Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sunday Sermon: How to survive the zombie apocalypse!!!

This week has been about preparing you for the inevitable... Z Day!

Maybe this isn't a purely wargaming based article today, but lately I've been thinking about the apocalypse. Maybe it's the global economic crisis, perhaps it's my melancholy attitude of late, or I could just have watched way too many movies and sci-fi programs about the end of the world. I don't think anyone will ever truly know why I've been thinking about the human races inevitable doom... wait you what? What's this? Sorry readers my better half has just handed me a note. I should just read it?... hmm... it raises some good points. Ahem. Oh yeah right, of course! OK then perhaps the reason I've been thinking so long and hard about the coming apocalypse is because those bloody Mayans predicted the world was going to end on December 21st 2012, and I've been playing a lot of zombie games lately. Plus I had a marathon zombie film fest in preparation for my zombie week. Even though there's actually a lot of conjecture whether what the Mayans predicted was exactly the end of the world or not, I mean what they said could be interpreted in a number of ways. Why the hell are chuffing predictions like this always so vague?

Do not get trapped in Tesco's looking for cans of Spam!

But, I'm not taking any chances fellow gamers. Nope I'm going to prepare for the coming Zombie Apocalpse, and what oral history will refer to as 'Z Day'. It's OK though, a diet of computer games, comic books, horror films and boardgames have definitely prepared me for the coming horror and the end of days. Last weekend I asked whether our gaming skills are transferable, come Z Day we'll be able to say they most certainly are! For starters my pantry has a rather unhealthy amount of spam and corned beef in it, plus dried fruit. Although this is mainly down to a potentially senile old relative who insists on bringing me tinned food whenever he visits... hmmm... perhaps he too knows that Z Day is coming. Canny old bugger! So I've stock piled plenty of dried food and tinned food to last me for a seriously long time... although I don't like either spam, or corned beef, which could be a problem if the zombie apocalypse doesn't happen. No I'm not going to think negatively, Z Day will definitely happen! So part one of surviving the initial zombie apocalypse is sorted... I have an easy and readily available supply of food all ready for when the inevitable looting and chaos starts. I pity the fools who'll be fighting over the last can of Spam in Tesco's. Idiots.

So what will you need to do to survive Z Day? Well thankfully I've watched, and interacted with an awful lot of zombie related material over the last few months in preparation for my Zombie Week. So here's my guide to surviving Z Day: know your enemy
Step 1 - Food, food and more food.

Well perhaps that should be step 2. As step 1 is not becoming a zombie on Z Day. So if you are working at a top secret military testing facility, pharmaceutical company or shady mega-conglomerate hand your resignation in now. It's not to late, those seem to be where the outbreak happens first... or small American towns in the middle of sodding nowhere. Where all they do is grow corn, and breed scantily clad promiscuous teenage girls. If you live in such a town... move, move now to the largest city you can find. I know moving away from a town full of scantily clad promiscuous teenage girls will be a wrench for many of you... but do you want scantily clad zombie girls chomping on your brains on Z Day? Think about it, you are just not safe where you are, sometimes zombie girls can be sexy and you don't want them luring you in! Move, and move now!!! Your life may depend on it. So any way, after you've quit your lucrative job and moved from your rural idyl to some crime ridden polluted hell hole you'll be safe when the initial wave of infection occurs. True you might be a down and out tramp, performing tricks in seedy bathrooms for crack or crystal meth, but in such scenario's those plucky buggers always seem to pull through.

I know it looks unappetizing, but if you smell of this stuff the zombies won't eat you, that's a scientific fact!

Any way with these evasive actions taken you should be perfectly placed to not be a zombie on Z Day. You'll need to have stock piled huge amounts of tinned food. The cheaper and nastier the better. Don't ask me why, but it seems that if you are going to survive the zombie apocalypse you need to do so on a diet of quite possibly the foulest rankest food stuffs known to man, and sadly McDonald's probably won't still be open after Z Day. I saw some tinned foie gras the other day in a supermarket, obviously it was far too refined for surviving on post Z Day so I gave it a wide berth. As I've said you should be thinking of tins of spam, turkey-ham, corned beef and baked beans... and maybe baked beans with sausages in for a treat, yes people I'm talking pork and beans. I mean it's going to be grim post Z Day and we all need a little pick me up, and I reckon a nice can of pork and beans should do the trick. As part of your food stock pile you should also have plenty of bottled water. Now I know your money saving side will look at the huge bottles of water as they're a good money saving trick...

