Thursday, 9 July 2015

Game Report 7/7/15

Back to Equalz Dee for this event.
Apologies for this pic, I didn't forget to take one until the very end when it was dark and we were packing up.

Runner HvZ v1.1- humans would try to run back and forth between two safe zones, with only a short time in those safe zones to reload and rest. The winner would be the final survivor, who would try to make one last run between safe zones for an "extraction" win, while getting tagged on the final run would result in a regular win (extraction win having more prestige). Early runs would have time limits so as to prevent human camping or circumventing the zombies.

Trouble in Terrorist Town - all players are given a playing card from a specific deck at random - the joker indicates the "detective", aces "terrorists" and any other card "innocents/civilians". The detective can generally be considered as simply a special civilian. Naturally no player can show any other player their card, except in the detective's special circumstances. The deck is formed such that the civilians outnumber the terrorists and there are very few (or only one) detectives (for instance: 7 civilians, 3 terrorists and 1 detective). Terrorists try to eliminate all other players besides fellow terrorists, and know who each other are. Civilians and the detective(s) try to eliminate all terrorists. In this manner, a player who eliminates everyone else will win regardless of which side they're on. Friendly fire is on, so civilians can eliminate other civilians, and terrorists can eliminate other terrorists. The detective can "inspect" an eliminated player's body by showing their joker, and the eliminated player must show the detective their card, this being the only situation in which a player should show another player their cards.
Bounty Hunter (mini) - all players are given a number, preferably with playing cards or other similar physical item. A small number of bounties are randomly placed on a few of the remaining players. When a player is eliminated, they must give the eliminating player all of their numbers. Players hand in all of their collected numbers (but not their own) to the "bank". If any of the collected numbers are bounties, the depositing player is safe for the rest of the round. If a player survives such that there are no remaining bounties, or there are no remaining non-safe players (usually if the player themself has a bounty on them), then they are safe and proceed to the next round, in which a new set of bounties is placed. The last surviving player is the winner.
Octozombies - a small scale version of Runner, using a small play area such as a basketball court. Effectively a Nerf-ed version of the beloved primary school game Octopus. Humans are given just a single dart/disc/etc, and the starting zombies get swords. If a zombie is hit, they are eliminated for the remainder of that run (but return in the next run). If a human is tagged, they become a zombie in the next round. At the end of each run the humans pick up their one shot if used (or just load a new one in). Humans are not permitted to scavenge off the ground during runs.

Rebelle Sweet Revenges (modded) - my standard modded dual wield pistols, devastatingly effective especially in HvZ.
Elite Roughcut - performed as usual.
Elite Strongarm - performed as usual.
ZS Hammershots - same usual, solid all round pistols.
Rebelle Secret Shot - saw only a little use, and no significant combat use.
Mega Thunderbow - same as before, a large, silly and intimidating Mega firing blaster that gets solid ranges.
ZS Flipfury - as usual, a Strongarm with a higher capacity.
Elite Triad -  solid compact pistols that also worked well dual-wielded. Naturally the ROF was a little lacking compared to a lot of other blasters but dual wielding helped to cover up that weakness.

N-Strike Thunderblast - operated as the only rocket launcher today. It got enough range to be usable, but as none of the games gave a bonus to using rockets it wasn't worth taking over a regular dart blaster.
Rebelle Messenger - basically a more powerful Triad with a larger form. It seemed reasonably accurate though I did use Kooshes which tend to be much more accurate.
Elite Crossbolt (armless) - easily one of the best blasters present. It got very good ranges, on par with or superior to my Sweet Revenges, and also had incredible accuracy even with Elites. I saw a lot of shots fly totally straight out of the Crossbolt, even at longer ranges. Though somewhat uncomfortable to hold and use, and a little slow firing, the impressive range and accuracy made it a very dangerous blaster.
N-Strike Raider - I never thought I'd see one of these in action after 2012, considering the Raider's unreliability and the existence of the totally superior Rampage. It did work well enough to get a solid ROF, but also jammed up frequently as expected, and being an old N-Strike blaster was also quite weak. Honestly I would rather take a Strongarm than the Raider.
"Boomstick" (homemade small HAMP) - the Boomstick was designed to utilise Maverick cylinders to fire a burst of 6 darts, however due to poor design could only fire 3 at a time, and even then the darts rarely reached more than 7m. At close range it more often than not hit its target, but at those sorts of ranges a regular blaster would have nearly as high a hit chance anyway. Its owner does intend to overhaul the design, this version was a pretty cheap and basic thing put together very quickly.
Mega Magnus - acted basically as a low capacity hand cannon. It got respectable ranges, comparable to the Thunderbow, but of course the low capacity, difficult reloading and scarcity of ammo drastically reduced the viability of the Magnus in any serious firefights or fighting off more than ~2 zombies.
Vortex Vigilon - again, basically the Strongarm of the Vortex line. Worked reasonably well, much like the Strongarm. Its superior range was effective at suppressing dart blaster users, but the low disc velocity made it quite easy to dodge at range.

