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Tips for organising a Nerf event

I know there is already a sticky regarding 'rules' for hosting a Nerf war which we have referenced in our planning of Grim up Nerf but I thought it would be useful to share some hints and tips of things we have done and are still doing to hopefully make the events a success.

With our recent start these are still fresh in memory and are evolving so we can build on this as we go. Hopefully it'll inspire other people or groups to have a go at setting something up.

Tip 1) find some other enthusiasts to work with. Ask on here for help. It's always easier to get going if you know at least a few of you are going to turn up and play.

Tip 2) make use of an online file sharing system to plan things out. We have a Google drive shared folder which we are filling up with plans/lists/ideas etc. We can all contribute and it's easy to track changes.

Tip 3) finding a suitable venue (especially if you want to play indoors) is probably the hardest thing to do. Focus on this first as it will have an impact on the rest of your plans. Try sports centres, community halls, scout huts, etc, etc and be prepared to ask a lot of places before you strike lucky. Bear in mind a lot of fun can be had in a very small space as long as you pitch the games at the right level.

Tip 4) bring some loaner blasters (but not your 180 motored rs pride and joy Smile ) Although most people turn up with some it's always good to have a few to share or to let people try for size.

Tip 5) buy some darts. We are using koosh gen 3 and will insist on all players adopting these (unless agreed for mega darts/discs/etc). It keeps things simple, means you can control what gets fired and these darts general perform well in all blasters.

Tip 6) ask for a contribution to cover the cost of the darts/food/venue hire. We are all volunteers and whilst we are doing this for fun we don't want to be too much out of pocket. Everyone can chip in a couple of quid which is a bargain for a few hours play.

Tip 7) if you think up a new game type share it with your fellow organisers. If you find a smoke machine/strobe beacons/camo nets share the joy with your organisers. Keep everyone informed and more importantly enthused about the planning. I think it's fair to say we are just as stoked to be sorting out these events as we are to be playing in them.

Tip 8) try and think of a catchy name for your event. Bonus points if you can squeeze Nerf into the title. It gives the event some branding and also some ownership that we are all brought into.

Tip 9) make sure it's not all the work of one person. That isn't really a long term viable model. If you have a team like we do then great, but make sure others can join the team if they want. If you are on your own encourage others to step up and organise a round or two within the overall event structure.

More to follow.... Feel free to add more tips below....

I suppose what I always wonder about, is venue size and format... I work for a university so I think I can get access to full size indoor pitches for a good price, and I've seen FDT's game formats at work so I've got an idea of what a war should look like but I suppose I don't know what the room should look/feel like- how to stop it just being a big empty room essentially, and how big it needs to be, what the critical mass of players is...

I think so long as you match the game type to the space you have, that's the important thing. Ambiance etc can help, but really so long as there's fun objectives and parameters, any room becomes an arena when the right stuff's happening.

Obstacles for cover help. Tables, chairs etc and I guess the size of the open space would determine the amount and size of objects you need. I'm looking into large cardboard boxes this week for this Saturday's event!

There is no minimum above 2 players for a fun war. As a sports hall game veteran I can say a 5 aside pitch will support 20 players for almost any game, including BUZAN infection and PvP. 2 badminton courts or an average village hall will take up to 10 adults.
Cardboard boxes are the ultimate free and safe cover, if a little time consuming. Especially useful if you have players with dyspraxia and clumsy teenagers, because if they fall on boxes, the boxes collapse and break their fall nicely, unlike chairs etc.
Game types- anything EXCEPT games with permadeath and CTF. CTF indoors is a pain, everyone cheats and it encourages uncontrolled rushes, which ups the chances of collisions which are especially dangerous in mixed age groups. Permadeath results in cheating and players sitting on the sidelines tagged out- both bad.
Simple stuff works best, if you can't tell people the game rules in 5 mins or less, good luck making it work! This is especially true with young people or trigger happy fools like me who just want to shoot foam darts at their friends and family.
The admin team are very aware that resources for games are thin on the ground, we are working on a Game Organisers Pack so if anyone wants to contribute they should PM a mod.
This type of post is very useful, thank you for raising it.

From my time running HvZ at my uni, I can say confidently that an important consideration that is often forgotten is FIRST AID. It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive, but a decent little first aid kit has saved my butt several times. Make sure to include nitrile gloves (absolutely ***vital*** to limit exposure to bodily fluids), various size bandages, alcohol or other chemical sterilizer to clean wounds, and one or more elastic bandage wraps for the inevitable twisted ankle. Bonus items include instant cold packs, gauze pads and wrapping, and medical tape.

Northwind wrote:
I suppose what I always wonder about, is venue size and format... I work for a university so I think I can get access to full size indoor pitches for a good price

The leeds unis indoor halls are handled by a third party company, staff and student get a discount, but it's still expensive.

The hall we had for event 1 was about a badminton court in size, and we used nets draped over tables and chair stacks for cover. It was a little cramped, and there was less movement than I expected, so with a bigger venue for event i'm hoping that changes.

Ours are all in-house... It won't be super-cheap but it'll be cheap for the size of the facility, put it that way. Availability's probably more of a concern, it's pretty busy. I'll find out anyway, way I see it is you've got nothing if you don't have a venue.

I am making cheat sheets for myself and anyone running rounds at the Hendon Nerf war, if they are up to scratch when finished I'll share for people to assimilate or make use of as needed.

A list of what kit you have available and who is bringing what is always good on top of the kit itself as it may open up game types one ref wanted to run but didn't know they had kit for, if it can be used for more than one thing everybody wins.

Insisting that all under 16s have a chaperone is a big deal... serveral people tried to get us to babysit their kids for them today without being there themselves!

You can have one or two people take responsibility for under 16's but they would need to be insured and checked by the DBS (free to volunteers) and parents would have to sign a full consent form.
I do this for my games but it does cut out all those adults who really ought to play too.

Did you get a DBS check expressly for that purpose? I've got a school DBS (full disclosure), but they don't even transfer between schools. Would we need one especially for Nerf events? As for insurance, how much does that cost you?

Don't get me started on DBS checks... they are a nightmare, and the changes to the vetting and barring service, if it hadn't have charged individuals, would have been brilliant. Unfortunately, a couple of bigheaded author's like Philip Pullman stuck their nose in and screwed it up.

Insurance, I'm still waiting on a quote from Zurich

I got my insurance as a club from Tennyson, it covered everything except player on player injuries. You can get cover for modded gear as well. It's not that cheap though.
DBS- You need a separate one for every project you work on technically. If you are a member of a church group they can get them free for volunteers and might be happy to act as the sponsoring group for you. Volunteers can just get the basic DBS, online, with no charge. I will get the details of how next time I get to talk to a manager.
I can also recommend "Run a Club" as an easy way to set up, especially if you are working with children and young people, it's a subscription service where you buy a licence, but it provides almost everything in the way of paperwork, policies and support.

EDIT- Run a club licence is 350 in the first year and about half that in the second. Saw the software developers of it today, lots of great functionality with great report generating and stat info for getting grants and even linking in awards like DofE for younger players etc if people want to add value to their group and GET IT FUNDED so it can grow. Talk to your local youth services or church groups etc and see if you can get one licence for a cluster of clubs if you want to get serious about a sustainable and well regulated Nerf group. Some areas may have beta licences up for grabs as well, which will allow you to get full functionality and continue with all your data etc still intact if you pay the subs the following year. I would recommend combing a Run A Club licence and insurance in a single grant application if you want to go down that route.

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