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The Den of Foam
Successful nerfing: How We Do It

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Disclaimer:  This is by no means intended to tell you how you should or should not nerf.  This is simply the opinion of a somewhat experienced Nerfer as to how you can make yourself into a truly successful player when nerf leaves the backyard and is taken to the field.

In order to be a successful participant in a nerfing scenario, several different things are required of you.

To begin with, any experienced nerfing member of these boards will tell you that experience is everything.  If you don’­t nerf or haven’­t nerfed much, you will not be as successful as you could be.

Experience is what makes anyone good at anything.  Experience is what gives veterans the knowledge of their opponents’­ capabilities, and the ability to know in a heartbeat what to do.  You can’­t sit in front of your screen looking at diagrams of covert ops tactics online and expect that you’­ll be able to use them (much less pull them off) in a heartbeat.  Playing, and playing often, is what develops your instincts appropriately so that new strategies and means of winning simply come to you in the heat of the moment.  This is why the vets win.

Next to experience, the most important thing is fitting your playing style to a particular nerf gun.  If you find yourself wanting to charge a group of enemies by yourself more than once or twice during any particular day, a crossbow is probably not for you.  If you find yourself distanced from your opponents, and feeling a need to pick them off individually more than once or twice during any particular day, the dual powerclips you are carrying are most likely not a good choice.  As you play, you will discover what your needs are for playing successfully.  Start out with something simple and well rounded.  Take the Airtech 2000 for example.  Specifically, a quad-barreled Airtech 2000.  The range provided by one of these is sufficient for nearly any basic situation you will be encountering.  Couple this with a Nite Finder, and then go out and play.

Analyze what you find yourself doing.  Ignore what you feel yourself wanting to do.  All the people wanting to be “snipers” just want to do so because they believe that it’­s the “cool” thing to do.  Ignore your inner daydreams, and simply look at how you find yourself playing.  Don’­t try to pull of anything crazy (like doing nothing but nailing people at distances, or rushing a group alone).  Just play to be successful.  Run around, get in, and get out.  Be well rounded.  But pay attention to the situations that you personally find yourself in.  Analyze these situations later, and make adjustments to the guns you’­re carrying to accommodate for these situations.  If you end up seeing your opponents at long distances most of the time, more accuracy will be needed, so try single-barreling your 2k for a little more range, and a great increase in accuracy.  Perhaps you find yourself needing to rush groups of opponents a lot, and at close proximity.  Maybe that pair of powerclips was a good idea.  If you find yourself being rushed once your primary is empty, and the Nite finder you have been carrying isn’­t enough, you may want to upgrade to something with an extra shot to help decrease the possibility of being rushed.  Give a splitfire a try, for example.

Slowly, as you play more and more, gaining knowledge about how you play, you will be able to custom-fit your arsenal to your personal way of playing.  Here’­s the bonus:  you’­ve been playing a lot now, slowly customizing the arsenal you carry in wars to fit yourself, and you’­ve GAINED EXPERIENCE.  Now, you find yourself acting much more quickly, reacting in a far more lethal way to whatever happens on the field of play.  You are beginning to cover the most important part of being successful, while you worked on the second.

Taking control is a key point of any game.  Take chess.  There are many way that you can take control.  The most obvious, is eliminating as many of your opponent’­s pieces, to give them less players at their disposal.  In nerf, this is the entire goal of playing, so it cannot really be applied here.  The purpose of getting the upper hand is so that you can eliminate the other team.  Another means by which one can achieve the upper hand in chess is by controlling the four centermost squares, whether that means having a piece directly in one of the four squares, or having a piece in such a position as to be able to capture a piece that resides in one of them.  Most of the game (generally speaking) revolves around those four center squares.  Control them, and you have a proverbial “vantage point’” from which you can see what goes on, and quickly counter anything that occurs in the main field of play.

Think about your nerf wars.  What different aspects of the people you play with and their playing styles can you consider to be possible “center squares”?  What aspect of the way your local people play can be predictable?  These “center squares” are things to take note of.  They are things that the people you play with do in nearly every round.  Sometimes, every player has a different “center square” for you to exploit.  You may notice that one person likes to go to one specific location over and over.  You may not realize this until they’­re on your team.  But once you note this, try to see what patterns they follow when at that location.  Which direction do they usually go to it from?  What direction are they normally facing?  These are all key things that you can use to quickly come up with an idea for how to approach them.

