The best Nerf War games to play with kids

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Whether you’ve just started playing Nerf or you’re a Nerf veteran, eventually you’re going to get bored of your standard Nerf 2v2. So, that’s why there are a variety of different creative ideas that you can think of to try and keep the fun going.

Of course, the most common way to play any kind of Nerf War is to set up opposing teams and have them shoot each other. Each team should have a certain amount of lives, and I find it works best if you set up a certain amount of rounds (otherwise if one team loses straight away, they get a bit upset).

Or, you can also do this with lives, and after someone gets shot, they have to go and sit out for a few minutes before returning to the battlefield.

But, this definitely isn’t the only way that you can play Nerf war games. And there’s a ton of other games that you can play. Here are a few suggestions that you might want to consider playing with your kids or at a Nerf Party.

Best Nerf War Games to play with kids

It should go without saying that you’ll want to have some Nerf guns at hand when playing Nerf war games. Obviously, you’ll need to pick up some good Nerf guns beforehand (like a Nerf Sniper, or a Nerf Bow!). However, they aren’t the only equipment you’ll need if you want to have some fun with Nerf.

1. Capture the Flag Nerf Style

Capture the Flag is undoubtedly one of my favorite games. I think the beauty of capture the flag is in it’s simplicity – it’s pretty easy to play. Plus, you don’t need a ton of extra equipment to play capture the flag with your nerf guns.

Although you can play capture the flag inside the house, it really becomes a completely different game if you take it outside. One of my favorite places to play capture the flag is at the park, especially if you have a big enough team to have 3 or more players on each side. It can be really, really fun. The first thing you need to do is set up two bases, preferably pretty far from each other and not in view of each other, either.

You actually don’t really need a flag to play capture the flag (though it can add to the fun!). You’re just as well off playing with something else that each team has to capture. Any sort of prize will do – we often to it with a lunchbox filled with sweets that each team has to try and retrieve! We share it all at the end, but it’s a fun addition to the game.

Anyway, each team has to try and retrieve the other teams flag/sweets, without getting their own flag taken. So whilst someone usually sits guard at the base, the other team members can head off in search of the other base. If you get hit by a Nerf bullet, you’re out until the next round! It’s a ton of fun, and it’s worth playing if you’ve never played it before.

2. Tin Can Alley


Every child seems to go through a cowboy phase. One way to make your child feel like a cowboy is by setting up their own tin can alley, in which they have to use their nerf gun to shoot tins off of a wall or table.

This is a pretty simple game, and I find it’s one of the best ways to wind down after playing other more active games. I bought a cheap set of tin cans off of Amazon , but if you want to save some cash, you could just as easily use some old tins and wash them up.

Then, you either number or color code the tins so that they’re all worth a different amount of points. Depending on the Nerf gun you have, you can give your kids a certain amount of shots to get as many tins over as they possibly can. The winner at the end of each round gets a special reward!

3. The Gauntlet Challenge

This is another game that can work super well. But, it does pit 1 person up against a group, so make sure that the child running the gauntlet doesn’t feel singled out.

Essentially, you need to set up a short obstacle course for the kids to try and run. You can use a variety of different things – plastic cones to dodge, rings that have to step in, bars that they have to hula under. Of course, the aim of the game for kids is to get to from one end of the course to the other.

One of the best things about this particular game is that it gives the adults a break! Whilst your child is running the gauntlet, you get the ability to sit back and relax, whilst firing your nerf gun at your child.

4. Doctor Doctor

Another great game you can play which allows you to sit back and relax is what I like to call Doctor Doctor. This works very much in the same way as regular nerf was, where each team has a certain amount of lives.

After the child gets shot, they have to come and visit the doctor to try and fix them. If they get hit in the arms, legs or feet, then the doctor takes one life from them. If they get hit anywhere else, then the doctor takes 2 lives to patch them up and send them back out again.

One thing you want to watch out for is to try and not encourage kids to fire the Nerf gun at each others heads. This can be an issue with doctor doctor, so make sure that they’re aware that there’s a penalisation for any close range headshots. Although Nerf is generally safe, it’s important to try and avoid any close range fire.

5. Protect the King

Another great game to play with the kids is protect the King. It doesn’t have to be a king, it can be pretty much anything – we just use a cuddle toy with a crown, which is why we call it that.

The idea is for one team to carry the baby from one base to another base, why the other team have to try and do everything possible to stop them from getting there. This one is a little bit tactical, so it can work really well for older kids.

6. Free for all

The majority of Nerf Games are usually in teams. But have you every considered having a free for all? This is an awesome idea if you have an odd number of people. If every man and woman are for themselves, then you don’t need to worry about unfair teams.

Free for alls can be fun, but they can also be pretty hard to try and track who’s actually the winner. It’s not recommended if you have kids that are tempted to cheat (which sometimes mine tend to do when they think they’re going to lose!).

7. Frozen Out

This is a good game to play if you have a decent amount of people. The general rules are that if you get hit by a Nerf dart, then you have to stay frozen. This is until one of your teammates comes along and ‘thaws you out’ or de-freezes you. Once everyone on the other team is frozen, the round is over and you’ve won!

8. Hide and Seek Nerf Style

Of all the Nerf wars games, this one seems to be one of the most popular amongst my kids. They love it, both being a hider and a seeker.

