What should I call you guys?

Okay, so it’s come to my attention that there are a LOT of you. Several thousand on YouTube and several thousand here. And, I wanna know what to call you guys! I know some people call their audience “audience”, “forum”, “bros”, “sweet mama chili fries”, all sorts of things. And I think it’s time you all got a name! So take a second and fill out the quick survey below! This will also help out with a new page idea I have where you, yep, YOU, get featured. So do it! :]

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ClickClickBAMF unboxes the N-Strike Elite Rampage

Just in case you haven’t gotten your fill of Elite news…

The guys over at ClickClickBAMF also received an N-Strike Elite press kit. Here Chris shows the unboxing of the new N-Strike Elite Rampage, a beefed up version of the Raider CS-35. One of the coolest things I noticed about the video is that the Rampage doesn’t require you to pull the priming handle back to load a magazine. This feature allows easier loading, and lets your carry your blaster around loaded, but not primed. That’s important because leaving your blaster primed for long periods of time may weaken the spring. That isn’t a problem for the new Rampage. :]

ClickClickBAMF’s Rampage Unboxing

Slicin’ the Pie

Would you care for some pie? It’s pi flavored. ūüėČ

Good morning! Last night I remembered something that I didn’t cover in my last post, and it’s important, so here’s a slice of tactical pie! It’s better if you microwave it first.

Slicing the Pie

This is a term that means you don’t take any chances when passing corners or walls. This technique will drastically reduce your chance of being tagged by an Ambuscade (ambush zombie). To do this, imagine being tethered to the corner by a rope, and pivot around it at the edge of your rope. You will always be the same distance from the corner as you pass it. As you do so, aim your blaster just to the left or right (whichever is the open air) of the corner and focus your blaster on that point. As you pivot, more ground will come into view. And the second it is in view, you’re already aiming at it.

Cornering

¬†The most basic form of pie slicing. Just pivot several feet away (out of zombie lunge distance) and piece away at the uncertain ground. Once this corner is cleared, you can stand guard (watching both directions, the one you just came from and the one you’re about to go into) while your team passes.

Opening Doorways

This one is meant to mess with zombies’ heads. To properly open a door (in a stealth mission) just stand to the side of it (the handle side), as close to the wall as possible. Reach out and quickly open the door. When the door starts swinging open, retreat to a safe distance (still out of sight from anything on the other side). This puts you out of harms way in case there is a zombie hiding just on the other side of it.

Entering Open Doorways

To safely enter a doorway you should start on one side as close to the wall as possible. Peer in through the door and scan the other side. Use the same pivoting technique you used in cornering, only this time your tether is attached to the center of the door frame. Side-step around the door and look out as you pass. Once you have reached the other side, double check. If all is clear, proceed, but remember that you probably haven’t been able to see completely 180 degrees on the other side of the door. The spots right along the walls on either side of the door may harbor zombies. Side-step into the room while aiming at these areas.

If you would rather not take this risk, you can reach out with just your hand going through the door, with your blaster pointing at one of the two points. Fire a quick round here; if a zombie hiding in that small, hidden window, it will be stunned by your dart/disc. The point of this is to take out any zombies that you can’t see, without putting you anywhere near it (except for maybe your hand for about a second), but it is a “just in case” tactic. Repeat this for the other side and continue through the room.

These tactics should always be used by the first person in a group. Using them properly will always increase your odds of survival, along with that of other members of your team.

You know those guys that say ‚ÄúYou‚Äôll never be one of the last humans‚ÄĚ? Yeah, screw those guys. You’re awesome, and this is how you’re gonna prove it!

Right then! So you wanna be a foam-flingin’ super saiyan slaiyin’ badarse of a human? You wanna be recognized cross-campus as “that guy!” and take on hordes of undead single handedly? Well you’re in the right place. This post is dedicated to what it means to be a great human. So read on, and git yo’ learnin’ on!

Rule # 1 – Equip a better-than-average blaster

This rule pretty much explains itself. The better out-of-the-box weapon you have, the better off you will be. Which would you rather have: A 6 shot (fairly regularly jamming) Maverick, or a 35 round slam fire Raider? Also, have a backup! Whether it’s another blaster or a wad of marshmallows, don’t let your primary blaster be your only anti-zombie device. Because the second the undead hear the “clink!” of an empty dart chamber, it’s buffet time at Uncle Zed’s Barbecue, and you’re on the menu.

