Nerf weapons seem to be becoming a more and more popular resource in LARP games. Both as representing a ranged attack by an animal (such as a beastie firing quills) or as a representation of guns. For gunfire especially Nerf makes sense. The toys are aimed at ages of 6 and up and are safe. They look like guns. They introduce the tension that comes with limited ammunition and are accurate at the ranges of actual gunfights. The personal defence network has published FBI statistics that suggest that the majority of police injuries and deaths caused by firefights happen at ranges of up to 50 feet. Nerf weapons can easily hit a target of ranges up to 20m. In other words fighting with a Nerf is not that different in terms of accuracy from fighting with a sidearm.
Of course all firefights, and the resulting injuries and deaths in the real world are wrong. But we are not dealing in making a fiction where players can feel an approximation to real life. Despite being toys Nerf weaponry can actually do this. This means using Nerf guns in LARP can help create genuine feelings of involvement, fear of death and suspension of disbelief.
So lets look at some resources to help get even more realism out of your Nerfs.
I’m going to kick off with Instructables. There’s a collection of nerf modificatons that most definitely have LARP in mind (the page is called Nerf Mods – so is a dead give away). You can find this at
The Blastersmiths development blog. I met the Blastersmiths (sorry cannot remember names right now) about a year ago and got my first demo of a modded nerf rifle – this had a 10kg spring in it and really packed a quite a punch. I’m suggesting their development blog here as it is full of practical guides for upgrading and altering what is in effect a childs toy.
Finally if you want to play using nerf here are some games that do just that. They all have good reputations and should be the ideal places to get some vital experience.Where possbile I’m using the Facebook groups pages for all of these so you can look at what’s going on and ask questions if you want to
Neothera is a bit of a special case as their first game is in a few months time as I write this (and yes I will be going and reviewing it). LARPBook has been following the development of this game and what is really standing out is the attention to detail in making Nerf look good and work well. Fingers crossed it all works on the day
Finally a video
The image at the top of this article comes via Flickr user ChiefRanger. Full details for this image and its licence can be found by clicking here