Of course, this one takes from Hide and Seek, which is one of the oldest playground games that people have been playing for centuries. One team has to go and hide away – they’re the hiders, or the bandits – and the other team has to go and seek them out –  they’re the seekers.

Hide-and-Seek Nerf is an awesome one that you can play if you want to play with your Nerf guns indoors. As long as you have a ton of hiding places in your household, then playing Nerf Hide and Seek can be an awesome idea if you’re looking for something new to play.

9. Zombies

If you only have a limited amount of guns, then Zombies can be one of the best games to play. Of course, one team is designated as the humans, whilst the other team are the zombies.

Whilst the humans are allowed to have guns, the zombies are not. The humans aim is to try and eliminate the zombies, whilst it’s the zombies objective to try and bite the humans and turn them into a zombie. Obviously, you want to make sure that your kids don’t actually end up biting each other – just tagging each other should suffice!

This is a better game to play if you have a larger number of kids. For example, it’s perfect if you can have 3 humans and 6 zombies, as there’s a real feeling of unity between the team.

10. One shot kill

If you only have a short amount of time, then one shot kill can be a great way to get things over quickly. One shot kill is exactly as it sounds – once you get hit with a nerf bullet once, you’re out! This is a good game to play with a sniper, as you have limited ammo.

This is another good one to play if your kids like tactical games, as it forces them to be tactical and a little bit sneaky. As opposed to other game modes where kids go gung-ho with no real care if they get shot, one life can make them more cautious about their playing.

11. Halo Wars

A while ago, I decided to get my kids theHalo guns made by Boomco . Whilst they’re a great idea as a present, they are a lot better than some of the other previous guns that we’ve got.

In Halo the game, often you have to face a boss – someone big and powerful with an awesome gun. So, this game is derived from that. Each team has one leader, who gets the best gun (in my house, it’s the Halo gun).

Whilst it might sound fun being the king with the big gun, this also means you’re the target for the other team! First team to get a certain amount of shots on the king wins. So, being the Halo king isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be!

12. Yee-haw Western Duel

I mentioned earlier that my kids went through phases of wanting to be cowboys. We set up tin can alley for them to play, and they love it. But, we also played another game that they absolutely loved.

This one is a good old fashioned Western duel. Each player stands back to back, and walks slowly away from each other. When the judge yells ‘Draw!’, each member of the team can then turn around and shoot the other person – first person to get a shot on target wins. This is another one that can be a bit troublesome, as sometimes the kids draw too early – make sure they know there’s no cheating!

The best gun for this is the Mega BigShock, as it holds one in the chamber and one extra bullet! It’s one of my favorite Nerf guns, so be sure to check it out.

13. Saving Private Nerf

This is the best game to play with your own Nerf foam weapons! Look into it online and play Nerf today.

14. On the Spot

If you’re feeling agile but don’t want to run around a ton, then sometimes we like to play a game I call ‘On the Spot’. Basically, you stand within a circle (we use a Hula Hoop) and you’re only allowed to dodge by jumping and ducking – you aren’t allowed to run around. This one proves well for those who don’t want to continually run around everywhere.

15. Find a gun

One of the best ways to make things fair with my kids it to mix it up a little. We have a variety of different guns that we use, so it can be difficult with them all wanting the same gun (usually the Nemesis!). One way to get around this is to actually hide the guns around the house or garden, so that they have to try and find them. Rules are obviously that they can only have one gun each. This can be a great way to decide who gets which gun.

16. Crossbows Only

If you’ve never used a Nerf Crossbow before, then you’re really missing out. They work slightly differently to Nerf guns, and they bring something a little more skilful to the equation. Most crossbows have very limited ammo, so it pays to be accurate with the crossbow.

If you’re having a Nerf war, then there are other things that you’re going to want to consider.

Rules for Playing Nerf Games with Friends

There are no rules to playing Nerf Wars Games! But, the likelihood is that if you want things to run smoothly, then you should try and create some rules for each team to abide by. For my kids, I usually set some simple rules like;

  • No aiming for the face – Stray bullets are going to fly, and inevitably someone is going to get hit in the face at some point. But, this doesn’t mean that you should encourage them to shoot at each others faces. In fact, I make it one of my rules not to target the face. Not just because it’s safer, but also because it’s not practical – the torso is a bigger target area, you’ve got more chance of winning! (that’s what I tell my kids anyway).
  • No physical touching aside from tagging – Unless you’re playing a tagging game with melee weapons, then there’s really no need for touching when you’re playing Nerf Wars. So, it only makes sense that you ban any other form of physical touching, as you want to make sure no one gets upset.
  • Lives and rounds – The most important thing to decide before you start playing is to declare the amount of lives everyone has and how many rounds you’re going to play. Doing this can ensure that you’re not going to get any unhappy faces at the end, or anyone trying to bend the rules.


Overall, these are just a couple of alternative games that you might want to consider if you’re looking for play nerf war games with your kids. You can adapt and change these games any way that you like to try and make it more suitable for you, as there’s no hard and fast rules to how you should be playing Nerf.

In fact, that’s one of the reasons that I love Nerf – there are really no limits on how you play. You can set your own boundaries, and as long as you make everything fair, you’re bound to have a good time.

Last update on 2022-09-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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