Friday, July 25, 2014

Public Armories

The weekend is upon us!  It's the PERFECT time to get out there and have a game or two with your mates!  Most organized games tend to utilize a "Public Armory", full of shared blasters for your un-equipped friends to use.  What's that you say?  You don't let people borrow your blasters for games?  WELL then... you're not only a blaster-hoarder, but you're also thwarting possibility!

The backbone of almost any Nerf or Laser Tag group is usually some sort of shared loadout of equipment for other players to loan out.  Many times, blasters that are in the "Public Armory" are previously modified blasters by the owner so their players can have a bit of an advantage over using purely stock equipment.  On the one hand... yes, it can be a little frustrating getting owned by your own creation at the hands of an amateur, but loaning out modified blasters is the ticket to getting your not-so-in-the-loop friends HOOKED on the hobby-side of Nerf and Laser Tag: MODIFICATIONS!!!

Having a good group of people to enjoy these games with is the key to keeping interest in planning future events.  You can be a Plan-a-saurus Rex all day long, but if you don't have many people interested in playing... you'll find yourself working overtime to fill the ranks every time.  However, if you have people hooked (which usually comes with being remotely interested in the Hobby-side of things), you'll have people lined up to attend your next event.

Sharing modified blasters can also help your players not feel so out-classed the second they show up.  It's never fun showing up to an event, being handed an old tired Maverick REV-6 and be expected to go toe-to-toe with a Volt-modded RapidStrike with a 35-Dart drum.  Or being handed a stock LTAR surrounded by LazerBait-Lens-Toting Snipers from 1000 feet away.  Give your players something decent, like a Retaliator with the ARs out or an LTX with a Red Dot Sight.  They'll feel the advantage of having a modified blaster from the start and it might even get them interested in pursuing their own equipment... which means that NEXT time, you probably won't even have to loan them a blaster!

When my Laser Tag group switched over from hard-to-find Laser Challenge gear to readily-available Lazer Tag Brand stuff (LTTO, LTX, LTAR), we instantly saw a jump in people who owned their own gear.  Our Public Armory is usually about 18-22 Blasters (it needs to be with 25-30 players showing up to each event!) but more recently, we're not having to use as many of those blasters because so many people now own their own gear.

Now then, there's the whole issue of "I can't afford to supply everyone with a blaster!" and there's simple ways to remedy this.  The easiest way to grow a Public Armory from scratch is either to take donations (cash or blasters) or to go to a thrift store and start from there.  You don't have to loan EVERYONE the most expensive blaster on the shelf (and that's probably a Cam ECS anyways...).  Plus, if people are too cheap to show up with a blaster, they can at least donate a buck or two to your cause.  If you're organizing Nerf events, have people donate darts to the pot.  If you're organizing Laser Tag events, have people bring a pack of AA batteries to help power the blasters.  It's not as expensive as asking everyone to have their own gear, but it's still enough to help you maintain the armory for everyone.

I already know that many of you have your own Public Armories that you loan out.  Feel free to share any other helpful tips or show off a picture of your grandiose collection in the comments section below!


  1. I am working on starting a club in my area (West Central Indiana) and was planning on loaning out blasters from my collection if anyone needed one.