Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hobart Nerf Squadron (HNS) Game Type: Outlaws

[Alex] Hey all, something a bit different today. Short story is I have got two reviews lined up plus a very special mod project that is nearing completion…

…but while we wait, I wanted to share a game type that my local Hobart Nerf Squadron group plays. I was inspired to do this when Rob from SBNC shared his “Spaghetti Western” game type, so I thought I’d do the same.

But before I explain how the game works, please note that in our HNS games we usually play by a “Life Token” system. We use key chain tags as counters for how many lives we have left. For example say you have three physical Life Tokens in your hand; when you get hit / tagged, you go back to the designated Respawn point, and “spend” a Life Token (like currency) to get back in the game. This means you effectively have *four* Lives in total.

We call this particular game type “Outlaws” which has become one of our most requested games to play over the last 12 months - and is actually inspired from a card game called “BANG!”

The “Outlaws” game works like this, starting with the different Roles:

- One player is the Sheriff.
- Half the remaining players (rounded up) are Outlaws
- The other half (rounded down) are Deputies.
- (Optional: when 7+ players are participating) one to two players are Renegades
- Outlaws, Deputies and Renegades get two Life Tokens each.
- The Sheriff gets two Life Tokens *PLUS* another token for each PAIR of Deputies in play (rounded up) – for example, four Deputies in play means two plus another two extra Life Tokens, making a total of four Life Tokens. If five Deputies are in play, it is rounded up as though there were six Deputies playing, meaning 2 + 3 = 5 Life Tokens.

In the case of the image above, because there are three Deputies in play (rounded up makes four) the Sheriff gets two *PLUS* another two Life Tokens = four,

We choose to put blaster and dart limits on for this game to make it more interesting. The following blaster types are permitted:
- Single shooters (Firestrike, Sidestrike, Jolt, etc)
- “Shotguns” (anything that shoots multiple ammo at once like a Rough Cut / Sledgefire, or with smart AR like the Crossfire bow / Triad, etc)
- Revolvers (Strongarm, Hammershot, etc)
- Non-battery powered magazine fed blasters *but only using 6-dart mags* (eg: Retaliator, Slingfire, etc).
- Anything battery powered and any magazines that are larger than 6-dart capacity are not permitted or recommended.

We usually recommend *one* blaster per player, except the Sheriff can dual wield two Single Shooters or two Revolvers.

We also recommend a limit of 30 darts per player when less than 12 players are playing, then up to 50 darts if there are 12 or more players playing – this is not just for game balance but also adds a scavenging element to the game; to be careful when picking your shots. (It also helps to assist dart pick up cleaning time when the game is over).

The objectives are fairly straight forward depending on which Role you are:
- The Deputies and the Sheriff have to eliminate the Outlaws and Renegade/s
- The Deputies need to protect the Sheriff
- The Outlaws need to eliminate the Sheriff
- The Renegade/s want to be the last ones standing with the Sheriff; to have a final show down with *only* the Sheriff… and defeat them of course.


If this doesn’t make sense thematically, imagine a western town has been overrun with bandits, who have killed off the local Sheriff. A new one is sent in from a nearby outpost to reclaim the town, but there is one problem; they have no idea of who the residents are. He/she simply walks into total chaos where everyone is fighting everyone just to stay alive… THAT’s the vibe we were aiming for when we created this game, to replicate the chaos that ensures from the BANG! card game which follows similar mechanics of anonymous allies / enemies.

Before the game begins we count how many total players there are, have enough Role Tokens for each person to play a Role, and put them into a hat or box. People randomly draw a Role out of the hat/box, and if they are the Sheriff they call it out… and they get to wear the gimmicky Cowboy hat to identify them. Everyone else has to shut up and keep their Role a secret.

Only when a player is eliminated from the game (run out of Life Tokens *and* their last Life) that is when they notify the other players of what their Role was. This particularly helps the game hosts keep count of how many Outlaws / Renegades are left without having to go around and ask each other player what they are, potentially giving away their identity. (NOTE: If a player reveals their Role identity prematurely, they are eliminated from the game instantly. Not so much that they break the rules, but it ruins the balance of gameplay for the enemies).

