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What Makes A Good Battlefield?

What do you like about the places you nerf?

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#1 Langley

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 01:16 AM

After some recent discussions with people over why they do/don't like the venues for some of the NJ wars, I got to thinking about what other locations are available, but I began to realize that my tastes are different from some of my fellow nerfers'. What do you think makes a good place to nerf? What do you like about the places you've nerfed? What are some of the problems you've had as a result of the location?

Personally, I think Deal (the location for apoc) is one of my favorites. There's a lot of variety. It's more open fields than dense woods, but there is still enough cover. It's big enough to have a large event, but if you've got a small event there are small areas with reasonably well defined barriers. The couple of times I've been there, the place was pretty empty, but I'm sure if we ran into a bunch of non-nerfers, we could move to another area.
The only disadvantages are that I don't recall a bathroom being close at hand and I know we had to schlep our stuff all over the place because the parking wasn't anywhere near where we nerfed.

One of my least favorite is Mill Creek, the old apoc location and the home field of the LCM. On the plus side, there's a nice gazebo area with picnic tables, which is a nice place to sit between battles, especially since I can't remember the last time I was there and it didn't rain. The place is also pretty much always empty except for the playground area, which always seems to have that one little kid with mommy looking on at us in disapproval.
On the minus side the pine trees are really dense in most parts of the park, keeping you on the path, and I always seem to find myself trapped as soon as I step off the path. On top of that I can see my opponent way more often than I can hit them because the pines are really good at stopping darts as well as nerfers. Finally the park is pretty small. I wouldn't want to nerf with more than about 12.

I'm kind of on the fence with respect to my old home field of Tindall Park, where HershFEST takes place and where GnomeFEST used to be hosted. It's big, and usually pretty empty. Parking is right in the middle of where we nerf. Theres a really cool obstacle course that the local high school uses for team building activities, and it has a lot of trees and other equipment, without all the brush that gets in the way elsewhere. The park has a few different areas to play in aside from the obstacle course, including a large wooded area with paths, a basketball court frequently used for pistol matches, and a small playground area with woods on one side and parking lot on the other. There's also (gasp) changes in elevation.
There are a few problems with the site. The obstacle course is pretty small for more than about 8-10 people. There are also a bunch of ankle-height steel cables (used as balance beams by the HS) that become invisible when you're nerfing (especially if you're Hersh). From one year to another the wooded area may be absolutely perfect for nerfing, or it may be full of spiders, broken beer bottles, thorn bushes, or poison ivy. The brush will be totally under control or completely unmanageable with no regard for what time of the year it is. At "The Hill" you can usually get about 1-2 good rounds in before the homeowner at the top of the hill comes out and starts giving us a hard time for being sort of close to his hedge. Finally, I think the park fucked VACC's mom or something, and he's taking it real personal.

Finally, I'm pretty ambivalent towards the two schools DCNO is traditionally held at. The trailers that are next to the school are pretty neat at first, but they're difficult to move around very quickly, and it's easy to get pinned. They aren't nice and open and spread out like the ones in the old YANO and 'geddon videos look. I also recall having a problem with the soccer field being full of little kids for almost the entire day one year. On the plus side, the trailers are an interesting change of pace from the woods I'm used to, and the big open fields are perfect for setting up homemade barriers like the ones Slug brought last time. There's a nice staging area with tables that's pretty nice too.

Keep in mind that I've had a fun time at every one of these venues. I've also had a pretty shitty time at about half of them, at least in part due to the venue. So what do you like about the places you nerf, and what do you think makes a good battlefield?

Edited by Langley, 21 July 2008 - 01:22 AM.

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#2 Lynx

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 01:36 AM

I love the environment providing a new dimension of play, mentally or physically.

I try to lay it out into a RTS screen in my head while playing since I am visual think best when I am in the 3rd person.

