A Nerf war is the term for a battle between two or more players, individually or in teams. Teams usually have the same amount of players, but may sometimes be unequal to balance skill levels. Common places to have wars include backyards, playgrounds, indoors, and even wooded or urban areas.
Players establish rules before the game starts. Under basic rules, players can use any type of Nerf blaster. Typically, only blasters are allowed, but some groups allow melee weapons from the N-Force series. Punching, kicking, etc. is not allowed. Nerf blasters and other items can be hidden by a non-player before the game starts.
Players then decide how many hits a player can take before being declared "out" (often one). Rules for players that are tagged out often depend on the number of lives, one life means they are out until the next game. In team games, tagged players usually either return to base to "respawn" or must lie on the ground until a teammate "revives" them by tapping them with their hand.
However, players can establish other rules, such as limiting weapon choices, or allowing certain players to be more powerful than the rest. There are many more ways to customize Nerf wars, so just be sure all players know the rules before starting.
In larger, more organized Nerf wars, classifications may be used to denote various types of blasters and the associated rules.
Stock wars only allow stock blasters that have not been modified in any way. Generally, this only disallows blasters with modifications affecting their performance, and not aesthetic modifications like painting.
Super Stock wars, also known as SAMBO (Stock Ammo, Modification Blasters Only) wars, allow blasters that have been modified for performance. Users are limited to what ammunition they can use, however; as the SAMBO acronym suggests, only stock ammunition like standard Elite Darts are allowed. Homemade darts, such as Stefans, are not allowed.
NIC (Nerf Internet Community) wars are commonly played with very powerful modified or homemade blasters. They use homemade darts exclusively to help maintain blaster performance. Compared to other war types, NIC wars are less focused on strategic gameplay and a blaster's rate of fire, and more focused on having the best firing range and accuracy.
The following are some popular examples of Nerf war game variants. Most team games are best suited for two teams. Many more exist and are documented on various other websites.
Standard team combat. Each team player gets a certain amount of tags until they are out and the last team with remaining players wins.
Capture the Flag
Each team has a flag to defend and must capture their opponent's flag to win, much like in Dart Tag. The first team to capture the other team's flag once, or another predetermined limit, wins.
Teams must fight over different "control points". Points are captured by standing near the capture point's flag 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. 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.
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.
Hide and Seek
One team is "the hidden" and gets a head start to go and hide, 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.
One player from one team is named "the target" and can only carry a single shot 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.
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.
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
Main article: 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 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.
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.
Regicide is a team-based game type that originated from the Halo video games. Before the game begins, each team designates a "king". They are typically given a large, powerful blaster, and they wear some form of identification, such as a unique shirt color or bandanna. Teams earn points by tagging out the other team's king.
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.
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.
Single shot blasters are required. All players form a circle so that each player is about ten feet away from the next, players can not move from this spot. Every other player starts with their blaster "empty". A non-player counts down from three. On "go", all players must immediately do one of three actions:
- Fire: The player can take one shot at any opponent. Any player hit while firing is out.
- Block: The player crosses their arms over their chest. They are protected, and if hit, are not out.
- Reload: After firing one shot, a player must reload before they can take another one. If their weapon does not need to be reloaded, they can mime "reloading" it. Any player hit while reloading is out.
Continue counting down, and as players are eliminated, move closer together. The last player standing wins.
Commonly played with basketballs, some like to use Nerf blasters for the purpose of this game mode. The game starts by having one player make a bet about being able to make some sort of trick shot and attempting said trick shot. If it is successful, the other player(s) try to pull off the same trick shot. If anybody fails, they add a letter. The last person to not have all the letters to a word (commonly "horse") wins.