News / Calgary

The Calgary Archery Games officially launch

Don’t nock it till you try it – it's like dodge ball but with bows and arrows

I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow to the knee at the Calgary Archery Games.

And it’s not a love tap either – it’s like a high velocity dodge ball whistling through the air. Cupid’s arrow this ain’t.

Now officially open, the Archery Games presents a very familiar set up: two teams set up on either side of the court, armed with a bow, with a pile of arrows in the centre.

The game then plays out very similar to dodge ball, but with a bow and arrow. Everyone runs to the middle to grab an arrow, nock it back and try to hit someone on the other team to take them out of the game.

The arrows are fitted with foam tips, and honestly during the game the Metro team played, you can feel the impact of an arrow, but it’s softer than a dodge ball. Metro writer Helen Pike took an arrow to the neck and shrugged it off.

The bows are fun to shoot, but definitely take some practice, especially learning to set your arrow properly in the middle of a game.

We played two vs. two and three vs. three, but the arena can accommodate as high as 10 vs. 10.

There are a couple of game modes, too. There’s standard elimination, there’s a mode called medic where one player has a shield instead of a bow and can revive fallen team members, and a fireball mode that includes an actual dodge ball.

One of my favourite modes was called zombie, where if you hit someone they must join your team, until it comes down to a giant group on one side targeting one player on the other. Mostly, it just keeps people in the game.

The average game length is only a few minutes, so you’ll get in a ton of sessions just by playing for an hour. It’s a good thing too, because it’s much more physically demanding than it looks.

Truth be told, I was hit more than I actually hit anyone else, but even still, the game was still ridiculously thrilling. While some dive for cover, hiding behind giant bean bags, it’s exhilarating to take a risk, stare and archer down, and dodge a volley of shots until you can pull your own off.

Set your targets at

More on