Rule # 2 – Know your weapon

Have you ever heard the expression “Your weapon is an extension of your body”? It’s an old warrior monk saying, and you would do well to listen to their advice. The better you know your weapon of choice, whether it’s a bolt action, shotgun-pump, automatic, or melee weapon (or anything else) the better your odds are of survival. You should get comfortable ¬†with it before the game starts. That means getting used to holding it, getting ¬†used to the trigger ¬†strength (how far you have to pull the trigger to make it fire) and even multiple ways of holding it and firing it case you drop it and are in a scramble. Also learning how to fire it as fast as possible ¬†without making it jam will be crucial. A good rule of thumb ¬†is that you should be able to reload, ¬†fully operate, disassemble & ¬†reassemble your blaster in the dark. Know thine blaster *insert pirate accent* and ye may yet live ter see another day! YAARRRR!

Rule # 3 – Don’t be afraid

You shouldn’t be afraid of zombies. As long as you have ammo and a clear head (strategy doesn’t hurt either) you will always be much better off than someone who shivers and panics at the sight of them. You CAN beat them, remember that. Unless you’re all out of ammo, then run like every step might be your last. :]

Rock it like this guy. A cool head and a great blaster can make a loooot of intimidation.

Rule # 5 – Strategy Strategy STRATEGY!!

This is by far the most important rule of the lot. Any given human can be tough, but a group of humans (all calm, collected, and well equipped) can be nigh impenetrable. below are some of the most effective strategies you should employ in HvZ, along with one you shouldn’t.

The Phalanx

This is the simplest tactic there is, and is used when your group is rushed by a group of zombies. All humans line up shoulder-to-shoulder and bear down on the enemy. It is best executed in the same style archers would use in the middle ages. First, all blasters are fired at the same time, this creates what is known as a “wall of foam” blast that usually stuns the entire first, and sometimes second, row of zombies. This first launch should be sent when zombies reach the 15 – 25 foot mark (15 – 25 feet away from you). After this, it’s a free for all fire-at-will. That means that anyone can fire at whatever zombie they want, whenever they want. These fire-at-wills last until the end of the rush.

Here you can see a human squad easily taking out 9 zombies using a double phalanx.

There are a few variants to phalanxes, but they’re all easy to understand. Beyond the basic, one layer deep phalanx, you¬†have the double phalanx.¬†This is just like a regular phalanx only two layers deep. The second layer is either directly behind the first, positioned with their blasters pointing out between the shoulders of the first layer, or you can have the first layer crouch down onto their knees. This gives the rear layer a wider turn radius, increasing their chances of hitting their target. This also makes the front row a smaller target for the zombies to tag, but it does reduce their fleeing speed a bit (they have to stand up before they can run away, this may be a life-threatening second they have to spend). It is generally safer to be in the rear layer.

You can also incorporate the use of a triple phalanx, the ultimate wall-of-foam generator. This is a three layer deep version, with one crouching layer, and two standing layers with the rear humans aiming between the shoulders of the second row. Any more layers (like a quadruple or quintuple phalanx) and humans would start getting in each others’ way, reducing efficiency.

The phalanx is best used for blocking an area from zombie intrusion. The best example would be the stretch between two buildings. A phalanx in the open is okay, but the humans are only defended on one side, which is fine if that’s where all the zombies are. However, at LEAST 1 member should be devoted to watching the rear. If this member spots a zombie trying to sneak in from behind, he can shout and the humans can move into the next formation, the 360.

The 360

This can also be viewed as a variant of the phalanx. In this version, all members form a circle around a central point. This is sometimes a person, and when it is, it is either a very tall member of the squad or the team leader. Wherever this person moves, the others revolve around him. Depending on the number of humans on the team, the perimeter may be from 5 – 15 feet from the center point.

Here is an example of a single layer 360. However each blaster should be pointing directly at one zombie at all times. This is intimidating to zombies.

Another option is a double 360. This is where two layers of humans are incorporated, however the outer layer will be crouching. To further the effect, the two layers should be spinning in opposite directions. This will confuse (and intimidate the crap out of) surrounding zombies. This technique makes it to where no zombie has a single target to focus on while preparing for a rush. Instead they see a spinning drill of blasters, very hard to overcome. However, this advanced version of the 360 will only last as long as your outer ring’s legs. Crouching is tough on the thighs, and people tire out quick. Use this advanced version only in severe cases.

Finally, remember to NEVER STOP MOVING when in the 360 formation. Your goal is to get out of the “We’re surrounded!” situation and get into a better defensive location.

