This last summer has been non-stop busyness -- and not just for the team here at Out of Darts. July alone was filled with back-to-back weekends of blaster tag: Our friends across the pond held their first in-person FoamFest in more than two years, and Jared’s Epic Blaster Battle was held outside the Dallas area for the first time ever. However, one weekend overshadows them all.
EndWar Weekend is perhaps the largest event on the foam-flinging calendar, but in truth, it's three events in one: A Nerf modding convention, a 5-mission Humans vs. Zombies game, and a 5v5 competitive tournament. EndWar Weekend typically takes place at a different university every year, and each of these smaller events are typically promoted at the same location by Drac and his EndWar staff.
As you can imagine, this takes a lot of planning and coordination, especially when the ongoing pandemic put most major events on hold for the last two years. This year, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and their well-established HvZ club hosted all three events on and near their campus. Coordination included both reserving the venues and planning the story and organization around the Humans vs Zombies missions.
Usually, EndWar Weekend takes place in June, just after the Spring term. However, because RIT is used extensively for local High School graduation ceremonies, it was decided to reschedule the event to mid-July as the venue had more availability.
Unfortunately, the reschedule conflicted with Luke’s calendar as he had a Family Reunion (video coming soon), so Out of Darts had to miss out on attending this year. We plan to return strong in 2023, but until then, we thought we'd take a moment to recap and compile our favorite moments that you all shared with us.
As the name suggests, FoamCon is a gathering of the biggest and best makers and influencers in the hobby. From small creators like Boomstick Mods repping his local Maryland clubs to big names like Containment Crew with their own pop-up storefront, this was modders paradise.
Our buddy Eli helped hold the fort at a downsized Out of Darts booth, mainly exhibiting some of his designs, like Momentum and Impulse, and entering visitors into a raffle for an assortment of OOD goodies like a Little Rocket Mighty Mama, and Worker Nightingale blaster. Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway!
Since the last EndWar in 2019, quite a lot has changed. Some names you might have seen and heard about are gone, but many more modders and designers have taken their place. Some of the most exciting offerings on display included Sillybutts' Lever Action Blaster (SLAB) and Old Fusion Designs' Fly-Core blaster lineup. Additionally, we were excited to see some sneak peeks of the Game Face Trion; we are looking forward to announcing some details about the blaster on the shop soon!
If you want to see what everyone had to offer, Bobololo and FoamShepherd made full video tours of the booths and exhibits, which are available below:
FoamCon is also where players registered for EndWar HvZ and had their blasters chronographed ahead of mission 1. Drac addressed the convention floor a few times to hype up the crowd before the game began.
As the titular representation of the weekend, the EndWar Humans versus Zombies game is the main event nearly everyone is in attendance for. As stated previously, the missions and theming were designed by the team at RIT's HvZ club. This club is no stranger to large-scale games; they regularly plan week-long events during the school year that can include over 500 students.
It's worth noting that the RIT HvZ club plays a very different version of HvZ than EndWar’s usual ruleset. They're used to longer games, lower FPS caps, and some zombie specials have different roles. Detroit Dart Talk did an excellent interview & retrospective with some of the club’s executive board members, which you should absolutely listen to.
I still haven’t attended any HvZ game yet, so I don’t have much room for opinion. Besides, people like the crew of the Dart Jam podcast have already gone into much more detail than I could in this blog post. I will say, though, that the game was largely safe and fun, and that RIT’s custodial staff praised the cleanup efforts that attendees and event administration went through.
While there were many learning experiences to hold onto for planning next year’s HvZ, it seems most attendees will look back on this game fondly. I certainly enjoyed scrolling through Flying Chicken's photos of many of you in your loadouts (particularly those of you with Proton Packs).
Foam Pro Tour
High FPS cap competitive games are some of the fastest-paced exciting events in the hobby. This year Dart Zone was the primary sponsor for the tournament, rebranding it as the Dart Zone Pro Tour. Video highlights are available on Dart Zone's YouTube channel.
You may well know some of the issues involved with the Dart Zone Pro Mk-1.2; we discussed this in our review. Again, like with EndWar, We won't go too much in the weeds since we weren't there. However, much of this event and the previous qualifiers have been discussed in Brett's video.
Despite the administration and livestreaming hiccups, the three teams who placed in the final tournament still earned their spot on the podium. Many congratulations go to Rochester Radioactive, Flower City Fallout, and Nebula. It was a tournament well fought, and I’m sure Luke hopes to represent with Dauntless come the 2023 season of 5v5 tournaments.
Overall, Endwar Weekend 2022 looked like an absolute blast for all who attended. I loved seeing all the content from Rochester, NY in the last two months; it's an incredible event that has been sorely missed.
Luke was disappointed that his first family reunion in nearly three years, unfortunately, fell on the same weekend to which EndWar was rescheduled. Unfortunately, there was no way to reschedule such a long-awaited gathering of the Goodman clan. We are already starting plans to attend EndWar Weekend next year. You’ll find us on the convention floor with all new lines of products, in lockstep with a battalion of Proton Packs fending off the zombie horde, and at the tournament rooting for the sport many of us love.
While any event has its growing pains and hurdles, I’m confident the organizing teams will continue to dust off the post-COVID cobwebs and make an even better weekend next year. - JPH