Finished the summary of the first (and simplest) game I played at Truman, Fall 2008. This one I had to do relying entirely on memory so some of the details may be fuzzy. Also, I made maps of each mission so you know what the hell I'm talking about. I wish there was a way to make them smaller, though - some forums have a spoiler tag, that will let you hide text and images until someone clicks a button. Do we not have that? If not, ah, well, sorry for the size. If we do, how do I do that, so these images don't eat the entire screen?Fall â€™08:
Thursday, Mission 1: Nodes
The first mission of which I can give a fairly accurate account is the first mission of the fall game of 2008, my first game, Trumanâ€™s third, which lies nearly lost in the mists of time. Very few of the original players from that game are still around and easy to contact. Fewer of them left any written account of the affair â€“ I myself, despite participating in it, never bothered to write down my experiences. That would have to wait until next semester. This pattern holds true for the entire Fall â€™08 game. Thus, for the entirety of this next game, my sources will be my own memory and the invaluable journal of one John Mohr, a prominent human leader through all the early games at Truman.
Mission One found the campus very closely divided between human and zombie. The game had seen a surge in population from slightly above 100 players the previous spring to exactly 300 that fall. As such, more than 2/3 of the players were newcomers to the game, with no idea how to protect themselves. The five OZs released into the population feasted well, and by the end of Wednesday nearly 100 people had joined the Horde. By the time the first mission of the game rolled around Thursday afternoon, that number had climbed to nearly half of all players. Thus, the numbers for mission one were roughly 150 humans against 150 zombies.
It was a node mission. Various critical locations around campus were under attack by the zombies and had to be defended by the human forces. Neither John nor I was a zombie at this point, and so I cannot determine where the zombie assembly or spawn point was, nor what zed strategy was. The humans assembled in the dorm hall Ryle for the initial briefing, then sprinted west across the parking lot to the Pershing Athletics Building, where they received the mission: 4 nodes to be defended for an hour from the zombies, who would be trying to solve puzzles located there.
The node locations, represented by green squares.
The humans quickly fanned out to hold the various nodes. One powerful force of 30 or so held a node in Red Barn Park, just outside Pershing. Another group of 40-50 moved out to the northwest to the West Campus Suites dorm, while yet another struck out northeast to the Blanton-Nason-Brewer (or BNB) Hall courtyard. The fourth node, at the Sunken Garden, was near the zombie spawn point and quickly fell into zed hands.
The zombies launched weak attacks on all three human-held nodes, testing for weakness. The thrust at Red Barn Park was weak and easily repulsed. BNB, however, was closer to the spawn point and the humans there soon found themselves ejected, the survivors regrouping halfway between BNB and Pershing near the Magruder science building.
Zombie concentrations and movements are in red, humans in blue.
Red Barn had just sent off a powerful group of 15 reinforcements to the West Campus node, which had come under attack by the zombies after the fall of BNB, when the humans there learned that BNB had been overrun. Leaving only 5 or so humans on the node, the remaining 8 hurried off towards BNB. Meeting up with the survivors at Magruder, they determined to launch an immediate attack on the horde around the node to prevent them solving the puzzle (a Sudoku game, as it turned out).
Approaching BNB from the south, the dozen or so humans discovered nearly thirty zombies infesting the courtyard, and escaped into the dorm by the thinnest of margins after stunning a handful. For the next half-hour, they played cat and mouse with the zombies outside, popping out one door, then another, doing their best to harass and distract the puzzle-solvers.
This entire time, West Campus Suites was under heavy zombie attack and constantly called for reinforcements on the radio. Both John Mohr and I were trapped in BNB at this time and so I cannot offer any more details on this skirmish.
The second phase. The humans launch a counterattack at BNB while the zombies shift their focus to West Campus.
Ultimately, time ran out and victory was declared for the humans, losing only the Sunken Garden node in the center of campus (a communications center). The BNB group managed to escape out the back door of BNB and north into Missouri Hall, then north again into the Ophelia Parrish theater building. There, they dispersed and made their way to their dorms, suffering casualties on the way.
Final holdings of both sides - human victory
The node mission was a victory for the humans, holding 3 out of the 4 nodes. The zombies inflicted moderate casualties (my group lost perhaps 1/3 of its numbers, and I donâ€™t know what the losses were like at West Campus), but the humans still had significant numbers left and a sizeable force going into Friday. All that changed with mission 2.