So basically the Sheriff doesn’t know who his/her allies or enemies are… it’s a mind game to work out who to take out and who is keeping your back safe. Actions speak louder than words; usually the ones being really obvious and shooting at the Sheriff risk falling first, but the sneaky and persuasive players tend to outlast their friends and foes alike. The Renegade/s often acts like a Deputy to start with, but turncoats when the odds are in their favour.

There is a bonus rule as well; if a Sheriff accidentally outright eliminates a Deputy, the Sheriff automatically loses a Life Token. It is vital that Deputies don’t stray too far from their Sheriff, both to prevent Outlaws from attacking, but also not to get the Sheriff’s doubts and suspicions raised about their allegiance!

Ultimately this may sound like a confusing game type to set up, but once you get the set up sorted (Life Tokens, Role Tokens, blaster and dart limits) everything falls into place pretty quickly after a few practice runs. Trust me that once you’re in the swing of it, the awkward tension and the duels that arise from not knowing who will strike first – and more importantly, WHO to strike first – really makes it a unique type of game.

Sing out if you’ve got any questions or want more info on how to play :D

Sunday, July 26, 2015

[MOD GUIDE v1.1] Nerf Zombiestrike Doominator - Why it sucks and how to fix it! :D

"If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine!"
- Obi Wan Kenobi

[Alex] I've been waiting for the Doominator, we met today at last! Final assembly is now complete; when I read the reviews, I was disappointed. Now I am the modder!

When I first got this, single shots wouldn't even make it two meters away from me, if the darts even left the cylinder at all! Oddly, as Rob from SBNC reported, Slam-Fire fared a little better... but not much.

Couldn't find any other pics of internals or any mod guides, so I thought I'd do my own! Before I begin I will say the screw mounts' plastic feels a bit soft, and the screws themselves are prone to stripping, particularly on the priming handle cover... so go slow and steady!

This took me by surprise at first - a blaster that performed so badly, was THIS well caged?

The bottom left grey section houses the cylinder rotation mechanism, as well as the lever action mech. A small cover held down by three screws sits over these parts. *YOU DO NOT NEED TO UN-DO THIS TO ACCESS THE PLUNGER ASSEMBLY* - unless you've got a problem with the rotation system, don't undo it... it's fiddly to put back together with only one set of hands... I need to grow more hands >_>

The top right grey section has a cover with about 4 screws in it that houses the plunger draw area, catch and two locks (a trigger lock for when the lever-action cylinder rotation is occuring, and a lock for priming).

Just in case it helps, the whole internals assembly is removable from the shell - great news for doing paint jobs!

The front of the barrel area. The black piece is what attaches to the priming slide / handle. On the opposite side of this is a lock that prevents you from re-priming it. I removed this lock so I can cycle the darts in the top cylinder (unlike other cylinder loading blasters, you cannot easily rotate the cylinder in the firing position unless you want to break the lever system that rotates it...)

All you do is remove the two screws, split the black piece in half, take out the two black plastic lock pieces and their springs, re-assemble with the metal rod inserted, and done!

Just a quick shot of where the frame that holds the four cylinders mounts into the front - the orange piece goes *this* way in... not any other way, or the shell won't fit properly again...

This is the catch, (EDIT) at first I was worried that this wouldn't handle a stronger spring, but it does quite well (OMW 7kg Strongarm spring with a 1cm spacer to compress the spring a little). It has a torsion spring that makes it act like a see-saw. When the priming rod comes back it rests on it by a little ridge. When you pull the trigger, the see-saw moves out of the plunger rods' way.

The Slam-Fire mechanism *slightly* aids in supporting the priming operation with stronger springs - you'll see this better when I get more photos or do a video guide.

I forgot to mark it, but the top right orange piece is another lock - again preventing re-priming. This has a weird torsion spring on it. I chose to remove this lock to be able to pull the priming handle back again after it's properly primed to rotate the top cylinder.

The back of the plunger rod has a cap which acts as the part that locks into the catch. Interestingly it has a black rubber pad behind it to help soften the blow when returning back towards the plunger tube/spring cap (the orange piece behind it). It has a screw holding it in place, so by removing the screw you can take everything on the priming rod off - including the spring :D hooray for easy spring replacement!

