The Nerf Doomlands Judge! New Nerf Blaster that Needs a Bigger Gear Bag

Test Firing the Nerf “The Judge” for the Doomlands line… a huge blaster in its own right. Sample provided by Nerf, but thoughts and opinions remain my own!

NERF DOOMLANDS THE JUDGE Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $59.99/Available: Fall 2017)
Bring justice to a doomed land with the DOOMLANDS THE JUDGE blaster. With an impressive 30 dart capacity, THE JUDGE blaster can fire three darts at once! This massive blaster is ready for anything the post-apocalyptic wasteland can send its way. Includes 30 DOOMLANDS Elite darts. Available at most major retailers nationwide and HasbroToyshop.com.


Basic Statistics:

MSRP: $59.99
Available: Now
Capacity: 30 shots (3 shot bursts, shotgun style. No shells. Front-loading in 3 dart groupings)
Includes: Judge, 30 elite streamline darts, HUGE BOX

Test fired the Nerf Doomlands Judge in the above video. Watch the assembly below!

https://flipagram.com/f/1AAhv6F8ep0/embed

The blaster itself is incredibly…. ridiculous. It’s HUGE. The box itself has an “actual size” photo to shock and awe parents and kids alike in the toy aisle. And with good reason, as an adult the blaster is about the diameter of my torso and definitely eclipses my head when I place it in front of me. On pure aesthetics, this blaster is already quite an imposing image, or maybe a cartoon, depending on your point of view.

Gargantuan in dimension, the blaster is ungainly to wield. Pump-action makes dual-wielding nigh impossible, and and the surface area of the muzzle ensures that going around corners and finding good hiding spots in stealth are not a real consideration. Not when your blaster is the size of a small shrub. Does that make it a scrub, oh no, it makes it visible, and aggrolicious (I find big blasters tend to attract fire and attention from opposing teams and players in a casual game; this can be exploited in the hands of a knowledgeable player.) That being said, the blaster comes off initially as intimidating and with a three round burst is pretty effective in close quarters once it can be brought around to bear.

Performance wise, the blaster can be said to have more bark than bite. The ranges don’t seem much different from the initial product I saw at New York Toy Fair, and that was around 30′-50′. Angled or not, that was the most definite range. Not terribly different from the Sledgefire, but at least it had A WAY LARGER PAYLOAD (30 darts vs. 3+shell) and could be used as a shield (within certain gametypes). The spread wasn’t anything particularly astounding considering the 3 dart burst, and there was some loss of range on at least one dart in those bursts. The loss is usually where the 30′ mark came from. The key point is to consider this a truly close quarters blaster, and use it as such. If rules allow, use it as a shield. If they don’t, then be smart about aiming and when you try to run and gun with this blaster. The pump action is smooth, but the lack of a slamfire feature and again, the size for a short range blaster gives a player some extra tactical considerations.

Ultimately, if you’re let down by the range, then make sure to keep your focus in the Nerf Elite, Nerf Mega, and Nerf Rival areas of consideration. Unless otherwise stated, the thematic lines focus more on roleplay and fantasy/imagination play with blasters than outright performance. And The Judge, as a member of the Doomlands 2169, is highly indicative of that. You’re getting a relatively high capacity “shotgunned” blaster for close quarters and a lot of people as casual Nerf blaster users would love that. Who wouldn’t want to bust this out for some mischief on coworkers, classmates, and possibly unsuspecting family members? The Nerf Doomlands Judge makes an over the top statement about what it does as a blaster, and works the immersive angle of being some wasteland superhero with a large inventory of weapons of even larger construction. That’s the focus, and not squeezing out an extra 10′ on minimizing dead space or barrel fit. Doomlands is how some people play, and it gives them just the fantasy weapon to express themselves with.

The Judge is $60 roughly, available now. Is it worth it? If you can spring it and don’t mind the difference in range to most other blasters, then yes. Heck yes. It’s ridiculous, and that’s enough for me. If you want your accuracy and range a little higher, then it’s better to pass on this for a Rival (like the newly available Hera) or Nerf Elite (the Regulator is a good fun blaster out now as well.)

