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Airsoft vs Nerf

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 11:01 pm
by Plot
Should Wastelands do away with Airsoft altogether and use only Nerf/Foam darts to represent guns?

Concerning airsoft, is 250 too high or too low?
If too low, would you want to be hit by 300fps at 10'?

Do you have other thoughts on regarding both Airsoft and Foam dart guns?

Question added on 1.24.16
What if overnight, foam dart weapons were permissible while airsoft remained off limits?

This topic closes at 2300 Friday January 29th, 2016.

Re: Airsoft vs Nerf

Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:16 am
by Ander
I don't use guns much but I spend a fair amount of time on the receiving end so here's my 2ยข.

I'm somewhat divided on how I feel about the idea of getting rid of airsoft. On one hand the idea of not needing eye protection is certainly appealing. It can be disruptive to costuming and poses certain problems to those of us who need glasses anyway. On the other hand I think it lends a certain sense of realism to combat that nerf guns simply cannot replicate.

I can say that I don't much like the idea of raising the fps limit. Those pellets already sting, particularly in cold weather.

Re: Airsoft vs Nerf

Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 7:55 am
by Jay Belarpin
There are definite pros and cons to such a change. The following pros and cons are from the perspective of changing to no airsoft guns.

1) Safety - Not a game goes by without somebody firing an airsoft gun accidentally. This usually happens in a room where people aren't wearing goggles. Dropping airsoft makes this considerably safer.

2) No goggles - ANSI rating is one of the greatest thorns in my side when it comes to costuming, especially for NPC costuming. Not needing goggles would mean that I could do a lot more interesting things with costuming. It also would prevent confusion like the last game where the PCs didn't realize the NPC they were speaking to was actually wearing goggles IG.

3) Not finding replacement guns - While airsoft is growing increasingly popular in the US it isn't the same airsoft we do. Manufacturers are making better guns with higher FPS and the low FPS springer market is suffering. Each year it gets a little harder and a little more expensive to find quality guns for wastelands. Given the state of the kit, a lot of guns are going to be failing in the next year or two which means that the game will have to replace them.

4) Potentially more players - I've spoken to a lot of people who wouldn't play wastelands because of the airsoft, period. We could reach out to a whole new group of willing participants should we drop the airsoft.

5) People could reasonably play a gun only character - Switching to nerf means no need for the minimum distance. This means that people can play with a nerf gun or two and fire even in melee. No more groups of soldiers without sticks dying to a bunch of zombies.

1) Realism/immersion - Between the guns looking real and stinging a bit, they do a lot to help put players in the game.

2) Uniqueness/Advertising - While there are plenty of airsoft fields within our area, there aren't any other LARPs with airsoft elements (or other terms like airsoft larp) anywhere nearby. Drive time to the next nearest one is over 8 hours. In addition we have gained a lot of players who found out about us as an airsoft larp and came to play. Some didn't make it through the briefing but most have stuck around, played, had fun, and came back.

3) Investments - Both the game and its players have made investments into their airsoft gear through time (Such as Jeb's revolver holsters) or cash (I have about $200 worth of airsoft gear for this game). While I personally wouldn't feel too upset over the lost investments I can has how others might.

In addition, players have made investments IG to get items such as black powder weapons, such a change would negate their investments.

4) Game balance - No matter how you swing it, the game's balance is going to change. Gun's had the range, period. With nerf guns they no longer have the long range advantage and losing the minimum wouldn't quite make up for that.

5) Tagged ammo - I remember when I started playing actually getting a tag for ammo. I had to keep count of every shot I fired and mark it off the tags. We dropped that when we realized it worked better to just have it be when you ran out of BBs you are out of ammo.

One solution to fix this would be to make normal ammo not need to be tracked, you just always have it. I'm all for this because honestly, unless the player is an utter dick, they generally have ammo problems for all of 5 minutes when they start playing and then people give them ammo.


I'm sure folks can find other pros and cons. Given that this is perhaps the biggest change we've ever discussed I will say that if we were close to a 50/50 split on the topic I would rather keep airsoft guns, even if I am leaning towards switching to an all nerf game.

As for changing the FPS limit. No. We've discussed it before in terms of raising. Lowering has its own problems that would mean many guns are now invalid.

Re: Airsoft vs Nerf

Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 1:09 pm
by Shadow
I can say what attracted both of us to this LARP is the fact that you could use airsoft.

Raising the FPS would be fun as it would open the door to new weapons but I don't think we really have the space and we already fight pretty close range.

I like the airsoft guns over the nerf because from a long distance I still know I got hit. The realism is nice too.

