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Author Topic: Tactics for Snow?  (Read 7923 times)

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« on: April 11, 2013, 06:04:30 PM »

My school's* spring game is starting up on Friday (4/12/13). On Tuesday the area got hit with a bit of an April blizzard. Now, the weather has turned and the snow is melting at a good clip, but there is going to be non-trivial levels of snow cover for at least the first couple of missions. I don't recall any of the past games here having to deal with much snow. So, I ask you, what sort of tactical adjustments are necessary when playing in the snow?
Since it is warm enough the snow is wet and heavy and ice isn't much of any issue. Depending on how fast it melts large portions of the "grass" are going to have up to 10" of snow (on the first day anyway), with occasional drifts deeper. Movement off of paths that were cleared or at least trampled down is going to be slow going. Any ideas of how to turns any of this to an advantage (for either side)?

*South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

Sixth Kira

"I'll take this potato chip... and I'll eat it!"

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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2013, 09:39:46 AM »

It's going to necessitate a lot of on-path playing, which will severely restrict your movement, especially when carrying your gear. Mobile playstyles and skirmishing are going to be functionally N/A, so I'd actually suspect that you're going right back to the olden days of HvZ, back when battle lines and set piece battles were the norm. Especially when off-path and in heavy snow, your best bet will be to set up a firing line and try to funnel in the zombies. Of course, it'll work to your favour as a human.

As a zombie? Warm clothes, white raincoat and overpants, and lie down in the snow. Cue massive ambushes.

Wearer of the great and mighty longcoat. Worship my coat and all it stands for, gentlemen.

"Sir, how many darts does this blaster fire per second?"

"all of them"

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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2013, 10:38:41 AM »

Well, the way it affects your game will probably depend on whether or not anyone minds the snow that much. People who don't really care about getting wet or are used to heavy snow will most likely just put on some snow boots and walk on through it. However, if you are pretty sure that most people at your school dislike the snow and wetness, then Sixth Kira's suggestion will hold. On the other hand, if a lot of humans show up wearing snow gear and just walk through the snow, the advantage might go to the zombies, as snow boots and snow pants would probably impair the humans' ability to run.

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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2013, 04:44:47 AM »

The tactics will depend on the amount of snow, snow type, temperature, and terrain. Generally maneuvering is most hampered when the snowfall is at shin-level or above. Neither party will be able to run as fast or dodge and move away quickly as your legs get bogged down working through the snow. So obviously with lower the snow levels, more speed can be obtained more quickly. However, snow can also be insanely slick if only as high as a shoe-sole. Not to say that someone won't be able to sprint through foot deep snow, it will just take longer to get moving, and get used to moving through that kind of snow. If they are making a new path then they can be followed down it. Sidewalks, parking lots, and central plazas will have a tenancy to be the most cleared parts of the map; so yes, places where people normally walk and enjoy themselves. However, depending on the length of time that the snow has been there, they can rather easily to psuedo ice-rinks if they haven't been sanded(sometimes even if they have been if one is going fast enough), or more often, just after they have been scrapped off. Parking lots and roads can suffer from this as well because traffic will cause the snow to compact to ice. This can be advantageous to either party as a human rushing to change direction can slip just as easily as a zombie having to dodge around a stunned comrade. [These happened to a zombified friend of mine twice(trip up of maneuvering), and me as a human once(zombie getting past another one). Once a human was being chased into a building, the zombified friend walked out and the human slipped and fell on their bum and my friend tagged them.] As well, this ice-rink like state can be used to increase range for a slide tackle dodge for zombies, but that means the slider spends more time on the ground, and more likely to be targeted again.

I have more experience with dry snow than wet snow, so expect some variation depending on the region and local climate. If going through a wet snow drift, players will(likely) get more water in their shoes than if they had gone into a lake. Wet snow will also likely be less viscous(the water lets it run more easily) and let one slide further and slip around more. Dry snow is a little easier to sled down, but both can bog up rather quickly if steps are not taken(pun intended). As well, dry snow will be less of a wetness problem until the player gets back inside from the snow and finds it all melting. As well, whatever snow there is (found with dry snow) tends to be crunchy, in other words, noisy. This makes it harder to move quietly as there is always a chance that someone will hear you. For this there are two options, stay still and wait for an ambush, or rush and hope that another zombie sees the human and tries to rush as well. For humans this means that no matter how much cover you have concealing you, if a zombie is in the area, they will likely hear you. And on any dry or compacted ground, if there is gravel in your boots, if there is a big enough piece, it will sound off as you walk.

