How to Host a Nerf War

Updated February 21, 2017

Nerf wars can provide fun for many occasions, such as a child’s birthday party, or an adult’s, a day at the park, or even just a summer gathering. Nerf wars are also a safer alternative to other war games, like paintballing, as nerf darts are soft foam that have little potential to injure. If you want to throw a nerf war for friends, or for your child’s friends, here are some ideas on how to get your nerf war going.

Set up a location to have your Nerf war. You want a relatively open space, with some areas to hide (e.g., behind trees or tables). Examples of good spaces are a local park, your backyard, or even a whole neighbourhood.

Pick a date. Once you have a location, choose a date that will work with your location, ensuring that it will be available on the day you pick. Make sure to choose a date that's at least a couple of weeks away, in order to give guests ample time to fit it into their schedules.

Find stores near you that sell foam Nerf products. These may include Nerf guns and darts, although depending on the store you may also have Nerf bow and arrows and other types of weaponry. Make a note of these stores, so that you can include them in your invites for guests who might need to buy weapons.

Decide on a length for your war. Keep it somewhere around an hour for short wars, to four hours. Determine a length so that guests can know how much time to expect the war to last, and you can decide if you need to set up any snacks or water breaks.

Decide upon rules for your specific Nerf war. Nerf war rules can vary, from two teams fighting one another, to every man for himself. You can have teams, each with a safety zone, with the goal being to shoot every member of the other team until they are all out. Or just do singles where everybody is their own team, and the winner is the last person in the game.

Decide what kind of food and refreshments you will provide. A Nerf war host should at least provide water and some sort of snack, to keep players' energy up, but you can also opt to have a lunch or dinner break planned, or even a pot luck to follow the war.

Make invitations and send out accordingly. Include date and time, location, duration, the rules and info on what stores in your area sell Nerf products. Also tell whether guests whether they will need to bring food, such as for a potluck or lunch break, or extra refreshments.

Prepare food and refreshments the night before your Nerf war. If you want to have a food table set out with snacks, prepare snacks in advance. If on the other hand you are doing some sort of meal or potluck following the match, make sure you have food prepared and know which guest will be bringing what.

Set up any food tables as well as the playing field so that they are ready for guests on the day of your war. Once guests arrive, explain rules one more time to ensure everyone is on the same page, and make sure teams are ready. Also designate a stopping time if needed, and when food will be served.


One idea to try is to set up food tables with snacks, and deem those areas safety zones. This way, if at anytime during the war somebody gets a little hungry or needs some energy, they can stop and grab a quick bite without worrying about being shot. If you opt for teams, you can tell guests to dress in specific colours for each team to make it easier to distinguish teams during the game. Make up your own Nerf war games. You can take rules and ideas from popular strategy games, like capture-the-flag, hide-and-seek, tag and other similar games.

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About the Author

Amy Davidson is a graduate from the University of Florida in Gainesville, with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She also writes for local papers around Gainesville doing articles on local events and news.