This is the first game report I’m posting here, but I’ve posted many more back on my own blog. These posts follow a relatively simple format: All rules and gametypes are given first, followed by all the significant/notable blasters used and a quick description of how each of them performed, then my thoughts on the day – the gametypes, the play area, etc.
- Survival – Standard HvZ gametype, humans try to survive for a given amount of time (or until the last human falls). Zombies are given access to upgrades at various times, for instance Infectors at 5 minutes, Tanks at 10 minutes and Husk at 13 minutes.
- Defence Survival (Three Squares) – The three zombie upgrades of Infector, Tank and Husk are placed in the centre of three far apart squares, about 3m wide. Zombies can pick up the upgrades if they touch the upgrades in the middle of the squares. If a zombie is stunned within a square, they must move outside of the square before counting down their stun. The humans try to survive for 35 minutes. Zombies are only allowed one upgrade at a time.
- 6 Round Sweep – Each player is given 6 darts to start with, and may take any number of blasters or a single melee weapon. Humans have 3 respawns at the nearest tree, and go to respawn when they are hit. A melee hit or a zombie tag immediately turns a human into a zombie. Humans try to deposit as many darts to a dart collector as possible and are safe during the depositing, and can no longer deposit darts as a zombie. Once all humans have been turned, the game ends and the winner is the player who deposited the most darts as a human.
- Secret VIP (name pending) – There are 3 special players in this game: the VIP, the General and the Traitor. The VIP is a human who the other humans are trying to protect and is restricted to a given area, while the Traitor is a zombie masquerading as a human. When stunned, zombies must leave the VIP’s area before counting down their stun. The only person who knows the VIP’s identity is the General, while all original zombies know the Traitor’s identity. The Traitor acts as a human, but can at any point do a zombie tag, revealing that they are the Traitor, and thus turn into a zombie. Additionally, if a human hits another human, the hit human cannot move for 25 seconds. They may still fire. If the humans protect the VIP for a given period of time (we used 15 minutes), the humans win. If the zombies successfully tag the VIP, the zombies win.
Zombies tag humans with their hands onto any body part, blaster, tactical gear, etc, turning the human into a zombie. If a human hits a zombie with a dart, the zombie is stunned for 25 seconds. A human can also stun a zombie with melee, but only with a direct hit to the back.
There are 3 standard zombie upgrades/mutations/perks:
- Infector – zombie(s) get to use foam swords, pool noodles, etc. Tags with said foam melee weapons on humans count as regular tags. Said melee weapons can also be used to block darts.
- Tank – zombie(s) get to use shields, which block darts. The shields cannot be used to tag humans, as a precaution against shieldbashing which could certainly cause significant injury.
- Husk – zombie gets to use a ranged attack, in this case a Titan with a single rocket. A ranged Husk attack counts as a regular tag. Husk ammo can be picked up by any zombie, but can only be used by the Husk naturally.
Zombie upgrades can be stacked in some games, so for instance a player could take both a pool noodle and a shield.
Grenades are a special human weapon that can stun a zombie with a hit to any equipment, including swords and shields, and can be reused at will, though in some gametypes special grenade replenishing rules are in place.
Rebelle Sweet Revenge (light mods) – my dual sidearms. Saw pretty much no use today.
Elite Alpha Trooper/Rampage (various springs) – pretty solid all round pump action blasters. Even without upgrade springs they served their users quite well, being relatively easy to use while also being quite effective. Decent range allows safe engagement of zombies, while relatively high ROF allows taking on multiple zombies. Excellent entry level HvZ blasters, and also quite good for newbies. Notably there were far more EATs and Rampages in action at this event compared to previous MHvZ games, especially Rampages which sometimes don’t show up at all at some events.
Elite Retaliator (various upgrade kits, pump grips, tacticool attachments) – these things are a staple at MHvZ and for good reason. Though they can be costly to assemble, Retals are more powerful than most of their Elite clip system brethren, and tend to have a particularly long effective range. Not as fast firing as most other blasters used as primaries, making them less effective in close quarters point defence, or against multiple zombies, but the longer effective range allows stunning zombies well before they become a threat. The long effective range is also helpful when trying to save other humans.