The piece directly touching the spring does two things; first it holds the spring in place when primed. Secondly the little arm thing on top is the Slam-Fire mechanism that keeps the priming rod primed when the trigger is held. Remember that see-saw catch? Without this arm piece, you wouldn't be able to prime the blaster while holding down the trigger for Slam-Firing... Ironically without this arm, you could de-prime it but no Slam-Fire =_=

I didn't take a pic, but along the centre of the priming rod shaft is little angled notches that the arm clicks into as the blaster is primed - kiiiiinda like a Sledgefire's guts. Make sure the priming rod is facing the correct way up as well (since the under-side of the rod has the ridges facing the wrong way and Slam-Fire won't work on that side!).

I'll show it in a video tutorial, but suffice to say that the top priming rod, plunger rod and all the parts attached to it are easy to remove by lifting them *away* from the internals cage on an angle.

Once you remove the plunger tube, the mystery to the poor ranges will stare you in the face (as indicated by this convenient Cyan arrow and exclamation mark below):

***THIS*** tiny little hole is the bane of the Doominator's existence!!! This is why you get garbage ranges!!

Before I go on a weird tangent, think back to the Strongarm plunger tube; similar design and Air Restrictor, which had a hole underneath it. This kind of AR is designed to prevent air from escaping until the plunger head has created a good seal (since these plunger tubes are tapered a little bit; wider at the back, narrower towards the front where the firepower is at).

The little hole is "supposed" to be a safety air release in case of firing problems. In the Strongarm's case, when the AR is open (a dart is loaded) the air will come out of the main exit hole to fire the dart just fine. When no dart is loaded *or* if the AR is partially open and no dart is loaded, the air leaks out of the safety exit, namely to reduce the impact dry firing.

But in the Doominator...

This little hole seems to let more air out than the front of the plunger tube *even if the AR is pushed open or is closed*... thus causing a huge loss of air for no reason. Even if you remove the AR, this little hole is going to be a problem. Short story; put some (EDIT) 5 minute epoxy or other gap filling substance over it, (but don't use hot glue since it can pop out when upgrading the spring), end of story.

*SECOND EDIT* I would normally choose to leave the AR in - which might sound like blasphemy, but I find some blasters perform better with the AR left in or its safer in case of accidental dry firing (Slam-fire or lending to someone else).

However, the little dart sensor tooth on my AR broke off somehow, probably when rotating the cylinders and it got stuck. Regardless, I had to take it out since the AR would not longer open. My advice is to leave the AR in if you can, take it out if you must.

[Edit v1.2] This is an optional mod -  ONLY DO THIS IF YOU HAVE TAKEN OUT THE AIR RESTRICTOR --- otherwise this will break through the AR holding pegs for you. I filled the empty space at the head of the plunger face with Hot Glue - just to kill a bit of dead space. I also added a single layer of Teflon Tape underneath the O-Ring just to improve the seal a bit. Your Doominator might not need it, but if you find the seal is rubbish then give it a try :D

(EDIT) I also added some epoxy putty to the underside of the plunger rod to help give it a bit more strength and rigidity (giggity) with stronger springs to reduce the chance of it bending.

The spring on the left is the ZS Doominator spring, on the right is an grey-trigger Strongarm spring. Notice the length; this is important for adding / changing springs! It needs to be *almost* the same length otherwise the following happens:

1. If the spring is too short, you won't get enough compression, thus a loss in fire power (and a horrid rattling sound).
2. If the spring is too long, the plunger face will push forwards too far, thus not being able to lever-action rotate the cylinders, or even prime to rotate to the next dart.

At first I added a Longshot Front gun spring which aided by making sure the plunger face was a little closer to the cylinders to fire darts, but not too close. But after upgrading to an OMW 7kg Strongarm spring, with a 1cm plastic spacer to help compress the spring (without pushing the plunger face too far forward) this gives ample fire power.

So, after this massive wall of text and pictures, does this all actually help improve the Doominator's lack-luster performance to something of worth...?

*EDIT* Yes, it does. Before the best I could get was 2 meters, but now is acceptable out-of-the-box grey trigger ranges. Considering I got a dud, this has saved an otherwise useless blaster.

I did a rudimentary range test this morning, and while adding the Longshot Front gun spring helped make sure the plunger face got a good seal, it didn't add any extra range compared to stock spring. Adding an 7kg spring definitely boosted the range and power, but interestingly wasn't *quite* the range of an OMW Solid Kit Strongarm (but pretty close though).

