The Art of War tells us that all warfare is based on deception. Anyone who has been lured out of their office and into an unrelenting storm of Nerf darts knows the bitter sting of interoffice betrayal, but battle-hardened office warriors know there are many layers to Nerf warfare. Other institutions have created rules of engagement for Nerf battles, but it takes true genius (or just lots of ammo) to pull off a proper Nerf raid.

Our offices have seen a number of pitched Nerf battles (ranging from the truly bold to your everyday sneak attack), but not every Nerf battle is a true success.  In this week’s episode of 352 Noodles & Doodles, founding partner Peter VanRysdam shows you how to lead the perfect Nerf assault. Strap on your holster and grab some extra ammo – this is war. Well, sort of.

Transcript below.

Photo credit: Dennis van Zuijlekom

[Peter vanRysdam:] Hi, I’m Peter, the chief marketing officer at 352 and today we’re going to talk about something very important: executing the perfect Nerf gun assault. If your office is anything like ours, there’s a lot of Nerf guns, and you can get caught off guard. And I want to talk about some best practices so you can make sure that you execute a very good assault.
So, first thing, most important thing is eye protection. The last thing we want to do is lose an eye to someone and take out someone else and you’re going to feel bad about that. So eye protection like this that we got at our local hardware store might be a good way to go. Ski goggles, other things like that would work as well. So eye protection is definitely key.
Second, there’s strength in numbers. You want to get together a good army. If you’re going in by yourself, there’s a chance that you’re going to get a counter attack, and that’s not good for anybody. So you want to go in with as many people as you can to ensure a good attack and a quality attack on your opponent.
All right, next, this is where we get into a little bit of tactics. I think a sacrificial lamb is very important. We found at our office when you attack someone, they’ll typically hide under their desk in the fetal position. It’s a great defensive strategy. So if you can draw them out of their office before by sending in someone to say, hey, come take a look at this on my computer or you should see this huge spider in the hallway. Anything you can do to get them out of their office, out into the open, where they can be attacked is key. So sacrificial lamb, obviously they might take some crossfire, some friendly fire, and so that’s why it’s a sacrifice. A little friendly fire on that sad little lamb there.
All right. Next, and this is what’s unique about Nerf warfare to other types of warfare, you really want to conserve your ammo. I’m going to show you what I’ve got here. This is the Nerf Stampede ECS, my weapon of choice for a few reasons. It’s battery operated, not a lot of pumping, and it’s able to hold a lot of ammo. And, imagine if, during the Civil War, both sides kind of took a break and called time and went out into the field to collect their bullets and bring them back. That’s essentially what you have to do with Nerf. There’s not, normally not good supply lines from the rear feeding up new ammo.
So conserving your ammo is key, especially when someone does go under the desk or hides behind something. If you’re just laying down cover fire, you’re going to be the first one out in the hallway on your hands and knees picking up bullets, and that’s not a lot of fun.
So what you can do in addition to conserving ammo, conserving ammo’s one option. Another option is to be ridiculous and have an excessive amount of ammo. So, you know, this weapon comes with this small clip here, which is probably ten rounds maybe. What we’ve got also, a couple options, I’ve put together this little homemade deal. It’s an 18 max clip there. So what I’ve done is I’ve got it taped together with a second one, so when I run out, I simply pop it over and I’m ready to go again.
Another little tip that I do, is I will change the color of the last round at the bottom of the clip. So when I see that one come out, I know I’m empty. So I’m not going to ever be firing blanks when someone is coming right at me because that’s terrible.
And if you really want to go extreme, which, we’re talking about Nerf wars at the office, so at this point, we’re kind of beyond normal, so extreme is fine. I would suggest this kind of bandolier here. You can wear this around your shoulders or your waist. And something like this is going to let you have multiple clips and you’re going to be the last one on your hands and knees picking up bullets while everyone else is doing that. So, you know, those are easy shots for you to take and succeed with. So consider something like that.
And, along those same lines, you want to wait. You want to be patient. Again, you don’t want to just be firing ammo. You want, if someone goes under their desk – which again, it happens all too often – then you know they’ve got to come out eventually. They either have a meeting, they’ve got lunch, their phone might ring. Any variety of things can draw them out from their desk, so just wait. Hang out. Have a snack and be ready to take them out.
Now, this one here is, it was a little controversial whether or not I should put that up there, but I feel that there’s really no allegiances when it comes to a Nerf assault. And so, you can be a Benedict Arnold. Those are Eggs Benedict there. That’s pretty creative. But, go ahead, and while you’re waiting, take out some of your teammates and just turn it into a free-for-all. Because that’s really what a good Nerf battle is all about.
And the last thing you want to do, is you want to document it. This is a lot of fun and it’s something that you can share around the office. So what I’ve done, I’ve got my Contour Roam HD camera here. You can use a Go Pro or something similar to that. And I go ahead and mount it on the bottom with this mounting strip here. And then I can see who I’m taking out. You see that, there? So that’s really important to be able to document it and share it later.
So, those are really some of the best tips that you could use to execute a very good Nerf attack on your opponents and coworkers. So thank you.


352 is an innovation and growth firm. Leading companies hire us to find billion-dollar opportunities, build killer new products and create hockey-stick growth. We bring grit and new-fashioned thinking to innovation, digital development and growth marketing.