Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Jebobek » Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:43 pm UTC

Using our pike discussion way back, what do you think about duct taping knives to broom sticks or other long peices of wood and make them into pikes/spears. With a few people next to you, do you think that might be an acceptable long, awkwardish weapon in a confined quarter? Thats more of a poke, stabbey stab, pushback-while-you-retreat kinda thing.
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:53 pm UTC

Any weaponry involving duct tape is not going to end well. You'd be better served by disassembling the knives, cutting a groove in the broom handle and bolting the blade in the groove. And that would probably end badly as well.

You need your weapon to be reliable. Sharpening it is one thing, but having to do fairly extensive repairs every few days as the weapon itself gets work out because it's main method of assembly involves tape is not a weapon you want. Don't get me wrong.. if you have 10 minutes to slap something.. anything together and you've got a couple of rolls of tape, some knives, and some long poles.. well, you do what you have to do. But then you drop that shit and get something that doesn't suck.

Really, though, if the stick's sturdy enough, you'd likely be better off just sharpening the end of it, hardening it up in a fire a little, and using it as a spear rather than trying a duct tape makeshift spearhead.
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Jebobek » Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:08 pm UTC

Yea, I was about to go into the whole situational "but what if we're at the initial outbreak stage and theres no guns?" junk but I see you added the 10 minutes thing. My point was that I thought it would be better if you had to chose between finding + swinging a sword vs. finding + poking a pointy stick.

I read back a little, and I see that people do mention that stabbing may not work if the organs no longer function, and thats a good point. What I really had in mind was that if you poke at zombies you knock them over, giving you a few seconds. But the action of poking wastes time vs running I suppose. And if you're trying to clear a building you're gonna need a sledgehammer/gun guy to finish them off anyways.

Quick edit: When you mention "something that does not suck" I am assuming the realm of guns then? Or are you thinking of a more ideal melee, since we've been on this discussion for a bit?
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:29 pm UTC

More of.. if you're going for a spear (which, really, if you can get a group of about five people, four with spears, one with a sledge, that could be a good melee hunting party for stragglers - spears used to trip/pin a zombie for the hammer to fall) that you'll want basically an aluminum tube that's had an end closed and pointed, or maybe a wooden shaft with a steel head added on.. something about eight feet long and not used inside buildings with a backup machete or hand ax or something for in case a zed gets by your spear. (Of course, aluminum might not be the best choice as it is malleable. A steel shaft would likely be too heavy, though.. so maybe wood really is the best choice. Well, no, the best choice would likely be some kind of plastic polymer, but I doubt that'll be readily available.)

Basically, a Real Weapon, not something makeshift.

People not really valued right now - Blacksmiths, especially ones that do more than horseshoes. People highly valued after the zombies rise up - Blacksmiths, especially ones that do more than just horseshoes.
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Jebobek » Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:59 pm UTC

In a pinch, before the real weapons are produced, I suppose you could get the sledgehammer guy to close those ends of the more malliable metal piping with a few quick slams. I guess this is why we should keep contributing to the Renaissance fairs, if only for the sake of encouraging blacksmiths to learn to make pointy things in addition to horseshoes. We've got one at our local amusement park making curvy metal posts to hang signs and flowers off of. As you said, the problem is that they're really freaking heavy.

Howabout getting a wooden pole and attaching a half a foot of metal from a road sign pole? I'm not sure how heavy they are but they're probably durable. The metal's shape sort of encases the wood if the pole is skinny enough. The holes in the metal allow for a good place to attach it to the wood. I'm sure the blacksmith would know best.
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:17 pm UTC

You'd need to cut the metal to just get a two-foot span of the hole side so as to reduce the overall weight and to make it fit better, as ideally you have a metal brace on each side of the pole. Since the holes are on the bottom of the U shape, you'd have to cut the sides of it off, leaving you a line.

