Saturday, November 29, 2014

Nerf Wars Parent's Night Out

We have been running parent's night outs for our students for over 20 years now, and a few of them stand out as outstanding and over awing when compared to our normally very good ones.  Nerf Wars was on of those.  Because The feed back I gathered as we put this together was useful but incomplete, I write this as a partial guide for anyone who might want to do one of their own.

1) Were do You Get the Guns? We felt that the prevailing advise of having the students bring their own Nerf Guns was perhaps limiting, so we went to Google, searched for Nerf Guns, and found 16 brand new ones, three darts each, single shot, for around $8 each.  So we bought them under the opinion that we could run 2 teams of 8 each if everyone came without a gun.

2) How do you start? I don't know how your school works, but at ours, late is part of life, so we always plan for the first 15 minutes or so as some group activity where the attendees, friends and/or students, get to know each other, while we wait for everyone to arrive.  In this case, we had them build the obstacle course.  We used heavy bags, gymnastic mats and puzzle mats we purchased over time at home depot - they are not martial arts mats, but rather just inexpensive ones we use for games and classes.  They actually took 30 minutes to build the battle zone.

3) The Teams:  We then broke the attendees into groups of 6 or 7, so we could run the teams against each other pretty much none stop all night.  Extra teams would cheer the combative teams on during the various games, if everyone could not be on the floor at the same time.

4) What Were the Games:  I have to admit that this list is a compilation of 4 or five sites, our own Dodge Ball games reworked, and some small creative work.  We allowed the teams to select the game we would play.  They would then play the game, as written, and then again with a variation.  We have listed 4 or 5 variations that work for most of the games, and we accepted suggestions from them, altered if necessary to make the usable for a school that teaches fairness and teamwork. This is the list we used:

Team-based Nerf War Games

Team Elimination Match

Standard team combat. Each team player gets a certain amount of tags until they are out

and the last team with remaining players wins.

Example: They get hit three times, they are out. – Gun goes on the ground

Variation: 1. If they are hit three times, they have to be tagged back in or dragged back to the “Hospital” – they must leave their gun on the ground where they were taken out.

Capture the Flag

Each team has a flag to defend and must capture their opponent's flag to win. The first team to capture the other team's flag once, or another predetermined limit, wins. You can use variation 1 above

Control Points

Teams must fight over different "control points" defined by pads or hula hoops. Points are

captured by standing in or on the control point and counting out loud to a predetermined number, often fifteen. After counting, the player may switch the current flag to their own team-colored flag. (Piece of paper that has an x or an O on each side.

Variation 2:Players can choose to respawn at control points instead of their base.

Home bases cannot be captured unless a team owns all other control points. The first team to capture the opposing team's base wins.

Attack and Defend

One team defends a predetermined area while the other attempts to capture it. There is a set time limit in which the attacking team must reach a certain area on the defenders side, if they do, they win. If time expires, the defenders win.

Variation 1 is good for this one,

Variation 3: or respawn where they go down in a fixed amount of time, say counting out loud to 20.


Each team gives one unarmed player as a "hostage" to the other team. Teams then have a

few minutes to hide their hostage. Both teams then go out and try to rescue their hostage. A hostage cannot move until a teammate taps them with a hand. The hostage can now be given a weapon. Whichever team rescues their hostage first by bringing them back to base wins. – Any variations to extend game.

Hide and Seek

One team is "the hidden" and gets a head start to go and hide (No Guns), the other team, "the seekers", tries to find them. The seekers win if they find the last hidden, the hidden win if they tag out all of the seekers.

Variation 4: Both sides have guns – you may add the other variations as well.


One player from one team is named "the target" and can only carry a small single hand gun blaster. Their team acts as their guards. The other team serves as "the assassins". The assassins must try to tag out the target to win, but guards can take hits for the target. After a set period of time, or if the target reaches a designated area, the target "escapes" and the game ends.

All Variations work except 4.

Hunger Games

Inspired by the book of the same name. Players split up into teams of two. Players put all weapons, ammo, and other Nerf-related things in a pile. All teams then stand an equal distance away from the pile. On a given signal, all players run to the pile to take what they can get without getting tagged. If a player is tagged, they must lay on the ground and wait. The last person standing is the winner.

Civil War

Single shot blasters are required. Both teams face each other in straight lines a good
distance apart. Starting with one team, going down the line, each player takes one shot at the other team. If a player is hit in the arm or leg, they can not use it for the rest of the game, for any purpose. If a player loses both their arms, they can not fire. If a player loses both their legs, they must move on their knees. A player shot in the torso is out for the game. After one team has made their shots, they advance one step forward, and the next teams goes. The team that eliminates the opposition is the winner.

Humans vs. Zombies

Those on the Human team are armed with Nerf blasters, Zombies are not allowed to wield weapons. One or more players can start as zombies. Humans touched by zombies become turn into zombies themselves. Zombies that are tagged are out for the rest of the match. The humans win if all zombies are defeated, and the zombies win if all of the humans are converted to zombies.

--------- Games beneath this line must be called for by a monitor, not a team. -----


An uncommonly-played game from the earlier days of the NIC. Several teams of two players each on a large playing area attempt to become the final team standing. Players are eliminated by a single hit. When the player strikes another player out, the player whom had just been struck out may be returned to the game if the person who had tagged them out was eliminated themselves.

Solo-based Deathmatch

An all-out war between all players. This is one of the most common types of solo-based wars. Last one standing wins.


One player is "the hunter", and is the only player with a blaster. The other players must avoid being tagged out by the hunter. If a player gets tagged by the hunter, they become the hunter themselves. The last player to be tagged out wins.


A non-player hides blasters and equipment. Players can then go out and gather supplies. Throughout the game, players can create alliances. Players cannot betray an alliance, and the maximum number of players in an alliance is three. If the only players left are all in an alliance, only then does it break. The last player remaining wins.


Preferably played in a wooded area, a non-player hides several weapons, ammo and
accessories around the area. Then players are then each given a small blaster (such as a Hammershot, Spectre, or a Sweet Revenge) without any ammo; this creates a sort of grace period before the combat begins. Then the players must "forage" through the woods to find the larger weapons and ammo. The battle continues until there is only one player left. The common amount of lives for a player is three. This type of battle is rarer because of the amount of equipment that is needed to be purchased, as players aren't allowed to bring their own weapons.


Players must stay in the spot they start in. They are allowed to duck, jump up, lean or anything else to avoid being hit, as long as do not move away from their spot. Once hit, they are out. If they run out of ammo, they are out. Whoever has the most amount of tags when all players are out wins. If it's a tie, those players must duel again


What about the Darts? We went to target and purchased 150 darts in packages of 75, but you can get them from anywhere, but if I had thought of it in time, I would have just gotten them from Amazon: Nerf N-Strike Elite Dart Refill Pack (75 Darts)

We bought a package of Large Sharpers from staples, permanent markers, and colored the side or the tip of our darts with Blue.  Sharpie Chisel Assorted 8 Pack We also had each student who brought darts color the tip or stripe their darts so they can collect their own at the end of the night.

We ran this party for 4 hours, and could have run it for another 4 without even knowing time had passed.  We didn't even get through 1/2 of the games listed.  

In addition, we lost 15 minutes to Pizza and we used another 15 on a craft, to break the evening.  There was ZERO down time other than that, and they left hoping for more.

If you want to use the blaster we used, you can get them for under $8 from Amazon at this link:


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