There are three basic types of players when it comes to equipment:
- The "Swashbuckler"
- Melee weapons - usually the
Marauder or the
(which can sometimes be dual-wielded, depending on the game rules).
Melee weapons are actually crucial to an HvZ mission, see the
How To Stay Alive section. They don't require
darts, reloading, extra gear such as clips or ways to carry ammo
and so forth. The main drawback is that they aren't generally useful
in games like Jericho or TacOps, and they are less useful in HvHvZ variants.
- The "Sharpshooter"
These are people who generally carry spring-powered ranged weapons
with the intent of conserving ammo and only taking needed shots.
Common smaller guns are the
which both have advantages, I'm a fan of the Strongarm. Make sure
to push darts fully into the Strongarm to ensure that it fires correctly.
people who like bigger guns with (possibly) better accuracy, there's the
Also of note if dual-wielding is allowed are the
Sweet Revenge and
These are spring-loaded revolvers that are interesting because,
due to their hammer-action spring mechanism, they can be fired and
primed entirely in one hand.
- The "Tank"
This is how I roll (see ridiculous photo to right). The Tank carries
lots of ammo and lots of ways to throw ammo, usually with multiple
semi-automatic or automatic weapons. I have been known to carry four
weapons, though this starts to restrict movement quite a bit. For
me one of the best guns for beginners or advanced players is the
Stryfe, it's small,
powerful, simple and reliable. You can also shoot them one-handed
which means you can dual-wield, but you should probably have a sling
on at least one of them so you can free up a hand to change clips.
At a minimum remove the safeties as discussed in
Modifying Your Equipment and consider
overvolting. For a long time I used two over-volted Stryfes, and
this is still one of my favorite combinations. Another option
is the extremely powerful
which is fully automatic, but quite heavy. In my experience the RapidStrike
is unreliable with it's normal battery setup though some people have
no problem with theirs. I had jam problems and the dart pusher would
sometimes get stuck, leaving the gun unusable. Overvolting helps this
problem but requires rewiring in my opinion, otherwise the temperature
safeties in my gun would shut the gun down. After rewiring and switching
to LiPo batteries, my only problem is that I can shoot ammo so fast that
I run out quickly.
Many games allow for "sock grenades." They are often recommended as a
highly underestimated weapon. Frankly, as a "Tank" I just don't see
the value. I've never needed my sock grenades when I bring them, but
I can imagine they could be more useful with melee weapons or possibly
for sharpshooters who are more likely to get in sticky situations with
ammo. One clever trick I have seen is to make tiny sock grenades and
then stick them into the crevices in your gun so they are immediately
accessible in emergencies.
Advice For Gun Users
- Carry extra ammo (with easy access!)
- Carry extra clips (with easy access!)
- Buy Elite series guns. Check online (such as the Nerf Wikia) before
buying a gun to learn about ranges, shots per second, accuracy, etc..
- Carry a second gun as a backup
- Do not store darts in clips - they will start to flatten and jam your gun. I highly recommend getting small boxes to store your ammo in.
Modifying Your Equipment
Nerf Guns are still generally marketed/designed for kids, leaving them
lots of room for performance. Modifying your gun may seem daunting, but
it's actually quite simple and fun and can make a huge difference in your
survival rate. There are many
videos and documents online about
how to modify your gun, and it's worth looking at some of them. Keep
in mind that modifying your gun can damage/destroy it!
Here are some modifications to know about and consider
- Removing Safeties (highly recommended!)
Many of the guns (particularly the battery powered guns) have
safeties for the little kids. These safeties can get you killed
in an HvZ. As an example, the clip fed guns have "jam doors" that
you can open in case a dart gets jammed. When that jam door is open,
it opens a switch which turns the gun off. I've had a jam door pop
open in the midst of combat more than once, until I finally removed
the safeties on my gun. This can be as simple as taping the pushbuttons
so they are always closed or actually rewiring your gun around the safeties.
- Spring Guns: Spring Replacement
Some guns (such as the strongarm) have easy-to-find and cheap spring
replacements available (do a quick search) that can significantly improve
range. It's a pretty easy modification to do.
- Battery Guns: Overvolting (recommended!)
The battery powered guns generally use motors with flywheels to
shoot the darts. Increase the voltage and your motors will go
faster and generally shoot the darts further. Increase the voltage
too much and the darts start to fishtail (lose stability and hence
accuracy) or your motors burn up (though replacing motors is a reasonable
mod). Keep in mind that the overvoltage solutions generally involve
rechargeable Lithium batteries. These are the same batteries used in
laptops, but they need to be charged and discharged properly or they
can catch fire or explode! So treat them properly!