I love it when you have elevation and cover interspersed. It can make everything change. The best made plans can be destroyed from someone popping up from cover or not putting a shot through a tree (I swear I had Twitch)!
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#3 NerfMonkey

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 02:04 AM

Finally, I'm pretty ambivalent towards the two schools DCNO is traditionally held at. The trailers that are next to the school are pretty neat at first, but they're difficult to move around very quickly, and it's easy to get pinned. They aren't nice and open and spread out like the ones in the old YANO and 'geddon videos look. I also recall having a problem with the soccer field being full of little kids for almost the entire day one year. On the plus side, the trailers are an interesting change of pace from the woods I'm used to, and the big open fields are perfect for setting up homemade barriers like the ones Slug brought last time. There's a nice staging area with tables that's pretty nice too.



I disagree with the part about the trailers. I'm used to playing in places like that so I usually know how to avoid getting pinned, and as a result I didn't get fucked a single time at the last DCNO. Keep in mind that I've only played in a woods type area once so the portables are all I know but I think they're easy to get used to and adapt to. They also encourage more risk taking and close range fighting (except when everyone bunches up in the field).

The one time I did play in the woods was amazing and made me use different tactics than usual like staying hidden from people. It got tiring after a while when I was left wandering through the woods trying to find people but as long as the rounds are kept short it makes a great place to play.

Aside from that, there's also another place we played at in March here in Ohio that was awesome. It had a creek winding all the way through it dividing it roughly in half with some little islands and peninsulas and places where it was narrow enough to jump across, and there were also a few trees for cover but not enough to make it boring. There was also a little concrete bridge that was a great place to get shot. The best part about that place was that there were lots of places to get screwed; for example, two trees faced each other on one side of the creek about 60' apart. It's nearly 3 AM so I'm gonna do a drawing to explain what I mean:

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Brown being the fence, blue the creek, green things the trees and arrows showing the ways out. You can see how the people on the left are screwed; they can't turn around because the creek cuts them off and the tree is the only cover available. The people on the right can move up behind the fence and force the other team back or, if they're pussies, run back the other way.

I actually prefer places where you can easily get cornered because then you have to try to avoid those places or if you can't, fight your way out. That place in the drawing was fun because it was so easy to get stuck somewhere where the creek was too wide to cross and you had to turn back and fight to get out. That sounds kind of gay really, but it was a lot of fun.

Fields with elevation are fun too, like the Gauntlet where the DCNOs used to be held before they tore it up. It had that huge hill at the back and it was always fun trying to get up there and shooting off of it.

There are my thoughts. While I'm sure some people prefer a field that's more consistent across, I like variations throughout it because that makes for some interesting strategy that I wouldn't otherwise use and forces you to vary your tactics during a round depending on what guns you're using, where in the field you find yourself, who's against you, etc.
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#4 mintee

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 05:16 AM

If you've never had an indoor multi-leveled venue then you're missing out.

Providing cover fire from a staircase while your teammates rush below, camping double doors and elevators, there's a lot of fun stuff to do in our old venue for NUVO. Three virtually identical floors, two staircases, an elevator and a mini hidden room linked both by the smaller staircase and the elevator... watch the footage to see what I'm talking about.

I dislike heavily wooded outdoor settings. It makes finding darts and running for cover really hard. A park is nice and makes jumping and rolling much easier.

I still find urban indoor/outdoor settings to be the most fun. The constraints of indoor fighting force people to get in each others' faces, and people are forced to stay within each other's maximum ranges, so the super uber 1337 guns are downplayed. However, it is difficult to get footage indoors, half the time the cameraman is too close or too far or has some wall or door obstructing his view. Outdoor urban settings allow for more Effeminate footage of the fighting, and give players more room to run around, while providing much more cover than an open field gives.
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#5 keef

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 06:48 AM

Nice open areas with lots of trees. But not too many trees.

You need an area you can take cover with, but still be able to rush, run, and work as a team. Thats why I like Wilde Memorial (Glen Rock) part.
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#6 Blacksunshine

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 07:01 AM

Nice open areas with lots of trees. But not too many trees.

