NERF: The Ultimate Blaster Book by Nathaniel Marunas, published by POW!
There have been plenty of reviews already on this book, but what’s one more? Licensed by Nerf and developed/researched for some time by Mr. Marunas (note the shoutout to the collectors/other sites out there, which includes Adult Fans of Nerf) he went to Hasbro HQ and the internet to gather what info he could and consolidate the information as best he can. But with as many companies that owned the Nerf brand (Larami, Park Brothers, and so on) over the years, that’s 40+ years of history in foam.
Now right off, this is a kid’s book. It’s intended audience is for the 8+ crowd and even though there are mch older players everywhere, this book is for kids! There’s a brief history of the brand from the beginning, but this is in no way an omnibus of the entire armory of Nerf blasters from day 1. He mentions the early days, the creation of the foam ball which led to the development of the first blaster and some of the various types of ammo (including the first mega darts) from over the years,but the majority of the book’s blaster listings are for N-Strike blasters from 2004 to the present.
The book does include six exclusive N-Strike Elite camo darts in the cover as well, in case you need to protect yourself while reading. 🙂
The book explains different types of Nerf ammo, both discontinued and current. Mega Darts to Vortex discs, and everything in between. Each chapter separates the blasters by “classes” such as Light, Medium, Heavy, accessories, each page giving the technical specs of some blasters. It doesn’t go into exhaustive detail about different paintjobs/schemes (unless you count the Lumitron vs the Praxis, which is listed here, and the red strike series gets a shoutout next to the Longshot.) It also introduces common lingo/terms to someone who may not be familiar with blasters, explaining direct plungers, priming a blaster, and so on.
Either way, this technical info is good for the kids and their parents to help them understand the different types of blasters and why a dart tag dart won’t work inside an N-Strike magazine. Ranges don’t differentiate angled/flat, but the release date info and measurements are nice little touches and trivia.
The best part for ME, as an older Nerf enthusiast, is the timeline and design process pages.
The above page even explains the “Javelin” hullabaloo. These pages are by far the most intriguing thing about the book for me, having met designers and wondering about just how they conceive the ideas and test these blasters, and how long it takes to hit production. To know where we’re going, I like to see where we’ve been.
The book carries on its “intro to Nerf” feel by also including a few pages of gametypes –
And yes, you may play differently. These are guidelines, by no means are they law. Enjoy your games as you want to play, and let those who like what you do join in. BUT, it helps to also have some rules you may not have considered before!
OVERALL, is this worth the $20? part of me says the older fans have nothing to get out of it besides a couple of pages. BUT for the kids, the future of the hobby, this is a good buy for them. Big bold pictures, easy to follow, and darts. It’d be a great gift for the upcoming Easter baskets (if you celebrate) or just because they are all about their new active way to play. Also, the book sells, it’d show there’s a market for it, and there could be more like this in the future!
Either way, borrow your friend’s, have a quick look at the book store (they still have those, right?) and give this at least a glance. If you get it for your younger relatives, you can always borrow it.
Take it easy!