Bioflex Betrays! Zombie LARP

Last November I attended one of the UK’s coolest live action zombie events. Zombie LARP: Nightmare took place at the UEA Norwich and was an epic event jam-packed with zombies, genetically modified mutants, lunatics, rubber fire axes and an armoury of Nerf weaponry to satisfy even the most disturbingly enthusiastic gun-bunny. I was a little late signing up to play but was happy to join the ranks of the perma-zombies and excitedly attended the event, with video camera in hand.

Unfortunately for some the adverse weather meant a few attendees had to cancel and the GMs offered player slots to the perma-zombie crew. Anxiously, but excitedly, I accepted.

I’ve done my share of LARP over the years; even running events myself, but that was then. I hadn’t partaken for some time and, quite frankly, Zombie LARP presents an interesting new take on the LARP formula.

Nerf Maverick: Modded and Painted - Nerf BAP

Gone is the tavern/bar and talks around campfires, the hours of chatting (character development), the epic linear and a boss-battle on a Sunday morning. Zombie LARP starts In Media Res…and there it stays.
A quick in-character briefing, a few moments of foreboding paranoia and then…well…to quote Jeff Goldblum. “Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s the running and screaming."
Zombie LARP takes place over the course of one night as a series of ‘runs’, each ‘run’ is approximately 15 minutes long with a half-dozen or so players taking part. The layout of the site means they can go wherever they want and the games are fast-paced, intense, action driven and combat heavy. The beauty of the formula is, pretty much everyone who attends gets to play during the night and almost everyone not ‘playing’ is either a zombie, special character or GM so, whichever way the party goes, something grizzly and challenging awaits.

Something that sets Zombie LARP apart from traditional LARP is that dying is, refreshingly, an accepted, if not encouraged, part of the event. Survival is cool, but the game is not about winning; it is about being in the midst of a zombie outbreak and we all know that typically involves having your guts shredded or being eaten alive at some point during the proceedings. The survival rate is low and as they put it ‘Your character's death is often your best chance to write yourself into the many legends and myths of Zombie LARP’. They even have a forum thread entitled ‘So, how did you die?’

The events are very atmospheric. Shadowy figures of the recently deceased shamble in the dim half-light. Claustrophobia reigns. The visceral feel of a sidearm in a sweaty palm does little for your confidence as the moans of the undead fill the corridors and the screams of their victims spread panic through the party. It’s a fun-filled night zomb-gasm of a way to spend a night.

Their current site is well suited to the genre, although they are looking for new venues, the rules are simple to learn and ‘add’ without ‘detracting’ and the attendees are all there for one thing – the joy of zombie apocalypse simulation. The GMs do a fantastic job of putting together a great event and make sure everyone is having fun and is well and truly in the spirit of the event. If you get rule 1, you get the vibe.

Check them out. The website it is well presented, superbly written and laced with a wonderful sense of humour. It’s about zombies, about killing zombies, about being eaten by zombies and about having fun with people who are as geek as you about zombies. Did I mention the zombies?

Live the nightmare. Zombie LARP, we salute you.

Zombie LARP: Evolution runs on the 5th March 2011

Future Zombie LARP events can be found at Zombie Shop

Flu-like symptoms and new additions

A week away on business and a bout of flu that left friends and family members ‘in the know’ wondering if they should simply put a bullet in my brain before I started chewing on them were not events that meant a whole lot of hobby done of late.
Microtactix supermarket
Before those two occurrences another building for my All Things Zombie Outbreak City did get completed. The Microtactix supermarket. It was a tricky build due to the inset entrance. It wouldn’t have been a problem if I had worked in card but my decision to use foamcore bit back. The building is very flavoursome and will likely be an obvious survivor destination.
I have another supermarket, this time from TommyGun, underway and look forward to filling them both with plenty of groceries and loot.
I did add a few additional roof access stairs and air conditioning units, to add a little more flavour and some cover for roof-top battles.

Air Con Unit

Before I went away or succumbed to being patient zero I ordered a plethora of new toys to keep the postman busy and give me something to look forward to.
The Ebbles Archive DVD finally arrived. Whoot! Unfortunately a trip to the post-office and an additional payment to Mr Revenue and Customs was required to collect the treasure trove of card-modelling goodness. Thankfully there is so much in the DVD that by the time I got it home and started browsing the charge seemed irrelevant. So many of the models work superbly for zombie gaming; underground bases a la that Umbrella Corporation, check, military vehicles, check, barracks, check, stock room supplies, check, bathroom sink (and showers) check. Whilst there is a gritty sci-fi theme running through the work there are tons of great models screaming out to be built.
Ebbles FUS, pre-build print outs
The first model to be made was a simple workshop bench, to add to the generator workshop, following Doug and Bryan’s, advice a medium FUS is printed and ready to go.

What I wouldn't do for two chainsaws and a canoe paddle
Studio Miniatures Zombie Horde #1 have had a little love, just a few pieces have been de-flashed and are ready for basing. They should be hitting the painting table soon.
Studio Miniatures - Awesome
Studio Miniatures Zombies
I needed a few more survivors and having trawled the Ebbles DVD I’m tempted to give Gun Crawl a go, with a zombie make-over. To that end I purchased the Hasslefree Hazmat Squad, with a few extra 25mm bases to replace the studio miniatures ones. I don’t have a problem with the studio miniatures bases (they are actually rather good) it is simply that a wider base makes it harder to fit miniatures into a small building and by the time you’ve filled a small room with set-dressing, a few mm can make all the difference.
Who you gonna call? Zombusters
All I need to do now is actually focus on any one of these mini projects and perhaps I’ll actually finish something.

All hail paracetamol!

For A Nickel, For a Dime

In the dark, twisted fairytale of Outbreak City the streets are full of stuff, you know, bits, things, junk…stuff: telephone boxes, vending machines, fire hydrants, park benches, road signs, lamp posts, crash barriers, trash cans, dumpsters and the boxes, bags of trash, pallets and grimy, slimy detritus that fills the rat-infested alleyways and gets sent sprawling across the street in car chases.
Outbreak Alleyway
Having started to build Outbreak City for my All Things Zombie games in the card modelling style I was keen to keep that theme going. What seemed initially daunting wasn’t so much of a problem once I started researching on the intertubes. Here is just a small selection of the many items available; more stuff than could realistically be put onto one table, unless it was a really big one.

The Microtactix range has a number of dumpsters, drinks and newspaper vending machines, air conditioning units and similar items, these come as extras with some of their buildings.
Zombie Apocalypse = Free Vend.
Worldworks Games seem to produce the largest volume of items in their Bits of Mayhem set and whilst I don’t have this yet, it is firmly on the ‘NEED’ list.

Following Bryan and Doug's advice I giddily await the Ebbles back catalogue DVD, more on that once it arrives, but I did find these ‘Harmless Containers’ for free download via their forum, here. I suffered considerable ribbing, from a friend who works with shipping companies, in relation to this photo. Note to self: stack them neatly on top of each other in future.
'Harmless' they said!
TommyGun does what with Paper? Over at WarSeer or the Ebbles Forums TommyGun has made available some fantastic items, from packing boxes to arcade machines and office workstations.
Loot, swag and first aid supplies.
No change? Try hollowpoint.
He also has a full gallery of downloadable printable items available here.

The ‘branded’ goods items are superb and it is all free. He even provides a scale guide to help you can adjust your printer. It is not just ‘bits’ he has created either. He has created an entire shanty town, perfect for a little backwoods sawmill type action, and an amazing range of modern buildings including his take on Andy’s Gun Works from the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. Awesome! Thank you TommyGun, thank you very much.
Andy's Gun Works - WIP.