My first encounter with boffer combat was through my college boyfriend playing a home grown LARP (Live Action Role-Playing) Game. We wore period style clothing, and used boffer weapons for combat. Our group played each Sunday at Mt. Tabor Park in Portland, OR. It is actually where I got to know my first husband, who still plays boffer LARPs just different games. In fact my kids have their own boffer weapons as well.
However it seems that all of the strange looks we got at the park were for nothing as boffer has now gone mainstream. NERF has introduced a line of boffer weapons called N-Force. I checked them out online and then in the store the other day and took a good look at the Nerf N-Force Battlemaster Mace Axe. While the construction is safe enough for most kids to play with, I would still have to say that they are not as well padded as the boffer weapons typically used in a LARP setting. Add this together with the lack of set safety rules that are part of a boffer LARP, and you could end up with a bit of modern-day boffer bruises.
Despite my concerns over the potential safety risks with these weapons, I think that they would be awesome if combined with a bit of boffer combat rules, such as no head or groin shots. It is nice to see that another element of our gamer world has hit the mainstream. It just goes to prove that the geeks shall inherit the earth.