Sunday, March 11, 2012

A treatise on: Melee weapons - Nerf N-Force (mostly)

Nerf Klaw Hatchet and Thor mini-Hammer

Alright, so over the past few years Nerf has tried to reintroduce an element of roleplay with their N-Force line.  Swords (Thunder/Fury, Marauder, Dagger), an axe, a mace, hatchets, hammers, etc.  Now these pieces tell you to not use on people or animals, but partially it's probably with a wink and a nod.  Some of my earliest memories of sweeping the floor involve stabbing and swinging the broom like a lance or a staff.

Integrating these into Nerf games and events has always been a tricky proposition.  I've been known to go with a "Snake Eyes" loadout (____Splat pistol + Nerf sword) or just run around like a Distraction with two melee weapons.  At the time, the most you were going up against was a speedloader, and if you got your weapon positioned just right and dodged the first shot, you were good to charge.  With nowadays tech, that just wouldn't work.  Even with stock ammo, chances are you're running into an N-strike or clipped something else that will get you on the 4th or 5th shot. 

But even past that, I was almost always in the minority at wars choosing to be "That Guy" running headfirst with swords into a phalanx of plusbows firing homemade ammo.  Smartest idea?  No, not at all.  But it bought my team a few extra seconds to get into position because everyone sighted on me, or it was a dart for me and not in the core.  I got stung and welted, sure, but I knew what I was getting into and willing to take the hits I did.

However, now and again I'd run into other people who liked melee, and that's when the issue got really sticky.  I've taken martial arts, sparred, and the key phrase was always "control, control, control."

On more than one occasion, someone didn't get this speech.  I'd run into guys pretty much looking to chalk up their next mark in gladiatorial combat, and they'd swing for the fences at people.  I'd see them rear back and treat their N-Force weapons (or in some cases homemade boffers) like baseball bats more than anything.  When I'd go all-melee I might try to position the sword to function as a shield but I always tried to "tag" more than swing at somebody.  Once in awhile, I swung a bit too hard, and therein was the crux of the matter.  If I was doing it, then I noticed everyone else moreso.

The other thing besides the control issue, is it started to feel like it was taking away from the foam shooting aspect I showed up for and felt more "LARP" than anything.  Guys would run at me with swords and shields, I'd shoot them.  Large ammo.  Whatever.  I put the swords down finally and haven't really picked them up on a regular basis, maybe once in good long while when I find a war that allows melee.  And even then, I bring it along just to make sure if that person swings, I'm not trying to block with my blaster. 

The main point I'm trying to say here is, you never drew a sword unless you intended to use it.  If you're going to use melee at a game, make sure you're familiar with what you're using, and be aware of the safety of others.  Just because you think you're a ninja doesn't mean you attack everyone else like they are too.

Safety first!

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