It'd work, but you'd really almost need a metalworker to do it for you (No power = No fancy cutting equipment) and hopefully they could just craft something better from melting down the metal, rather than trying to reshape it.
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Jebobek » Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:40 pm UTC

The shape of the point would definately be important too. It would have to be in a shape that allow for easy entry but easy removal as well. If you've got your weapon firmly stuck in a zombie than the next one has a clear shot of you, unless you have backup. And unless that zombie is completely dead, it would be foolish to try to yank it out. Admittedly, you would have to do alot of work on something like the end of a sign pole to ensure that it is both sharp and smooth.

I'm intrigued about gathering metals to craft into weaponry, though. Bulding a base around this type of facility would seem important if the region finds itself short on ammo. I think it would be worthwhile to research metals you see around your community to determine which ones could be molded into weapons for the first stages of zombie attacks, and tools for the "rebuild society" stages.
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Flesh_Of_The_Fallen_Angel » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:16 am UTC

I'd say that you should seriously avoid anything but a strait blade or spike when using a pole weapon. Otherwise, it could be fairly difficult to remove the blade/spike once you stab the zombie with it.

Real weapons vs makeshift weapons: Use what you can. If a makeshift weapon is better than a "real" weapon, then I would use the makeshift one. Use the best of what you have. Simple as that.

Zombie hunting teams: Strongest person has a sledge hammer. Even if there are enough guns, give someone a sledge hammer. It's for when you want to kill a downed zombie without wasting ammo. Also, it can be used when you run out of ammo. (Although, everyone should be carrying a backup melee weapon anyway).

What would be the ideal melee weapon for a single survivor to wield?

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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby RetSpline » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:49 am UTC

Easy answer: Whatever they can find.

Real answer: a durable, long-ish (maybe 3-4 feet?), blunt instrument of destruction, ranging from sticks to metal poles to baseball bats. I, personally, prefer things without a specific striking point (hammers) and would stick with something more like a stick or bat. But, different strokes for different folks. Use what you have, what you're used to, and what works for you.

I think I may have mentioned this earlier in the thread, but a few friends and I get together and have stick fights (kinda like a ghetto SCA) every now and then. Because of this, I have a modest collection of good strong sticks that I am comfortable with wielding. I doubt they could bash through a human skull, but a 2-man team could easily take a zombie down: One person strikes the back of a zombie's knee and pushes it onto its back, while the other plants their stick on the zombie's eye and shoves. Obviously wouldn't work in larger swarm attacks, but I hope that I would be running from those.

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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Flesh_Of_The_Fallen_Angel » Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:26 am UTC

RetSpline wrote:a few friends and I get together and have stick fights (kinda like a ghetto SCA) every now and then. Because of this, I have a modest collection of good strong sticks that I am comfortable with wielding. I doubt they could bash through a human skull, but a 2-man team could easily take a zombie down: One person strikes the back of a zombie's knee and pushes it onto its back, while the other plants their stick on the zombie's eye and shoves.

Apparently, hickory is a good wood to use for stick fighting. I love stick fighting. I remember fighting with hockey-sticks in primary school. It's really fun. Also, it's a good way to learn how to fight with a melee weapon when you have nothing else.

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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby SummerGlauFan » Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:27 am UTC

I would recomend against baseball bats or sticks/poles as an offenseive weapon. You will likely have to strike a zombie multiple times to break through the skull. For blunt objects, crowbars, hammers, and the like are good. They are heavy enough and hard enough to likely get through the skull on the first try.

You could try a bladed weapon, but make sure it is sharp enough and heavy enough to either sever a head or cut through a skull. Knives and other stabbing weapons are a no-no, they stand a likely chance of getting stuck in a zombie's skull. Heck, getting them stuck in bone is even a posibilty when dealing with living targets. Machete/ax is good not only for killing a zombie, but getting through doors and the like (I'm assuming a heavy machete or a fire ax, or something along those lines) Swords are only if you are fairly proficient with them, and if they are sharp and strong enough to be a relaible weapon. Again, no stabbing swords (that includes the gladius. Sorry, guys).