Elite Stryfe (various motors, LiPos) – another staple of MHvZ, again for very good reason. Effective range is decent, not as good as the Retal but more than good enough for HvZ use. ROF is also more than acceptable, with proficient users being able to fend off quite a number of zombies at a time. Being semi auto, they can also be quite easily and effectively used by newbies and veterans alike.
Elite Rapidstrike (various motors, LiPos) – effectively bulky Stryfes with extremely high ROFs. Rapidstrikes are excellent for getting a lot of darts out, making them ideal for close quarters point defence and overwhelming Zombies, but tended to have the shortest effective range, making them quite poor beyond close range. The high ROF made them very easy to abuse and run out of ammo, but if properly controlled becomes a nightmare for zombies to deal with.
ZS Slingfire (upgrade spring) – not a noteworthy blaster in any way besides being a one-handable springer clip system blaster. Practically speaking, the Slingfire is inferior to an EAT, Rampage or pump action Retal. Nevertheless, its user was very proficient with it and made the most of its abilities, often being able to survive combat from a combination of one-handed shots and running.
ZS Sledgefire (singled, upgrade spring) – these are an odd choice for HvZ given that they have long range and very low ROF (the opposite of most common/popular HvZ blasters), but they worked very well in a support role. The very long effective range made them excellent at picking off zombies at ranges where most blasters would be useless, which is particularly effective against unwary tanks, thinning the horde and saving fellow humans. The single shot meant that the users usually needed to have backup, either in the form of other humans or a secondary blaster, but the long range fire support is very useful.
Buzz Bee Sentinel (brass breech, upgrade spring) – this is the same Sentinel featured in MakeTestBattle’s Sentinel Brass Breech video, and it’s an absolute beast. An effective range similar to the singled Sledgefires coupled with a ROF just slightly slower than a Slingfire made this Sentinel a blaster to fear. Its long effective range allowed its user to save a lot of humans at ranges where most blasters are worthless, while the ROF allowed the user to hold off multiple zombies, where a Sledgefire user would have to switch blasters or run. Its relatively slow ROF was an issue in close quarters, but otherwise the Sentinel performed very well.
Buzz Bee Ultra Rapid Tek (stock) – unlike the above Sentinel, this URT was stock. I used it in 6 Round Sweep where it worked well enough fending off the occasional human or zombie, but certainly not something I would use in a regular HvZ round.
Star Wars Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster (upgrade spring) – generally performed like an EAT/Rampage, with a few issues. Firstly, I used it with 18 dart clips (mags) and a LightningStorm stock, both of which greatly hindered maneuverability, in particular pointing left and running. In the future I’d run it with 12 dart clips (mags) and a shorter stock, possibly the one it includes out of box. One other major issue though was that it seemed to dislike the FVJs that were used at the event. In particular, the dart tooth seemed to have disagreements with the FVJs, resulting in significantly greater resistance when fully closing the breech. This left me with some misfires and inopportune times, so I will likely be tinkering with the dart tooth to make it more FVJ friendly.
The play area we use is triangular in shape, and roughly 140m long on its longest edge. The play area is simply bounded by the two paths in the park and the fence just before the road. For the most part the area is quite sparse, though a number of the trees are quite large and provide some cover. The densest tree area on the east side is covered in tambark, which is frequently used to denote a special area for various gamemodes. This area is large enough to maneuver around it easily, but small enough that zombies outside the area still feel like a threat.
Temperature wasn’t much of an issue, with air temperature peaking a little below 30C. The Melbourne sun was typically harsh, but with the air temperature being bearable, the sun wasn’t a huge problem.
The first round of the day was a standard Survival round, and it went as expected. The zombies are usually a minimal threat against superior human numbers, up until they have access to Tanks. Tanks are the only zombie upgrade that lets a zombie take a human on 1v1 with a solid chance of success – in all other circumstances a zombie vs an armed human is a very lopsided fight in the human’s favour. Infector is an upgrade that that simply makes a zombie’s job slightly easier, with a small chance to block incoming darts and increasing range by around a metre (depending on which melee is chosen). Husk is an upgrade more for surprising unaware humans or for breaking up tight human formations. As the Husk rocket travels very slowly compared to a dart and is very large, it’s very easy to spot and dodge, and so is not very effective in direct combat.
