A Basic Nerf interview with Camarillo 2012 Summer HvZ Game Organizers (Write Up)

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A photo of game organizers Christopher (left) and David (right) role playing for the game.

After I attended Day 3 of the Summer 2011 game, I was instantly hooked on HvZ. If you followed my preparation towards the game then I’m sure you’ve liked the content I posted so far. I’ve had the a great opportunity interview the game organizers for the Camarillo Summer 2012 HvZ game, David and Christopher.

Tell us a little bit about who your are.
David – My name is David. I have also lived in Camarillo my entire life. Chris has been one of my closest friends for as long as I could remember. I think that’s one of the things that makes us such a good team. I just got my Associates in Business and am currently working for a Bachelors at CSUCI. I’m a huge nerd and proud of it!
Christopher – My name is Christopher, I’ve lived In Camarillo my entire life and with the exception of five of those years I have been best friends with my Co-leader David Casas. I am a history major with an emphasis in Religion at CSUCI and I hope to get my Teaching credentials within the next two years. I love singing and playing video games.

Can you tell us a bit on how Camarillo HvZ was started?
David
– Our friends Mike and John started it in 2008. It was a small but crazy game that laid down the foundation to further games. We didn’t really have boundaries, and me and Chris were one of the last survivors 7 hours into the game. Ever since then, we have had someone from our group of friends host the game while the rest of the group would help mod. We started doing it annually, then went to biannually when people demanded more.
Christopher – HvZ was originally started in Camarillo by one of our good Friends Mike Groom and John Halter. That was back in the winter of 08 I believe and I am proud to say that David and I were able to survive right up until the end of the day….when the five remaining humans got stuck in a bathroom. I don’t think anyone realized back then just how big of an event this would become.

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Most of the moderating crew for the 2012 Summer game. From left to right Joseph, Christopher, John, Greg, David, and Patrick.

How exactly do you guys pick game hosts/moderators every year?
Christopher
– Well, that’s really a two part question. Hosts aren’t chosen so much as they volunteer. All of the games so far have been led by what you could call a “Core” team. We were all friends before the first game and were either moderators or admins during that game. Since then each of us have taken turns hosting games, unless you are Evan Ovadia who ran at least three (I think, David you might know better). But all Hosts need to be able to dedicate the time needed to making this a good game, and follow both the rules of HVZ and those of the City. Moderators however are chosen based on how long they have been playing and who we can trust to enforce rules fairly. In the past they usually are veteran players of the game.
David – Hosts are not picked, they volunteer. Hosting takes a lot of stress, time, and dedication to the game. If anyone is up for the work, more power to them! Mods are chosen by the hosts as people to enforce rules and help with missions. How me and Chris did it was we looked at past veterans of the game and chose some that were willing to help.

What goes into planning and having a successful Camarillo game?
David
– Time, dedication and the power of friendship. HvZ is not something that can be done alone. We only survived this year by our friends helping us along the way. Me and Chris were so busy, we barely had time to plan what we did.
Christopher – Hahaha, In&out, Caffeine, Late night planning sessions and a good stress ball. Oh yeah, and time, that’s by far the most important haha.

Were there any particular difficulties you had in planning this year’s game?
David
– Yes, our biggest difficulty was time. Along with that was our vivid imaginations. We would come up with extraordinary ideas that would take dozens of mods to work correctly. As well, unfortunate for us, as busy as we were, our friends were even busier. Things came up for most of our admins/mods and we were left very understaffed this year. I’m just glad it all worked out.
Christopher – Several really, one of the biggest was lack of time. Both David and I work and go to school so our time was stretched thin already, and I had a lot of activities at my church keeping me busy so finding time to plan was hard. The other big difficulty was trying to get the game back to its basics. The original game had no safe zones, the missions were spread out and no one really knew what was going on, and communication was virtually non-existant. (Except when the admins kept asking where David was so they could send zombies after us). We really wanted to make this game feel like that original one. Without safe zones the Humans are forced to be constantly moving and watching their backs in order to survive. We originally toyed with the idea of having two factions, Civillians and Military that would each have three squads. This would have added a human vs. human element to the game, but sadly we didn’t have the resources to ensure it would run smoothly so we had to scrap that idea.