I would only recomend a polearm for one of two situations: a "stand off" weapon, where you hold back/pin a zombie to either keep it off you or keep it in place for someone else to finish. Or, if you have a shelter with observation/firing slits in it's walls, (or a sufficeintly low roof) you can use sharp-tipped polearms to down zombies from the safety of your fort. A polearm is frankly too unwieldy for most practical uses, especially indoors.
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Flesh_Of_The_Fallen_Angel » Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:41 am UTC

I agree with using a hammer, crowbar or other blunt, smashing device to kill a zombie because it's difficult killing someone with a baseball bat generally, add a zombie virus to that person and it would become very difficult. Couldn't you stab through the eye to damage the brain? Although, that could be very difficult to do in heated combat. Using pole arms as a defence weapon is a great idea.

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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Upsilon » Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:56 am UTC

I've just learned that one of my friends who doesn't live too far away has the means to create his own ammo, and supposedly has over 20,000 rounds already made. This is all kinds of good news.

I think my melee weapon would be a crowbar or a machete or an entrenchment shovel, something that is as useful as a tool as it is a weapon.
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Flesh_Of_The_Fallen_Angel » Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:19 am UTC

What kind of ammo does he have excessive amounts of? Learn how to use the weapon that he/she has the most ammo for. Then learn how to use the one with the second highest amount of ammo. So on and so forth. That way, you have weapons, ammo and the knowledge of how to use it.

Using an entrenching shovel as a weapon; you make the edge of the shovel part razor sharp. Depending on how well blades work against zombies, this could be a great idea or get you killed fairly quickly (In open combat).

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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Random832 » Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:38 am UTC

Flesh_Of_The_Fallen_Angel wrote:Using an entrenching shovel as a weapon; you make the edge of the shovel part razor sharp. Depending on how well blades work against zombies, this could be a great idea or get you killed fairly quickly (In open combat).


That's going to wear out too quickly in use as a digging tool to be worth it.

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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Flesh_Of_The_Fallen_Angel » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:30 am UTC

Random832 wrote:
Flesh_Of_The_Fallen_Angel wrote:Using an entrenching shovel as a weapon; you make the edge of the shovel part razor sharp. Depending on how well blades work against zombies, this could be a great idea or get you killed fairly quickly (In open combat).


That's going to wear out too quickly in use as a digging tool to be worth it.

How long do you think it would take to wear out the blade on the shovel? Day? Weeks? Months? Years? (Directed at anyone who wants to answer).

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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby SecondTalon » Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:00 am UTC

A sharpened shovel as a bladed weapon while also a digging tool?

About 10 minutes, maybe less.

It'll still be a perfectly serviceable shovel until the day you die. Just not as a bladed, sharpened weapon.
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby wst » Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:56 pm UTC

I find shovels get sharper the more you use them... on the digging edge...

How in hell are you going to chop a zombies head off with the digging edge of a shovel? The only way I can really imagine is like throwing a javelin, but holding on. No, just no.

Shovels would be mean weapons anyway, sharpened or not. In open spaces anyway.

I'd stick to a hammer for close combat. Or 2. Something like a claw hammer, but with straight 'claws'. I have one in my toolbox, but it's not sharpened (yet). I don't know their proper name though...
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Mo0man » Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:42 pm UTC

Just to be clear; bonking zombies over the head like in Shaun of the dead wouldn't work, yes? Unless you spend a few minutes hitting them while they're down
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby SummerGlauFan » Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:53 am UTC

Mo0man wrote:Just to be clear; bonking zombies over the head like in Shaun of the dead wouldn't work, yes? Unless you spend a few minutes hitting them while they're down


Exactly. If they worked at all. Better to just lug around a sledge, ax, machete, etc. In the time it took you to actually kill a zombie with a shovel, it would get up and its buddies would already be eating you. Sorry.
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Mo0man » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:31 am UTC

Well you could always bonk them to knock them down and run. I assume it takes them a while to get their limbs in order.
On the other hand, as proven in the movie, doesn't always work. you bonk them, assume they're out, and then your da gets bitten in the neck and then there's this little speech about how difficult it is to raise childrens
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Flesh_Of_The_Fallen_Angel » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:04 am UTC

Knock a zombie unconscious? Is that even possible? Or are you meaning something other than what I am thinking?