The only problem with adding the stronger spring is when priming, the rail that connects the handle to the plunger assembly tends to flex a bit due to nature of the metal primng rod being located *above and away* from where your holding the priming slide / handle. It makes it harder to prime, but it is bearable, particularly if you have the priming handle mounted sideways rather than vertically.

Obviously taking my word for it might not be enough for you, but when I do a video review and mod guide of it from start to finish when I do up Tom's Doominator, I'm sure that'll clear up any doubts!

So before you go slamming the Doominator as a waste of money and throwing it into the bin... give it a crack open and give this mod a try; it might make you feel like it's money well spent, maybe you will even crack a smile :)

The Doominator is such a fun blaster to mess around with! Outdoor Nerf War practicality is questionable (since I'm not sure how strong of a spring it will be able to manage), but for indoors or stock powered Nerf Battles, this thing will be a beast! :D

~ Alex.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

S.O.F.T Crossbolt Mini Review / Mod Tips

[Alex] Hey all, just a quick update that I finally for my hands on an N-Strike Elite Crossbolt blaster, which only just hit some Tasmanian stores a couple of days ago :D this one was found at New Town K-Mart for $39.


Cutting straight to the chase with my thoughts on the Crossbolt so far:

+ Thin profile and lightweight
+ *Proper* String action firing (none of that Crossfire Bow "string is for aesthetics only" nonsense)
+ *Can* shoot quite far and accurately out of the box, even with regular Elite darts :o
+ Dead simple to do basic mods for a bit more power / aesthetics

- Jams. Not badly and not often, but can be frustrating to un-jam due to the internal loading design
- The priming handle is a little rough to grab and prime due to its shape. You do get used to it though
- Short in length. Although being thin is great, the overall length is odd. Particularly that the shoulder stock is not really existent... and here I thought the Rayven was bad @_@
- The trigger feels crunchy. Due to the double-catch design (one for the trigger, one for the string) when you fully press the trigger back, it feels like it *clicks* into the wrong place and feels awkward

I have also heard from other Crossbolt owners that the magazines have a tendency to drop out, particularly when shouldering the blaster and accidentally pressing the mag release button in. I have not had this issue at all, though I can see how it can happen.

For modding I have done the following:
> Not attached the bow arms
> Removed *all* the internal locks (not required, but helps with smoother operation)
> Tightened the string (through where the bow arms would have connected

When I've had more time to play with it and taken it to a couple of Nerf Wars, I'll revisit how to tighten and mount the bungee cord string. But for now this is a pic of how I currently have string tied:


Just a double-knot which holds tight enough that it won't come loose easily, but allows me to untie it if I need to make adjustments / open it up for modding again.

I had it looped through the hole where the bow arms normally go and *underneath* the faux barrel that passes through it:

*Edit* I've had a couple of people mention that other modders have tied the string either in the middle or up higher, rather than down below. From what I tinkered with it doesn't matter *too* much where it's tied off, as long as its within that relative area. Whats more important is NOT having the string TOO tight (see below):


PRO TIP: *DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN THE BUNGEE CORD!* This might sounds counter productive for a mod designed to improve power and distance of fired darts, but hear me out:

You need to find the sweet spot where the cord is nice and firm when un-primed, yet nice and taut when primed. It needs to be smooth and easy to prime without putting too much force into making the string catch.

If you tighten the string too much, you will end up with misfires galore, plus you just wreck the back of your darts - either by indenting them or even splitting them! I also found that while the string was too strong, it was more likely to just snap *underneath* the dart, rather than pushing it out.

Nevertheless, once I found the sweet spot for the string to be tied off at, I can now almost consistently get 10 out of 12 darts to fire straight at 50 ft flat-ish (give or take 5 degrees) and often the remaining two will either go 45 ft at worst, or 55ft at best (these are only rough guestimates). Angled was pretty consistent too.

Now for internal mods, you don't *need* to do this, but I wanted to make the priming process smoother, so I decided to take out all unnecessary locks:


The green circled lock is for the front jam door; while the jam door is open, you cannot prime the blaster while this lock is there. You do *not* need to open up the internals assembly to remove this piece.

The yellow circled locks are the magazine and dart detection locks - you cannot prime or fire the blaster if you do not have a magazine loaded, or if your magazine is empty. You do *not* need to open up the internals assembly to remove these pieces.

