Alright here is my attempt at a recap/commentary/whatever of South Dakota School of Mines & Technology's Fall 2012 game. This is the sixth game in total in at this school.
A little background first. SDSMT if a fairly small school, with a enrollment of 3000 something. As you can see from the map below the campus is small as well.
This school uses a respawn point system for zombies. A zombie respawns instantly upon touching a respawn point, marked in red on the map. There are dead hours from 7am to 4pm, so day-to-day play isn't really a thing here. Play is allowed outside of the hours, but it optional and you will almost never see a human or zombie wearing their bandanna apart from missions.
For missions humans and zombies report to separate points to receive mission info and start the mission. Humans meet at the practice field, marked in blue, zombies at the steps of the McLaury building, marked in purple.
I don't have exact numbers for the number of players in the game this time around, but I believe that around 120 had registered in advance and presumably a good chunk more signed up at the meeting before the first mission. In addition a small number have trickled in since then and probably will continue for a day or two.Mission 1
(Friday, October 26)
The pregame meeting was set for 7:00, but of course didn't really get started for at least 15-20 minutes due to the usual time for players to sign waivers and for some to sign up. The meeting lasted until probably 7:30-45 and then the humans were given their mission. (The handful of players choosing to start as zombies were taken out to receive their own instructions at this time.) The theme for this game has the zombies being a result of cult activity on Timeshare Island. The mission objective was to find six hostages being held by cultists. The hostages could not be tagged and would return to Surbeck Center on their own once separated from their cult handlers. Actual game play began around 8:00 and the humans had until 9:00 to complete this objective.
Games here start with one (1) original zombie. This OZ is disguised as a human and cannot be stunned until they make five (5) tags. (With the restriction that they must do so during the first mission.)
Once the mission started the need to sweep the entire campus and more importantly fear of the OZ led to humans splitting into numerous small groups. Unfortunately players here aren't organized at all really, so communication between groups consists only a groups asking each other for updates whenever they run into each other.
The OZ took her kills fairly early in the mission and those combined with the starting zombies quickly amassed enough numbers to be a potential threat to smaller or poorly run human groups.
The humans actually succeeded in finding all of the hostages within then first 15 minutes of the mission. (Although to due to lack of communication between the far flung groups that number of players who knew this at any time was low.) However, said hostages were retaken by the cult in an obvious action of the mods pulling stuff out of their ass into order to give everyone a mission long enough that they wanted. Since most of the humans didn't know the hostages had been all found in the first place not much changed from their perspective. By the time limit humans had refound 4 or 5 of the 6 hostages. I think humans were technically given the "win" for this mission, but since no real reward was promised or given it doesn't really matter.
Since there isn't any formal kill logging system (the mods haven't had a very good relationship with Source when it was used in some past games) determining casualties is a guessing game. Rumors spread amongst the humans of massive casualties, but humans here always exaggerate the kills on all missions and the first in particular. My best guess there were around 20 kills of the inexperienced or unlucky. Mission 2
(Saturday, October 27)
Mission set for 7:00. I went to the human meeting point well in advance to try to avoid being attacked on the way, but the zombies never really made an attempt to attack any of the humans moving to the practice field. Human turnout for the mission was high, suggesting that the losses from Night 1 couldn't have been that great.
The mission was standard collect the items type mission with one twist mechanic which I haven't seen before that forced significant changes to the human strategy.
The cultists have performed some sort ritual infecting a tree. (Specifically this one, also marked in green on the map.)
As a result, all plants have turned against the humans. The result is that humans cannot stun zombies while standing on grass. As a result, humans spent most of the mission confining themselves to the parking lots, roads, and walkways of campus. The map above shows most of the paths available. The strategic implications of this include the removal of the best places for human groups to make a stand (the practice field and the hills along the southern edge of the entire campus) and making moving between certain locations more dangerous. (To get from the area with the tree to University Loop, the road which provided most of the north-south maneuverability, you either had to run across grass and hope no zombies were nearby, take a longer route right past a spawn point.)
In order to reverse this development humans had to collect packages from around campus and bring them to the tree to blow it up. There were 9 packages, humans initially had collect them all, but this was later adjusted to just 8 of them. As soon as the humans were shown the human mass split up in a multitude of groups for no real reason under pressure from the initial zombie attack. Before long the humans, still trying to adapt to their limited maneuverability, realized that this mission would be an uphill battle. Despite humans having a strong numbers advantage at the start, probably just short of 5 to 1, the zombies were hot this night. Humans stuck the bigger groups tonight than they did Night 1, but the zombies quickly had enough numbers to threaten these groups. I am not sure how, but the zombies somehow got momentum early in the mission and the humans would pay dearly for it.
I died when the group I was with got trapped in front the the Paleontology Building which is far to close to a spawn point to stay at for long. I was overwhelmed when the group got sloppy on the breakout.
The various human groups ran into far too many situations like this where they took casualties. The influx of additional zombies quickly reached a point where humans could reliably face them. From there the humans were in deep hurting.
Highlights of the mission include a group of humans heading down University Avenue and significant mass of zombies travelling parallel with them on the quad, ready to through themselves into which gap between building the humans chose. Really I think going down that road at the time was a big mistake for that human group. To the zombies it was clear that the humans would have to come to them as the had only three options for exiting that road. They could go between the Old Gym the the Electrical Engineering building, bad due to the spawn point right there, between the EE and Chem buildings, possible but it dumps you into the quad which due to the density of spawn point in the area is never a good place to be and was even was worse with them confined to the pathways, or between the Chem and Mineral Industries buildings, also has a spawn point right there. The group passed these three options and tried to go between the MI building and the main street. They were told that this was out of bounds. Their intended route suddenly removed, the group froze in the middle of the street, within 20ft of a spawn point. The resulting skirmish was one of the most intense battles I have every been involved in. Facing about even numbers of zombies who were spawning as the humans could fire the group was torn to pieces. Some of the group were ultimately saved when a car turned into the street and the battle halted. The surviving humans still dazed from the chaos regained enough of their wits to retreat into another parking lot and make an escape up some stairs.
Not long after the humans completed their objective. However, their fight was far from over. The journey back to the safety of the dorms may have broken the back of the resistance. By the point the majority of remaining humans had congregated in the parking lot around the tree. Various groups ended up breaking off from this mass during the humans attempts to escape. One attempt left a group of six cut off and surrounded in the adjacent parking lot. Another had about a third of the humans making an escape attempt down the road while the rest were pushed back to the tree. In the end, then final humans left in the field were surrounded at the tree for a while. At some point a zombie charge lowered the level of active zombies enough that containment failed. The humans got out and somehow ended up on the street south of the quad, where they were reduced to a handful of survivors who managed to run their way to safety.
Overall the humans "won" the mission but the losses were horrendous. Estimate place the numbers where out of the people in attendance the zombies ended with 2 to 4 times the human numbers. I think this is the worst massacre I have seen here. I am fully expecting some level of zombies returning to human status next mission, possible up to a full reset.