or: 'How to do a day-out blasting other people right'
To explain the title, when I was asked if I was free on the 25th of May for some NERF blasting (and maybe write a review on said NERF blasting) I naturally jumped at the opportunity. However, when I discussed the 'whens and wheres' with UKNerfWar, he informed me that this was going to be a War, not a LARP event which I was used to.
This being my first 'War', I asked how many people did he think where coming.
"Not many I should think," he replied, "...it'll just be a Casual War."
And I couldn't resist really!
My username, 'Bad form Peter Pan, (for those who don't know), is taken from the classic 90's family film 'Hook', in which Dustin Hoffman (who was born to play the flamboyant Captain James Hook) quotes the brilliant line: "Bad form Peter Pan! I want my War!"
And with more than just a little nerdy glee, I say that on this subject, Captain Hook and I are one and the same in that I want my War as well!
I have many blasters. In fact there are only a handful of the NERF range which are Not in my collection. (I collect for enjoyment not completion) but other than tin can alleys or annoying my flatmate, I have nothing to use them on... Until now that is.
Now many of the millions who read my work will be saying "but what about one of the many NERF LARP organisations that are around at the moment?" At this point I would like to set a personal record straight...
Live Action Role Play (LARP) is not for everyone. I must make it perfectly clear that I not bashing anyone who takes up, enjoys or works on any NERF LARP events. Its just that LARP relies on location, characters and plot. And it can seem very daunting at first, sometimes the plot lines are long arching, twisting and confusing to newbies such as myself. Setting up a new character can be a long process if not explained correctly, and other times, having your character die and start all over again can be a huge hassle. The idea of risking something you've worked so hard to build up can turn many away from the past time. My point is LARP is perfect if you have the time and commitment to put into the activity. And like all things, that time and commitment will give you back dividends and make you a valuable member of any squad.
But what if you don't have the time and commitment? And have a load of blasters gathering dust? What Nerf based activity do you turn to instead?
My advice, would be to join a group such as NERF Wars: Bedfordshire.
This is for three reasons:
1) They are Brand New - and being a part of anything new is always a pleasing experience.
2) Because they are a 'Meet, Discuss, Shoot' style of people - which I love.
3) Because its Fun
Working backwards through the three points given.
Because It's Fun
Fun, is so important. Much more important than people who run many of the events I have witnessed perceive it to be. All they see is what came before today's missions and what will come after, not the fact that (and sorry I am going to drop a reality bomb here) the people joining them are using weaponry designed for children's play. What I'm getting at, is that sometimes, LARP takes itself far too seriously.
What made the day feel so refreshing was that, to me, the people who organised NERF Wars: Bedfordshire seemed to be in the exact same mindset as me. A great example of this was the very start. After a meet and greet, but before games really began, we had a simple free for all. Everyone against everyone. Four hits and your out, returning to base camp.
Now to many, that may sound juvenile and a bit 'running around-y', but without a doubt, its the best ice breaker I have ever witnessed. It also helps gauge your team mates/enemies skill level, and also tunes your mind perfectly into what you are going to be doing for the rest of the day.
|Gear up, move out.|
Meet, Discuss, Shoot
The second point is also just as important. Having no 'story' to the war as such (at least not at this early stage anyway) meant the day was kept simple and easily structured by three long games of capture the flag. One team Americans (or 'Muricans as we called ourselves on the day itself. Thanks internet) the other team Rebels. Capture your teams flag and hold it for the remainder of the time limit (normally twenty minutes or so) and you win. sounds simple yes, but in practise, not so much...
Again it sounds juvenile, but what is a real war if not capture the flag/fort/town/secret stronghold on a global scale? Games such as that are simple yet effective but it is by no means an easy day out. I found that out the hard way. Appointed the role of 'scout' my job was simple... find my enemy's flag location, being spotted and having to run like thunder back to safer territory. Having a clear, reachable objective, all the while knowing that my opponents had exactly the same notions running through their minds, kept my blood pumping all day, the others I spoke to on the day mentioned exactly the same thing.
|Eye protection is mandatory but this is just silly.|
The first point I made I deliberately saved for last...
NERF War: Bedfordshire are brand new. This action in itself is very brave. The most difficult thing you can ever do is ask others to join you, like what you are doing and keep them coming back. And I thank them for it. Their style of War is exactly what I was looking for and I hope by reading this review, more people will join them (and myself) when they hold there next campaign, the new needs friends!
|'Murca For The Win!|
I started this review by comparing myself to Captain Hook and his line 'I want my War' but I think now I should elaborate.
Wanting a war is too broad a stroke, what I really want are battles.What I want is head on mad dashes towards an enemy who're rushing towards me, huge ambushes and heroic last stands. Not stealth and sneaking, collecting things for someone else's story and avoiding an enemy rather than engaging them. I want mess, and loss, a clear winner and a clear loser so even if I am on a losing team this time it will inspire me to be better next time. Not out of fear of losing a high level character or the anger of losing a battle which may or may not lose the war. My battle. My war.
|NERF War: Bedfordshire. Event 1|
So if you feel like me, join me, UKNERFWar and the guys and girls of NERF War: Bedfordshire at the next event. There's no need to pack anything too heavy modded, painted or latest edition. I survived the day with an un-modified Hammershot (arguably the best pistol NERF has ever made) and a MEGA Magnus (also insanely awesome) and I didn't feel out gunned or worse off. Oh and a Vortex Diatron, (but that's mainly for show). Wear whatever is comfortable, camo or everyday clothes like me, no need for costumes or props.
Come and have fun. it can be done! I've seen it first hand and now I'm Hook-ed!