Back when I was much younger, there was a skeet-shooting-esque toy set that launched foam disks via a remote control that gave a really unique element to target shooting. While one can always set up soda cans for some carnival style fun; dynamic and moving targets are just a strictly superior option. The original Sticky Bugs were really awesome for just that reason, but you still needed a smooth surface, like a plain wall or a glass door, for them to walk down. While great for tuning your aim, the Flying Bugs take things to a whole new level; literally, in the form of aerial combat! Once launched with the provided foot pedal, you can knock them out of the sky with any blaster. ZURU includes a powerful clip-fed pistol that does the trick, but I find it’s so satisfying to mow them down with something fully automatic.
When we originally dreamed up how we would work these into a mission, it was a challenge to make them useful to both factions. We even briefly considered using them as shieldbreakers as well, but we didn’t want to modify the launchers to make them shoot harder. While this is a neat option, I cannot condone sending your Flying Bugs towards opponents. We also pondered the possibility of launching them from even greater heights, such as surrounding buildings, but they really don’t need any additional elevation to be practical for our purposes. The bugs can be tricky to aim if you have a specific target in mind, but that was a boon to our game design as it both increased the skills required as well as induced a small element of luck as well. Player feedback involving the Bugs was overwhelmingly positive. Personally, from a human play perspective, I enjoyed the shieldbreaker Sticky Bugs the most, as it encouraged teamwork to get three bugs on a single shield at a time; given how they naturally like to work their way down.
While we are on the subject, I want to take this chance to publicly thank ZURU for their support and sponsorship of EndWar 2018. The game pieces they sent and sponsorship they provided seriously enhanced the value of the event for players and vendors alike. I know I really enjoying rocking my Turbo Advance against Bugs, zombies, and even some PvP action. It performed admirably with only one misalignment, which was easy to fix on the field, so I never missed a beat.
Eventually, the Bugs and I had to come home from EndWar, and over the last few days, I have had to come up with something to do with them. They are too cool to let them sit in one of the storage rooms. I took them out and did some target practice with Stephen (my trusty inflatable Zombie companion), and that’s when the inspiration hit me. I will be bringing the Flying Bugs to the South East Nerf Club to try out a new gametype. I’ll let you know how it goes in a future article, but here is my general rule-set so that you can try it at home yourselves as well and let me know of any changes you might make:
Bug Assault: Players begin on opposite sides of a cover laden field in equally divided teams of two. A single player must referee the game and also is the designated Bug Launcher. Don’t worry, you can trade out between rounds, so everybody gets to play and change up teams. Players attempt to eliminate opposing players via dart tags anywhere on an opponents person, tactical gear, or blaster. Each player may begin with only one life and upon getting tagged must exit the play area. Players may gain additional lives by capturing the Flying Bugz, launched at any time, in any direction by the Bug Launcher.
The objective of this setup is to use materials players will already have available, and the exceptional random element of the bugs to reward them for playing more aggressively than they might otherwise. Normally, in one life game-types, or as I like to call them YOLO game types, players tend to be mighty conservative, trying to maximize position. The added incentive of a bonus life game piece in the form of the bugs floating down onto the battlefield should encourage players to fight for mobile objectives as well as allow players to predict the opposing teams movement. While the ultimate goal remains a clean sweep of the enemy team, the dynamic life based element should allow for new elements of play. I’m not dead set into any rules at this time. I hope you, dear reader, try this out in your personal games and let me know what works best and how you liked it.
Until next month,