Post Merge: March 25, 2011, 01:44:28 AM
Friday, Mission 2: The McClain Massacre
Of all the missions run at Truman, the Day 3 mission of the Fall of 2008 was probably the most overwhelming zombie victory of them all. Oh, about once a semester, the zombies will come close, but never has a single mission so totally broken the humans, never have so many humans died, never has a game turned so quickly as on this day. This is the last time this game that the humans would take to the field as an organized force. Since John Mohr was still a human and I a zombie at this point, both sides of the battle are fairly well-documented.
The zombies had scored some kills over the course of Thursdayâ€™s mission and Fridayâ€™s day-to-day, but nothing like the exponential curve they had had earlier in the week. They numbered between 175-200 for this mission, with the humans being 100-125. A zombie edge in numbers, but only if the zeds could learn to exploit it.
The zombies gathered for a briefing in Ryle Hall, the humans across on the western side of campus, at Centennial Hall. Both sides had a VIP to escort: The humans had head scientist Kathleen Reinhurst, who was going to attempt to formulate a cure to the outbreak. The zombiesâ€™ captain was Captain Greg Wayne, former commander of the humans, now turned superzombie. If he were brought to Reinhurst, or Reinhurst to him, the humans would be able to formulate their cure. The zombies had to prevent that from happening â€“ preferably by killing Reinhurst. The twist was Reinhurst was wheelchair bound and of extremely limited mobility.
The humans quickly scattered into 4 groups. 10 humans formed a scout group to find Wayne. 6 more took Reinhurst north to a secure location behind McClain Hall. The remainder split into two groups, one to capture Wayne and the other to move around and distract the zombies.
The zombie plan was similar, but simpler: One massive group moved out due west from Ryle, escorting Wayne around Stokes Stadium. The other, slightly smaller, moved off into campus to find and kill Reinhurst.
The initial concentrations of the two sides. The paler blue is the humans' first VIP location. Later they will move to the darker blue.
The human scout group and distraction group quickly found the massive zombie force around Stokes, while the humans were across a creek and Franklin Street at Barnett Hall, in the far southwest of campus. They quickly moved across the street and seized the only bridge across the creek. Unwilling to attack across such a narrow location, the zombies fell back out of range of NERF, maintaining their numbers. The humans quickly dashed across Red Barn Park and took up a new defensive position at the head of the park, behind a narrow wall that closed the path down to only 3 or so people wide. Again, unwilling to be bottlenecked, the zombies refused to attack. Safely through the gauntlet, the humans dashed off north.
They were on their way to reinforce Reinhurst. The zombie kill force had discovered her behind McClain (while the Wayne strike force had reinforced the defenders there). The human distraction force, coming up on the zombies from behind near the library and McClain, quickly scattered them, then folded into the main human group. Reinhurst, for the moment, was secure, it seemed.
Meanwhile, in the large zombie group around Wayne, a discussion of strategy occurred after the human group left (leaving only the human scouts, 10 strong, to watch the main horde). One zombie argued forcefully for committing their horde to joining the attack on Reinhurst. That would leave Wayne vulnerable, but a trade would be in the zombieâ€™s favor â€“ the humans had to bring Wayne to Reinhurst, while they only had to kill Reinhurst. Other zombies demurred, preferring to stay on the defensive. At last a vote was taken. Those advocating attack won, and the entire force moved off north, towards McClain, where they had heard the humans were gathered.
The zombie concentrations and movements are in red, the humans in blue. The human scout group finds the main horde in Red Barn. After the humans move off, the zombies pursue towards the first place the humans kept their VIP.
They arrived just after the first horde had all been stunned. Unwilling to attack through the narrow alley between McClain Hall and Baldwin Hall (which has a plank fence stretching across the mouth, limiting access to two narrow sidewalks on either side, probably the best defensive position on campus), they left an observation group of zombies there and swung the bulk of the horde west and north around McClain, approaching the humans from the open field next to Normal Street.
The humans at this point were utterly discombobulated by the second hordeâ€™s appearance. They had no idea where it had come from and were wildly overestimating total zombie numbers. Says John Mohr,
â€œThen the second horde arrived. I donâ€™t know if there was a respawn time or if there was a third horde silently moving around, but 30 zombies showed up on Normal street, ready to march on our location. The humans were spread long and thin, and there were still a lot of them at the back wooden wall. With the 8 in the back and the 30 in the front, and with the walls between us, there was no escape. We had to fight."