Temperature is critical as it will affect the capability of the weaponry used, except for socks of course. Blasters are more prone to jamming at colder temperatures as the plastic and metal deform slightly at different rates. Older models may lose a significant amount of power if out in the cold for an extended period of time(such as going on a human mission or patrol). Even the darts will act up, stiffening in relation to the cold. This happened most with a Rampage that I was borrowing. And I have heard/seen/experienced horror stories where this has caused misfires with the Stryfe and other blasters using the same firing mechanism when the trigger pull wasn't fully committed. Of course all of this happened outside at a play temperature of about -10 F to -15 F with ±5 degrees variance. At night this can be especially prevalent as temperatures get colder.

The general terrain will also shape the battlefield in addition to the snow. Snow covers virtually everything up, including that space that is covered in decorative rocks and that little foot high ledge that you like to jump down over the summer. They are still there and one would do well to remember them if they wanted to make a new path. Snow can also form its own terrain in the form of snowdrift, giving either side an advantage of another obstacle to go around and hide behind. As well, going downhill through fresh snow can be much more controlled as the snow absorbs a fair amount of impact. But still go downhill facing the direction you want to go. On the other hand though, going uphill through fresh snow will be that much more of a nightmare as both gravity and the snow are against the player. Still, the main point of this part is that the snow covers various terrain features up, so be careful. After talking to another player about suggested tactics, they mentioned that deep snow can be used to slow zombies down if you are willing to wade into it. As well, less dedicated players probably won't follow you.

*Notes: I do not mean to be a thread necro, but I live in an environment that gets very cold and hangs on to snow like no other, so this topic is of interest to me. This seemed early enough that it wouldn't be too much of a bother to store all the knowledge in one place as well because the topic is being relatively recently talked about. All of this is based on my personal experience playing out in the cold. The first three days of the game, mother nature had decided to hit us with a blizzard. The entire game was played in snow. Here is a Facebook album for anyone interested, it is an escort mission.

Edit: Next post I will discuss tactic use and how tactics that were used were modified for the snow. This post was important because I believe that climate and terrain are important parts of formulating effective tactics. Though this was our first year with the game, so our tactics are probably haphazardly formed to fit the situation.
Edit #2: Added tidbits to all of this now that I am actually in winter again and am noticing how the snow effects movement.
Edit #3 Grammar and clarification, info concerning ice on roads
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 04:11:06 AM by ASilentWolf » Logged

Outbreak Location: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Season(s): Spring 2013

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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2013, 05:51:40 AM »

Thanks for the nice sharing,i have never know about it.

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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2014, 04:49:33 PM »

Tactics; Part 1
Dressing for the cold
So now that the contingent US is feeling the cold, this may be a good thread for the upcoming semester. Today I will cover dressing for the weather.
The first concept for cold weather is, layers, especially if you are going to be running around. To help keep the cold at bay, wear a variety of clothing, such as a long sleeve shirt under a sweatshirt which would all be under your jacket. That keeps me warm at about -15 degrees Fahrenheit. With pants, long-johns or Underarmor is the way to go, with that separating your jeans from direct contact with your skin. I would imagine that multiple pairs of sweatpants could also work. Do this for both your upper and lower body and you should be fine. But be sure to experiment, find out what is right for you. The pro's of this style is that it functions essentially like what you normally wear, is close fitting and is often the most practical, on the other hand, if you work up a sweat and stop for a break while you are outside, you are just as likely to get cold because all the sweat that has been accumulating will freeze.
Now, the other option is to get those big fluffy down coats and parkas that you see in the stores. Those are much better for colder temperatures, or if you are just sitting around waiting for something, or just patrolling. They are generally not conducive to activities such as running, but walking they are much more comfortable as the temperature will take much longer to go through those styles of coats. Those were the pro's, now the con's. They tend to be a little harder to maneuver your arms in as the material gets in the way. Also sustained intense activity will cause a sweat-storm, but that will happen in either style. With parkas and down coats, they usually function best with the layering system at about -30 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything lighter than that it is usually more convenient to layer.
Shoes and feet
I would advise looking for shoes with lots of tread. Think a trail running shoe. Any boot that shares that kind of tread should work just fine. If, like me, you are more partial to your running shoes, invest in a good pair or three of wool socks. Last year I patrolled in Converse with a pair of SmartWool mountaineering socks and functioned fine. I like Converse because they are very sensitive, but needed the socks because the rubber can get intensely cold. I cannot advise you on a style of ice cleat to get for them because I tend to walk (and run) around without those. Ideally find one suited for running, or mod the one you have so that it is harder to fall off of your foot(might be a problem).
Wear them. Those fingerless mitten gloves would go gorgeously with the game as they provide the warmth of a mitten with the ability to fire/throw your weapon. If you can't find a pair of those, regular fingerless gloves will work. If possible, find a pair of skin-tight gloves that will stretch over your hand and put those on before the fingerless gloves. However do be careful as this sacrifices gripping capability, so the cocking mechanism might slip out from your fingers before it is fully cocked. Regular winter gloves will probably give you a lot of grief and mittens are just no.
More information
So that was my hard and fast intro to dressing for winter, if you are looking for more details or other input, the articles provided below have other explanations for how to enjoy(or at least tolerate) being outside in the cold. One final note, experiment. Different thing work for different people. This is just a rough guide from my experience playing outside in Fairbanks, AK, where the temperature usually drops to -20 degrees F. All of these are the same concepts, just different applications.
Traditional Mountaineering FAQ of Best Clothing
How To Dress for Winter Hikes
Article from Anchorage Daily News providing tips on sub-zero temps

