Tuesday, 16 February 2016

MHvZ Game Report 13/2/16 - Traitors, Sledgefires, Pump Action Resurgence

My first MHvZ event of the year. I have a few more pictures in this album.
I tried four different blasters as primaries this time round - my Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster, my Elite Rayven, my Rapid Red and my Bullpup Rapidstrike.

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 - 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 (in our case) 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 (we used the usual tambark area), while the Traitor is a zombie masquerading as a human. When stunned, zombies must move outside of 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. Everyone knows the identity of the General, making them the only guaranteed trustworthy human. The Traitor acts as a human, but can at any point do a single Traitor zombie tag, revealing that they are the Traitor, and thus turn into a regular 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. Zombie upgrades are unlocked on a timer like Survival, something along the lines of 3 minutes for Infectors, 6 minutes for Tanks and 10 minutes for Husk (I don't think we used those exact numbers).

Zombie rules:
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, presumably as a precaution against shieldbashing which could certainly cause 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.
If in play, renades 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.

Since there were a lot of different blasters there, I've generalised them and only listed down the ones that I saw as significant or noteworthy, or remember for that matter. Being that I can't be everywhere at once, it's entirely possible I completely missed some blasters.
Rebelle Sweet Revenge (light mods) - my standard dual pistols, didn't see much use today.
Elite Alpha Trooper/Rampage (various springs) - pretty solid all round pump actions, even without spring upgrades. A very effective out-of-box blaster for HvZ. I saw a lot more EATs and Rampages in action than usual, particularly Rampages which have been very rare at MHvZ.
Elite Retaliator (various internal upgrades, pump grips, various tacticool pieces) - one of the usual staples of MHvZ. Not as fast ROF as other popular blasters, but tended to have higher effective ranges. Takes a bit more money to assemble one of these compared to an EAT/Rampage, but the results are usually well worth it.
Elite Stryfe (various motors, LiPos) - another staple of MHvZ, there were a bunch of these in various forms. Very good blasters for HvZ, enough range and ROF to fend off quite a number of zombies if you picked your shots and are well practiced with reloading.
Rebelle Rapid Red (various motors, LiPos) - basically stockless Stryfes, they functioned pretty much the same as their more common Elite brethren and were similarly effective.
Elite Rapidstrike (various motors, LiPos) - as per usual, effectively a Stryfe with a far higher ROF. Excellent at ensuring a hit on a particular zombie, or for overwhelming zombies with raw dart output. Tended to not be too effective at longer range shots, certainly not as effective as a Retal.
ZS Slingfire (upgraded spring) - used by one person in particular who is quite proficient with it. One-handed flick prime makes repeated firing on-the-run easier, but otherwise is not really noteworthy.

Elite Rayven (Banshee motors, 2S LiPo) - worked very well, basically just a Stryfe/Rapid Red with a longer than usual barrel. Seemed to get similar ranges to the Stryfes, which was a relief having not combat tested it since fixing its alignment issues.
ZS Sledgefire (singled, upgrade springs) - these were a very interesting choice. They were very powerful and quite accurate, having an effective range beyond that of the Retals. The single shot meant that the user had to be backed up by other humans or a secondary blaster such as a Stryfe, but the ability to stun a zombie from very far off was very useful at times.
Buzz Bee Sentinel (brass breech, spring upgrade) - this is the same Sentinel featured in MakeTestBattle's Sentinel Brass Breech video, and boy is it powerful. An effective range far beyond Retals, comparable to the Sledgefires, with a ROF comparable to a slightly slow Slingfire made this Sentinel a blaster to fear. The user's aggressive tactics made the most of the long effective range, helping to save a number of humans, as well as stunning a lot of threatening tanks with very precise shots. The relatively slow ROF was an issue in close quarters as well as for making follow-up shots, but this Sentinel was an excellent support blaster for the humans.
Buzz Bee Ultra Rapid Tek (stock) - I acquired this one recently, it's a stock URT that I intend to upgrade a little bit to get it to superstock standard. I used it in the 6 Round Sweep today, and it worked well enough fending off a couple of zombies.
Star Wars Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster (upgrade spring) - functioned pretty much like an EAT/Rampage, but the biggest bonus was calling recently tagged humans "TRAITORS". I did have trouble maneuvering it with 18 dart clips (mags), as they were extremely long and made it difficult to point left, or run with. The length of the LightningStorm stock was also an issue, in the future I'd use it with a shorter stock. It also seemed to somewhat dislike the FVJs used, seeming to have a few issues with the dart tooth as there was usually a lot of resistance in retracting the dart tooth/fully closing the breech. This left me with a dry fire at some inopportune moments, so I will probably tinker with it a little to make it like FVJs more, and will in the future use it only with 12 dart clips (mags).