You need an area you can take cover with, but still be able to rush, run, and work as a team. Thats why I like Wilde Memorial (Glen Rock) part.


Aggreed. W@M was good like this because the area I selected was fairly open but there was also some ok cover area. the 2nd area we moved to was great because there was a great little wooden area with brush and whatnot that was great for flanking the other teams but then there was a great open area in the middle that could be used to rush straight in.
Lemme see if I can google earth it. (I'm far too lazy at 5 am to draw anything.
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#7 CaptainSlug

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 10:57 AM

What makes a good field?
Obstacles spaced between 20 and 90 feet apart with a mix of ones that fully obstruct those standing behind them and ones that do not. All within grade terrain that is clear enough to not be geared primarily towards the breaking/spraining/twisting of ankles.

Anything beyond those criteria is based on personal preference and play style used. If your battlefield has too many open areas larger than 200 feet square, then add some modular obstacles.
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http://nerfhaven.com...?showtopic=8930

If your area is wooded with lots of plant debris then you're much more likely to lose a significant portion of your dart supply. Asphalt or dirt fields are okay, but do promote a higher rate of minor injury and compound the problem of excessive heat in the summer.

Edited by CaptainSlug, 21 July 2008 - 11:01 AM.

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#8 Oni Kadaki

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 11:05 AM

If you've never had an indoor multi-leveled venue then you're missing out.

Providing cover fire from a staircase while your teammates rush below, camping double doors and elevators, there's a lot of fun stuff to do in our old venue for NUVO. Three virtually identical floors, two staircases, an elevator and a mini hidden room linked both by the smaller staircase and the elevator... watch the footage to see what I'm talking about.

I dislike heavily wooded outdoor settings. It makes finding darts and running for cover really hard. A park is nice and makes jumping and rolling much easier.

I still find urban indoor/outdoor settings to be the most fun. The constraints of indoor fighting force people to get in each others' faces, and people are forced to stay within each other's maximum ranges, so the super uber 1337 guns are downplayed. However, it is difficult to get footage indoors, half the time the cameraman is too close or too far or has some wall or door obstructing his view. Outdoor urban settings allow for more Effeminate footage of the fighting, and give players more room to run around, while providing much more cover than an open field gives.


I kinda like our setup where one team raids from outside the building and the other team defends the target room in the basement. There are two entrances to the room, one on each side of a hallway, and the defending team has to make sure nobody gets inside.
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#9 Langley

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 11:29 AM

Obstacles spaced between 20 and 90 feet apart with a mix of ones that fully obstruct those standing behind them and ones that do not. All within grade terrain that is clear enough to not be geared primarily towards the breaking/spraining/twisting of ankles.
Anything beyond those criteria is based on personal preference and play style used. If your battlefield has too many open areas larger than 200 feet square, then add some modular obstacles.
http://nerfhaven.com...?showtopic=8930


I would disagree. I think it is just as important to have good boundaries in your field, and such boundaries are on a bigger scale than homemade obstacles. With a field full of Mobstacles without boudaries, what's to keep everyone from just running around the perimeter? Also, it's nice having obstacles which are big enough to completely obstruct shooting and movement (trailers, hills, hedges, dense patches of woods) because they beak up a battlefield into smaller areas that can be easily moved through. I think if I had to nerf on a scaled-down speedball field all the time I would get bored of it pretty quickly.