The Flywheel

This is like a mini – 360, no more than 5 members. It is best used for transporting several people across an open area or field where no zombies are immediately present, but are known to frequent. This technique is done by having 3 – 5 members travel as a spiraling circle across the open area. This keeps all members on their toes, constantly scanning every direction. Once an enemy is spotted, the other members can be notified using landmarks “zombie by the bell tower”.

The Clover (or Wedge) Formation

This is the most complicated formation I currently know, and it uses ranks. It is to be used for large groups of humans (20 -30 members) and can be modified to fit your specific needs. Each member stands between 3 – 6 feet away from their nearest team members. All distances are equal and at 90 degree angles.

At the heart of the clover lies the Platoon Leader. He focuses 90%+ on what is going on around him, without worrying about where to point his blaster. That job lies with everyone else. The platoon leader watches the battle from the safest position, and directs the team to perform certain acts, such as “move left, forward 50 paces, form into a 360” etc. He makes sure the integrity of the team’s structure is maintained (he makes sure people stand where their supposed to, and makes sure that every person is doing their individual job. That being said, there are only four people that the platoon leader talks to frequently, the Fire Team Leaders.

The four Fire Team Leaders surround the Platoon Leader on his front, back, and sides. They are both his personal guards and his connection to the rest of the team. They are the most experienced, calmest, best equipped, and best performing members on the team, short of only the Platoon Leader himself. When the PL gives an order, each FTL repeats it to his individual Fire Team. When a member of these fire teams finds new information (such as spotting a zombie) they first tell their own Fire Team Leader and he, in turn, informs the Platoon Leader. The PL then decides how to handle this situation, speaks his decision to the four FTLs, and through them the rest of the team is informed.

Support Gunners Stand next to Fire Team Leaders. They are the weakest (meaning most lightly armed, little firepower) and least experienced members of the team. These members often have small, one shot blasters, or blasters that aren’t very reliable. To compensate for this, they often carry large bags of marshmallows or socks, and act as mobile supply crates for their surrounding team members. Their chief role is to keep the Outgunners supplied while still firing a few rounds at zombies as they approach the Outgunners. There are 4 Support Gunners.

The last, and most numerous, human type is the Outgunner. They are the individuals with some experience in the game. They often have excellent blasters such as Rayvens, Swarmfires, or Stampedes. You will rarely see a single shot or pistol style blaster in the hands of an Outgunner. They surround the Support Gunner on three sides, the FTL is on her fourth.

*My personal Support Gunner was a girl with a Maverick. No discrimination intended. Girls rule!

Outgunners are usually the first to see, and engage, zombies. They maintain the perimeter and push through the zombie ranks first. There are 12 Outgunners.

An aerial (top-down) view of the Clover Formation.

The Battle Ball

This is the WORST formation EVER! It should be called the Death Ball.

The Battle Ball is a bit like an angry ant hill. Team members have no definite position and are clustered together in a big wad. Blasters are pointed in every direction, but everyone is in everyone else’s way. This limits mobility severely. It also reduces firepower TREMENDOUSLY. Where you could have 30 blasters facing the rushing horde in a Phalanx formation, you instead have 10, and they’re having to strain to get around the people in their way.

After using this technique against a 100 strong horde on the last day of HvZ, my team of 30 had a 90% casualty loss, leaving only the Platoon Leader, myself (front Fire Team Leader) and an Outgunner left. NEVER use the Battle Ball.

Last tips

Go humans! Woo!

Just a few more things to run over. Spiraling. This can be used in any formation (except maybe the 360) while walking. To spiral, you just do a short spin on your feet once every twenty feet of so to do a quick 360 degree check of what’s behind you. If everyone in your group does this you should have a very good perspective of your surroundings.

Building hopping. This is just for going to and from class, or grabbing lunch. Grab a campus map and choose the route that places you farthest away from the hub (most active) part of campus while still minimizing the time you actually spend outside. Most buildings are safe zones, remember this. Also, find people with similar schedules as you and building hop together. Humans are always stronger in packs.

Well that’s it for now. I’m sure that I’ll come up with some more advice soon, but until then, practice, gear up and get your group together. Good luck human!

You CAN be the last human!

Get your foam on

~ ShiningFoam

Oh noes! You’ve been infected!

I’m a zombie!?!! NOOOOOOOO!!!