We used the same park area as always, a triangle shape with an open field on one end, and a couple of trees on the other. One cluster of trees has tambark, and this tambark area is very useful for designating an area for various gamemodes. It's large enough for people to maneuver around in it safely and easily, but small enough for enemies outside the tambark to still feel like a threat.
Temperature was generally not an issue. Though the Melbourne sun is very harsh, the air temperature was not particularly high, peaking a little below 30C according to BOM. I certainly felt that it wasn't a notably hot day.

Survival HvZ was the first round of the day, and went as expected. I used the Stormtrooper blaster, so when the first human was lost (I believe somewhere between Infectors becoming available and Tanks becoming available), I immediately shouted "TRAITOR" at them. As HvZ always goes, there are minimal losses until the Tanks hit the field, at which point the zombies switch from harassment tactics to full on aggression. Humans then get progressively lost as the zombies and particularly Tanks are able to split up the humans and pick off any stragglers unable to outrun the horde. I survived until the end of the game through constantly moving and running, and was only taken down when the Stormtrooper blaster decided to misfire in close range, leaving me not enough time to reprime for another shot.
6 Round Sweep worked as well as always, with a majority of the darts on the field being picked up and returned. Naturally not all darts are picked up, especially far off darts or darts too close to combat areas, but for the most part more than enough darts are picked up to last the rest of the rounds. It is just a glorified pickup game so it worked well as usual.
We played two rounds of Defence Survival, and they played very differently from each other.
The first was a total massacre and lasted about 15 minutes. With the majority of humans guarding the Tanks square, the zombies were able to get through to the Infectors square with persistence. From there, they were able to push towards and threaten the Tanks square. While the humans were generally able to hold their own, poor communication and coverage resulted in some zombies rushing in unnoticed and wiping out half of the humans. With a sudden massive change in numbers as well as the zombies getting Tanks, the remaining humans fell quickly within a couple of minutes.
The second round went completely differently, and I was one of two humans who survived the entire 35 minutes. Negligence almost cost the humans the Infectors square at the very start, however a quick sprint allowed me to intercept the zombies before they could get the swords/pool noodles. The game then progressed as per normal for Defence Survival, with most early combat being around the Tanks square, which was eventually lost through persistence and slight negligence and distraction. Compared to most other Defence Survival rounds, I believe the humans did better to keep the zombies further away from the Tanks square for longer, thus further delaying the deployment of Tanks. Previously at MHvZ events, I have very rarely seen humans survive the full time limit, usually because late game combat introduces panic, fatigue and poor communication to the remaining humans, usually having them picked off easily by the persistent and ever-growing horde. In this particular round however, I stuck with a group of humans who worked together well and moved as a cohesive group. Together we were able to combat most threats effectively, including tanks. Naturally we slowly lost members through persistent zombie attacks, but we lasted longer than usual for what was a relatively small human group. Infectors and the Husk were of minimal threat to us, and we kept moving to avoid being cornered by Tanks. When the Tanks did get within threatening range however, the humans worked very well to flank them and push them back. Many times I would be able to (with the help of a fellow human) ward off a Tank without firing a single dart - the simple threat getting showered in darts if they chose a target was enough to keep them from charging.

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 BlasterHub: link


  1. Good read! Also that slingfire actually has 7kg spring in it sadly the dart speed doesn't even 100fps

    1. Wait that Slingfire is modded? I was always under the impression that it was stock! My bad, I'll fix that.