Fight they did, throwing themselves at the zombies, hoping to charge and break the ring. Utter confusion ensued, but around half the humans were slain, while all but a handful of zombies were stunned. With their numbers decimated, the humans decided to move Reinhurst to a more secure location, over near West Campus Suites. As they did so, however, the first horde, that had been stunned earlier, respawned, and came nipping at their heels. As they crossed behind Centennial (C-Hall), the wheelchair-bound scientist fell behind, and was killed, along with a few of her escorts.
While the humans were still processing this, the second horde respawned and again showed up just on the heels of the first. Hit with 4 successive attacks one right after another, hopelessly confused as to the numbers they were facing, the mission clearly lost, most of their comrades dead, the humans had had enough. Just as the horde hurled itself into the charge, the humans broke and ran.
The zombies hit them like a hammer blow.
Scattering every which way, all but 5 or 6 humans were killed. Three escaped over the bridge over the creek that separates West Campus from C-Hall into C-Hall. Two more fled down the creek bed, using the darkness to cover their escape. Another fled over the bridge and north around the Rec-Center, back into McClain, where he found another four or five survivors. The massacre was almost total.
Paler colors indicate earlier actions. The zombies hit the humans from two sides at McClain, then in two stages at nearby West Campus.
Human losses were overwhelming. Only a handful of those who had come to the mission had escaped. The two large groups defending Reinhurst were almost utterly destroyed, with perhaps 10-15 total escaping. The scout group monitoring Wayne, 10 strong, slinked away when they heard of the obliteration in the north. The victorious zombies swarmed all over campus, feasting on stragglers, and utterly assured of the hordeâ€™s victory.
It would not be long in coming.
The final state of the mission. The zombies still have a small concentration around Red Barn, but the human scouts have pulled back only to find the main group has been pushed away from McClain and destroyed.
Post Merge: March 25, 2011, 01:47:45 AM
Saturday, Mission 3: The Siege of Kirk
John Mohr died in the McClain Massacre, as the disaster came to be known, and so his journal abruptly stops after mission 2. I myself, after briefly liaising with horde leadership, dropped back into the ranks of normal zombies, and so I had very little clear picture of what was going on. Thus, from here on out I will be forced to rely on conjecture and guesswork.
Virtually no cohesive human force remained after Fridayâ€™s debacle, and so during the Saturday mission no credible foe presented itself to the horde. I donâ€™t even remember the assembly point or the objectives of the mission, which was nothing more than an hour of confused racing back and forth across campus, indecisive maneuvers that failed to bring about a collision with any humans. They were likely spread out in multiple small groups around campus, moving swiftly from building to building, never giving the horde a decent target. Near the end of the mission, however, whatever it was the humans were doing required them to enter the Kirk building, near the center of campus. It was a suicide mission.
Kirk is a unique building on campus. Unlike some buildings like, say, Barnett Hall or Campbell Apartments (both of which lie far to the south of the rest of the school), Kirk is nestled comfortably in the middle of the university. On both sides, wings of the dorms Missouri Hall and BNB extend to within 20 feet of the exits. It is one of only 4 buildings that border the Quad, along with Pickler Library in the center of campus, Baldwin Hall to the northwest, and Ophelia Parrish due north. Yet, for all that, Kirk is the most notorious deathtrap on campus. It alone among Trumanâ€™s buildings has only two exits. All others have at least three, and often more (except the Library, which only has one, but no one ever goes into the Library during HvZ week). Thus, while salvation is tantalizingly close, a horde can pin you down in the building for effectively forever.
That is what happened with these humans. A force of about a dozen, which only the day before would have been considered a paltry few, but now were the largest group left running around, dashed into Kirk at the end of the mission, pursued by a horde of about 40. Acting quickly, the zombies split into two groups and covered both doors. Had the dozen tried to break out now, they would have stood a decent shot. However, they opted instead to call for reinforcements and sit tight. Reinforcements showed soon enough â€“ but for the wrong side.
As word spread that the only group of humans left in the open was trapped in Kirk, more and more zombies arrived and joined the growing ring around the building. Eventually, between 70 and 100 zombies had surrounded the building, split roughly evenly on both the north side (which comes close to Missouri Hall) and the south side (which is nearest to BNB Hall). It was now 5:30. The building closed at midnight, at which point the humans would be kicked out. Both sides settled in for the long wait.
The siege in relation to the rest of campus.
At first, the humans were brave, darting out for quick sorties, stunning a few zombies, then fading back before they could be killed. All these did was waste ammo, as they never exploited their success within the 15 minutes. Eventually, both sides pulled away from the doors â€“ the humans to hide in the heart of the building and plot their escape, the zombies to prepare for outside counterattacks and tighten the ring.