Early in Survival (pre-Tanks), zombies have no reliable way of getting within tagging range of humans, as they would likely get showered with darts before they get close. As such, pre-Tank tags are very rare, and the game generally does not progress significantly. The emergence of Tanks allows the zombies to begin forcing the humans back, as well as helping the zombies in separating any humans from the group. A well coordinated human group can easily defeat Tanks by splitting up and flanking the Tanks, thus being able to shoot around their shields. A badly coordinated group will often split up and retreat when faced with Tanks, and lone humans are quite vulnerable to Tanks, especially when backed up with other zombies. This sort of play makes up the majority of mid-game Survival, up until the humans are small in number. At this point, the zombies can pretty much abandon all tactics and simply just charge at the remaining humans repeatedly. With such a number disadvantage, the humans cannot reliably and repeatedly fend off zombie charges, as they’re likely to run out of ammo before the time limit finishes. The humans’ best chance for survival is to be able to outrun the Tanks, and pick off any zombies who get close. Since the Tanks carry very large shields, they are usually quite limited in their top speed and running endurance, making them easier to outrun.
I was able to survive until the end of the Survival round by outrunning all Tanks and picking off any zombies who got close. I was lost when the Stormtrooper Blaster decided to misfire in close quarters, leaving me without a shot at a very close Infector.
6 Round Sweep is a glorified pickup game usually played just before/after the lunch break that works quite well. Having 3 respawns allows plenty of time for humans to pick up most of the darts, though naturally not all darts are retrieved. The purpose of the game is to ensure there are enough darts for all subsequent rounds, and seeing as I’ve always been able to get enough darts to fill my mags, I’d say it works. The competitive element of 6 Round Sweep adds a bit of fun and urgency to the game, making it less tedious than a regular dart sweep.
We played two rounds of Defence Survival, which is a somewhat different game to regular Survival. The placement of zombie upgrades within squares introduces an objective oriented defence game, forcing a lot more early game combat. In regular Survival, the humans can last a while by simply constantly moving away from the zombies, as until Tanks are available, the zombies have no way of reliably threatening the humans, especially in a group. In Defence Survival, the humans are forced to stay near the squares, lest the zombies get access to upgrades early, which will speed up the demise of the humans. There is a lot of stand-off combat at the squares, where the zombies wait on one end, trying to reach the upgrades, while the humans wait on the other, trying to permastun the zombies. Eventually a distraction or lapse in concentration will allow a zombie to get the upgrade or tag an unwary nearby human.
The first zombie target is always the Infector square, as that’s a universally useful upgrade especially helpful in Defence Survival. The extra reach of Infector allows a zombie to potentially lunge and tag a nearby defending human if the humans are unwary or distracted. There usually aren’t too many humans defending the Infector square, as in the big scheme of things, Infector is not an especially dangerous upgrade. Likewise the Husk square is usually lightly defended, but due to the scarcity of Husk ammo and its overall combat ineffectiveness, it’s usually not a target for the zombies. The Tank square is by far the most important square, for the aforementioned reason that Tanks can take on humans 1v1 with a solid chance of success. As such, it is always heavily defended. Once the zombies are able to break through to get Tanks, the humans will struggle to reliably defend a given square, so once the Tanks square is lost to the zombies, the game effectively turns into a regular Survival.
The first round of Defence Survival we played was a massacre. Through persistence, the zombies were able to eventually acquire the Infector upgrade, then moving on to the Tank square. Poor human communication and coverage resulted in a zombie flanking and wiping out half of the defenders at the Tank square between 5 and 10 minutes in. With the humans thrown into disarray, the zombies having Tanks as well as superior numbers, the remaining humans fell relatively quickly, and the game ended about 15 minutes in.