Regardless, overvolting your battery powered guns gives a great
advantage. The two main ways to overvolt are:
- Trustfire/Ultrafire Batteries
Trustfire batteries are Li-Ion rechargeable batteries that are
the size of a AA battery but run at just over twice the voltage (3.6V).
For example, take a Stryfe (which uses 4 AA batteries) and put in
two Trustfire batteries and two dummy batteries (just an electrical
short) (Do not mix Trustfire batteries and regular batteries!).
You'll run at just a bit more voltage than the stock 4 AA batteries
would, which means the motors spin up faster, meaning you can
shoot much quicker and further as well. It's a very easy mod
that makes a big difference in your gun. However, before
buying Trustfires, consider...
- LiPo Battery Packs
Voltage isn't everything. There's also a question of how much
current the battery can supply. And this is where LiPo battery
packs really win. LiPo batteries are reasonably cheap and can
be found in many sizes, these are the batteries used in remote
control planes and helicopters. A simple and slow charger can
be found cheap (~$25), though a more complicated charger that can take
better care of your batteries and charge much faster will get
expensive fast ($50 and up). LiPo takes a little more knowledge,
but it's worth it. Any "2S" LiPo battery pack will give you 7.2V
and can generally dump current very quickly, which will spin your
motors very fast. This is why I switched from Trustfires in all
of my guns to LiPo batteries. They can be found in online hobby
stores and on ebay.
- Spring Guns: Air Restrictor Removal
Most spring loaded guns have air restrictors on them that limit how
quickly air can come out of the spring piston. Whether this will help
you or not depends greatly on the gun. A tiny
Jolt doesn't seem
to be effected by it much by our tests. And a Strongarm with an
improved spring with air restrictors removed will probably break
if you dry-fire it (as mine did). Other guns seem to have power
improvements if the air restrictor is removed.
- Body Modification
Many people chop up and change the bodies of their guns, sometimes
simply for show. A very useful example of this is to cut down a
which is, in my opinion, too large of a gun. I chopped the stock off
of mine. Note that if you do this to a RapidStrike that still uses
the stock C batteries then the gun will be very front heavy and harder
to hold one handed. Some people have chopped both the stock and the
barrel off of a RapidStrike creating the "RapidPistol", which is like
a nerf submachine gun. Note that this requires replacing the battery
pack which is otherwise underneath the barrel.
- Battery Guns: Advanced Mods
Taking it a step further, consider:
- Replacing the flywheel motors (they are a standard hobby size)
- Adding internal LEDs and using glow darts
- Adding a dart counter
- etc.. etc..
- The Ultimate RapidStrike
Here's what I did to my current primary weapon shown in the photo above,
it shoots about 5 darts per second, though I can still single fire. It's
biggest problem is going through ammo too quickly.
I'm still tempted to chop the barrel off, though the current battery
compartment holds my LiPo perfectly. Incidentally, if you're doing LiPo
in a Stryfe, get the "Turnigy nano-tech 1000mAh 2S 20~40C AIRSOFT Pack" -
it fits inside the battery compartment after you remove the separators
with space still for the wires.
I run all my battery wires outside the battery compartment to
another connector that then runs inside the gun. Then I can just disconnect
to turn off the gun and connect the gun to the charger whenever I need to
charge. I don't need to open the battery compartments unless there's a
- Rewired to remove all safeties
- Replaced motors with Solarbotics RM2. Superfast and supercheap
- Replaced brushes in Solarbotics with carbon brushes (for longevity) (pulled out of FC-130 motors)
- Switched to LiPo battery: ZIPPY Compact 2700mAh 2S 35C.
It fits perfectly behind the battery cover if you detach the battery tray and drill a hole for the wires.
- Chopped off the stock
Before we start, it should be noted that playing a Zombie is
actually quite fun, many people show up at HvZ games with the
intention of starting Zombie (and bless all of you who do! :).
If you do get killed (which generally happens to everyone by the
end, then you are likely to feel pretty disappointed for a few
minutes. It will pass, and you will feel the hunger for human
flesh. Go and kill! And as a side note, for those of you
that leave after turning Zombie, there's no need for you to show
up in the first place. We don't need you, and you're a douche.
This is different from needing to leave early, that's fine - but
leaving because you don't want to be a Zombie makes you a crybaby.
And let me tell you this, crybabies don't survive the Zombie Apocalypse.
