Conquering University Boredom with Nerf War


University Students in the dormitory conquer boredom with random nerf wars.

Battling boredom on an uneventful Friday night, Peter Gregson, Tom Harris and Tony Johnson watched TV in their Mills Hall room, when suddenly, the door burst open.

The first shot of a NERF gun hit Harris while Gregson took cover from the second, shielding his head with his hands.

“Our friend Glenn Crossby brought two NERF guns into the room with Gary (Scott) and started shooting at us,” said Harris, freshman economics student.

Having quiet TV time disrupted in such a way warranted some kind of revenge, and so started the ongoing melee.

“It kind of became retaliation,” said Gregson, sophomore drama student. “We later went out and bought more NERF guns, more ammo.”

Nerf War Dorm Battle

photo by kylehase @ Flickr

The NERF gun wars spread through action rather than word-of-mouth. Hearing people running up and down hallways has a way of getting others involved.

“Others from across the hall and other various friends of ours got roped into joining in the antics,” Gregson said. “Soon we were having four-on-fours that had us running through the whole dorm.”

But they had to reform their wild ways due to a complaint from the community director.

“We were recently told that it was ‘too much’ by our RA, who got a message from her boss saying that it needed to calm down in the dorm,” Gregson said.

They haven’t stopped, though, by any means. As the wars progressed, they evolved from their humble beginnings. The warriors started by shooting each other randomly, but they have since established rules and varied the games.

“We mess around with Russian roulette when we’re bored,” Gregson said. “And Capture the Flag is another game we play to spice things up.”

The structure of Mills Hall helps make the game interesting.

“The wars get a sort of game-like feel when we are running through the halls, trying to get around corners to have the best shot angle,” Gregson said.

The wars take place after classes each day so more players are available, but the players are fair game all the time.

“The guns are stashed in our room and are used on just about anyone who enters the room when we have the urge to go shooting,” Gregson said.

As the wars caught on throughout Mills Hall, figuring out whose darts belonged to whom became a challenge. The warriors began marking their darts to keep a record of their plastic weaponry.

“We also have come up with individual names for our guns, which we mark to prove who is the best,” Gregson said.

The best in Mills, that is. The NERF gun warriors of Mills Hall aren’t the only students on campus armed with NERF guns. Some South Ridge residents had their own NERF weaponry for years.

“I had my Maverick and my Nightstrike when I came to UNCA,” said Keith Taylor, junior physics and mechatronics student. “Then when Assassins started my sophomore year, everybody else in the hall kind of got into it, and we ended up acquiring about five more guns.”

Without Assassins, an organized war game, the South Ridge guys are left to their own devices.

“This semester we’re just spontaneously starting NERF fights out in the commons,” Taylor said.

Not all the South Ridge NERF wars are public, though.

“Once in a while, just between the rooms around where we live, we just randomly play because we start shooting each other,” said Chris Peterson, junior meteorology student.

While some of the fights are free-for-all gun wars, the fighters began to add rules.

“We did it more or less like Counter-Strike,” Martin said. Counter-Strike, a first-person shooter video game, gives players missions they complete in rounds.

Both the NERF warriors of Mills Hall and those of South Ridge modify their NERF guns to see how it will affect the speed and range of the darts, according to Gregson.

“There’s a difference between ‘modding’ and ‘successfully modding,’ ” Taylor said. “I have successfully modded my assault rifle. The Tommy gun’s electronic, so I don’t really want to go into that.”

While Taylor has generally encountered success with his modifications, Martin found it better to leave his guns alone in the end.

“I tried modifying part of my sniper rifle, but it didn’t really work very well,” Martin said.

The pair responded enthusiastically to the idea of a challenge by another NERF gun group.

“That’d make me really happy,” Taylor said. “It’d have to be inside, though, or we’d never get any darts back.”

The issue of which building to fight in did not take long to solve.

“It’d probably be better off if it were here (in South Ridge),” Martin said. “There’s a lot of open space, and we pretty much own the first floor. There won’t be as many people to piss off.”

As it happens, the Mills Hall group is looking for new competition.

“We wish to extend a formal challenge to the kids in South Ridge,” Gregson said. “And we are welcoming anyone who wants to try and beat us.”

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