The second round of Defence Survival went completely differently. From the very beginning, there were no humans at the Infector square so the zombies ran straight for it. I was able to intercept and stun them, buying time for more humans to arrive and set up a defence. From there, the game progressed as usual, the zombies eventually getting the Infector and Tank upgrades through persistence and occasionally human negligence. After the fall of the Tank square, the humans were put on the run as with normal Survival. For the rest of the game, I stuck with a particular group of humans, and together we were able to survive for quite a while, long enough for me (and another human) to survive the entire 35 minutes to win. Though the group was not especially large, we stuck together and worked quite well, especially when threatened by Tanks. Non-Tank zombies were not a big threat, and a small group of them could be dealt with by a lone human. When approached by a Tank, two of the humans would move to flank the Tank while the rest would hold off the rest of the zombies. With no extra zombie support, a Tank vs 2 humans is a bad prospect for the Tank, as if they turn to attack one human, the other has a clear shot. As such, the pair of humans were consistently able to push the Tank back or just stun them. Good coordination of my human group meant that we could fend off just about any zombie threat. Naturally we did slowly lose numbers as people fell behind or got overwhelmed, but overall we performed exceptionally well compared to what usually happens. Near the end of the game, with only a couple of humans left, persistent zombie attacks eventually resulted in us splitting up and running. I was able to run far enough away that the zombies were unable to catch me before the 35 minute timer elapsed, and one other human was also able to outrun their pursuers as well.
Secret VIP was a really interesting, fun and relatively short new game that was introduced. Beyond being just a standard VIP defence game, the fact that the VIP’s identity is hidden to everyone but the General and the presence of the Traitor makes it very difficult to focus a defence on one particular player. Since it’s very easy for the Traitor to swoop in on the VIP without warning, simply revealing the VIP to everyone is typically quite a poor idea. The General then has to decide what to do with the knowledge of the VIP’s identity. This psychological element of the game adds a really nice element to what would normally be a very ordinary defence game type.
As with regular Survival, the zombies are generally not much of a threat until they get Tank upgrades, but the threat of the Traitor (if they are unrevealed) adds an extra level of pressure in late game, when the humans are usually already outnumbered. The element of humans being stunned by darts ensures that the Traitor cannot be systematically weeded out, and that the Traitor has more than one method of achieving their goal.
There are all kinds of tactics that the humans can employ to attempt to ensure the VIP’s safety. The Traitor is by far the biggest threat to the VIP, as without the Traitor in the mix, the humans can focus their defence around a particular player, and so can prioritise their targets. As such, the humans would want to try and coax/force out the Traitor early on, before the zombie horde becomes a major threat.
Conversely, the Traitor wants to appear as an ordinary human until the time is right to either tear through the remaining humans or pick off the VIP. Getting the identity of the VIP depends entirely on how the players interact with the General (since it’s unwise for the VIP themselves to reveal their identity), and will depend on the tactics employed by the humans and General.
We played two rounds of Secret VIP. In the first round, I was the Traitor, however the admin had forgotten to mention that the Traitor has a single Traitor zombie tag, and as such I never revealed my identity. Without the single zombie tag, and with the human numbers as they were, I saw no opportunities in which stunning the humans would likely result in a human massacre. I did my fair share of zombie stunning to keep up appearances, but as it happened my assistance was not needed, as the VIP was somehow picked off anyway with ~5 minutes to spare. I believe what happened was the majority of the humans were grouped on one side focusing on the zombies on that side, while the VIP with a few humans on the other side got rushed and overwhelmed. Being that the VIP played effectively identically to the regular humans, there was no hint at all about their identity. Had I had the one Traitor tag at my disposal, I would likely have used it on the General, or possibly on one of the particularly threatening humans.
The second round, I was the General. To protect the VIP from the Traitor, I told noone about the VIP’s identity but kept a close eye on them. They played their part well, and were indistinguishable from the regular humans. This time around, the humans were able to survive and work together quite well, and survived with greater number to within 2 minutes of victory. However, the Traitor chose to reveal themselves just before a Tank rush, stunning the majority of the humans, resulting in them getting wiped out, with the VIP falling shortly after in the chaos. I think the humans had a reasonable chance of actually fending off the rush, or at least delaying it, but I believe the sudden betrayal and the chaos distracted them from remembering that they could still fire at the zombies, and simply could not move.
I really like Secret VIP and would very much like to play it again. Perhaps not as General, as I am very distrustful of other players when given that sort of secret information, but besides that it was quite fun.
A link to the post I made on my own blog: link