Also, sometimes it's hard to see where the darts hit, and sometimes
it's hard to feel when the darts hit. If you hit someone with
a dart, let them know. If they don't believe you, sometimes you
can look on the ground and see the dart in front of them, but sometimes
there are disputes. And sometimes you shoot someone before being
tagged, sometimes you the tag happens before the shot.
Because the game is so full of adrenaline, it's very easy to get
overly emotionally invested in the immediate results.
This is, unfortunately, the path to douchedom. Take a breath, try
to figure it out, and in the end if you don't know, just give it
to the other side. It turns out it won't necessarily matter that
much, and remember, the moment you die doesn't mean you "lose" - it
means you get to join the ever-expanding and most-likely-to-win team
of the Zombies.
Along these same lines, it's easy in the heat of battle to take
things physically too far. Watch the head shots. Don't push.
Be careful of crouching zombies. Crouching zombies, move to the side
if you are blocking a narrow passageway. Winning a game by hurting
people doesn't count as a win.
How To Stay Alive
(So you want to be a human?)
Here are some tips specific to HvZ about how to stay human:
- Guns: Practice with equipment beforehand!
Rookie players often get taken down because of equipment issues
that could have been resolved faster with a little practice.
Zombies running at you and your gun jams? Now what? (Here's
one hint: don't let them know your gun is jammed and many zombies
will still avoid you). Are you able to clear jams quickly? Are
you able to switch to your secondary gun quickly? Can you reload
fast? Can you reload while running? Can you switch clips? Do
you keep track of how many shots you have left in your clip?
Battery guns need motor spin-up time before you can pull the trigger,
do you give it enough rev time (if not, expect even more jams).
If you haven't removed the safeties on your gun, do you know
how to resolve those issues? What do you do when your clip hits
something and drops out of your gun?
It's pretty easy to spot the new players who aren't comfortable
with their gun - they are tentative about shooting because they
are in a high-intensity situation and suddenly something very
simple such as shooting a gun can get lost. You need this to
be part of muscle memory.
So run around and shoot your gun. Switch guns. Switch clips
on the fly. Fake or create jams and resolve them. Even a
few sessions of practice can make an enormous difference in
your preparation. Even for an experienced player, if you switch
to a new weapon that you aren't used to you'll find that your
reaction times suddenly drop considerably and this can mean death.
You want to generally stay in an oval shape and you want to have
melee weapons on all the "corners" - at least two in front and two
in back. Save your darts for when you need them, the Zombies will
generally stay right out of range until they see an opportunity,
and even then your melee weapons should be able to stun them, unless
it's a big swarm. Make sure everyone in formation knows what area
they are watching (left side, front, right side, etc...). Your rear
needs to generally walk backwards, or at least regularly be checking
- Keep the group together
Every human you lose is one more zombie, and one less human protecting you.
When things get hectic, it's tempting to run, but if you do, then either
your backwards walking rear will have to turn and run (and get tagged by
fast zombies) or will get separated from you, and then they will die and
your slowest runners will die. Along the same lines, it's tempting
(especially with melee) to step out of the group in order to kill a zombie.
Good job falling for a trap and getting separated from the group!
You almost always want to move slowly and as a close-knit group,
one of the only exceptions is...
- Beware Crouching Zombies
In games (such as most SF games) that require that shot zombies take
a knee and have a stun time, usually they zombies can just stay down
until they want to jump up and tag. In some sets of rules you are not
able to re-stun a zombie until they stand, making crouching zombies
particularly dangerous. If your group is moving through a crouching
zombie, make sure everyone knows that they are there (I've seen the
backwards-walking rear humans trip over crouching zombies, which just
ain't right) and make sure you know what their count is - if they
are done or almost done counting, give them space and have a weapon
pointed at them. Sometimes crouching zombies are reason to pick
up the pace, usually a calm jog will do, running is likely to break
up the group. Also make sure everyone knows when you're going to hit
a jogging pace, and also make sure to stop jogging as soon as you're
safe, it's easy to keep moving fast and wasting energy.
- Prepare For Zombie Swarms
One of the best ways to tag humans is to have a swarm of zombies
that all attack at the same time. Panic is not your friend in this
cases - make sure you've communicated to everyone and make sure you
have melee protecting you from those you can't shoot.
- Keep Alert!
This seems like it shouldn't need to be stated, but it's amazing
how many people lose focus or start paying attention to anything
other than the perimeter they should focus on. Make sure you
or people in your group are always aware of your surroundings
and any incoming zombies. This is one of the top reasons people
get tagged - because they were talking to someone or focused on
one zombie while a zombie comes in from another side.