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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Mo0man » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:42 pm UTC

Knock them DOWN. Wouldn't you have trouble getting up if your arms and legs were decomposing and your brain is (mostly) not there?
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby SummerGlauFan » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:40 pm UTC

Even then, you'd still be much better off with another weapon. The only thing a shovel would be useful for weapon-wise is to knock down a zombie that happens to sneak up on you when you are digging, buying you time to either run the heck away, or get another weapon out and kill the sucker.
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Random832 » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:45 pm UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:Even then, you'd still be much better off with another weapon. The only thing a shovel would be useful for weapon-wise is to knock down a zombie that happens to sneak up on you when you are digging, buying you time to either run the heck away, or get another weapon out and kill the sucker.


Any weapon that is also useful as a tool means one less thing you have to carry. Though the one weapon/tool that'd be useful against worst-case-scenario zombies that I can think of would be a machete (or, rather, large knives in general) - a sword is too long to be useful as a tool, and you're not going to do any zombie-fighting with a flimsy pocketknife.

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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby SummerGlauFan » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:54 pm UTC

The problem with a shovel is you cannot use it to dig, otherwise you ruin any sharpness it has as a weapon. In this case, it is either a weapon OR a tool, not both. It's not strong enough to crack open a skull without repeated effort. If you want both a weapon and a tool, get a crowbar or a hammer. Heck, even the relatively useless polearm would be better than a shovel.

As for knives as weapons: no no No NO! Stabbing weapons = stuck weapons. Unless you have a knife heavy enough and sharp enough to cut through a skull or a neck via hacking/slicing, knives are relegated to the tool-only category during a zombie outbreak. A machete is your best friend here, as it can cut through doors and whatnot, too. Use swords only if you are proficient with a weapon such as a sword.
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Pa-Patch » Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:17 pm UTC

You know, swinging the edge of a shovel into a skull strikes me as a pretty good way to crack one. It obviously depends on the shovel, but I imagine we're talking proper ones with a metal head. You could put a lot of force behind a swing and concentrate that on a very small area.

Of course, hammers/crowbars are better tool/weapons (not that much better because you have less range), but a shovel seems a much better improvised one than most. Also, given that a shovel is heavy and you don't need to dig many holes in a zombie apocalypse, I can't imagine much use as a tool. Maybe latrines once you're camped out, but then you have time for proper weaponry.

Also, christ guys melee'ing a zombie is the last thing you ever want to do, ever, ever. Ever. There are a hell of a lot of zombies out there, and all it takes is one minor slip-up and you're done. Much easier to find a way around. On the move, you're only going to need to fight one if you screwed up ROYAL (Like, a hallway with 1 exit) and got yourself penned in. Clearing out a base, take the time to find a proper weapon, or make one. If you can't find a good projectile weapon, a sledgehammer/hefty axe or a well-designed pole-arm made specifically with the goal of sticking a zombie in place, just find an empty building or keep running. If you are in an area where you don't have time to rummage for the safest possible weapon YOU ARE PICKING A VERY BAD PLACE FOR YOUR BASE.

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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby RetSpline » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:09 am UTC

Pa-Patch wrote:Also, christ guys melee'ing a zombie is the last thing you ever want to do, ever, ever. Ever.