How many players signed up and registered? How many of them were girls?
Christopher
– David has the sheets but I believe the number was around 70, and as for girls I am not sure.
David – 70 people exactly registered this year. Among them, it was about 8 girls.

I noticed that a good amount of the missions seemed to be in the bottom half of the park or based around there. Was this by design, or more of a coincidence?
Christopher
– It was a little of both really. Since we had a smaller play field it limited the areas that we could use for missions. We also wanted to make sure that each mission felt different like it was completely different than the others, despite revisiting familiar places.
David – A little of both. I was in contact with the Park Supervisor and he did want us to mainly stay off areas in the park. Although, I had a pretty cool “Shoot down the towers with a rocket” mission set for after lunch on the other side of the park. Never got to happen though.

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The remaining humans walk towards their final mission.

Most of the human force was tagged and turned on their way back to the safe zone for lunch, and the remaining humans had to go right into the final mission, ending the game around 1:30-2 PM. Was this the earliest the game had ended?
David
– Not anywhere close. We have had multiple games in a day because a game ended so early. Our mistakes in the past include making varsity track runners the OZ’s.
Christopher – I believe so. We debated keeping the game going but we decided that the remaining Humans would die off quickly enough that it wasn’t worth having the lunch break. Some people wanted to have us turn some zombies back into humans like in previous games, but David and I decided early on that we didn’t want to do that. We wanted to make becoming a zombie something that the humans should fear, and not feel like they could get out of it later in the day.

Had the game gone on as normal, what other missions did you have planned for the players?
Christopher
– We had a escort mission and a search and destroy mission. Many of the missions after lunch in these games are designed to isolate the surviving humans and force them to fight for their lives.
David – My personal favorite was a “Shoot the towers down” mission where I had a Nerf Crossbow for the humans to use. We also had a mission where the President wanted to drop bombs on the zombies, but the humans had to rescue the President’s daughter first and escort her to safety. There was also a search for boxes mission where 1/2 of the boxes had good prizes.

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from left to right, David, Ferris (Summer 2012 MVP) and me!

Can you make any comment or speak of the MVP of the game, Ferris M.? Because a 16 year old girl winning an MVP award for an HVZ game isn’t something you hear about everyday.
David
– I don’t believe she has many past experiences. She was basically the unofficial leader of the humans. I’d happily fight by her side in a real Zombie Apocalypse.
Christopher – I didn’t get to interact with Ferris to much thanks to running all over the place setting up missions. But the fact that someone so young got voted MVP is a great honor and we look forward to her returning in future games to lead the Humans to survival.

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New players were mixed amongst the old

What general observations have you made about the player base? Does Camarillo HvZ have it’s own culture, and if so what helps to define it?
Christopher
– Oh Definetly. Both the people and the game itself. The Camarillo HvZ is rather unique since unlike most other versions which are played on college campus’s, our game has always been played in our cities main park and surrounding area. The fact that we play in areas that aren’t to frequented by regular people allows our games to be a bit more…intense. I’ve seen zombies hide in trees and leap down on Humans or hide behind a bush on a Hill and charge down at those below. With so much cover it allows the Zombies to set up great ambushes, especially the path leading up to the Lost Park. That place has only two ways up and both are death traps due to their narrowness and the amount of cover they provide. The people themselves have adapted to this, choosing to stick in large packs in order to survive.
David – Well the players are mainly nerds like me and Chris, but they are also people that just enjoy having a good time. It is it’s own culture, as you have to like zombies, Nerf, surviving, or all of the above!

What do you expect next for Camarillo HvZ?
David
– Who knows? not me. The hosts of Camarillo HvZ are ever changing. Hopefully the game lives on and continues to be a Camarillo tradition.
Christopher – Anything hahaha. This next game will most likely be run by someone new to the inner workings of Humans vs. Zombies. So anything could happen, but regardless it should make for a great game.

Basic Nerf thanks Christopher and David for the very fun game they hosted, and also thanks them for taking time out of their day to answer these questions.

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