Go for the small bottles... you have been warned!

But, think about this, you've just popped into a gas station to fill up on petrol. You decide to have a look around to see if there is anything useful. You walk into the stock room. It looks safe and empty, so obviously you begin to rummage around. Suddenly you hear a groan... damn it, walkers! You turn round to see your exit cut off by two of the undead. Your only escape route is via a window, but your bottle of water is far to big and heavy to manhandle out of it quickly enough. You're now left with the dilemma of leaving the water behind and making good your escape, trying to escape with the water and failing, or fighting the zombies for your water, which will also probably end in your death. No, no, no it is far safer to store lots of smaller bottles of water, you can carry them around in whatever transport you will be using, and more importantly the bottles will be great for improvised grenades at a later date. You can have that tip for free.

It might be a primitive skill, but you'll need fire.
Step 2 - Basic Survival skills

If you are going to survive the zombie apocalypse you are going to need some pretty darn basic survival skills. Number one is fire. Lighters will eventually run out, so being able to create fire from nothing but some dry leafs or twigs, flint and branches will make you the man, or women, you know depending on gender. If you can't create fire how the hell are you going to  be able to heat your pork and beans, huh? Yeah, that pick me up you'd been saving for yourselves is pretty damn depressing now isn't it? Nobody likes cold pork and beans, yuck! Next up is map reading, yes when the zombie apocalypse happens you'll need to be able to use a map, sure your sat-nav might run off of your cars battery, but what about space zombies? You didn't think about that did you? They'll attack satellites and then you'll be screwed. Linked to this is the fact you'll probably need a compass, if you're as organised as I am you'll already own one, if not follow this easy to use guide and you'll have a makeshift one. Next up you'll need to know what is edible and what isn't, can I advise this book by Ray Mears, it might just save your life. That should have you covered for basic survival skills, I suppose I should include the ability to run fast in here as well, but if you can't run now you're not likely to be able to get good enough in time... sorry you're likely boned!

More useful than a Sheldon? Yeah probably!
Step 3 - Develop a useful specialist skill

Sadly I've discovered my insane pinning abilities with miniatures will not make me useful enough post the zombie apocalypse for others to want to keep me alive. This devastating news has lead me to develop other skills. Killing zombies isn't a unique skill either, it will become a way of life. No, you'll need to be a Doctor (the medical variety, English literature PhD's do not count) or maybe first aider. Maybe an engineer... sorry Sheldon Cooper, but post Z Day Howard Wolowitz will be far more useful to humanity. Shocking I know, but the truth. We'll need welders, electricians, car mechanics... hell even joiners will be useful. No you need to have a manual skill that will help humanity forge a future for itself in the aftermath of Z Day. We all know that scientists will just make things worse. For my part I'm learning to bake bread... look post the apocalypse you won't be able to get freshly baked bread, and everyone likes freshly baked bread, right? No you're right, it's a crappy skill and I need to think of something else don't I? I suppose being trained as a Bee Keeper when I was younger might help, Tate & Lyle won't be making anymore sugar, so perhaps my Bee Keeping skills will be useful in helping make honey so people can have sweet stuff... unless of course the zombie virus is spread by bees... damn it I need a third backup!!!
Target practice

