Well-known UK Nerf blogger helps produce an officially-licensed Nerf book.
One of our favorite Nerf blogs from across the pond, My Last Dart, has been rather quiet of late, having only posted three stories since April of this year. But last week, the man behind behind My Last Dart–Asif Zahoor, otherwise known as “Ash”–got us up-to-speed on what’s been keeping him busy. Mostly, Ash has been studying and completing various career-related certifications (congrats!). But perhaps of more interest to our readers, Ash revealed he’s quietly been work in collaboration with Hasbro UK to help author the all-new “Nerf Annual, 2015.” And he’s given us a behind-the-scenes look at how the book came about.
While Ash is waiting on an official press release, we pressed him for a few details on the project. As many of you aware, there’s another Nerf book called, “The Ultimate Blaster Book” that was released in November of 2013, which Ash had a hand in, as well. It was the first-ever Nerf book produced under license from Hasbro, and was a good introduction to the brand for those who weren’t otherwise familiar. We weren’t overly impressed by this particular work (there was really only one section that contained information not already available to the general public, and we felt the overall design and layout of the book left something to be desired). Nevertheless, it was cool to see an official Nerf book of any kind, and now it appears Ash is back again, this time teaming with Hasbro UK and Pedigree Books. Following are excerpts of details Ash was kind enough to share with us about the process of putting the book together:
I was first contacted at the beginning for March 2014, the publisher Pedigree Books contacted me in regards to me working on a project with them and Hasbro UK to complete the first ever Nerf Annual. I gladly accepted and the annual itself began works around mid March 2014.
I was asked to put together an 80 page proposal (yep, I had to create intro to final page) and it was pretty scary, I have to say. I had helped Nathaniel with the Nerf Ultimate Blaster book, but that was more background/research than the bare-bones of any writing. I was sent a number of Annuals that Pedigree Books have published to get some kind of idea of what the flow or content could include. There were quite a number of rewrites, I tell you that now! Once I started, the content was changing on almost a weekly basis, and the page plan had more revisions than I can think of. Some of the content had to be toned down a bit to be more age appropriate for their ballpark of 8-16+.
My main goal was to bring/connect the Nerf Nation with the NIC… to prep NN, I guess, for more structured and regular game modes that would have them understand why those rules work well as and inspire them to adapt them for their own flavours. The main vision of the game modes was to bridge players over to HvZ. I had a lot of fun, I will say, researching game modes that worked for the book, but more importantly translated well into its pages.
The challenges are fun and really get you involved with your friends. So I guess it was pretty much left up to me. I had guidance from the Studio Manager and input from the graphic designer, but because I was the specialist here, they relied on my better judgement (which was scary, since I was flying by the seat of my pants!). Certain challenges had to be reworked, so a lot of hands-on R&D had to be done, which was really a lot of fun, I have to say, rounding up friends for a BBQ, unbeknownst to them that the entertainment was them as guinea pigs for the material I was working on 🙂
It was really hard at times to balance the deadlines of the page submissions vs. college assignment submission vs. work vs. real life vs. finding time to breathe! It was hard to get used to the flow of submission vs sign-off vs. rework vs. rinse and repeat from flow submission. But once I got a hang of how it was working, it pretty much was a smooth ride.
What did I enjoy most? Hmm I had a lot of fun writing review blurbs for the items covered in its pages, which is probably the most important part above all – an honest and real passionate fans perspective. I didn’t want it to be like an 80 page catalogue, but something that fans could read and be able to make informed decisions when they were creating loadouts that suited their play style, how to create interesting and engaging game modes and rules. There are plenty of tips and tricks for fans in the Annual to use/craft to better their games so there is something in there for everyone 🙂
It can’t be said enough, but I’m really grateful to all the support from MLD followers and those close friends who unknowingly kept me ticking with “where the heck are you?!” emails and I would like to say a special thank you to Shawn from BAN, Rob over at SBNC, Bobololo and Kevin@WikiNerf for allowing me access to their knowledge and image archives.
In regards to whether more are Nerf Annuals are planned, I’m not allowed to comment on this. But watch this space for sure!
As with “The Ultimate Blaster Book,” the new “Nerf Annual 2015” is coming to us in hardcover form and will have an exclusive dart pack-in. It’s being published by Pedigree Books, and should be available September 1st in the US for around $10 US, and in the fall of 2014 in the UK for about 5.50 GBP. The book is a full 80 pages, and is primarily aimed at teens, but is said to include various game types and other challenges.
There’s not too much else available at this point, as Ash is waiting for the official press release to be dropped. But in the meantime, we can tell you that Ash is a stand-up guy and a good friend of Blaster Labs, so we wish him well in this endeavor and in whatever else might be next on his agenda. We’ll have more as it becomes available. In the meantime, don’t forget to place your pre-order for the Nerf Annual 2015 from Pedigree Books!