Yep! One way or another you’ve been turned! But fear not! The game isn’t over! In fact, many players prefer being on the brainless team. And now it’s your turn to be the big scary monstah! Flee little humans! Mwuahahahaahhaa!! *cough!* :p

So you won’t be one of the last remaining humans, big deal! Zombies get lots of perks that humans wish for. This post goes over those perks, just don’t expect any twinkies.

I’m like a twinkie, I’m full of self-preservation.

*twinkies or other hostes snacks are sometimes rewarded to long-surviving humans. This idea was birthed from the movie Zombieland, where main character Tallahassee goes through the zombie apocalypse searching only for revenge, and creamy, twinkie-y goodness.

Perk # 1

You don’t have to be afraid of going outside anymore! Most humans are hesitant to do so much as go get lunch during the game. And it’s all because they’re terrified of you. They miss classes, and may very well cower in their room all week just in order to survive. You, as with all your zombie friends, don’t have this problem. You have free range over the campus. No more missed classes, no more feelings of improsonment, and a considerably shorter line at Chick-fil-A.

Zombie cat fist bump.

Like this post if you fist bumped the screen!

Perk numbah 2!!

You can’t die anymore! From now on the worst that can happen to you is that you become stunned and are out of the game for about 10 minutes. That’s it. Because of this, you’ll be able to actually play the game more often. You can get tagged over and over again, and still you’ll get to harass the barnacles off of humans. You may even decide to purposefully go get stunned, just to see the sheer look of terror on the face of the victim you’ve chosen to rush at! No more fear for you!

¬°Kerp n√ļmero tres!

You don’t have to carry around any equipment. No bulky blasters or socks, you just need a headband, and that can fit in your pocket if you need to take it off. This lack of stuff to carry around makes you faster than most humans, and speed is a very, VERY big advantage.

Perk # 4

Intimidation – while this trait can be shared by both humans and zombies, zombies tend to look much, much scarier when they want to.

So that’s it, you go from a foam-flinging superhero to a nigh-invincible nightmare. Not a bad tradeoff, and certainly just as fun. And if you get your hands on a melee weapon (no blasters for zombies) you can look pretty dang awesome too. Now go forth, and nom some brains!¬†

So what is Humans versus Zombies?

Remember when you were little and played the game of “tag” with your friends. Welp, that game just got a whooole lot more awesome! Let me present to you tag’s big brother, Humans versus Zombies. The mechanics are simple; humans blast zombies with Nerf ammo, marshmallows, socks, or anything else soft in an effort to survive until the end of the game. Zombies try to settle a rather large stomachache by filling their guts with the most delicious thing they know of, humans. Full description after the jump.

The Basics¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† HvZ consists of two teams; Humans and, well… zombies. Humans wear armbands, while zombies don headbands. These are used to show other players what team they are on, and may be moved to indicate certain things affecting that player, such as a stunned versus non-stunned zombie. There are two objectives to the game. The humans simply try to survive, which is MUCH harder than it sounds, while the zombies try to infect all the humans. This is done by either giving a “zombie hug” or a two-hand-touch.¬†The game starts off with several hundred humans (although some games start with thousands) and¬†a single (or a few) zombies. These are known as the original zombies, or OZs. They, like all other zombies, must “feed” on a human within 48 hours of their original reanimation (being turned into a zombie), otherwise they will starve and are out of the game. When the original zombies feed for the first time, their victims become zombies as well. This means that there are more hungry, decomposing mouths to feed, From the time of infection, both the older and newly animated zombie have 48 hours until they starve. 2 zombies become 4. 4 zombies become 8, 8 becomes 16… Sooner or later the zombies outnumber the humans, their numbers are still growing, and they are still so very hungry.

So how do you fight such a wave of undead as this?¬†Ohh, I’m glad you asked. HvZ wouldn’t be HvZ without one thing, Nerf blasters.

