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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Simple Drumming Truth: Sticks Beat Drums

Pictured: 126 Darts worth of CS-18, 105 Darts worth CS-35.
Greetings Nerfers of all stripes.  It's been a while but I hope you all still remember where to sit for story time.

Today we are talking about magazines, N-strike magazines in particular.  What I carry, why I carry it, and why I don't carry something else.

My standard loadout includes five CS-18 magazines, one in the blaster, four in my rig.  This totals up to right at 90 darts for my Stampede, ready to use.  I could carry a great deal more by adding pouches onto the PALS space on my rig, but I find that five mags was plenty at the church we used to play at.  And so far the same has held true in the little yard wars we hold in our community, even with the higher hit count.

Back at the church wars however, I ran a CS-35 drum and three CS-18 mags.  It didn't make much difference, but I've had time to tinker and refine my loadout since then.  And I have found that drums are horribly inefficient, and unreliable due to the nature of the spring used in them.  They are also both heavy and bulky for the amount of darts that they make available to the player using them.

The bulk is a problem both in game and in storage.  A pair of drum mags, in their most efficient arrangement in a storage box, take up the same storage space as seven CS-18 mags.  That's not space on a rig, that's space in storage or in a backpack on the field.  72 darts vs 126 darts.  It's not just a problem of storing them either, integrating them into your loadout can also be a pain.  In its thinnest dimension (front to back) the drum is as thick as a stack of four CS-18's.  If the player were willing to carry that bulk on their thigh, they could be carrying a stack or two of four mags, or carry the same darts in half the bulk.

CS-18's are quite simply the better bet.  Drums are big impressive and intimidating, but until somehting better comes along the CS-18 mag is king of the battlefield.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Night Vision Gear

Feel free to file this straight under “tacticool.”
Both systems side by side for comparison

I really feel that if you’ve played a night or low light game, at some point the thought crossed your mind that “man this would be better/cooler if I had night vision goggles.”  A tactical light is the cheaper option, plus it can be used offensively.  However tac lights will give away your position and gives your opponent an area to aim at.  That’s not so great.  And really, there is just something about the thought of being hidden in the dark while still being able to see what’s going on.

“Real” night vision equipment is expensive, often starting at $100 for a new monocular viewer.  Seeing as what we do with nerf is basically playing with toys, maybe there is an answer in the toy aisle.  Usually night vision for kids means a pair of glasses or binoculars with an attached flashlight, but there are a few real deal night vision options.  I had the fortune of coming across two of the options and would like to share my impressions with the rest of the community.  For review today with have the Spy Gear Ultimate Night Vision (abbreviated UNV from here on out) monocular and the Spy Net Night Vision Infrared Stealth Binoculars (NVISB).

To begin with, both units share a pro and con.  The plus is that both units offer real deal night vision technology, no chintzy flashlights or red/green lenses here.  They use infrared LEDs to broadcast light invisible to the naked eye and have a camera capable of picking up that part of the spectrum in order to display an image on an internal viewing screen.  Even in complete, utter darkness, you will be able to see, up to about 50 feet.

That noted, they both share a similar downside, this is forced, unchangeable magnification.  Both units are set to a zoom level, with the UNV having a increased level of zoom over the NVISB.  This forced zoom makes both units extremely difficult to use on the move.  Standing still and scanning is ok, you have the time to pause and try and figure out what your looking at (it can be confusing to be faced with a zoomed in view of an object without outside context).  But the magnification, coupled with lack of depth perception makes moving ill advised (case in point, I cut open the bridge of my nose when I ran into a wall trying to navigate some rooms at night using the NVISB.)

Specifics after the jump!

Special Thanks

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