Step 4 - Learn how to kill stuff

Yeah sure, being able to kill zombies will be a useful skill to have, no question, but it is also a bog standard requirement for surviving post Z Day. You know it, I know it, everybody knows it. Pick a method of execution and stick with it. Train hard and perfect your art because it'll keep you alive. Whether it's up close and personal with cricket or baseball bats, or hell even lump hammers. Or at range with fire arms, you'll need to be able to handle yourself in a fight. Because when the brown stuff hits the fan do you wan to be that guy asking how you re-load a semi-automatic, or which part of the body you should aim for? No way, because that guy is toast. My own personal killing style of choice is crossbow, or bow and arrow. It's silent, it's accurate and more importantly the projectiles are re-usable, yes even in the post zombie apocalypse humanity will need to recycle, lets face it eventually well run out of ammunition for our revolvers, sniper rifles and shotguns. If you have an archery club nearby I urge you to join it now, and make yourself into the silent zombie killing machine you were born to be... or, you know stock up on chainsaws and katana's if that's more your thing. Just remember getting up close and personal with the living dead is a dangerous past time, and realistically should be avoided as much as possible, unless you are adept in the skills of close combat. Personally I'll be using close quarters killing as little as I can to reduce the risk of getting bitten.

Step 5 - Tools of the trade 

You'll need a big rucksack, if you're a down and out though you'll probably have your own shopping trolley, for now that will do. But be warned, if it has a wonky wheel it needs to go. You can't be running away from the undead horde pushing a shopping cart with a sodding wonky wheel, it'll just be disastrous. You'll end up zombie chow in no time, trust me. So what should you put in this back pack / shopping trolley? Well isn't it obvious? No! Oh, OK I'll give you my back pack survival kit shopping list:

  • Swiss army knife, they're useless but it'll make you look like you know what you are doing.
  • A compass, see step 2 if you are unsure why, having a decent map of your nation of choice might also be handy.
  • A decent hunting knife, mainly for eating apples round the camp fire in a menacing way. Could also come in handy for when zombies get all grabby.
  • Flashlight / torch, look when it gets dark you'll thank me.
  • Batteries, you'll need lots of them for the flashlight / torch, because it will be dark half of the time.
  • Rope, look I don't know why either, but a good length of rope is often used for solving puzzles in zombie games. Plus if push comes to shove it'll come in handy for kinky bondage games!
  • First Aid kit, do I need to spell it out? Open wounds in the zombie apocalypse are a bad thing my friend. Bandages, disinfectant, painkillers... you name it you'll need it. If you're bitten though you are toast!!! No amount of TCP will help.
  • A metal whiskey flask, and some whiskey to go in it too. Sure being drunk during the zombie apocalypse might not be the wisest move, but you'll hang this off of the back of your rucksack and one day it'll save your life from a stray bullet. Trust me.
  • Night vision goggles, OK so these probably aren't essential, but if you plan on stalking the undead like some deranged maniac, these will give you the edge you need.
  • A bludgeoning tool, sure you might be a ranged killer, but sometimes you'll need to switch to CQC in a flash, my personal tool of choice is a baseball bat... no nails, it might look flash but it'll weaken the bat, and might cause it to get lodged in some zombies brains in the middle of a frantic fight. Not cool.
  • face mask / body armour, look if you can get yourself some full on body armour and a face mask it might help save your life in a scrape.
  • Flint / match sticks / zippo lighters, yeah you'll need a way of making fire. Short-term match sticks and zippo lighters (look you may as well look cool) will be your best bet. Long-term you'll need some flint.
  • Note book and pen, yeah it might sound lame, but you should keep a record of what you are doing. It might come in handy at some point to remind yourself of your earlier exploits. Plus if you die at least you'll be passing your wisdom on to some other survivor.
  • Walkie talkies, look you and your group of survivors (see step 6) will need these to communicate. Mobile phones won't work anymore. You'll need to communicate.
  • Decent accurate wrist watch, this can wait until after the zombie apocalypse has happened because looting for an Omega or TAG Heuer is far cheaper than buying one. Why will you need one? For planning and coordinating precise military actions... for getting more pork and beans. 
  • Flares and flare gun, look not only will zombies be attracted to the pretty shinning light, if you get in trouble it'll be a good way to call for help... obviously if you use one I'll be running in the other direction because I know there is danger there... but if I use one I expect you all to come running to my aid.

Something sensible like this will do.

That concludes my personal rucksack shopping list, if you can think of anything I might have missed off then please feel free to add it.

