Archery Games Denver hosts an action-packed experience for all ages. Are you up for a game of archery dodgeball?
As an avid martial artist and outdoor enthusiast, I was understandably interested when I found out about Archery Games Denver. Two teams of people battling with bows and arrows? Yes, please! But where does the dodgeball come in?
My mind immediately went to the 2004 comedy, “Dodgeball,” and I started imagining the slogan “If you can dodge an arrow, you can dodge a ball!” plastered on the company website.
There was only one thing left to do. Register for an event and sign the waiver! I eagerly agreed that I might suffer a concussion or die and began counting the days.
Before leaving, I double checked the website and found plenty of goodies to look forward to. Eight game types, safety-engineered arrows to shoot my opponents with, and 15 minutes of training!
I hadn’t expected so much for the reasonable $27 price tag, to be honest.
When I arrived at the hidden gem that is Archery Games Denver, I found a spacious parking lot (free parking anyone?) and a surprisingly active vibe.
When you walk through the front door, it's a mix between laid back friendliness and an impending battle. From the skeleton greeting you by the entrance to the caged arena taking up more than half of the room, you know it's about to go down.
Whitney, who would be my trusted coach for the day, greeted us with a smile and told us that training would begin soon.
Unless you have the money to rent out the entire space, I should mention that you’ll be playing the game with strangers. My husband and I played with a group of 12 people celebrating their friend’s birthday, and Whitney confirmed that this happens all the time. It’s part of the fun, really.
We began with training. This consisted of a rundown of how things worked, wearing the armguard that protects your skin, the bowstring, etc. The essentials, basically. Definitely make mental notes here.
Once my group had their armguards on, Whitney picked up her bow, knocked a padded arrow, and nailed a fist-sized ball hanging down the training range. I'm pretty sure she'd give Legolas a run for his money (I'm confident whoever you get as a guide will be just as well trained).
Next, everyone has the chance to learn how to use the bow and arrow before donning their helmets and being ushered into the combat arena.
So now I’m breathing in through an awesome paintball mask, wearing my armor, and picking up my bow from inside the arena. Padded arrows are strewn across the middle of the floor, dividing the two sides.
Whitney starts explaining the first game to us—Zombie Apocalypse—while I take in the strategically-placed cover on both sides of the area. You’re divided into random teams and sent to your respective sides to await the start of the game.
When the game starts, you dash to the center of the arena, grab a padded arrow, and pray no one shoots you as you dive for cover.
From there, it’s all flying arrows, teamwork, new game types, and the sweet, sweet feeling of shooting an anonymous person, maybe the birthday guy himself, in the face.
PRO TIP: Make sure you picked an armguard that fits well before the games begin!
Surviving the Game
I survived my hour in the arena and came out feeling like a professional archer. Sure, I tried archery as a kid, but a first-timer friend felt the same way! I'm pretty sure Archery Games Denver has discovered the secret to training the world's best archers (shh).
My group's games were moving faster than average, but we still didn't have enough time to try all eight game types. My favorites from the game types we did get to play are:
Zombie Apocalypse (You don’t die, you just switch sides!)
Engineer (Your team picks where the cover goes!)
Dog Eat Dog (No cover, no teams, it’s everyone for themselves!)
Before I go deeper, I want to say that I would have thought not playing all eight game types would disappoint me, but it didn't! It just makes the prospect of going back even more exciting.
The game starts with Zombie Apocalypse because no one gets taken out in this mode. If you get hit, you switch sides, which means that you get to practice for the entire round.
For most of the games, the cover stays where your trusty guides placed it. In Engineer, your teams get to move the cover wherever they want to put it. You even get an extra cover piece to work with, which my enemy team used to build a near-impenetrable castle.
Dog Eat Dog
After spending most of your arena time with cover, seeing it all go to the side for “Dog Eat Dog” is intimidating. There are no teams, no sides of the arena you have to stay on, no ways to come back into the game. I probably only like this one because I almost won before the birthday guy took me out.
Learn from My Mistake
Everything Archery Games Denver did was terrific, but I did one dumb thing. I forgot to bring water. Don’t be like me- you’ll be in a bow and arrow battle for 60 minutes, not counting 15 minutes of training, and you will be thirsty.
You’ll also probably be dripping sweat.
Having survived Archery Dodgeball, I can tell you that it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. It reminded me of being a little kid again. And I walked away feeling tough. As though Whitney had passed on her Legolas skills to me somehow.
This is the most exciting ongoing event I’ve found in Denver, and I’ll be coming back. They even have a league you can play on if you’re super serious, and Archery Games Denver makes scheduling simple.
If you’ve never shot your friends—and total strangers—with padded arrows in a battle arena before, you don’t know what you’re missing. Trust me.
Find out more about Archery Dodgeball at www.ArcheryGamesDenver.com.