Here’s a hard truth it’s time to accept: all-out Nerf warfare is inevitable. It’s coming, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. But you can be prepared for it. On the surface, Nerf war appears to be foam darts flying harmlessly around the office (or backyard, living room, etc. – Nerf occurs in all sorts of theaters of war), but at its heart it is a battle of wits – the ultimate chess match.

Our founding partner, Peter, has previously shown you how to organize a Nerf assault, but I’d like to prepare you for a higher level of Nerf war. The strategy, the tactics, the battlefield diplomacy. In this episode of Noodles & Doodles, I’d like to show you how to become a full-spectrum Nerf warrior.

Transcript below.

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[Lincoln Anderson:] Previously in our series, Peter VanRysdam showed you how to organize a proper Nerf assault. Now, his presentation focused mostly on battlefield tactics, but today I invite you deeper into the world of diplomatic and military strategy, specifically with the aim of creating the right conditions in your office conducive to open Nerf warfare.Now, it’s important to remember that in Nerf war the objective is not necessarily to win, but it is to maximize chaos. So, with that in mind, let’s begin.One, know the terrain. You want to routinely perform an ocular assessment or your office and make note of any areas with good cover; behind desks, behind standing white boards, and also spaces with easy exits that can be used for escapes or for ambush. You also want to make note of any of those exits that are equipped with an emergency fire alarm because you do not want to be explaining yourself to the local fire marshal while holding a children’s toy.Two, know the people. There are a few key players in the military stage. The technician has all the latest firepower and will not hesitate to share it with anyone that he perceives to be a fellow scientist seeking knowledge. He can usually be found spending more time talking about his Nerf blaster than actually firing it.The supporter. Is always looking for ways to be helpful. She’ll usually collect and distribute ammunition during peace time. She can usually be identified as the one arriving very early in the morning with a huge smile and a box of cupcakes.

The barbarian. Will not hesitate to fire upon anyone, friend or foe, at will. That might seem like a little bit of a wild card, but you’re going to learn how to use that lack of loyalty and honor to your advantage a little bit later.

Three, remember this, all Nerf warfare is based on deception. It’s been said that Nerf war doesn’t begin on a battlefield, it begins in the hearts and minds of men. To that end, it pays to understand where existing loyalties lie within your office, and to understand that you may not want to breed distrust between those armies, but you may want to strengthen those bonds and use them to build political tension.

Four, bolster clique mentality. You can visit teams during peace time and say things like, “I can see this department really gets along well.” You know, “You guys really have each others’ backs. You’re not like other departments, there’s a lot of trust here.” You want to reinforce the idea that whatever bonds they might feel are somehow special, and they really rely on each other in the face of some threat.

Agitate. Over time, look for ways to create friction between these teams. You can do things like have a boisterous conversation with one team while another is trying to have a quiet meeting nearby. You can take the phone charger off someone’s desk while they’re away and put it in their enemy’s cubicle. Shift blame. Subtlety is key here. You’re everyone’s friend. The troubles are elsewhere.

Six, supply. It’s critical that you ensure that all armies are equipped to the teeth when war breaks out. This is an easy task when you’re equipping your own team, but equipping the enemy, that requires a bit more nuance. This is where the barbarian comes into play. Most people, if you give them freely ammunition or artillery, they’ll feel guilty shooting it right back into the face of the benefactor, not the barbarian. You can freely funnel supplies through him to fuel the other enemy armies, and he has no loyalties to be compromised.

Lastly, strike with chaos so the tension is palpable. All that’s needed is a catalyst. And your final task is to create an act of Nerf violence that is materially harmless, but demands retribution. One of my favorite methods is to fire point blank into the face if an enemy supporter, but to forget to load the blaster. As you fire dead air, act surprised, confused, “What happened? My gun jammed,” and run away, but not too fast. You want to be caught. As you’re cowering behind a nearby ficus or laser printer, foam is raining down upon you. Cry out for aid from your team, “Help. Help.” Play the victim. Your team will retaliate. War has begun.

So if you enjoyed this video, thanks for watching. We hope you subscribe to more Noodles and Doodles on YouTube. Until next time.


Lincoln is the associate director of design at 352. With 17 years experience at the company, Lincoln has worked with some of the agency's top clients.