Outside the doors of Kirk, bricks form a small semicircular patio. At the base of this semicircle sidewalks run out east and west, towards Mo Hall and the Quad, on the north side, and towards BNB and the Sunken Garden, on the south. Benches backed by a low stone wall rim this semicircle, with bushes behind that. Behind the bushes on both sides are small grassy areas. Thus, both north and south of Kirk the area before the doors is split into two sections â€“ a brick patio and a grassy patch. The zombies left 5 or 6 sentries on the patio while setting up camp on the more comfortable and spacious grass, filling in along the sidewalks to the dorm halls and leaving the paths towards the Sunken Garden and the Quad clear (if the humans tried to run that way, they would be quickly run down and devoured, with no safe zones near at all). Thus disposed, the siege dragged on.
Detail of the siege. Zombies completely occupy the south, east, and north sides, leaving the west (which faces no safe zones) relatively open. Also shows the eventual human break out.
When adrenaline faded and people began to get antsy, the zombies made up their own entertainment. War stories were swapped. Games of Human, Human, OZ! got started. Zombie John Mohr led everyone in a rousing chorus of the Brains Spangled Banner. The siege dragged on.
The night grew colder and people began to wish for their coats. The commanders of the siege dispatched zombies in small groups to fetch back coats, returning in shifts to maintain their presence around the doors of Kirk. One enterprising soul brought out a gigantic vat of hot cider with plastic cups. Grateful zombies gathered around. The siege dragged on.
As time passed the humans inside felt their missed dinner, and phoned in a pizza. The zombies intercepted it, quickly forked over the money themselves, and enjoyed a pizza dinner. The humans were welcome to come and get it, of course â€“ if they would only come outside. Not happening. They stayed safe inside. The siege dragged on.
A small human relief force gathered in the near wing of Mo Hall and made a sudden sally. The northern half of the siege force drove them away with light losses. The humans studied the situation from the second floor window for a while before withdrawing to try to find reinforcements. The siege dragged on.
It grew dark. The zombie party settled down. A few people had drifted away, but the horde was still just as strong as when the siege had started. Almost ten â€˜o clock. Only a few more hours before the humans were doomed.
A girl called John Mohr, failing to notice his zombified status on the website, and begged for his help freeing her friend from the C-Store a few buildings away. He lured her into a trap at the south end. To her credit, she reacted quickly, reaching the building safely. Still doomed. The dozen humans inside, unaware of her, remained hidden. She set off to find them. The siege dragged on.
Almost eleven. Zombies milling everywhere, chatting, laughing, enjoying the experience. Behind them, quietly, a door opens. A dark figure peers out, then bolts, past the weak western line, out straight towards the Bell Tower in the center of campus. Behind him pour eleven more figures. The zombies roar in outrage and collapse on the humans. Darts, socks fly everywhere. Many are stunned. More are not.
The first three out are quick enough and make it away. The remaining nine are enveloped against the building and are killed to a man. Thomas, a player with dwarfism who was among the besieged, is knocked completely into a bush, only one arm protruding. Cheerful zombies fish him out as he groans in pain.
The humans' escape route.
By and large, the siege disperses. But wait! There is still one girl inside â€“ the foolish girl who canâ€™t tell humans from zombies. By now, eleven thirty, the interior doors of the building are locked. The girl, unable to find the humans, who have long since broken out without her, is trapped in the south atrium, unable even to reach the north doors. The fifty remaining zombies gather hungrily around the south doors, an unbroken wall of flesh completely ringing the brick patio.
She is carrying two Mavericks. She closes her eyes and meditates, doomed, and knowing it.
At last, at 11:55, she stands up, cocks her pistols, steps to the door, opens it, and steps through.
The horde counts. You have five seconds or five feet of space of safety around a doorway, whichever comes first. One. Two. Three. Four! FIVE!
Fifty zombies roar and charge one girl with two Mavericks. She levels her pistols and fires once, then twice! She recocks and pulls the trigger again! Jam! Sean Kamery hammers her into the wall with his gigantic Hulk gloves. The undead roar in triumph. The Siege of Kirk, after 7 hours, is over at last.
