Nerf N-Strike Elite Rampage Review

BasicNerf and I have completed the next episode of our N-Strike Elite Reviews. Jason brought his good looks and the blaster, I brought commentary and editing. Check out the video below!

The N-Strike Elite Rampage has many of the same features as the Raider CS-35, its predecessor. It is a pump-action shotgun-styled blaster that features slam fire capabilities, along with several attachment points for accessories. However, nearly all its features are upgrades to what the Raider offered. It is more powerful, more accurate, and more comfortable than the Raider could ever hope to be. Full discussion of the blaster is below.

The Drum – The blasters 25 round Elite drum is an improvement over the Raiders 35 rounder. It is sleeker, and symmetrical. This means that it does not impede vision as the 35 drum did. It also is more economic in the fact that it does not jut out to one side while docked in a blaster with a vertical clip bay. This makes it beneficial to right handers and lefties alike. BasicNerf also believes it to be a smoother, faster alternative than it’s predecessor when it comes to chambering the next round.

The Barrel – While not removable like the Retaliator, the Rampages barrel is rifled, meaning greater dart accuracy will accompany any user of this blaster, regardless of dart type used.

Attachment Points – the Rampage has two accessory rails running along it’s back. Any Nerf N-Strike,  N-Strike Elite, or Super Soaker tactical rail accessory can be equipped here (including the Stampede shield in either location). The blaster also offers a stock hold. Again, any Nerf stock may be equipped. Lastly, the handle of the Rampage features a D-Ring attachment point. A bandolier strap is suggested here.

Extra Ammo Housing – The handle allows a single, final dart to be stored within it; perfect for that last ditch effort to get you out of a pinch or secure victory for your team.

The Nerf N-Strike Elite Rampage, available August 1st for $29.99.

Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator Review

BasicNerf and I figured that you all needed a full review on the upcoming N-Strike Elite Retaliator, and so… we made one! In the video below, Jason gives his thoughts on the performance and “feel” of the blaster, while I give info. on the tactical aspect that comes along with it. We hope you like it!

The break-down The Retaliator comes with several cool accessories that allow you to customize it to suit your needs. Each accessory is actually functional, and definitely not just for show.

The Stock – Many Nerf Stocks lack in the strength department, and players often worry about breaking their stock in the heat of battle. That isn’t a problem for the new Elite Retaliator stock. It features thick walls and a solid butt plate for pocketing into your shoulder. There is no give to this stock, and no fear of breaking.

The Barrel – The new barrel attachment offers a new Nerf feature, rifling. This is where grooves molded into the barrel cause the dart to spin as it exits the blaster. This spinning causes the dart to stay on course, and increases blaster accuracy. BasicNerf’s firing tests have proven that the rifling does in fact improve blaster performance.

The Fore-grip – The Retaliator comes with an assault grip that attaches to the bottom of the barrel extension. This grip makes holding the blaster more comfortable, and makes turning and aiming the blaster quicker and easier.

The 12 Round Retaliator Clip – A 12 round half-clear clip is included when you purchase an N-Strike Elite Retaliator. This clip offers twice the ammo capacity of the blasters predecessor, the Recon CS-6, and features a large window to monitor ammo levels. Very useful for mid-battle ammo checks.

The Pistol Itself – The Retaliator is a pistol, although an extremely versatile one that can turn into an assault rifle-styled blaster. It offers a new, smoother priming motion and an increased dart range of 75 feet. It is comfortable to hold and is compatible with all Nerf N-Strike accessories.

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

Advanced Zombie Charging Tactics


Okay, so as a zombie, your most powerful weapon against humans is the charge. But HOW you charge can greatly affect your odds of recruiting a new human into the horde. Below the classic horde rush, along with several more advanced rushes are described. These, when used properly, will help your group of zombies be more coordinated, and more efficient brain-connesoirs. So read up, and terrify some humans! ;D

Horde Rush

The Xs represent zombies about to charge. There is no order in the Horde Rush. It is a favorite among new zombies and a great fallback when getting newbies used to rushing.