As an aside, those mobstacles look like they need a little wind proofing as well. What if you were to stretch the tarps across a pvc frame, and fill the bottom of the frame with sand to keep it from blowing around too much? That would keep you from having to pound pipes or stakes into the ground, and having a complete framework instead of just vertical supports would keep the obstacle from getting all...floppy. The only problem is that keeping the tarps taut could cause darts to either rip the tarp or bounce off the tarp like a trampoline.
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#10 Salmon

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 12:08 PM

A wide field with several different areas, for example one or two heavily wooded steep ditches, a few large open areas, a very heavily wooded(nearly no visibility) hidden path, and several clusters of large trees here and there for cover. That allows for large variation in play and is perfect for games like Team Deathmatch, Capture The Flag, etc.
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#11 CaptainSlug

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 03:44 PM

I would disagree. I think it is just as important to have good boundaries in your field, and such boundaries are on a bigger scale than homemade obstacles. With a field full of Mobstacles without boudaries, what's to keep everyone from just running around the perimeter? Also, it's nice having obstacles which are big enough to completely obstruct shooting and movement (trailers, hills, hedges, dense patches of woods) because they beak up a battlefield into smaller areas that can be easily moved through. I think if I had to nerf on a scaled-down speedball field all the time I would get bored of it pretty quickly.

I had not even addressed boundaries. Generally I've only played at Elementary School and the same parks as you where the boundaries are defined by the lot size of the property.
And obstacles that obstruct visibility do more to make flanking more possible than they do to divide up the field in any way.

As an aside, those mobstacles look like they need a little wind proofing as well. What if you were to stretch the tarps across a pvc frame, and fill the bottom of the frame with sand to keep it from blowing around too much? That would keep you from having to pound pipes or stakes into the ground, and having a complete framework instead of just vertical supports would keep the obstacle from getting all...floppy. The only problem is that keeping the tarps taut could cause darts to either rip the tarp or bounce off the tarp like a trampoline.

Others have made full frame versions and they work great too. We haven't had any real problems with the obstacles falling apart so long as the pipe stakes are placed at the right distance to create the correct level of tension. And so long as the wind isn't gusting at speeds that you won't be able to hit anyone with darts anyways. They're as windproof as they need to be.

Darts cannot rip through the tarps because they're woven polyethylene. The tarps are also not taught enough to trampoline anything. One definite benefit is that any darts that miss the intended target can easily be heard when they hit the obstacle instead.
The benefit of using pipe stakes as opposed to a full frame is reduced cost, and that the tarps will come off of the poles if a person runs backwards into them. The victim will fall over by tripping on the tarp, but they won't get hurt.

We've used them for the past 3 consecutive DCNOs to break up the soccer fields of both schools we use and for that purpose they're perfect.

Edited by CaptainSlug, 21 July 2008 - 03:47 PM.

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#12 VACC

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 04:04 PM

I think it's difficult to make a list of attributes that a good field must or must not have. So much of how a field plays depends upon the nerfers themselves. Things like weaponry, experience, and just pure numbers can go such a long way in altering the way any particular venue plays. Not to mention the simple notion of personal preference.
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#13 bartel

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 04:05 PM

I've never done this, but I think some golf courses would make good battlefields. They have trees along the sides, but not too many; open areas; and the grass is short enough that you can ealsily find darts. Now to find a golf course that will let us Nerf.
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#14 serpent sniper

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 04:09 PM

I agree with mintee, there is a lot of fun to be had indoors.

The only place I play is in the dorms at school. It's really a suitcase college, so the buildings are more or less empty on Saturdays. Dorm buildings really have everything. There are lots of tight corners, choke points, and other places for ambushes. There are also huge open areas, 200ft hallways, and open lounge areas with low cover.

I think that indoor environments are really very versatile. I've had to diversify my arsenal to keep up, and it seems like I use different guns each time we play. It's very fun to run around clearing rooms and staircases SWAT style.
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#15 Philote

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 05:21 PM

Where I Nerf (i.e. my jungle of a backyard) has a fort, which we use for a territory control game, and a TreeHouse, which we use for a SN][PER Tower. Our indoor playing field consists of 4 over-turned couches which serve as trenches. We once went to an indoor sporting complex in Hingham MA, that was REALLY fun. I agree with serpent loser, nothing is more satisfying than running into a room yelling " Drop the bloody gun! Drop it!" and clearing a room after kicking in an unopened door.