Everyone who was at the Siege of Kirk remembers it. The length of it, the coldness of the night, the warmness of the cider...above all, it was the companionship and solidarity of the zombies that everyone remembers most. Everyone had a story to share. Everyone was eager to make more. It was the longest, largest, and most successful zombie siege in Truman history â€“ and it would not be repeated. After the 7-hour siege most zombies (including myself) lost their taste for it. From henceforth Truman zombies would seek their kills on the open battlefield, not camping safe zones.
13 humans entered the building. 3 left it alive. The next day would see the final end of human resistance.
Post Merge: March 25, 2011, 01:50:53 AM
Sunday, Mission 4: Get to Da Choppa!
The zombies gathered in Violette on Sunday enthusiastic and filled with brainlust. The epic siege of Kirk had been a wonderful follow up to the great victory at McClain the day before, and the loss of 10 humans had knocked off almost a quarter of their total numbers, but it hadnâ€™t been enough to feed all the zombies. Now all the children of the McClain Massacre would start to starve if they didnâ€™t get fed, soon. I, too, was anxious â€“ my only kill had come during the chaos around McClain and I had barely twelve hours left. The humans, meanwhile, apparently gathered in West Campus, grim and dispirited but determined to conquer or die. They would give the zombies a glorious fight before dying, at the very least.
The zombies were told that the humans had to reach a certain building on campus, and activate a cryo-freezing process. Once activated, they would have to reach the cryo chamber itself (located in another building, naturally), where they would freeze themselves and await the natural death of the zombies. Roughly 80 zombies took the field against barely 30 humans. They could not afford a stand-up fight â€“ this would be a hunt more than a battle.
When they were released the horde poured forth, spreading out in all directions to find the humans. Soon confused reports came in â€“ the humans were on Normal Street, racing east towards OP! No, they were behind C-Hall, near West Campus! No, they were behind Ryle! They were behind Stokes!
Eventually it was discovered that the group behind Stokes was the actual human group (the others were false or late reports), and the zombies raced to cut the humans off, guessing their goal was Barnett. They poured into Red Barn Park from the Pershing side just as the humans entered from the Stokes side. All that divided the two was a narrow creek, which could be crossed near the humans at Stokes or over the bridge that led directly to Barnett.
The first half of the mission, pursuing the humans to Barnett
Spontaneously, the horde broke into two, one group hurling itself towards the causeway nearest the humans, the others racing towards the bridge. The humans broke into a run, quickly reaching Franklin and turning and running north. They reached the base of the hill to Barnett just ahead of the zombies taking the bridge, as the zombies who had used the causeway swung in behind them. Rapidly being surrounded on all sides, the first half of the humans made it in, fending off zombies harassing their running column from either side. The rear dozen or so, however, were cut off and devoured near the street, too slow to get past the second zombie group and pressed hard from behind by the first. The humans had reached their goal, but at the cost of nearly half their numbers.
The skirmish in front of Barnett
The zombies were prepared to besiege Barnett, but a medical emergency (one of the humans suffered a major asthma attack) forced them to retreat to the Student Union Building near the center of campus. After a half-hour delay, the humans made their move. A distraction group led what zombies they could on a merry chase around Stokes Stadium, before hopping the fence and racing back towards campus through the stadium, while the chain link fence hampered zombie pursuit. The main group of humans crept out of Barnett and tried to approach their objective, Kirk. They soon were running north through the fields behind C-Hall towards West Campus.
The confusing second half of the mission. Neither side fully understands what the other is doing.
The campus was alive with confusion. The zombies were completely befuddled as to where the humans were, racing back and forth in absolute chaos. Human stragglers, struggling to rejoin the main group, were scooped up and devoured all over the university. At last, the zombies fixed on the main human group (now reunited with its distraction force) just outside West Campus Suites. As the horde grouped for one last charge, the humans broke and ran, pell-mell, every-man-for-himself, for Kirk.
The final run. The large red circle indicates a huge number of zombies running every which way.
There were still confused zombies everywhere and so no portion of campus was devoid of zombies. It was a gauntlet all the way to Kirk, as the survivors had to deal with the scattered zombies in front of them AND the furiously racing horde behind them the entire way. One unfortunate made it to within 50 feet of Kirk before he was backed up against the wall of OP and eaten by six zombies working in tandem. Another tripped with his compatriot racing across the Quad and was swiftly eaten. Others never made it across Franklin, dying in the parking lot north of the Rec.
Ultimately, 3 humans out of 30 made it through the gauntlet and lived. 3 humans survived out of 300 that had started â€“ a 1% survival rate. So ended the third game of HvZ at Truman, Fall 2008.