Yep you'll need to do it old west stylie.
Step 6 - Have a posse 

Look, we would all like to think we're that butt hard loner dude who can slaughter a million zombies with a tooth pick, but fracking look at us. We're pasty faced geeks who struggle to roll dice with any vigor and purpose. Hell no, we need to posse up if we're going to survive Z Day. Know who your post Z Day companions are, and make sure they themselves are clued up on the importance of steps 1 through 5, you can't have any dead weight come Z Day! Well, unless you intend on knee capping them and using them as zombie speed bumps. If you do this make sure they're fat, zombies can rip through skinny geeks in seconds and then they'll be hot on your heels with a taste of blood in their mouths. Blood frenzied zombies aren't good. It might also be worth you and your post Z Day posse discussing your useful specialist skills together. List them and see what you have, is your group well rounded? Does it have too many of one skill? If so ditch some of the dead weight, look it might seem harsh, but post Z Day do you really want 4 geek engineers discussing how best to build a barricade as the zombie horde close in? Hell no! Too many geeks spoil the broth, or in this case a decent and easily defended barricade. A well rounded group who know what their defied roles are is far more likely to survive post Z Day.

Fit a Bull Bar, Roof Rack and Winch and you're good to go!
Step 7 - Vehicular transport

Use it. Look I know that when the zombie plague starts normal commerce and capitalist activity will cease to continue, so the production of fuel will stop. But, there will still be an awful lot of petrol and diesel lying around if zombie films have taught me anything. Stockpile it, and get yourself a decent vehicle. The temptation will be to get some flashy sports car, I know I'd go looking for a Aston Martin DBS myself, but truth is these cars are low to the ground, which makes driving over zombies difficult, as well as uncomfortable. They also only seat two people normally and guzzle precious gasoline like its going out of style. For the same reason the sturdier Humvee should also be avoided at all costs. A long wheel base Land Rover will suffice, or a decent Toyota Utility Vehicle. Sensible workmanlike vehicles that can carry a lot of people and goods. I'd accept vans of some type... just no sodding people carriers. They'll make your group of survivors look like a bunch of pansies. Other groups of survivors might view this as a sign of weakness and attack you and steal your supplies. Do you want that? No, thought not.

Step 8 - Have a plan (stick to it)

Hopefully steps 1 to 7 will form part of your planning, but they are not in and of themselves a post Z Day 'plan'. No, you and your posse of hopefully now clued up geeks should start thinking about where you will head post Z Day and why. Look, sticking around in a big city might give you more of a chance of not being a zombie on Z Day, but seriously, if you stay there too long you'll end up zombie chow or worse. Too many people to be turned, you'll need to move fast once the stories of crazed shoppers eating each other hits the airwaves. I'm not telling you where I'm heading because it's awesome, and super secret and has fresh running water, good arable land around it, is easily defensible and is a former secret military bunker built during the cold war. Nearby is a huge wind farm that could have the power generated by the turbines diverted to it... damn I've said too much. If any of you turn up there post Z Day I might be forced to shoot you in the head with my crossbow, you have been warned. Unless of course you have lots of tins of pork and beans, and skills my awesome posse don't have. We're currently looking for a calligrapher... don't ask.

Might come in handy after the apocalypse has struck.
Step 9 - Heavy duty equipment

Look once you have made it to your post Z Day safe-house and had that special tin of pork and beans you were saving as celebration, you are going to need to make some serious sodding adjustments to it. No matter where the hell it is, or what the hell it is, your safe-house isn't safe. This is where those builders, joiners and electrician types will come into their own. Hell if any of you watched the A-Team religiously as children you may have learned something useful about oil drums or something. But, to make use of these skills you'll need the tools of the trade, saws, hammers that sort of thing. Plus if you plan on using power tools you are definitely going to need a decent petrol driven generator, and of course the petrol to drive it. If I were you I'd stock up on tools and load them into you suitable vehicle of choice (seriously consider a Land Rover) ready for Z Day, because when this s*** goes down you do not want to be roaming the aisles of Homebase or B&Q looking for an angle grinder. The staff in those places are like fracking zombies now, imagine what they'll be like after the apocalypse... Jesus, they'll be super-zombies. No best to have your tools and welding equipment ready now. Also don't forget the simple things like a tape measures and spirit levels. Nobody likes to look at a wonky barricade, which isn't quite wide enough because you forgot to take accurate measurements. If a job needs doing you many as well do it properly!

