How to Choose a Public Space for a Nerf War

Posted by Ray Squad on

Public Nerf War Safety Tips

Criteria for a Nerf War Battlefield

The biggest logistical challenge you will face when hosting a Nerf War is finding a location. In most parts of the country, it’s rare that a backyard will be able to comfortably hold all your participants, unless of course the Nerf war is for a child’s birthday party.

Nerf wars are usually more fun in large, outdoor areas such as parks and playgrounds. A large indoor space could work as well, but requires a bit more planning. Ideally, the location you choose would meet the following criteria:

  • Clear of other people, especially young children.
  • Access to public restrooms.
  • Cover for people to hide behind.

No one likes to play in a large open field because the lack of cover can make the game less interesting. If an open field is the only option available to you, consider bringing some makeshift obstacles that can be easily transported, such as cardboard boxes that can be duct-taped together. Just remember to remove them from the park when you leave and properly dispose of them by breaking them down before cramming them into public trash bins.

Select a Backup Location

When hosting a Nerf war in a public space, it’s important to choose a backup location or two. Because the space is public, there is no guarantee that the park will be empty when you arrive. Plan your way around this obstacle by looking for a backup location within walking distance.

If you arrive to find all locations occupied, ask the individuals hosting their events or games when they plan to be finish using the space. Be polite and don’t pressure them into leaving. Don’t start the Nerf war until everyone from their party has packed up and left.

  • Some public spaces can be reserved in advance through your local community center or school.
  • Do whatever you can to avoid playing in public parks on the weekends. If you plan for a late afternoon/early evening midweek game in a park, it is far more likely to be empty.

Public Nerf War Safety Rules

Many of these are no-brainers, but there have been a handful of instances of horrific incidents involving young people who didn’t follow them:

  • NO REALISTIC PAINT MODS. None in public. Ever. Use the most brightly colored, clownish fresh-out-of-the-box Nerf blasters you can find. Even if you have called and alerted the authorities of your game, people in the park don’t know you’re just playing.
  • NO MASKS or dark/camo clothing for obvious reasons.
  • When hiding to ambush, don’t hide near a path where people and children might be walking and you could startle them instead of your intended target.
  • Don’t play at night.
  • Don’t play in parking lots, streets, driveways, and areas that involve trespassing.
  • Don’t shoot at or from vehicles.

Announce Your Plans to Public Officials

To prevent wasting everyone’s time and having the game “busted,” call your local officials to make sure you can hold a Nerf war at the locations you picked. Depending on your local city ordinances or your local park district ordinances, you may need to call City Hall to obtain a permit for hosting an event like this in a public space.

Call Your Local Parks Department for Permission

  • Give them your full name and ask them theirs (write it down)
  • Explain what a Nerf war is. Compare it to a game of capture-the-flag with toy guns and soft foam projectiles that are similar to packing foam
  • Emphasize that you will pick up every single projectile and piece of litter in the area you use
  • Explain what date, day of the week (avoid weekends!), and time you would like to hold the Nerf war and approximately how many people are participating
  • Tell them which parks you’ve scouted for your location and explain that you’d like to choose a time when they’d be vacant so as not to disturb other park goers. Ask them where they recommend you have it -- they might have some better suggestions
  • Show them you’re responsible by being the first to ask if you need a permit for an event like this and who to contact

Alert Your Local Police Department

  • Give your full name. Let them know you’re planning on having a Parks Department-sanctioned Nerf war and provide them with the name of the official who spoke with. If applicable, tell them you received the proper permitting
  • Explain that you plan on having the event in a designated area of the park during a low-traffic weekday. Give them the date and times the event will be held and ask if they would like your contact number
  • Explain that everyone participating knows the rules: no masks, brightly colored Nerf blasters, not firing foam darts at or disturbing other park-goers, cleaning up after the event, etc.
  • Ask them if there’s anything else you should take into consideration

City officials will appreciate the five minutes you took to make these phone calls. Police officers will especially appreciate it. They’re the ones who have to respond to bogus reports from civilians of “suspicious activity” in the park when in reality it’s just a bunch of people playing a game. Now they’ll have an idea of what’s going on before responding and will have your contact number if they want to reach out directly before dispatching officers.

We hope these tips help you safely plan for and choose a public space for your next Nerf war. For more Nerf war strategies and Nerf gear, check out Ray Squad. Remember to have fun out there and check out our VIP Club for amazing perks for Nerf lovers.
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