Monday, 3 December 2018

MHvZ Game Report: 1/12/18

Final event of the year, and likely my final event for a while. We had a pretty solid turn out this event.
All rules can be found here.


Note that while I do my best to cover all significant blasters, it is entirely possible that I missed or forgot to include some. Also note that I primarily cover/detail mods that affect functionality and performance.

Elite Stryfe - semi-auto, mag-fed flywheeler. Solid all-rounder leaning towards RoF. Highly customisable and very popular.

Elite Retaliator/Modulus Recon MkII - slide/pump-action, mag-fed springer. Solid all-rounder leaning towards power. Very customisable, often used with a pump grip.

N-Strike/Elite Rayven - semi-auto, mag-fed flywheeler. Functionally pretty much identical to a Stryfe.

Modulus ECS-10 - semi-auto, mag-fed flywheeler. Essentially a big Stryfe.

Dart Zone Magnum Superdrum - slide-action, cylinder-fed springer. Very high capacity for a single blaster, quite good for a scavenger type loadout.

Elite Crossbolt - slide-action, mag-fed stringer. Relatively quiet, but its width can hinder maneuverability. Quite slow firing.

Modulus Regulator - select-fire, mag-fed flywheeler. High RoF blaster, notably effective against groups and in close quarters.

Elite Rampage - pump-action, mag-fed springer. All-rounder leaning towards RoF. Notable for being pump-action right out of the box. Side magwell can present issues.

Elite Rapidstrike - full-auto, mag-fed flywheeler. Functionally just a full-auto-only Regulator with better cycle control if so built.

Elite Hyperfire - full-auto, mag-fed flywheeler. Functionally just a full-auto-only Regulator.

ZS Sledgefire - break-action, single-shot springer. High power blaster effective at picking off zombies from long range, but very slow in close quarters.


Vortex Nitron - full-auto, mag-fed flywheeler. Large blaster focusing on sustained fire. Effective at covering fire, but slow projectiles make long range combat much harder.

Worker Dominator/Imperator - semi-auto, mag-fed flywheeler. Essentially just a big Stryfe. With just a single stage of flywheels, is not notable in performance except for its extra large (and bulky) magazines. With fresher darts, these mags did not seem to have any issues.

Same play area as always, although later in the day we had some other people set up near the tanbark area, thus rendering it unusable for us. This was especially unfortunate for Space Pope. The weather was not ideal, the rest of the week had been pretty cool, but on the day, temperature peaked at around 26C, with strong sun. We had a good turnout, peaking around 25 or so players.

For the first two games, we played rounds of Survival with PvP. In these rounds, humans have 3 lives which are depleted from being hit by darts. Upon losing all their lives or being tagged by a zombie, they turn into a zombie.

In the first round, I stayed up north with a small group I trusted, while watching the other humans and majority of the zombies engage one another. Between PvP and the constant zombie threat, many of the human groups were whittled down rather quickly, and before long we had a few survivors come and join us. With most of the other human groups now gone, our group became the primary zombie target. The zombies split roughly into two groups, one approaching from the south and the other from the side. My group was able to push through them, pushing between the two northern corners, but we were whittled down over time as expected. Eventually, the remainders of our group were forced southwards, where we made a last stand before being quickly overwhelmed.

After the last stand in the previous round, I was very tired for this one. Again, I stayed in the north with a small human group, with the majority of other humans bunching together into one large group. The zombies focused their efforts on this large group initially, and were able to whittle them down. Meanwhile, my group was approached by the Husk and a few other zombies. In my exhaustion, I'd failed to notice that the Husk had respawned after having stunned him, and was grazed on the leg by his throw, tagging me. After rejoining the fray as a zombie, the remaining humans had split into three small groups. With a large number of zombies, these groups were steadily overwhelmed and eliminated.

PvP Survival, assuming at least some humans choose to be aggressive, has worked well as a way to kick-start rounds. As I've mentioned many times in the past, the zombies often struggle immensely at the start of rounds, as they are easily overwhelmed by human firepower. With PvP however, humans have to watch out not only for opportunistic zombies, but also any hostile and aggressive humans looking for a fight. For any groups caught in the middle, such a conflict can easily result in a zombie feast. As the game progresses, most humans end up just ignoring the PvP rules and fighting together, though with zombie numbers now increased, it is much more of a competition.