Edited by Philote, 21 July 2008 - 05:22 PM.

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#16 mintee

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 06:22 PM

I agree with mintee, there is a lot of fun to be had indoors.

The only place I play is in the dorms at school. It's really a suitcase college, so the buildings are more or less empty on Saturdays. Dorm buildings really have everything. There are lots of tight corners, choke points, and other places for ambushes. There are also huge open areas, 200ft hallways, and open lounge areas with low cover.

I think that indoor environments are really very versatile. I've had to diversify my arsenal to keep up, and it seems like I use different guns each time we play. It's very fun to run around clearing rooms and staircases SWAT style.

Also, climate control is nice (heating or air conditioning). I've also changed guns many times until sticking with a Longshot.

Although we've been bugged by campus security for playing indoors (in an empty building where the non-players we've encountered is just one person who has to go back and forth for some reason and we stop the whole game for him).

But I don't play like a SWAT team member. If it's not Zombie Outbreak we're playing then I'm sneaking around like Snake (I even have a red bandana for infinite ammo).
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#17 raw shrimp

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 09:41 PM

Two 100ishfeet parallel slides, with some trees.
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#18 nerfsharpie6

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 10:59 PM

If we are talking about environments then the best place near me (Salem County) is Fort Mott. I've never actually nerfed here but was going to hold a NERF war there some time ago. Its 3 square miles of grass, trees, and CQB. It has 2 bathrooms one close to parking lot and the second near the visitors center. Its really close to the Delaware river as well.

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I don't have any pics of the inside of the Fort but its pretty sub-optimal in there. Not a good place to run around in. Buts still cool none the less.
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#19 CaptainSlug

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 12:15 AM

I have yet to have a positive indoor warring experience so I won't discuss that part of the topic.

I've never done this, but I think some golf courses would make good battlefields. They have trees along the sides, but not too many; open areas; and the grass is short enough that you can easily find darts. Now to find a golf course that will let us Nerf.

Not likely. If the weather isn't ridiculously unpleasant the Golf course will be open for business and won't be willing to lose valuable revenue-earning time to other activities. Most of them are also just too open and the groundskeepers don't want people running on the greens.

The first DCNO I went to a Golf Course owner was there and I talked to him at length about various things. He was primarily interested in Nerf as a possible tool to use for scaring migratory birds away from his course without injuring them.

Edited by CaptainSlug, 22 July 2008 - 12:17 AM.

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#20 VACC

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 07:18 AM

I have yet to have a positive indoor warring experience so I won't discuss that part of the topic.


You didn't like the UMD war, dude? I had about as much fun as I've had at a nerf war in the past 5 years running up and down the hallways there. I'm just hoping we can open up next year at the same venue. It's especially ideal for the long winter months when nerfing outside becomes increasingly uncomfortable.

Indoor wars are very tricky, but I thought that building more or less nailed it.
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#21 imaseoulman

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 10:13 AM

There are two attributes I have seen on playing fields that makes them more entertaining than most others. Of course you need a combination of cover and open space, but besides that, here are two of my favorites:
Large, tall playgrounds
and Piles of stuff
Let me elaborate. The field used for the Minnesota war has an extremely tall slide that makes great "Bell Tower" rounds or losers vs. I also played on a field in Marysville, WA that had a sprawling play park. It never got higher than maybe fifteen feet but it was very spread and could easily handle two teams of six. Add in the surrounding sporadic pine trees, soccer field, and empty parking lot, and you've got one amazing field.

As for piles of stuff, I fell in love with this in Idaho. While doing construction, a bulldozer piled tons of dirt into a small mountain range creating one of the most interesting and challenging fields I ever played on. It was up hill for about 50 yards and incredibly not level. There were plenty of natural "fox holes" and "trenches" just deep enough to crouch behind. Slayer rounds were amazing, but CTF wasn't very even because of the change in elevation. Later the miniature mountain range got re-plowed and it left one large flat opening about ten feet across with one sloping end, one open end and two steep sides about 12' high. It was a blast defending and attacking the base. About 30 yards from that base was a smaller alcove with about 6' walls but still very defendable.

