The weapons you use at a Zombie LARP event will depend on your teammates, your mission, your character class, and the weapons in the game’s arsenal – at the last count, we had 55 guns in many different flavours, as well as a whole stash of LARP-safe melee weapons including a shovel.
But we also encourage you to bring along your own weapons – in most cases we will be able to give you the chance to use them, at least once. Many players bring along guns just to expand the the armoury and give other players the chance to try some of the rarer, more exotic instruments of death. If you’d rather bring weapons just for your own personal use, that’s fine – we can make sure no one else uses them. And we promise to give you back the same number and type of darts you started with (though we can’t guarantee they’ll be the exact same darts).
However, if you’ve modified the mechanism of any of your weapons (and many NERF fans including us do this), we’ll have to test those weapons for safety. We do this by firing each gun at one of the refs and then at the player who has brought the gun along. If a shot from a gun hurts at close range, we won’t let anyone use that gun in the game. You must also make sure that the brightly-coloured orange flash on the end of the barrel is still visible – this is the minimum required by Section 36 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 (which makes it illegal to turn an ‘imitation firearm’ into ‘realistic imitation firearm’, FYI). Yes, it’s picky of us, but the game loses its appeal if we’re raided by genuine armed police half-way through, and we reckon it’s better to be safe than arrested.
The same goes for melee weapons. We’re particularly delighted when players bring modern-era melee weapons that enhance the visual element of the game. However, if your melee weapon has a wooden handle, a hard grip, or any other very solid components, we may have to exclude it. We will also usually say no to melee weapons which are less than six inches in length, because it’s too easy to accidentally punch someone in the face while wielding such a weapon.
In all circumstances, the refs will decide whether a weapon is safe for the purposes for which we expect players will use it. Because Zombie LARP is a fast, intense game that runs on real-life adrenalin, players can get a little over-enthusiastic. Many of our players are not seasoned LARP combatants and in the heat of battle they may forget to pull their blows, so we have to be very careful about what weapons we allow. Our motto is
better safe than sorry.