It would be kind of nice to not have to wear eye protection since I already wear glasses but I really enjoy the airsoft aspect. Since nerf guns are getting more diverse and they are coming out with bigger, stronger guns, I guess I wouldn't be super disappointed if we dropped them, though I still really enjoy airsoft.

In the case of airsoft guns getting too pricy, couldn't we ask that people donate or invest in their own guns? If people really want to stick to airsoft I think they would be willing to donate. I know I would.
Both Aidan and I have invested in all our own weapons and have even donated a few they we didn't want. I know not everyone necessarily wants to buy their own and we would have to test each weapon, but we chose to buy our because we wanted our own. We also wanted weapons that would fit our characters.

Re: Airsoft vs Nerf

Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:13 pm
by jazzman831
I'll say upfront that I'm biased on this issue:
  1. I joined Wastelands in part because of the airsoft aspect. I can't say for certain that I wouldn't have joined if it had always been a Nerf LARP and there weren't any other airsoft options in the area, but it might have been a more difficult decision.
  2. As Jay mentioned, I personally have a monetary and time investment between my holsters and guns. I've only gotten one use out of them so far and if we ever change over to all-Nerf they will promptly go in the closet never to be used again
  3. I have character development invested in airsoft as well. Weilding two revolvers doeesn't work well if it's one Nerf gun.
That being said, here's my opinion on changing:

  1. Safety -- no argument here, though if accidental shots are an issue we should address the issue directly. If people are being stupid about airsoft they are probably being stupid about other things as well.
  2. No goggles -- I personally haven't had an issue with costuming, and I think most (though certainly not all) characters wouldn't either. It can be a pain when they fog up or smear, etc, or for people who actually need to wear their prescriptions (unlike me who mostly wear them for show), but these aren't big enough to convince me a change is needed. As to the costuming, I think the assumption should be that goggles are always out of character; it should be the responsibility of the player to announce when goggles are actually part of costume.
  3. Not finding replacement guns -- I can't speak to this. I didn't have a hard time finding what I wanted, but I can't compare it to how easy it would have been last year or 5 years ago.
  4. Potentially more players -- I can't speak to this either. As I said, it was the opposite experience for me
  5. People could reasonably play a gun only character -- it was all over the old forums that gun characters don't have as much fun, but I do. I guess I'll defer this to others. Even with Nerf, soldiers who get attacked by a bunch of zombies should have problems. Zombies don't take damage well from bullets at any range. People who neglect melee (myself included until I can figure out a way to reliably carry around a boffer) should run into trouble when they let someone get close to them.
  1. Realism/immersion -- this, very much this. Neon green plastic guns shooting blue and orange foam darts are always going to be Nerf guns. Plus, Nerf guns tend to be (intentionally) unrealistic -- I have one that's got two cylinders on it; when you pull the top trigger it shoots a dart and when you pull the bottom trigger the two cylinders switch places and you have 6 (or 8) more shots. It's really cool, but now we've got to change or expand the mythology to explain why I've got that. It can't stand in for a Colt 1911, and it wasn't a pre-Fall weapon.
  2. Uniqueness/Advertising -- yup. See previous comments.
  3. Investments -- yup. See above. I would also add karma investments. Point Blank Shot doesn't mean as much if you are allowed to use weapons in point blank range. Bullet Dodge isn't as powerful if you can literally dodge the bullets.
  4. Game balance -- in addition to Jay's comments, I think more than just simple range-vs-melee mechanics would change. The whole ruleset would need to be looked at to make sure the balance makes sense. If swinging 10's is powerful now, it'll only get that much more powerful when you have to get within 15 feet to have a chance of hitting.
  5. Tagged ammo -- I don't think if we went to Nerf we would need tagged ammo, because the Nerf darts in themselves would be limiting enough. If you run out of Nerf darts in a given encounter it doesn't matter how many bullets your character "actually" has. We would instead need some sort of allotment system to divvy out game-owned ammo, or everyone would be responsible for purchasing their own ammo.
  6. Expense -- granted, I haven't run the calculations myself, but Nerf darts and guns have always seemed really expensive to me. And the darts themselves aren't nearly as interchangeable as BB's. Plus, you'll inevitably lose a few each game, so you'll be constantly replenishing them, whereas BB's are priced by design to be one-time-use.
  7. Environmental friendless/being good hosts -- while there's apparently some question as to how biodegradable the BB's we use are, they are tiny and don't make a very big visual or environmental impact. Nerf darts, while there will be fewer of them, are bigger and more obvious. We will at some point be making the decision whether to climb through the brambles to catch a stray dart, or leave it there, knowing it can be plainly seen.
  8. Gameplay/rules fairness -- I think it's safe to say that most of the time, you know when you've been hit with an airsoft gun. There are probably times that hits aren't registered, especially with lower FPS guns, but on the whole it's not gamebreaking. I think, especially in the colder months when people are wearing more layers, it'll be easier to miss (or claim to miss, if someone's being less than honest) a hit from a softer-hitting Nerf weapon.
This being such a fundamental change, I think we need significant buy-in from the players before we enact it.