Another thing to look for would be anything that will make the other team fall apart.  Sure, taking out a lone Nerfer will cripple the other team’­s capabilities, but not substantially.  People who are leading are excellent targets to go for.  Don’­t worry about taking out newer, less seasoned Nerfers first.  Take out the largest threats first.

The third part of being successful in the game is being spastic; random.  Use the unorthodox.  Do what no one else expects you to do.  Doing what is not expected can mean doing any number of things, but the reason for its success is self-explanatory.  Doing the unexpected means throwing your opponents off guard.  Throwing your opponents off guard gives you the upper hand, because YOU are in control of the situation (see?  There's that control word again.)

For example, suppose you are playing around some school buildings.  There are about a million different ways you can approach the situation.  However, think about what your opponents are expecting before you start out.  Look for things that would only be seen in
Hollywood
.  Don’­t laugh yet’–it works.  If you're doing things other than running around with both feet on the ground, you'll be in a position to attack you opponents before they register in their minds what is going on.  They'll shoot at you far more quickly if they round a corner and see you standing there, than if they were to round the same corner and have you hanging on a rain gutter with your sidearm aimed at their chest.  So look out there.  You see some buildings, some tables, a block wall.

Your opponents will be expecting people to be on their feet, on the ground.  They will be looking around at eye level (assuming that roofs aren’­t legal territory.)  So buy yourself a second or two of reaction time to get a shot off.  Go out of their typical line of sight.  Hop up on top of the block wall and sit for a second.  Don't camp or anything, but if you know they're coming, you can put yourself here to buy some extra time after your initial shot.  Baghead knows what I’­m talking about from last time he was in town...  You are perched above their typical field of view.  They will be initially looking for you/your teammates standing upright, with both feet on the ground, standing at the corner of the building or crouched low to the ground up against the wall.  You have nearly 1/2 a second of reaction time for their mind to register that you are up higher, for their mind to respond to this, and for this response to trigger their hands to move their gun up towards you and shoot.  More than enough time for you to do your dirty work.

Confusing your opponent is helpful, too.  Playing often will make the task seem a lot easier over time.  This is why experience is so critical.  Make your opponents fear you.  If anybody’­s ever seen the movie “The Three Amigos”, recall the ending.  They dressed up all the men in the town in outfits just like themselves, and when the bandits came into town, only “three” men attacked them from all sides.  They were in a total state of chaos.  I don’­t expect you to dress everybody up in black and silver Spanish cowboy dress and run around like idiots.  But if you, just ONE person, can make it seem to your opponents as though there are two of you; three of you, more, even, they will have NO idea what to do.  Keep yourself moving.  Sitting and camping isn’­t as successful as most think against opponents who have a hint of an idea of what’­s going on.  Imagine your surprise if you were to hear that in a matter of one minute, three members of your team were hit, at three completely different locations, by the same person.  You’­d be at a loss of what to do.  It would seem that a demon was on the other team.  Chances are, the few seconds you just spent standing in awe of what had happened would result in you feeling a dart smack you in the back, from that same person again.  You’­d call yourself out, but would turn to find the fiend was already gone.

A bit theatrical, to be sure.  But if that happened to you, what would you be thinking?  All this sitting and waiting for opponents to arrive sounds sneaky and stealthy and all, but it’­s no good way to rack up hits.  A constant state of movement keeps your opponents on their toes.  Even the most seasoned Nerfer can be outwitted.  All it takes is another seasoned Nerfer to do it.

So get off your lazy butt, go out, and shoot somebody.  Eventually, you will be an experienced player with an arsenal that perfectly fits how you play.  And you’­ll be a devil to anyone who comes to call.

I hope some of you take this seriously.  This is just the way that I personally play.  It may not work for everyone.  But I don’­t sit there waiting for people.  Every chance I get I’­m on the move.  An opponent seemingly being in two places at once is a terrifying thing to see.  My arsenal perfectly compliments my playing style.  I carry a crossbow, but I don’­t sit there and camp.  I am constantly moving.  Repeated, well-placed shots at ridiculous ranges from completely random sides of the playing field are a thing to see.  Rush me?  A Splitfire on one thigh and a Nite Finder on the other don’­t exactly make that easy.

See, it’­s not all about who is the better Nerfer, really.  It’­s all about who is the smarter Nerfer.  The smarter Nerfers are the ones that win.  If you can outwit everyone you play against, and couple it with the skills that are simply acquired by experience, you will be a force to be reckoned with.

Wishing you success!
Yours in foam,

-Falcon