We played in the same school as the first time I attended one of these, which has a sufficiently large built-up area in the main play area, with an oval on one side and a carpark on the other, and fences acting as the main boundaries.
There were up to ~13 players at any one time, usually being a minimum of ~10.

Runner HvZ was played using the fences on opposite sides of the school as the two safe zones, and with a time limit for the earlier rounds to prevent camping or going too far out of the main play area. In the first few rounds it was practically impossible for the zombies to get any tags because of the sheer number of humans and thus potential for number of rounds fired. However the zombies were able to get a first tag through very poor communication among the humans, with no humans covering a stunned zombie while a human picked up the used darts around said zombie. This first tag was all the zombies needed, as they suddenly became much more organised and were able to separate lone humans from the pack, easily getting the tag. Later in the game the time limit was ditched as it was no longer needed, with the zombies being much more of a threat that was not easily avoided. As the game progressed, the humans got more and more desperate and the zombies became more and more organised, often forcing the human pack to leave behind stragglers to improve survival chances.
I ended up as the final survivor once more with my dual Sweet Revenges. To maximise their chances, the zombies split up to cover the three possible exists from the starting fence, however this possibly worked against them. At its peak the horde was ~11-12 zombies strong - too many for me to stun without reloading my Sweey Revenges. However as they split up to cover the three exits, I was able to stun all 3 zombies covering the middle exit, run past them (thus avoiding the zombies covering the other 3 exits) and outrun or stun any zombies in the middle of the area, successfully reaching the finishing fence for a win.
Considering that the zombies would have seen which exit I was going towards anyway had they *not* split up, they would have been able to swarm me with their full strength, which likely would have had enough numbers to overwhelm and tag me. Being that the three exits were spread apart and not within sight of each other, the zombies guarding the two exits I didn't use didn't know I had broken through the middle exit until I was at least half way across the school, and so had no chance of catching up.
I really like Runner HvZ. Although the zombies can struggle at the start if the humans work together properly (with double-tap often being implemented if the humans are untouched for too long), once the zombies start to get organised and start getting a few tags, then the game really takes off and becomes quite intense and fun.

Trouble in Terrorist Town is a very different sort of gamemode in that the primary warfare going on is psychological warfare, rather than actual combat. As at the start of the game everyone appears to be a civilian, firefights rarely erupt within the first few seconds - civilians want to preserve as many civilians as possible (who are the majority) and terrorists don't want to risk revealing their identity too early on. It is only when suspicions start to arise that foam starts flying, and usually only a few people are taken out while the detective attempts to inspect the fallen. The detective is the only player whose identity you can know for sure, as they must prove they are a detective (by showing their card) to inspect a body. The detective's ability makes them very much a target for the terrorists, as if the detective finds out that the fallen are mostly or all civilians, then it makes it very likely that their attackers were terrorists (or just anarchistic civilians, who you want to eliminate anyway). The easiest way for a terrorist to eliminate a group of civilians is to convince said civilians that they are also a civilian, and proceed to eliminate them all once their trust is earned. The easiest way for a player to survive until late-game is to stick with a group of people, regardless of their allegiance, due to the extra firepower they bring to a firefight.
Often the players would split into a number of small groups, and suspicions would quickly arise if any player appears dangerous. As soon as a few players are eliminated and the firefight stops, the detective would usually come out to inspect the bodies and confirm their identities. As the detective counts as a civilian, and the terrorists know who their fellow terrorists are, the detective has no reason to lie if asked about the bodies.
The detective's inspections would often place significant suspicion on the surviving attackers, often causing further combat. The terrorists would usually attempt to remain hidden within the civilian groups and try to instigate civilian vs civilian combat to eliminate civilians without risking their identity. More often than not the player who preemptively attacks other players is treated as a terrorist.
Generally both the terrorists and civilians would win some games, primarily depending on whether or not the civilians grouped together (through luck) and could protect the detective long enough to identify the terrorists.
I found the game to be very chaotic and involve a lot of paranoia, and it was a lot of fun to watch people argue about who could be the terrorists, which usually resulted in the conflicting groups attacking one another, sparking a firefight. However the relative lack of combat compared to other gamemodes was something I didn't enjoy as much, as I'm pretty terrible at psychological games and prefer not to engage in them, especially when the alternative is direct combat. Additionally games with permanent elimination are not that fun especially if you are eliminated early on, and I far prefer games that have respawns or other mechanics to keep eliminated players in the game (like zombies).

