Lady Cartocker’s Tick Tock Battle at The Thirteenth Hour

Date of Visit: 6/8/24

Visited By: Team Lone Wolf

Following a stroll along a spooky trail, my friends and I have finally arrived at our destination: Cartocker Expeditions, a mysterious facility hidden away in the woods surrounding Indianapolis. Known for the time traveling adventures they offer their guests, we’ve come to this place with the expectation of going on yet another whirlwind trip to a time many years before us, where we can visit the elaborate cathedrals, catacombs, and cemeteries that tell the story of Heinrich Chapel and those who fell afoul of him. But it quickly becomes apparent this won’t be any typical visit; not when the overly cheerful lady in the lab coat before us starts going through a demonstration involving how to use a gun (what?!), the brightly lit collars the creatures we encounter may be wearing, and how we should go about dispatching them.

Oh – and if we aren’t careful? We might end up dead ourselves.

I glance at Lady Cartocker herself, who is briefing us on the screen above. Other than multiple assurances that our imminent adventure will be “perfectly safe”, she’s not giving us much to work with… what’s going on here?! But the gate has already closed behind us, and we know there’s no turning back. There’s only one thing left to do: prepare for battle!

The Thirteenth Hour has risen very quickly among Indianapolis’ impressive roster of haunted attractions. Not only do they offer an immersive attraction with a unique storyline, but they’ve been featured by multiple media outlets and have made their share of top haunt lists as well. Their attraction also grows every year, offering new scenes and characters to keep things fresh for returning fans. Starting in 2023, Thirteenth began to branch out into the world of “off season” haunting, opening those rusted cemetery gates for the odd holiday or other themed show outside of the Halloween season. In addition to their now annual Love is Blind event for Valentine’s, the haunt also recently opened for patrons who were part of the Midwest Haunters Convention’s Pre-Convention Bus Tour. But they weren’t done yet.

Something I haven’t seen as often in the industry lately are lasertag events. I remember when companies like Zombie Apocalypse Live! would tour the country, renting their guns, sensors, and scoring systems to attractions all over. As the name implied, the targets at these shows were most always zombies. For 2024, Thirteenth has added a second event to their lineup and created their own special live-action lasertag show. Lady Cartocker’s Tick Tock Battle is sending groups back in time to blow away not only zombies, but many more of the attraction’s original creepy creations! Can you and your friends defeat them all and make it back to the present?

Tickets to Thirteenth Hour’s events are typically online purchase only and the price will vary depending on which option you choose. Along with the standard General Admission, there are also options for expedited entry, drink add-ons, and group packages. My group went with General Admission tickets for the 9:15 PM time slot; after the fee, the total price came out to $38.49. Parking is free on site in their grass lot. It can be a bit tricky to navigate when it’s busy, but they still have a lot of space available.

We arrived towards the end of the event so we can’t say if they had any characters roaming outside, but the trek through the woods led us to their usual tent filled with flashing lights and fun music, along with the impressive clock facade for Cartocker Expeditions. We also noticed some updates in the waiting room with the numbered stalls: a few contained monsters/zombies had been added. Following the haunt’s epic opening sequence, we were swiftly sent off into the fog… and left to fight our way through this world of darkness in order to return to our own time.

The Tick Tock Battle worked as follows: each of us received a laser gun with a set amount of ammo that would reload automatically when we ran out. Our goal was to aim for the lit up collars our targets would be wearing. Throughout the experience, the guns’ internal scoring systems would keep track of how many points, kills, and deaths we received. Yes, I can hear you right now. “Wait… deaths?!” Yep – this is one of those shooters where the monsters can fight back! If they managed to get close enough to you, your gun would emit sounds like you were being injured. We quickly learned to fire away, yet be prepared to dodge!

Beyond what was added to their waiting room, we didn’t notice any event-specific changes to the haunt’s layout. We were pleasantly surprised, however, to walk into some brand NEW scenes over the course of our adventure! I won’t be spoiling those here, but they were pretty darn cool – and one was totally unexpected. Minus the collars, the actors’ costumes also didn’t seem to have any changes specific to this show. One thing we did like was that the collars had different point values depending on what color they were. IIRC, blue was worth the least and red was worth the most (with those collars, of course, being placed on some of the most dangerous targets!).

More changes were evident in Purgatory, Thirteenth’s sort of midway space. Some photo ops were moved around and the surroundings changed, with further changes planned for the upcoming season. I was personally happy to see that they finally had merchandise available! The merch stand has been combined with their bar and the prices were very reasonable. A couple of us grabbed shirts for just $15 each.

If you attended this event and were a previous visitor to The Thirteenth Hour, you would recognize quite a few familiar faces! In addition to the expected zombies, we also fought our way through nefarious nuns, various creepy creatures, a spectre that sailed above our heads (!), and a skeletal demon on stilts! Hell yeah – boss fight! Some of them were tough to take down, too, especially those wearing the red collars. With that said, not everyone we encountered was looking for a fight. The Archbishop was his usual witty self, if not quick to throw a member of our group under the bus by placing her front and center! And iconic as he is in the haunt, trusting Heinrich Chapel himself is ill-advised… he sneakily sent me ahead of my friends, only to promptly shut the door behind me and separate us for a while. That man will be the death of me, I swear.

Luckily for my group, we were a trio of sharpshooters and managed to successfully fight our way through every threat we faced, eventually exiting the facility and returning to our own world. Mission accomplished – and what a great time we had! Given the atmosphere of their normal show, I was a little surprised when The Thirteenth Hour announced a lasertag event as their next off season show. But they nailed it, and not only was it awesome to fight monsters other than zombies (c’mon – we did battle with nuns!), it was also nice to catch a sneak peek of some new stuff their team has been working on along the way.

Regretfully, Lady Cartocker’s Tick Tock Battle was the final “off season” event prior to the Halloween season. If your curiosity has been piqued and you want to check The Thirteenth Hour out for yourself, you’ll have to return sometime in September or October. Keep an eye on their website to find out when they will open their gates to commence the 2024 haunt season!

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