This is the classic, inevitable rush that all humans know and hate. This tactic is very simple to execute, but it’s success depends largely on which defensive tactic the humans you are rushing at are using. To use the horde rush, the lead zombie simple counts down or zero and yells “Charge!”. All zombies in the vicinity rush as the humans at the same time. There is no order, no structure, no plan. Any humans caught using this tactic are done so either by sheer dumb luck, human error, or blaster malfunction. The only time this will be incredibly successful is when your horde hopelessly outnumbers the humans, the humans are inexperienced, poorly equipped, or out of ammo.

Improvements on the Horde Rush

If your horde is large enough, the humans are likely to hear your leader count down to zero and yell “CHARGE!!”. This signal tells the humans exactly when to fire, which is a bad thing. In order to give the humans no signal, you can use one of two techniques for announcing the start of the charge.

A strategy-driven horde is a happy horde. :]

  • A Stealthy Pop! – I call this the pop because it’s something subtle, like the snap of a finger, placing your foot a little too far to the right when you take a step, or even saying a particular word in a monologue.                                                                                                          ”We will feast on your bones, humans! And what’s left of you *CHARGE* will become part of the horde!”                                                                                                                                              The leader should do the pop, and the horde rushes, supposedly without a cue.
  • Secondary Announcers – You may designate several people to help whisper “charge” quietly throughout your horde. The leader should say it just so that the people around him can here. Those that do here may then pass along the information. Counting down to charge should also be done quietly.

The point of these improvements is to take information away from the humans. The less they know, even if it’s just a ten second heads up, the better. Because the humans can take this advantage to pull a “Hey! They’re counting down! Get ready to launch a volley of marshmallows!” taking out half your team right off the bat.

When you surround the humans, they can’t focus all their fire in one direction, making it easier for you to dodger their darts.

Surround and Collapse

The next rush type is pretty simple. Just have your horde surround the humans on all sides, forming a circle, and then collapse the circle in on them. While this will thin out your forces, it also makes the incoming darts much less clustered, making them easier to dodge. This attack can really only be done in a spacious, open area.

The Flying V

Have you ever seen Canada geese? They fly in that V-shape right? Well that’s how you’re going to charge the humans! To use the V, one person stands at the front of the formation. Two lines of zombies form behind him, each branching behind him, one to his left and one to his right, just like Canada geese. This formation allows all zombies to still be able to see the humans, while still being giving them some cover. By cover I mean that the zombies at the front of the V are more or less mobile shields. Their purpose is to get stunned, take the hit for their team members, and let them get closer. When the zombie at the front of the V is hit, he stops and the two wings of the V run past him. This process repeats itself over and over, with each wave getting a little closer to the humans. Several Vs executed at the same time can be very effective.

Modification to the V

A more effective variant to the V would be to have your horde line up in rows before the rush. When the first line is tagged, the second pops out and gets closer, then the third, fourth, etc. While this will reduce visibility for zombies further back in the pack, it will increase the chances of them being shielded from darts longer.

*Insert fun biological fact!* “Canada Goose” is the common name for the species Branta canadensis, but these birds aren’t only found in Canada. Most Canada geese will stay within 50 miles of where they were born for their whole life, and if that’s in America, it’s actually an American Canada goose that you’re seeing.There are even Mexican Canada geese. I’ve never seen an actual Canadian Canada goose. 😛

Canada goose (Branta canadensis)


An effective way to get closer to your target is by distracting them with something else. These can be whoops, hollers, howls, yells, clapping or any sort of noise making. I know this works because it freaked me out during my first ever HvZ mission. While the human focuses on what just made the noise, you rush, and by the time the human focuses on you it may be too late. ;]

That’s all I’ve got for now. A post on Ambuscades will be coming up soon so stay tuned!

Slicin’ the Pie

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

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.


 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 “You’ll never be one of the last humans”? 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