Hope this review helps, feel free to sound off in the comments! ‘Til next time.

Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt – Review and Firing Demo!

Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt is a Huge Crossbow against the Undead Horde


NERF ZOMBIE STRIKE DREADBOLT Blaster

(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $49.99/Available: Fall 2017)
Outsmart and dominate the zombie hordes with the ZOMBIE STRIKE DREADBOLT blaster. The first-ever arrow-firing ZOMBIE STRIKE crossbow, the DREADBOLT blaster can take down zombies like never before. Use the detachable scope to line up the target, aim, and fire! Includes five arrows and detachable scope. Available at most major retailers nationwide and HasbroToyshop.com.
Well, there it is. the Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt. First seen at New York Toy Fair, I was most shocked at how super sized the thing was. The ammo was the same as the Rebelle Arrow Revolution, Agent Bow, and Courage Crossbow, but the build of this Crossbow is arguably WAY bigger than any of those. 
Aesthetics:
I like the way the Dreadbolt looks. The Zombie Strike junkdeco is still in effect, along with the green/orange motif. Nothing new or surprising there. The nuance of a wrench as the priming handle is a nice touch, and one of my favorite features of the blaster. Yes, nothing really new as it’s a crossbow reusing ammo from previous blasters, and the priming mech uses a a bowstring, but the fun is in the small details, like the priming arm wrench. It’s a smooth action with the priming handle too, and the stock is comfortable to hold. My frame is about 5’8″, and the stock is plenty comfortable for me to use. The blaster is a little front heavy though, and with the wrench positioned where it is makes finding a grip for your offhand a little odd sometimes (there’s a grip area after the wrench, but sometimes my hand kept finding its way further up the body naturally.) Overall, a nice job with a solid build. The arms make moving through tight spaces a bit more difficult, but hey, that’s a crossbow for you.
Usability:

The elephant in the room is that this is an “impractical” blaster for a Nerf war. And we’ll look at a couple of reasons why.
– The ammo. Most games I play in utilize darts and maybe a few players bring Mega or Rival rounds. If you’re using this or something like it, you best have a sidearm or be ready to chase your ammo down, lest your round with this blaster end quickly. The Rebelle version of the arrows are still available so a player could stock up ideally, but they might be the only player with that ammo type that day. 
– The range. Flat, this blaster hit 40′, maybe. angled it would hit in the 50s and beyond but other blasters are doing that at lower angles with faster velocities. Style points would be the main incentive at using this against dart firing blasters.
– The cost. Given the price of this and other products coming out this year, consumers may feel compelled to have another selective year buying blasters. at $50 this is already a chunk from buying the Regulator or Nemesis, as cool as it looks. You could put your money into this blaster or something that will extend your play time during a game round.
Probably other reasons, but those seem to be the main ones for me.

With a little practice I was able to smoothly reload arrows, but the malleability of the shaft of the arrows also adds an extra level of sensitivity, you have to make sure you don’t push too hard, lest the arrow flex out of place or veer off target because it gets bent. Besides that, aiming (and I found that easier without the sight) moving with the crossbow, all of it was ok. Going through doorways and tight spaces could be a liability with the Dreadbolt, but those are minor issues at best considering the number of other blasters available for different situations.