However later in the day a new feature was introduced, and I personally feel that it totally killed Terrorist Town. A small area was designated as a room of safety where players could not be eliminated. If 3 people assembled in the room, they could show each other their cards (something not normally permitted). Naturally as the civilians were superior in number, it was more likely that they would group together with at least two civilians in the room, thus forming a core of civilians who knew they could trust one another. This heavily skewed the game towards the civilians, as civilians knew they could just stall until the room opened, go inside and form a core of civilians, then proceed and verify or eliminate everyone else.
Because of the insistence on stalling, it was near impossible for terrorists to get any tags without instantly revealing their identity *before* the room opened. Because of the safety of the room it was impossible for terrorists to discreetly eliminate civilians within the room, and so there was no reason *for* terrorists to enter the room. Thus anyone who refused to enter the room was labelled a terrorist and eliminated. There was no potential disadvantage for civilians entering the room, and there was no potential advantage for terrorists entering the room, except in the very unlikely scenario in which two or more terrorists entered the room at once. Therefore the room did nothing but heavily disadvantage the terrorists, who were already on roughly equal footing with the civilians *before* the room.
I somewhat enjoyed Terrorist Town before the room for its chaos and paranoia, however wasn't a fan of the lack of combat and the standoffs. The addition of the room removed much of the chaos and paranoia and did nothing to reduce the combat, standoffs and threat of permanent elimination from the game. I personally absolutely despised the room as after it was implemented I spent most of my time just standing around doing nothing, and more often than not getting quickly eliminated.
Additionally throughout all the games players would often shout out information even when eliminated, further ruining much of the paranoia of the game.

To make matters worse, I was often eliminated by teammates. Admittedly that is part of the game as a civilian, however I was eliminated in the most irritating of circumstances. One time as a civilian I was eliminated for getting too close to a player who survived a firefight, wanting to understand what just happened (as I'd heard a lot of shouting but not seen enough), despite my blaster being holstered and thus not being a threat. Several times I was eliminated as a terrorist by fellow terrorists for no good reason - they would suddenly run right up to me and shoot me, despite all terrorists knowing each other's identities from the beginning of the game.
A further issue is because of the permanent elimination aspect, eliminated players would often take to wondering around to watch the action (after being inspected by the detective if still alive), which made it very difficult to know who was still alive and who was eliminated.

All in all I feel that the addition of the room was a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very bad idea as it totally ruined the whole point of the game. I somewhat enjoyed Terrorist Town before that, however some serious gameplay issues such as terrorists forgetting fellow terrorists and not being able to differentiate between alive and eliminated players at a glance ruined much of the experience. I feel that if the room is to be kept in the game, it needs to be very seriously nerfed so as to give the terrorists a more sporting chance, and that rules should be put in place to more easily differentiate between alive and eliminated players.

Bounty Hunter was another paranoia like game that had more combat than terrorist town, however due to the way the game worked was more of just an FFA than an actual organised game. Although the idea is to eliminate specific targets then hand in the bounty to be safe, the biggest challenge is returning to the bank to verify the bounty and obtain safety, because you become a target as soon as you get anyone else's cards. As such, it becomes effectively just a hit train, where one person gets *a* bounty, a player quickly eliminates them, then another player quickly eliminates them as well, proceeding until there is just one player remaining.
With better organisation and possibly something to prevent non-bounty eliminations from being full eliminations, Bounty Hunter could work better, but as is you might as well play a FFA, which is faster to set up but works pretty much the same.

Octozombies was a gamemode made up on the spot as a finale game while others had to pack up and leave, yet ironically turned out to be a great gamemode (with some tweaks). Early on, like with most other zombie games, the zombies would have to work together and try to isolate humans as they had no chance against the collective group. This was much easier than most zombie games however, as the humans only had one shot each and so would not use their shot unless absolutely necessary. This also meant that most humans would simply leave behind stragglers instead of using their shot to try and help.
In the early game, the zombies actually have a lot of trouble against a well organised group of humans, who have more than enough shots to just pummel the zombies into submission, then simply stroll to the other end at their leisure. 
As the zombies began to get tags (helped by starting with foam swords for extra reach), the humans were forced to work together to have any real chance of passing the zombies as a single human would be unable to stun more than one zombie, and thus would have no chance of passing the blockade of zombies. Because each human only had one shot, a single miss left the human completely vulnerable, thus forcing humans to have to fire only at close range. This of course gave the zombie a much better chance of a tag if the human missed or mistimed their shot. This period of the game was by far the most competitive, as both sides had solid chances for success provided they worked as teams.
However as the zombies started to outnumber the humans, it became practically impossible for the humans to win. Having insufficient shots to stun all zombies, the humans would inevitably just be run down and tagged, and even if a human or two made it through, they were doomed the next round.
However this iteration of Octozombies was very much a prototype, and has since already been significantly improved and balanced. I played this balanced version of Octozombies in another recent game, which I will be writing about soon.

I thoroughly enjoyed all the zombie based gamemodes because they involved a lot of running and a fair bit of combat, however thought much less of Terrorist Town and Bounty Hunter, especially despising Terrorist Town with the room.


  1. Old:
    Runner HvZ v1.1- humans would try to run back and forth between two safe zones, with only a short time in those safe zones to reload and rest. The winner would be the final survivor, who would try to make one last run between safe zones for an "extraction" win, while getting tagged on the final run would result in a regular win (extraction win having more prestige). Early runs would have time limits so as to prevent human camping or circumventing the zombies. This is titan. This get is awesome!

  2. This is titan. When we played it, if a zombie is hit with a rocket he is out this run and the run after