Walking through a local shopping mall a few weeks ago, we saw a stand for a paintball venue here in town. Talking to the guy and thinking about Kai’s upcoming birthday, we let him lure us into a “great offer” of greatly reduced entry prices. Kai was ecstatic.
And today we made use of the tickets and took 7 boys (and a few parents) to square off across the battlefield, pump-action paintball shotguns at the ready.
The morning started a bit hectic, with mini-pizza’s and mini-sausages still needing to be baked and packed. The picnic box was already full, but as always, a lot of last-minute things needed adding.
Once everything was packed (including an overnight bag for Luka, who is staying with a friend) and loaded in the car, we were off. The sun was out and the sky was blue. It promised to be a good day.
The venue we had booked was Delta Force Paintball in Dingley, 20 minutes due South of Mount Waverley. Good thing we had navigation, though, as they seem to take their approach to signage from their namesake: keep it all very secret. In other words: you only see it once you turn into the parking lot.
The other thing we noticed on arrival was the big composing site next door. With the wind blowing in the wrong direction and heavy machinery working on the mounds of compost, the smell was … organic.
But the rest of the operation was very well set up. Clean facilities, good equipment, lots of friendly staff, the choice of whether to bring your own food or order pizza through them and lots of space for the multitude of birthday parties happening.
Other than at Luka’s birthday last month, where the girls did the same thing, the “decorating” of the cup-cakes today was less focused on beauty and all about speed and quantity. Boys will be boys.
Initially we had planned to let the 7 invited boys and Kai go in by themselves, but we had a last-minute cancellation, so I had to jump in.
Yeah, life is tough sometimes.
Our first game was “capture the flag”. We were divided up into two groups of about 30 people and brought out to one of their seven game areas. There we were given the task to steal the other teams’ flag and carry it back to our own base, all the while protecting our own. After losing the first two rounds, Kai was the one that at least got us one consolation point on the board by securing the other flag in the third and final round.
After a short break for some drinks and chips we went back out again for some “team deathmatch”. Basically, if you get shot, you’re out and the team with the most players standing at the end of the round wins.
Then it was time for lunch – and for us the end of the day. The other groups played on for another two games, even going so far as to be given special equipment:
The day was a lot of fun and the boys (and myself) enjoyed themselves a lot. The weather was great and the venue really nice.
PS: Well, maybe not quite. What I was not so happy about was the pricing and information policy of the place. Officially the tickets are AU$40,-, just to get in and get your gear. (We got them quite a bit cheaper than that, which was the reason we decided to take the 7 other boys with us.) What they don’t tell you when you buy the tickets is the follow-up costs that await you once you get in.
What we found out only after today (and which we were not able to find out beforehand, even though we called several times for the reservations) was the following:
The starter-set of 3 magazines (15 bullets each) is AU$25,- per person. This you will have to buy anyway. No bulk discount possible.
After this has run out, you can either buy 1 mag for AU$ 10,-, 3 for AU$ 25,- or 33 for AU$ 200,-. These can be shared within the group.
Per game you will need between 2 and 3 mags, depending on how careful you are.
Throughout the day there are 4 games happening.
Please note that these are the prices for Miniball, which we played. This is done with single-shooter guns and is aimed at kids between 8 and 16.
Again, it was a fun day out. But this lack of pricing transparency until it is too late and you’re already in the middle of it left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.