Since 2007, Zombie LARP had been (mostly) running in the Congregation Hall building at the University of East Anglia – and slowly but surely outgrowing it, like some kinda undead hermit crab. Station Zero was a big change; it took place in Friar’s Walk – a disused shopping centre normally used for military simulation games. We took over the mall for a fateful Saturday, filled it with NERF guns and zombies, and let you guys run around inside.
As usual, the event had a backstory to which everyone could be happily oblivious without the fun being diminished it all. For this event, Friars Walk Mall was the site of an old civil defence shelter – Station Zero – which Reading Council would have used to hide from a zombie apocalypse. Construction of the shelter was begun thirty years earlier by (wait for it) the Bioflex Corporation. Bioflex returned to the mall in September 2011 to publicize some horrible new products, which inevitably caused a zombie outbreak. An emergency transmitter was required in order to contact an Occult Task Force rescue helicopter codenamed ARCHANGEL. Of course, the transmitter used a stupid proprietary format which meant it needed eight unique batteries before it’d work. Getting the batteries was difficult as the mall was overrun with zombies and White Knights and the basement was the nest of the mysterious Red Leech. Once the radio worked, the helicopter could be summoned, and escape could shift from ‘impossible’ to merely ‘extremely difficult’.
We’d made a few changes to the way things normally work at our events. At Station Zero, humans outnumbered zombies 3 to 1 in the opening stages of each run – although we evened the odds by underpowering teams, stripping health levels, and attaching the vital objectives to angry White Knights.
Most of the players died. This pleases us. They died in the right way, and the right amounts, and for the right reasons. Station Zero was a gamble, and going into it brought back all the fear and uncertainty we felt way back in the days of the First Incident. But, as we’re sure you’re aware if you were present (or within a five-mile radius nearby) it was AWESOME.
So, of course, it’s the blueprint for future events. Friar’s Walk Mall is our hired home for the time being, but we are still looking for other places to jam full of hungry deads. We most likely won’t be returning to the confines of the Congregation Hall, and the success of Station Zero made that difficult decision easier. We hope this marks the start of something big.
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