Hard Knocks is Plano’s newest indoor laser tag attraction. The business opened its doors this past October and held a grand opening in December. Hard Knocks was created and is currently owned by Joe Wheeler. The original location in Orlando opened in 2005 and the Plano location is the chain’s sixth location to open, with two more currently in the works.
Hard Knocks’ tagline is “beyond laser tag: your indoor war.” We checked it out for ourselves and quickly found that Hard Knocks is totally different than other laser tag attractions.
At Hard Knocks, there are no black lights, neon graphics or fog machines typical of most laser tag arenas. The arenas are modeled after realistic urban environments. The first arena is “The Office,” which is filled appropriately with askew desks, filing cabinets and cubicle walls for “soldiers” to hide behind. The second arena is “The Warehouse,” filled with stacked shipping containers, wooden pallets, oil drums and large cube-shaped containers. The two arenas can actually connect to each other by various doorways and passages, making the third and largest arena referred to as “The Coliseum.”
You can choose from over 75 different missions, so it’s possible to have a different experience with every visit. The missions are all team-based. No individual scores or hits are recorded during play–the scoreboard only shows the cumulative team score. Missions are designed to encourage teamwork, strategy and leadership skills. We played “Carnage,” which is a basic team vs. team mission. We also played “Traitor,” where one member of a team was secretly chosen to be the traitor who others had to work to identify. Other missions include defusing bombs, escorting VIPS and capturing bunkers.
There are eight different models of weapons at the Plano Hard Knocks location. Ranging from small pistols to large assault weapons, each model acts like its real life counterpoint, meaning a shotgun shoots a spray and has to be reloaded after every shot. You may choose any weapon you like based on its pros and cons. And your Regulator will help you choose one if needed.
Every mission is led by a Hard Knocks Regulator, who is essentially your tour guide during your visit. Regulators get badass names like Vengeance, Arson or Beretta and they make sure everyone plays safely and has fun during each mission.
Anyone age eight and up is welcome to play. During public hours, you essentially show up with a friend or two and play against whoever else is there to play. If you have a special occasion or just want to bring a large group of friends, you can book a private experience. Hard Knocks has seen corporate groups, birthday parties, youth groups and wedding parties. They’ve even had a bride and groom take on each other with teams comprised of their bachelor and bachelorette parties. For private birthday parties, kids as young as age five can play with adjusted weapons.
Public hours are Monday-Thursday 4pm-11pm, Friday 4pm-midnight, Saturday 1pm-midnight and Sunday 1pm-9pm. During spring break and summer break, the hours are extended to open at 1pm every day.
The cost to play is the same regardless of age. Everyone must purchase a Hard Knocks membership for $6 (this is in lieu of renting equipment). Then you purchase packages of missions. Four missions cost $23.99, eight missions cost $33.99. The missions never expire, so you do not have to use them all in one visit.
Hard Knocks also runs specials on certain nights. They offer a pass for kids ages 17 and under to play unlimited missions Monday through Thursday night from 4pm-7pm for $16. There are also special nights during the week for Ladies Night, Armed Forces Night, University Night and Hospitality Night. Hard Knocks also has a small bar area that serves snacks, sodas and beer/soda for the adults.Hard Knocks Website >