#10. The lighting is dim, and you have broken into a cold sweat waiting for the horde to attack. Your heart starts thumping when you hear the unmistakable “not-quite-quiet-enough” whispering of excited elementary school-aged boys coming up with a cunning plan. You load and cock your six-shooter, and bursting around the corner, take out 2 of them before the rest scatter, screaming for backup as they duck behind the nearest door. It could take another 10 minutes to clean out the infestation and you set about the job with a well-honed businesslike approach, isolating and knocking them off one-by-one. But you missed one. The little guy under the desk. Why is it always the little guy? He pops out and nails you. It’s over. You trudge back to the “deadzone” to wait out your 2 minutes. Unfortunately, it seems as if most of your team is already there. The last dad still standing runs back to cover the flag. But it’s gone. A sudden sickening realization is enforced by hooting and hollering from the other base. They’ve won again, and now it’s 2-0. “Best of 5!” is the new management announcement from the Dads…
Boys love nerf gun wars. Or, to be more specific, handing out punishment during Boys vs Dads battles. Nerf is essentially an upgrade of “Cops and Robbers”, except with some actual shooting. And you still get to argue over who got hit. It’s not particularly expensive to gear up, and you can pretend it’s a cheap form of entertainment (until you realize you are just priming them to graduate to the considerably pricier pastimes of paintball and airsoft). Here’s what you need to get started: Several families of Dads and Boys (6-10 a side is great), a Nerf gun each, a large building after working hours. The rabbit warrens of church Sunday school complexes work great, but large multi-level houses also provide a suitable level of complexity. A gym with obstacles would be perfect for short firefights. You can set up any kind of team-on-team battle you like, which is sometimes determined by the layout of the premises. Dad U recommends playing “capture the flag”, as it tends to invoke more strategy from the teams than “last man standing”. Designate a “deadzone” where casualties wait out their time before regenerating back into the game. This option prevents early kills having to wait out a long game in boredom. For an added level of urban warfare reality, play with most of the lights off, and bring glo-sticks for the flags. Once each game is over, the lights come on and all players scan for and collect the foam bullets. Reloading is done in a common area so the right bullets go to the right guns. Many, but not all, types of Nerf bullets are compatible across different weapons platforms. You will learn quickly enough the benefit of trying to pick up your ammo as you go. Despite all your efforts, you will still be finding them weeks after the event.
#11 Weapons upgrades for Dad’s: Nerf Blowdart
Dad U recommends at least one Dad should be armed with a blowdart. The fear that such a weapon imposes on a team of Boys is worth the price of admission. The sound of being shot at with one of these from long range, and the “thunk” that a suction-capped bullet makes as it lodges on (or next to) an intended victim, has an effect totally opposite to that of auto-machineguns on alien hordes.
Did I mention they were devastatingly accurate? And here is the best part: Even if one of the boys insists on having one “to make it fair”, it’s virtually impossible for them to compete, based on lung-capacity alone. Genius! Dad U calls his “The Equalizer”. The downsides of the blowdart option are that you will invariably end up a sniper, called on for security at a key defensive position, and that reloading is much slower than a standard gun (ie you are a goner if they are close).
Cut a standard 1/2 inch (internal diameter) PVC pipe to ~3 foot in length and smooth the edges with a file or sand paper. Many Nerf bullets fit perfectly. Too easy.