Outbreak Location: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Season(s): Spring 2013

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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2014, 03:16:59 AM »

From a Canadian perspective, spot on. Considering how crazy the winter gets in Southern Ontario, Alaska must be downright insane. Good for you for these guides!

"The Kneepads Guy"
University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2014, 04:24:39 AM »

Thank you, it is an honor to be complimented by a Canadian concerning this topic. I imagine your winters  must be quite icy. Ours just get friggin' cold.
Wait, with wetter snow it is easier to build snow structures, I am sure the zombies could have fun with that. FOREST OF SNOW PEOPLE! Or alternatively, snow walls. Must think on this some more on that.

Outbreak Location: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Season(s): Spring 2013

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« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2014, 11:32:30 PM »

     I love trouncing through snow, and digging through mounds at midnight is one of my favorite winter pastimes. However, not every human player will be willing to sit in a snow mound for HOURS[/b] waiting to ambush zombies from two feet of snow. This is also, very much so not recommended, as your entrance tunnel should be closed when you make your cave before dawn, and escaping could bring your mound down on top of you.

     I however, have made this work during conventional NERFare. (Nerf warfare) The key is not to miss, and have other humans watch for zed attempting to dig into your cave, and alert you. Also, keep food and water close to your body so they don't freeze over. If you have to answer natures call, dig a very deep hole in a location that is a far away from your window as possible, but don't defecate, as that's plain gross, it smells, and it stays after the snow melts. Your food should be soft and salty. Soft, so that zombies won't hear crunching and chewing, and salty so the freezing point is lower. Water should not be salted, for obvious reasons. Have a hydration bladder, or whatever you're taking your water in, and put it directly against your body, as previously stated.

     Your port holes should be angled, so that you can only see them from one direction, and small enough where it's hard to notice them. Try to dig into the smoothest side, and make your holes in the rougher side. If there is not a rough side, place snow and pour purified water over the wall. This will freeze the snow, giving it more glare, and stability. You'll be in your cave for a while, so bring an insulated mat to sit/lay/sleep on. Snow is a very good insulator, but it melts with any heat over 32°F, or 0°C. The average human body temperature is 97.8°F, or 36.5°C. See the issue? This is also the reason why your food should be salted and remain close to your body. Salt lowers the freezing temperature at least 12°F and -6°C! That's a huge difference.

     One really important thing to take into account, if you're spotted, zombies will flank and dig into your cave, or avoid the area for the rest of the game. If they decide to avoid your area, rotate any human to keep this area secure, only if it's infront of the cave in limited angles, those strips of dedicated fire will save human lives for the rest of the game. With this guardian in his cave, there should always be a supply runner to keep the human there as long as possible, and alternate shooters to relive them, as frostbite and hypothermia are threats to prolonged exposure to cold. Shits should rotate anywhere from two and three hours, and the relieved human should be immediately be escorted to a secure and warm building to be given a fresh cup of hot chocolate.

     Not any blaster will work in this foxhole of snow and ice; the whiteout series blasters, preferably a modded longstrike without the barrell, with the gloss finish either sanded down or otherwise suppressed, is ideal. The reasons should speak for themselves, but I'm on a roll here with my tactical outlook towards snow, so why not polish the brass? The main function of your position in a snow cave is to surprise as many zombies as possible. This is not a turkey shoot, so pick your targets. Lone zed are dead zed. Before you even consider digging in the night, take a few key factors into consideration: Will I have fellow players guarding me as I dig? Is the area I'm setting up in traffic heavy? Can a player watch and support the back of my cave? Am I willing to sit hours to possibly stun a few zombies? Do I have white clothing (jacket, pants, hat, and mask)? What if I'm trapped inside of my cave, and how will I call for help? MOST IMPORTANTLY: Is it safe and legal to dig a cave and sit in it for hours?

     I hope this is helpful for anyone who's willing to dig, sit, and wait in snow all day every day during games. Yes, it is quite ironic that I love snow. Don't worry, it's water I hate.

* frickin cold out here.jpg (23.27 KB, 500x332 - viewed 324 times.)
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