 / Coach Deng 159-1766-9008
Paintball: RMB 200 / person, RMB 20-30 / bullet
Laser Tag: RMB 128 / person

CS War Games Base (Nancheng)
Daily 8am-6pm
Contact: 8991-8899
Laser Tag: RMB 100 / person,minimum 10, 2-3 hours

Snow Wolf CS War Game Club (Guanyin Mt., Zhangmutou)
Daily 8am-6pm
Contact: 139-2681-1197
Laser Tag: RMB 78 / person, 2 hours; 100 / person day pass, over 10 people; 120 / person day pass, less than 10 people

Zhuobo War Game Base (Sandlewood Island, Shijie)
Daily 8am-6pm
Contact: 8991-8899
Laser Tag: 100 / person, minimum 18, 2-3 hours

Photos by Chris Crescenzo