The next round was a Scavenge Survival, where players are only permitted to pick up darts from the field, and have 5 minutes until zombies are active. I chose simply to pick up darts as normal. I've never been a fan of pick-up games, as they inevitably end up with a significant amount of ammo still on the field, and this was the case for this round as well.

After a lunch break, we played a round of Space Pope, unfortunately, the tanbark area was otherwise occupied, so we used one of the large trees instead. The area used was much smaller, only around 10-15m wide where the usual area is at least 25-30m wide. Additionally, at this time of year, the branches are flourishing with leaves that droop all the way to the ground, offering zombies additional cover. As such, not only are the humans restricted to a much smaller area, but the zombies also have a lot more safety, and a lot less ground to cover. The slightest opening can prove fatal, and this was indeed the case in the first round. Even with at least 10 humans still alive, a small opening resulted in both the General and Space Pope being tagged.

We then tried out a new gamemode, called Life Raft. The humans are split into groups of 4-5, and each is assigned a small foam mat. Humans must be holding on to their mat to be able to stun zombies. PvP rules are also in effect, and are still subject to the mat rule. This gamemode is incredibly chaotic, due to the requirement of having to hold a small mat in combat. This makes the humans far, far more vulnerable, especially to Tanks and flanking in general. In one particular later engagement, my squad was pushed back by a large zombie charge, including both Tanks. Without the ability to flank them, we could not hold our position or push through effectively or reliably. Eventually, our squad broke up trying to retreat, and were unable to reform to combat approaching Tanks, who easily tagged us all. The remaining squads were similarly easily whittled down, though lone humans proved the hardest to catch.

The Life Raft mechanic is chaotic and ridiculous, but is also a fun extra game mechanic and hilarious to watch. Due to the severe detriment it has on humans, it also speeds up games significantly. It also greatly emphasises the need for teamwork to fight effectively. There are some rules that need to be clarified, for instance if the mat can/should be usable as a shield, and if humans can steal other squads' mats, but I think it has a lot of potential.

We then played another round of Space Pope, in which I was chosen as the Space Pope. Again, in such a small space, the humans are incredibly vulnerable, and the slightest lapse in concentration can result in a zombie feast. As this was one of the last games of the day, and people were getting pretty tired, such lapses were quite frequent. Notably however, in this round the Traitor chose to exit the tree area and begin firing on the humans. With almost no cover or maneuvering space, the remaining humans were pinned between the Traitor and the zombies, which resulted in a quick defeat.

I like the thick leaved branches offering the zombies cover, but also preventing Tanks from approaching. It gives a much different feel to the regular Space Pope area, which is mostly open. The gives zombies a much easier time approaching, making them much more dangerous and much less vulnerable. However, I feel that the tree area is simply too small. A fast moving zombie only needs two or three steps to get within tagging distance of humans, and with the leaf cover, can go mostly unnoticed until the very last second. This severely punishes even the slightest lapse of concentration, which I feel is a little too harsh for the type of games we try to run at HvZ. Furthermore, with such little maneuvering room and cover, more than one large Tank seems excessive, and any decent Traitor can make the game a slaughter as well. I overall much prefer the usual area, though definitely wouldn't mind seeing more cover...though we of course have no influence over the gardening at the park.

The last round was a so-called Shadow Survival. Simply put, humans could not exit a shadowed area produced by a chosen large tree. Zombies of course must respawn outside of the shadow. PvP rules were enabled to make the round faster. Initially, with only one starting zombie, combat was quite rare and there were usually only one or two humans actually firing. Eventually, trust broke down and the various human groups began firing on one another, the growing zombie horde picking off whoever they could. Pinned down with no cover, I was tagged after experiencing a mag jam. With very little room to move and an increasing zombie count, the remaining humans were overrun and tagged.

I had a lot of fun at what will likely be my last Melbourne HvZ for a while. We tried out a few different gamemodes, with Life Raft I feel being the one with the most potential.

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