Regular readers will already know that Saturday in Bristol was the epicentre of the Zombie Apocalypse. Having not played HvZ since my days at college (and even then it was socks and boffers) I was eager to attend this war despite the three hour drive to get there.
The war was hosted on the Downs in Bristol. It was organised by my good friend Boff from the BritNerf forum so I already knew this event would be epic. Not only was it the first BritNerf community war of the year but it was also the first ever BritNerf HvZ event. I wasn't going to miss this for the world.
Did any humans make extraction and get out alive? Was I one of them or did I get nommed? Keep reading to find out.
Before we get started, I feel I need to apologise for the distinct lack of photos and video from this event. I managed to brick my GoPro a few days before BrisWar and I was too busy running around to take any interesting pictures.
My day started at 0530. For me this was considered a 'lay-in' since I'd packed the car the night before. I went to pick up MerryUnBirthday and then began the long drive from London to Bristol.
We arrived at the park just before 1000. Said "Hello" to some familiar faces and introduced myself to some new ones. After a brief delay waiting for the OZ (Original Zombie) to arrive (well, he had just flown in from Iceland. I think we can let him off.) , we began our briefing for the day. Anybody who had seen the events Facebook page was already well versed on the rules. Boff had very diligently been updating the page in the weeks leading up to the event. After a refresher on the rules, players were handed armbands and human cards and assigned to one of the two squads. Then it was time to move out and begin the first mission.
The first mission was a scavenger hunt. The game admins' had hidden currency in the undergrowth around the park. We would have to collect as much of this currency as possible in order to buy special abilities and equipment from the admin' team. These would be useful later in the game but more urgent was the need to set up a 'Safe Zone' where the human players could rest without the threat of being eaten. The two human teams split up and pushed forward into the park and it wasn't long before the zombie threat made itself known. There was only one 'zed' to start off with and he kept at a distance but it made our squad think about how we moved and where we went. We eventually found our war into a large, open space where the two teams regrouped. We decided to pool our currency together and purchase some 'Safe Zone' pieces from the refs'. This safe zone would offer the human players some protection from being eaten and would provide us with somewhere to eat and rest between rounds. We decided to buy 5 pieces which would allow us currency for later rounds. After calculating the internal angles of a regular pentagon, the safezone was set up and we stopped for lunch.
This was a great time to get to know our comrades and enjoy a bit of banter. Most of the players were from the Bristol University Zombie Apocalypse Network (BUZAN), a society from the local Uni. Also in attendance were members of Blastersmiths UK Ltd, who were providing most of the moderation team, and a good turnout of BritNerf members including MarcusH who was the OZ and OldNoob. In all there were over 20 players which is a great turnout for the first event of the year. During lunch, we were visited by the local Police who rocked up with the 'blues and twos' were interested in what we were doing. I thought for a horrible moment that he was going to ask us to move on but he turned out to be a lovely chap. He seemed to have a genuine interest in what we were up to and let us know that we would not be bothered again unless we were being antisocial in our activities.
After lunch, we decided to return to the area of the first mission and sweep once again for any credits that we had missed. Whilst one group searched for currency, a smaller group, led by myself went to track the zombie and inform the other team of it's movements. Things were going well until my team were ambushed by the OZ who by now had gained power-ups. Not only was the OZ now 'dart-proof' meaning that he was immune to blaster fire, but he was also a 'Spitter' meaning he could launch a ranged attack hurling socks at us. I am sad to say that I fell foul of the zed's attack. I ran out of socks to throw and was easily outrun but the zombie. At precicely 1236 I was taken from the world of the living and returned to the world un-dead. As one of the first few humans to be nommed, I thought my day was all over but it had only just begun.
The remaining humans were tasked with the location and retrieval of a lone scientist. This individual would provide the survivors with vital information that would help them reach extraction and enable them to escape. As zombies, we were there to stop them and to find two halves of the fearful 'Gravemind'. The Gravemind was a special zombie character that essentially created a mobile, instant respawn point for the zeds. Normally when hit with a dart, a zombie would retire for a fixed amount of time before respawning and continuing to attack. The Gravemind would allow us to respawn immediately. If the humans were to find a piece of the Gravemind, they would be able to tip the balance in their favour. Although they managed to find the scientist, the zombie team managed to retrieve both halves of the Gravemind and some good tactical zombie placement meant that we managed to turn a lot of humans. The battle had finally tipped in favour of the undead.
Mission 3 for the humans was extraction. An extraction point would be set up somewhere in the play area and the humans had to make it there alive and then hold the location until the 'helicopter'could take them to safety. (Some imagination was necessary here. Boff is good at organising events but he isn't that good.) Once there, the humans would be extracted one-by-one in two minute intervals. Anybody who made it out would survive the game and essentially 'win'.
Going into this mission there were very few human players remaining. Only 3 in fact but they fought a good fight. We chased them across the whole of the park from the safe zone al the way to the extraction point. One human was gribbled en-route but the other two made it. The Extraction point was a tricky place to defend. Isolated and surrounded by lots of natural cover. The humans were really up against it. The zombies placed their Gravemind in a ditch out of range of the humans and began to swarm on the survivors. Standing back to back, the two remaining humans managed to fend off the horde until one of them was airlifted to safety. As soon as that happened and the other player was on their own it was all over. He fought a good fight but he inevitably folded under the strength of the zombie horde. After a moment of celebration, we realised that not all of the human players were accounted for and that somewhere, out in the wilderness there was one survivor. We spread out and eventually found her hiding in the bushes. At first we thought her evasion was due to tactical stealth, but it turned out that she became lost during an earlier mission and had sat down with a map to try and find out where she was.
After the battle was over, it was time to congratulate our comrades and eat cake. Especially eat cake.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed BrisWar. As I mentioned before, I haven't played HvZ since the days of homemade boffers and socks and the rules and ideas behind the game have changed so much since then. Throughout the early stages of the game, I felt like everybody knew the rules better than I did. This was probably true for the most part since most of the players were seasoned HvZ veterans, but also because I'd not read the rules recently. The beauty of the game was that the rules were simple and easy to pick up in game.
I was a little gutted that my first real encounter with a zed resulted in my death. In fairness though, I chose to take on a dart proof zombie without any socks (dart proofs can only be stunned with melee or socks). I was also slightly disappointed that I only managed to fire 8 darts before I was eaten. I am glad to say that this feeling didn't last long. The biggest surprise of the day was that I thoroughly enjoyed being a zed. So much so that I would consider being an OZ at the next event.
BrisWar was definitely worth the trip and I will certainly attend another event hosted by Boff. The time and planning he put in really showed through and created a very fluid and exciting game. Yes there were a few teething issues but that can be said for any event and I have complete faith that it will be onwards and upwards from here.
If you think that you'd like to join in with the next community event, keep your eye on the BritNerf forum or the BritNerf Facebook page. I am sure that this will be the first of many events this year so keep an eye out for the next one near you. If you fancy hosting a war yourself we'd love to hear about it. Drop us an email or post it on the forum and the community will do our best to attend.