Sweet, sweet Nerf blasters. Vulcans, Recons, Nitrons, Mavericks, you name it! If it fires foam it’s game! Humans are allowed to carry as many Nerf weapons as they like. This means that every player has a unique playstyle. There are snipers, reconnaissance, assault squads, a whole slew of unique setups is available. The only requirements are that modded blasters be approved by game moderators (for safety) and that any paint jobs given be brightly colored (no realism) so as not to scare people. Melee weapons sometimes require special permits that can be earned throughout the game, and socks or marshmallows are always allowed as a secondary form of ammunition. Although if you go the marshmallow route you may find yourself snacking through your ammo. ūüôā

When a zombie approaches a human, the human fires his Nerf darts at the zombie. Skilled humans can hit zombies from dozens of feet away, while skilled zombies can duck and weave their way around the flying darts and are nearly impossible to hit. If a zombie IS hit with a nerf dart, sock, marshmallow or anything of the like, they are “stunned”. While stunned, they may not interact in the game at all until their respawn time is over. This is just like a video game respawn. These times are usually between 10 – 15 minutes, during which time a zombie lowers their headband around their neck to indicate that they are stunned. In some games, the timer can be reset by hitting a zombie while still stunned. Humans using this tactic can essentially keep a close-by zombie stunned indefinitely. This rule reinforces the idea of stunned zombies leaving humans alone. If the zombie is successful and tags the human, the human places his armband around his neck for the “infection time”. During his infection, the human may not interact with any other players. After the infection (usually about 10 minutes) he moves the band to his head and is now a zombie.

The different choices in load-outs (the weapons you choose to use) and skill levels give the game a certain element that makes it the addictive, strategy-driven wonder that it is.

The Original Zombie          Original Zombies are also known as the first day nightmare. On day one of the game, these zombies have no markings whatsoever to distinguish them from anyone else on campus. The OZs can literally be anyone, including your professor in some cases. These zombies usually end up taking leadership roles within the zombie horde. They decide where to send their minions, how many to send, and most importantly, when to attack.

Zombie Tactics                                                                                                                                  Zombies use a few techniques for acquiring new kills pretty often. These are sneaking, ambushing, and rushing.

Sneaking – I’m guessing there are a few areas on your campus that become highly congested throughout the day. Those areas are death-traps. Zombies will use these areas to their advantage, crouching behind non-playes to hide their distinguishable headbands. They stalk humans here, staying behind their victim and out of sight. When they are within arms reach, WHAM! They give the target human an infecting hug and the horde grows!

Ambuscades – Lone zombies use this tactic more than any other. They like to hide just around corners, outside doors, or in large bushes and wait for their victim to wander too close. When they pounce, the target human often has about a second before they are turned.

Rushing – Single zombies in the open aren’t too much of a threat. They fix this by gathering together in what are known as hordes, large groups easily exceeding 100 zombies. Hordes are commonly seen patrolling the hub of campus, waiting for humans to show themselves on their way to or from a class. When the human is spotted, all zombies run at the target, swarm around them ¬†and then collapse in on them. The human is overwhelmed by sheer numbers, and the horde slowly grows. Lone humans should run at the first sight of a horde. This tactic is also used during missions. Humans are usually grouped together in missions and, when well organized, can send a “wall of foam” at approaching zombies, essentially stunning everything in sight. Zombies get around this by hiding behind other zombies. When rushing, the first row can typically be stunned by a large human unit. It is the second row that then shoots out from behind the first (stunned) row and attacks the humans.

Missions                                                Games typically last one week, during which missions are given to the players. This is the meat of the game, because outcomes of missions affect how the game evolves throughout the play-period. Missions may be things like protecting an area for a certain period of time, rescuing a VIP, retrieving a piece to a broken-down airplane, etc. Human successes make surviving easier by creating safe zones, giving extra ammo or even blasters, or increasing the zombie respawn time. Successful zombie missions make it harder for the humans to survive by removing safe zones, decreasing zombie respawn times or giving special attributes to some zombies, such as the use of a melee weapon.

Here I am with my loadout, a Praxis and a Proton, along with a few marshmallows for good measure.

Connections¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†The game ends when either at least one human survives until the end of the last day, or when all humans have been turned into zombies. But what the game itself creates lasts much, much longer than a week. The game is very much a relationship-builder. Without a doubt, you’ll meet dozens of people that will become your friends and allies throughout the game (I must have made 20 myself). I’ve even heard stories about couples developing and ending in marriage because of it. I myself recorded the whole game at Auburn University and posted it online. I’ve even made friends as far away as California because of it!

So what is HvZ? It’s a zombie-hunting, foam-flinging, friend-forming thrill ride where you either survive the zombie apocalypse as a campus hero, or become one of the undead and get to scare the whiskers off your friends! It’s the biggest Nerf war there is, and it’s the adrenaline rush of a lifetime!

So, human… You ready to have an adventure? ūüėČ

Get your foam on

~ ShiningFoam

The full season of HvZ at Auburn University can be seen here, in full 1080 HD first-person.