HOWEVER – 

This blaster was still one of my favorites from the show. The priming mech, massive build (relatively speaking) and Crossbow love were enough to make me give this blaster a prolonged look. In this toy there’s definitely a roleplay element that is being tapped into more with this blaster than performance in rate of fire or range, and that’s ok. Kids that want to imagine carving their way through an undead horde will get a kick out of this, as will players who may want those style points, or work on a more unique play style that doesn’t involve streamline sized darts or Rival ammo. I see the value in unstructured play and imagination, and that’s the crux of this blaster seeing yourself in that position of a crossbow wielding hero against the teeming undead masses. And in recent pop culture history, we know where that’s coming from 😉
That being said, for the sheer size of this blaster I know some people will find purpose for it and it’s not a bad buy for a blaster. I would remark that maybe wait for a sale or coupon to  buy it, as $49.99 is a little steep for a 5 shot specialty ammo blaster, considering the future and currently available blasters. But even at that, it’s a proud addition to any collection, and a fun blaster in its own right. Whatever you pay, I found this blaster still offered a fun experience shooting arrows, and I hope you find it that way too.
Sample provided by Nerf, but all opinions remain my own!

AFFILIATE LINKS BELOW:
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Nerf Arena – It LIVES! (Quest, in the UK)

So way back in October, I ran across the story about Paragon Entertainment striking a deal with Hasbro/Nerf to create Nerf Arenas.  Well, the project came to fruition in a Place Called Quest:

Merryhill, I am jealous.

So the arena opens this Friday, but a pro shop of sorts and target range started up a few months ago.  So, what does this mean?  The UK’s planning to have a bunch more locations like this set up, and anyone who might remember 2009-2011 might remember the Nerf Dart Tag League.

Old video of mine (before I had my current cameras, obviously)

Quick history lesson – from 2009-2010 the Nerf Dart Tag League was an event that ran/traveled alongside the Dew Tour Action Sport Tour, going to a number of cities and holding events in BMX, Skateboarding, whatever.  I was fortunate enough the BMX tournament stopped in Chicago, so of course I went (it was actually going to this event that got me on Nerf’s radar, and the rest is history.)

A pro video of the event:


So this format carried on for 2 years, and then in 2011 the format changed to a one-day tourney in Florida, separate from the Dew Tour and the gigantic inflatable arena was replaced by a more traditional field.  Louie C3 was there, and I believe Rogue paid him a visit in that final year of the NDTL.

Some of the stats on the original battledome (the original NDTL was run by a different company, and the stats of their battledome follow):

“…100-square-foot inflatable dome for the NERF Dart Tag Tournament games. Measuring a monstrous 40 feet wide by 20 feet high by 76 feet long, the dome featured an interior maze of obstacles, home bases, and recharge centers.”

The Quest version looks WAY BIGGER, judging by the relative size of the people inside vs. where the walls, doors, obstacles, and so on.  Count on it, I studied as much of the original dome as I could back then and burned it to memory.

EDIT:  The new arena is “…25m x 10m.  That’s 250 sqm or 2500 square feet!” (quoted directly from Paragon Entertainment)

Quick aside:  Visit Quest’s Facebook page so you can have a chance to be one of the first to play in the arena, win passes, or qualify as the Biggest Nerf Fan they’re looking for!  Good luck to all of you!

Games inside the dome were fast-paced, frantic, and awesome.  Darts bounced off walls, people vaulted (and often crashed) into cover, and lord knows I hurdled a step or two in order to cap the flag.  However, this was also with Nerf Furyfires, and the tech has changed a lot since then.  The larger dome helps with the longer ranges, but I also wonder… in the promo shots those are clearly Dart Tag blasters, but I imagine Nerf Elite and other non-velcro ammo might be allowed? (Going to necessitate a follow up here, will update on my Facebook page.)  While Capture the Flag and Elimination might be the order of the day, I am curious as to what other game types might evolve from this whole setup.

EDIT :  Vortex, Elite, Dart Tag, all will be available for use at the arena!  (Which they will provide on loan, you don’t have to bring anything they have it all for you.  Try before you buy!)

While venue sizes might differ, the UK is going to see a few more of these pop up, and then hit other markets from there.  As for the U.S. goes, no word on that yet but bet I’m following that news very carefully. But I think it’s safe to say that Nerf’s going international in a big consistent way.  And if that happens, then the possibilities are endless!

In any event, enjoy the arena, England.  Make it successful, that way they see there’s a proper market out there just waiting for this. 

Cheers!