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Boffer is a technique to simulate combat using padded weapons. The technique is common in larps set in fantasy or historical settings.
It allows players to play out combat in a directly simulated way, actually hitting each other in real-time as opposed to techniques that either doesn't allow physical contact or has to be resolved outside of the fictions time or space. Visually, at least from a distance, the weapons appear very similar to the real thing, thus not disturbing players who value a high level of immersion and/or simulation.
Boffer weapons look far from the real thing up close and they weigh very little, making handling them very far from handling real melee weapons.