This is a library, those things on the shelves are called 'books'.
Step 10 -Build a community

With your heavy duty equipment, your posse of survivors and hopefully a decent safe house, somewhere away from the worst of the zombie horde, you will want to start building a community. Sure if you turn up too soon I'll kill you. But, once we've made the place safe and secure, and order has been set up (read I'm in charge) we will accept useful survivors to our community. You should do likewise, because trust me many characters... erm... sorry survivors will be killed off, and you will need new cast members, I mean survivors to keep your community going. This is all getting very confusing. You'll want to start preserving as much of human culture and civilisation as you can. Obviously we'll need to save as many computer games, comic books and wargames as possible. They are vital to post Z Day human culture. You'll also want to go to 'libraries' and bring as many books back as possible. Now I know the word 'library' will mean nothing to many of you, if reading your comments is any indication, but libraries are big buildings that store books. Books are things that contain the collected wisdom and knowledge of mankind. You will want to collect as many of the important works of man as possible, try reading a few as well you illiterate mor... sorry, no need to be rude, just build your communities own library. You may wish to collect films, and music... but if any ass hat brings back a Celine Dion CD... well, you know what to do.


So that's it, my guide to surviving the zombie apocalypse, may it serve you well reader... Oh hang on there are some burly looking orderlies at my door with a white coat for me... oh God... they're trying to silence me reader's, I know too much! Prepare yourselves, Z Day is coming, remember the lessons these boardgames and films have taught you. 1) Shoot for the head. 2) Never be a sexy female. 3) Never get cocky about having a chainsaw. 4) Don't get bitten and 5) for the love of God never go back for that item you forgot to pick up, there will be a zombie ambush waiting for you. Until next time, I hope you've enjoyed my zombie week. Peace out!


  1. Awesome, important life lessons from Frontline-sensei!

    If we get the timing just right, we might get some shady military facility to supply us with telekinesis and the like. Diclonius' vectors could be very handy, as shown in Elfen Lied.

    If the timings wrong we'll have another kind of apocalypse on our hands. Shinsekai Yori gives a few hints of that.

    Oh well!

    1. No it's definitely going to be a straight up zombie apocalypse!!!

      I'm ready... are you?

  2. ....I happen to be decent at caligraphy.... how convenient.

    You forget how useful whiskey is for multiple situations. At least one full bottle should be kept on-hand at all times.

    1. Whiskey is useful, however come the post apocalypse I'm going to be brewing my own potato vodka!!! Yes that's the spirit... I'll get my coat.

      So you're good at calligraphy... hmm... OK, you're going down on the maybe list.

    2. Vodka doesn't quite have the alcohol concentration needed to light easily. Whiskey tends to be more flamable for some reason. This was tested during an arguement with my parents, who for some reason thought that vodka would ignite on contact with fire.

      It's also useful for trade, as an "anasthetic" or an antiseptic.

      Also you can drink it, but that'd be silly.

    3. Indeed a very good point. But if you home brew it you can set the ethanol content yourself!!! Brewing... that's it... you're a genius, that's another normally useless skill I have. I can actually brew alcohol from a number of sources!!! That with baking bread and bee keeping should definitely keep me safe. Failing that I could always fall back on welding.

  3. My plan is to hole up in B&Q as soon as the news starts reporting on "riots" springing up all over the country and attacking people.

    Everyone always wants to try to seal themselves in Asda, but they'll run out of food eventually, whereas in B&Q I have weapons, the means to build defences, everything I need to start growing crops, even wind turbines and generators if I go to a bigger one...

    ... I'll steer clear of the chainsaws though, that never ends well.

    1. Oh good lord.... Nooooooooooo!!!

      B&Q and any other large store should be looted and then vacated as quick as possible. You need to be in the middle of nowhere, like a field or Crewe or Slough (sorry only British people will get that joke). Anywhere people congregate normally is a bad idea. So perhaps your local Games Workshop might be a good idea. I mean they're normally in out of the way remote places... ba-doom-tish... I'm here all week, and pretty much until I die and or get bored. :p