Tuesday, June 11, 2013

HvZ Super Saturday (Part 1)

A cool summer breeze sweeps through the city of San Francisco. The streets are buzzing with activity as people go about their normal routines. The city is particularly busy today, given that it's Saturday and everyone has some free time to spare. Some choose to spend the day with loved ones. Others opt to run errands and take care of the tasks forgotten during the workweek. No matter the person, the city stands as a testament to human ingenuity and the liberation provided by free choice.

However, there is another type of denizen roaming San Francisco.  A creature compelled by instinct, only able to respond to urges beyond their control. They hide among us, former shadows of the men and women they used to be. All humanity has drained from their eyes, leaving behind blank windows to the soul behind. Their one purpose in life is to consume, turn the rest of a world so full of life into something as meaningless as they have become.  The city can fall, and as it goes, so too does the rest of humanity.

This past Saturday I had the opportunity to play Humans vs Zombies with two groups up in San Francisco. The first group was with the Foam Action Network, taking the zombie fights to the streets of San Francisco. The rules for the FAN game stick to the more basic side of HvZ. There are no special infected, any type of blaster is allowed, and melee/socks are good to go. The unique part of the FAN HvZ games has to be the city landscape and the different locations traveled during the missions. Each time I go to a FAN game, I get to explore a new part of San Francisco and learn a little more about the city.

One of the greatest challenges I faced in the day was trying to work with the city to complete my objectives. San Francisco is a busy place and it's very difficult to control any factors going on in the city, which can make an HvZ game very complex. A lot of times players would hide behind cars (parked and moving) and duck into doorways waiting for humans to walk by.  Crossing busy streets and waiting on stoplights slows down the flow of the game and on occasion bring the combat to a halt.  I know personally I was brought out of action a few times to check on kids to make sure they were okay.

The landscape also presented strong challenges as well. Anyone familiar with San Francisco knows how full of hills the city is, and the steep hills were not doing my legs any favors. There a lot of uphill and downhill travel, so prepare for your calves to get a work out. After a mission took us through a long series of stairs, I remarked that we had changed from 28 Days Later zombies to classic Romero zombies that shuffled slowly through the streets and moaned in agony. Anyone who knows me in person can attest to my fatigued legs. I've been limping around all day!

Overall, the FAN HvZ Day Game was a fun experience. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to check out the city and get a feel for what it's like to fight a zombie invasion on the streets of a real city. However, be prepared to do a lot of walking and navigating the city. It's very easy to get turned around in the city, make sure to grab a map or have a phone with a GPS handy to find your way around. Be sure to travel light as well, since there are no places to drop off your extra gear.

If you want to check out the group, check out the FAN page or take a look at their MeetUp Group. Let us know what you think of playing HvZ in an urban environment in the comments below. Stay tuned for Part 2, where I go into detail about the San Francisco State University Night HvZ Game!

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