The blue circled lock I believe are to make sure you can't fire it when the string is either mid-prime, or hasn't returned all the way back to its resting position after firing. I found the latter reason annoying so I took these out. You *do* need to open up the internals assembly to remove these pieces.

The red circled lock is probably the most important one for me to remove: the priming handle lock. This prevents you from pulling back the priming handle once the blaster is already primed. For me this is essential to remove since it allows me to either de-prime, or helps clear jamds easier.  You *do* need to open up the internals assembly to remove these pieces.

Now, I haven't taken a photo of the internal assembly where all the parts go or where these locks come out -- I'll get around to it when I re-open the Crossbolt (or when I mod Tom's) -- this was just a quick after thought to take these pics for a mod guide.

PROTIP: Always use fresh darts. The bungee string can wear out the back of your darts pretty quick when its tightened up. Try not to use the same darts over and over in a short space of time - give them time to breathe :P

Overall this is a fun blaster to use; small, quick, good power out of the box and best of all; BULLPUP :D

Sure, it isn't the most powerful blaster out there, but this thing will do a fantastic job at indoor or stock blaster Nerf Wars. Plus the shoulder stock area needs a bit of fleshing out for those who want to shoulder it like a crossbow or rifle - but I can imagine the cosmetic, shell and integration mods for this are going to go off given a few months :P

As always; thank you all for reading, I hope you find this post helpful / informative either if you are deciding to grab a Crossbolt for yourself, or if you have one that you're thinking of modding. This Crossbolt definitely gets my seal of approval :P

Friday, April 3, 2015

S.O.F.T Mini Review: Zombie Strike Flipfury

[Alex] Hello everyone! (if anyone is there :P) I know it's been a long time, but Tom and I are back to do some more written and video reviews!

Today we whipped up a quick vid on the Zombie Strike Flipfury! See the vid link below for more!

Look forward to a couple of write ups and video reviews soon! :D

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Crispy's Firing line: Upcoming Blasters


Hey Squaddies, hope you are all doing well. This blog post will be the first of several 'rant' type posts I will be putting out over an uncertain amount of time.

These rants are just coming from my thought process, so please add in any of your own opinions, I would love to have a good discussion about these topics.

First up, is the upcoming Rhino-Fire.
Image courtesy of BlasterLabs.

First of all, I think this thing is just ridiculous. Seriously Hasbro, I mean where do I start? The ammo drums, cool that's high capacity, but get it in a single drum. What happens when you load a drum or clip in with a smaller capacity? You just sit there and spin flywheels for no reason? Next, this thing is going to be awkward to hold, it will be like the Hail Fire again, no ability to aim unless you are on your belly. Third major issue, moving barrels? Why? What is the point? Is it just for the looks, because I just see it as something else to drain away the batteries. Early footage of a firing demo show it being very much Full-Auto, but that could change for production costs.

For modders, apart from new motors and batteries, what options do you have? Sure you can make a remote turrent, but I feel that may not be worth it.

Then there is the price, and limited quantities. For something that will retail for $100USD, I don't see where that comes from. Sure, we get 2 drums and 4 motors, some plastic and a little rubber and 50 darts, then it will be nearly another $20 before we can play with the damn thing on 6 D batteries.

Anyway, will be avaliable in Walmart in the States, no international seller at this point. You want one, have a good friend in the US. Let me know your thoughts.

Next up, is the Cam ECS-12

The second most expensive Blaster to be released this year, thanks to an overpriced, yet crap camera gimmick.

Now, don't get me wrong, there are things I like about this blaster, and others I hate. For example, I love the shell, it just looks awesome. But that's all.

The camera is terrible, reminds me of my first camera phone all those years ago. Sure, Nerf says it is to keep costs to a minimum, but they could do better. Yes, they throw in a memory card, but it isn't much good either.

The final two points I want to make are, IT'S STILL SEMI - AUTO! It's almost as if Hasbro want us to buy the updated Rapidstrike instead. Which in all likelihood will probably happen. Then, a 12 round clip. A 12 round clip should be the absolute minimum to include with a blaster. For something which may be meant to replace the Rapidstrike, it should have an 18 round.

Gimme the RS any day.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed the article here. If you have anything you want to tell us, do it!

Next up, will probably be about re-shells and repaints. Stay tuned.