After that field was finally levelled we had a great winter playing on the most amazing snow piles I had ever seen. We had record snow fall and the town ran out of places to put the snow (yeah, it's that cold) so they started piling them up just down the hill from my apartment. The snow was piled over twenty feet high for over a quarter mile and about 50 yards across with a deep canyon in the middle. A lot of places looked like cavern formations (well, technically I guess they were) and there was plenty of cover and elevation change.

After the snow melted away we played on a field that had a huge dirt mound in the middle, making single flag CTF a lot of fun.

At the Minnesota field there used to be a long dirt mound that mixed things up quite a bit. So yeah, it's fun to have big piles of things that you can't see over, or other obstacles completely blocking view of your opponent's base.
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#22 Groove

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 10:13 AM

From someone's that's done a fair share of travel for Nerf, there's a lot of different factors that make a good venue, I don't think you can pin it exclusively on terrain, environment, boundaries or number of obstacles. Like VACC said, there's always the player factor, types of weapons, nerfers, levels of experience, number of attendees, etc. Things like driving convenience, available food and water nearby all contribute to an area's appeal.

Indoor wars have their pros and cons just like outdoor wars, but in my opinion, are much harder to pull off and execute smoothly. I personally enjoyed the UMD war last winter, but I can assure you it had nothing to do with the fact that I would fire my Crossbow consecutively across the atrium and hit people running back from their spawn point.

My favorite venue so far has been the old school Gauntlet, the site for the original DCNO and the main site for the past several years (until recently). But then again, I may be a little biased...


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#23 VACC

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 10:35 AM

The problem I have with a lot of indoor venues is that it's easy to find a corner and hide securely in it for the duration of a war, or simply to use a bottle kneck to hold a position indeffinately. The UMD war had mutliple acess points to every area we used, and it resulted in a feeling that you had to keep moving or you were going to get out maneuvered and cut to pieces.

With outdoor wars, I really feel like the organizers have to be familiar with the field and have a game plan going in, regardless of where you're playing. I think the Deal Wars are a good example of this. Next year....next year.
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#24 bartel

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 12:19 PM

I've never done this, but I think some golf courses would make good battlefields. They have trees along the sides, but not too many; open areas; and the grass is short enough that you can easily find darts. Now to find a golf course that will let us Nerf.

Not likely. If the weather isn't ridiculously unpleasant the Golf course will be open for business and won't be willing to lose valuable revenue-earning time to other activities. Most of them are also just too open and the groundskeepers don't want people running on the greens.

The first DCNO I went to a Golf Course owner was there and I talked to him at length about various things. He was primarily interested in Nerf as a possible tool to use for scaring migratory birds away from his course without injuring them.


Yeah, I figured there would be a ton of problems, but if you could get it to work, it could make for a fun time.
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#25 Langley

Langley

    LGLF - Since 2002

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 12:38 PM

So maybe I should have started a thread about how to host a good war. The consensus seems to be that the host and the other nerfers are such a big factor that it's difficult to say whether the venue is responsible for a good or bad time being had. I still think some people have pretty strong opinions about locations for nerf wars. I'd like to hear what VACC thinks about Tindall for example, as I remember him saying he wasn't really into the park last time I was there.

Also, good idea or bad idea?
http://maps.google.c...e=UTF8&t=h&z=17
This park stretches from one rt 18 overpass to the next, but is narrow enough that the width isn't any greater than crossbow range at the widest point. However, there are long cement planters about 3.5' high all along the park that would offer great cover. So aside from the cover, the whole place is one long choke-point. I'm not suggesting using the place for an all-day event, but what do you think about nerfing there for a couple of rounds?
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You can poop in my toilet anytime champ.

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