As to FPS, I have no opinion. The guns we have seem a little low, but I think it's because I've never used or been hit by something pushing 250, not because the limit is too low. Though, if other people think a higher limit is warranted, it does somewhat negate Pro #3.

Re: RE: Re: Airsoft vs Nerf

Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 10:08 pm
by Ander
jazzman831 wrote:I would also add karma investments. Point Blank Shot doesn't mean as much if you are allowed to use weapons in point blank range. Bullet Dodge isn't as powerful if you can literally dodge the bullets.
Just a clarification in response to this part. Previously when a skill has been removed or changed significantly, the karma has been refunded so I don't think karma investment is a huge issue.

However there could be a major "in game" cost of sorts for people who have sunk alot of caps/time/RP into acquiring rare guns, recipes, ammo, etc. whic, while they may still exist in some form, would certainly not function the same way.

Re: Airsoft vs Nerf

Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 12:02 pm
by Swordguy
Daaaaaamn...that's a hard question. Here's a whole lot of random thoughts:

!) Most of what I'd want to say has been said already. I do think that using airsoft at all is a HUGE barrier to entry - especially at the fps limits we use. With that said, though, if we go nerf-only, what truly differentiates us from Dystopia Rising?

I mean yes, WE all know the things that separate the two games. But somebody coming to larp for the first time is going to see two larps, both of which are boffer/nerf games, both can be reasonably described as "post-apoc", and one of which has a fuckton more players.

2) I will say that if we make this transition, it would necessitate both a complete reset in terms of skill costs vis a vis melee/ranged abilities, and it will necessitate a complete reset for all PC karma expenditures. Short of going to a paper-rock-scissors combat system ala Mind's Eye Theater, I can't think of a more massive change in the game system.

3) Something I would put out there would be, if we went full nerf, make repainting nerf guns 100% mandatory. Even if you wanted to play a Borderlands-style character, using a stock nerf paintscheme needs to not ever be a thing.

4) I don't care about the out-of-game monetary investment. Speaking as somebody who has invested a LOT into setting up my airsoft support package...things change. Deal with it.

5) Unless the insurance issue has changed, I don't see how we can go over 250 fps. I'd far prefer 300-350 fps, largely because the number of spring guns in that range is MUCH larger, but I just don't see how it's financially viable. The pain issue isn't a thing for me; I don't play larps to not be uncomfortable now and then.

6) Whether we use airsoft or not isn't a "make or break" deal for me, I think. Especially given some of the newer nerf weapons coming out. I LIKE using airsoft, but it really is a huge PITA at times and it's DEFINITELY something that will limit the size of our player base. I'm very, very sorry, but I can't give a solid "we should or shouldn't switch" answer.

Question: What if...

Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 12:50 pm
by Plot
... overnight, foam dart weapons were permissible?

Currently, overnight combat is on a hold to allow staff and players time to rest and recouperate. Obviously using airsoft when people are sleeping is not feasible, however, nerf would be.

Game on, could be maintained NPCs willing/able, until morning. Allowing for night raids, morning raids etcetera.

Re: Question: What if...

Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:12 pm
by Jay Belarpin
Plot wrote:... Question: what if...overnight, foam dart weapons were permissible?

Currently, overnight combat is on a hold to allow staff and players time to rest and recouperate. Obviously using airsoft when people are sleeping is not feasible, however, nerf would be.

Game on, could be maintained NPCs willing/able, until morning. Allowing for night raids, morning raids etcetera.
So allowing anybody to use untagged black powder weapons during the normal sleep times? I'll still pass.

I'm very happy with our current system of safe while sleeping. Some games have systems where you have to ward sleeping areas and the like or you can be attacked (and plenty of horror stories from that). Some games will wake players up in the middle of the night for RP reasons. I don't like those. I prefer to know that I'm not at risk of being woken up for a game while I'm taking care of a basic biological need. I've experienced what happens with overly tired larping first hand and its on my list of never agains.

Re: Airsoft vs Nerf

Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:59 pm
by jazzman831
I like the idea of role playing sleep times... but practically I can't go a weekend without sleep and then get up at 6am to go to work on Monday. I think even if the game play were optional, unless it were kept far away from sleeping players it would be disruptive to sleep, Nerf or no Nerf.