We Tried It – Archery Meets Dodgeball in Arvada

You can always play a pickup game in Wash Park if the weather’s nice, but if it’s rainy, you and your friends can still burn off some steam playing indoors. Archery Games officially opened a new Denver location on March 1 earlier this year in Arvada, and they invited 303 to try the game that mixes archery and dodgeball. The result is a real workout that you probably haven’t done before and don’t get to do every day. Plus shooting a bow and arrow is probably the most empowering thing ever. Legolas, Katniss Everdeen and Hawkeye would be impressed. Give it a go for only $25 and see for yourself.

Getting Started / Training

For someone who has never shot a bow and arrow before, entering the target practice area was a little intimidating, but I wasn’t alone. I brought my roommate so I wouldn’t feel embarrassed all by myself but learned that you could come to play alone or bring your own group. Only 20 players maximum can participate in Archery Games (10 on each team), and the scheduled times are dependent on who signs up. The company will let its employees play with you if you are short or have an odd number of people, but you need to book your game online so you know what time to play. Before we started training, our instructor ran us through the basics of archery — it looked easy, but it wasn’t. My hand-eye coordination naturally isn’t great, but my instructor assured me anyone could do it — after all, all I really needed was an armguard and protective face mask — so how dangerous could it be? I strapped my armguard around my left arm to practice shooting with my right and was surprised to find the bow was incredibly lightweight. I was also happy to learn that the arrows didn’t have the pointy tips that would cause a serious injury — instead, they had round foam ends for a much softer impact just in case someone targeted me. To shoot the arrow, my instructor showed me the proper technique for loading the arrow into the bow and then holding my elbow slightly raised and loose before aiming. I didn’t hit the target on the first try, but got a feel for it — and was confident that after a while, I might actually get the hang of it — even become good at it. I had 25 minutes to practice before entering the arena (which was included with my admission fee) and got a bit better before it was time to play. I was a little nervous when training ended, but confident that I wouldn’t wind up hurt even if I were the worst player on the field.

Archery Games. Photo courtesy of Archery Games Denver.


All in all, I was hit by a couple foam-tipped arrows, but didn’t have any bruises. I definitely worked up a sweat breathing inside that helmet and doing a lot of running, ducking and shooting. Archery Games is definitely challenging and works a lot of muscles you wouldn’t think—my shoulders ached the next day and my thighs from squatting, crawling and pulling back on the bow. I also felt like kind of a badass since the boys who probably spent time in the paintball arena didn’t seem much better than me. I may not as good as Katniss, but I’m definitely going back.

Archery Games Denver is located at 5405 West 56th Avenue, Unit D in Arvada, and is open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with private booking available Monday through Thursday. To play, book online here