By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Much of the credit for Dart Wars is given to Chad Dewald.
But Dewald, now a graduate of Miami University with a degree in economics and a job selling new homes in Mason, says he didn't start the game.
He was just the guy who set the rules seven years ago to add organization to the Nerf game, which typically starts the day after spring break ends and can last up to six weeks.
Dewald doesn't take credit for the "thong rule" - a last line of defense that allows players to become "invisible" to their opponents when trying to make an escape. They can't be shot.
It was a spin-off of the "naked rule," which went by the wayside about three years ago when players got busted in the buff.
"We didn't have any sort of clothing rule at all," said Dewald, 24, who graduated from Sycamore High School in 1998 and ran the game as a senior. "I'm sorry I didn't think of that."
According to the Dart Wars Web site, www.dartwars.moonfruit.com, the thong rule is "intended as a joke."
"But, if you chose to use it, then that's your choice," this year's judges caution. "In fact, if you do, you are an idiot."
Today's rules include:
Teams consist of five players, who each pay $8 to get in the game. The last team standing splits the kitty after a small portion is given to a charity and judges are paid a nominal fee for expenses.
Players under age 18 are supposed to have a liability waiver signed by their parents. .
Competition runs from midnight on Sunday through midnight on Friday.
Any kind of Nerf dart gun is acceptable, as are long sections of half-inch PVC pipe fashioned into blow pipes. Otherwise, weapons cannot be homemade or modified. Shields, such as garbage can lids, are illegal. Foam darts and homemade darts made of foam, rubber, glue and tape are legal, but cannot be weighted.
Players caught with guns, blowpipes or darts at Sycamore High School or at school-sponsored events are disqualified. Players cannot be shot while at work, but are fair game outside the building.
Destruction of private property is banned and is grounds for disqualification.
Blocking a team's car on a cul-de-sac or residential street is discretionary, but the player will be disqualified if caught disrupting the flow of traffic. Blocking of driveways is against the law, and calls for disqualification.
Players may not enter an opposing team's house, garage or screened porch without consent from a resident.
A team is disqualified if a player's family calls police on opponents who have not broken a law.
Players, their friends or relatives cannot block darts shot at a teammate.
A panel of judges is appointed each year to settle disputes and to preside over weekend shootouts between teams tied with the same number of players on Friday.
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