Well, yeah. Maybe it was specified earlier and I missed it, but I kinda assumed the situation was something like, "You're on your way out of the city on foot. You are under-geared, running for your life and you want to pick up something in case you need to do some head-bashery soon, in a place you can't run away from." In such a situation, I doubt there is a "best weapon". You have a few seconds to improvise a weapon, choosing based on what you have on hand and what you could use to the best (e/a)ffect. I would choose a pole/stick/something because that's the only thing's use in which I have any sort of training. Random832 thinks a shovel would suit him handily, and I don't think a shovel has any serious shortcomings/is overshadowed by any benefits of another improvised weapon.

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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Surgery » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:01 am UTC

I think this shovel would be a good pick. I can't attest to its use in combat, but as a tool it's great. It also feels good in the hand, is balanced pretty well (for a shovel I mean) and is, in fact, made to also be used as a weapon in a pinch. It swings very well, it might as well be a hatchet. I used to carry one in my car until I cleaned my car out and forgot to put it back in (which now that I think about it I probably will do just that tomorrow).

Also, not really a tool, but this is pretty damn sweet.

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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby BMW787 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:33 am UTC

Surgery wrote:I think this shovel would be a good pick. I can't attest to its use in combat, but as a tool it's great. It also feels good in the hand, is balanced pretty well (for a shovel I mean) and is, in fact, made to also be used as a weapon in a pinch. It swings very well, it might as well be a hatchet. I used to carry one in my car until I cleaned my car out and forgot to put it back in (which now that I think about it I probably will do just that tomorrow).

Also, not really a tool, but this is pretty damn sweet.


Both of those are pretty damn badass. I think the shovel would work the best and it would double as a tool.

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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Upsilon » Tue Feb 10, 2009 4:28 am UTC

Something like that shovel is what I meant by "entrenchment shovel".
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Surgery » Tue Feb 10, 2009 4:31 am UTC

Right, but I think others (and I could be wrong here) were thinking along the lines of a full size, 5 foot shovel.

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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Firnagzen » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:53 pm UTC

Hey guys. So far we've discussed weapons in detail, and I had a thought: How about a shield? Say you have a decent reach (1m or so?) weapon you can use with one hand effectively (Like that ball headed club). Would a riot shield be a good thing to pick up in your off hand?
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby BMW787 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:44 pm UTC

Firnagzen wrote:Hey guys. So far we've discussed weapons in detail, and I had a thought: How about a shield? Say you have a decent reach (1m or so?) weapon you can use with one hand effectively (Like that ball headed club). Would a riot shield be a good thing to pick up in your off hand?


I would think it would have to be a fairly lightweight shield or it would be useless. I guess a riot shield could work. Then you could crouch in a corner and have one side sorta defended while you bash with your other hand.
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:30 pm UTC

Repeating..
"But we've got shields!" you say.. alright, let's talk about that. I've got a shield to bash away zombies. It's not at all something my opponent will grab and rip away from my arm, if I'm lucky.. noo.. zombies wouldn't do that. They certainly wouldn't grab the shield and yank me in to the horde with them, to be ripped apart if I'm lucky, or slightly gnawed and left to rise again.. no.

Oh, wait, that's exactly what they'd do.

....The Riot shields.. those are useful, but disposable. ...Odds are the zombie's just going to grab it as you shove them backwards. Meaning you have to let go. So sure, it'll buy you a few seconds, but that's it. And with the weight of them, you may have been able to escape the situation if you didn't have it in the first place. And yes, there are the lighter Plexiglas ones. They don't have the weight, but they are bulky and great things for Zombies to grab, so they have almost the exact same problems.

In the history of warfare, Armor has always been a trade-off. You sacrifice mobility for protection, the idea being the amount of protection the armor gives you is more than the protection you have from being mobile. It's better to dodge a blow, but if you cannot dodge a blow, then you try to make sure the blow can do no harm. Against Zombies, the only protection would be something like a sharkproof suit, or a full suit of plate armor.

Both of which are heavy and bulky. Both of which will slow you down and restrict your movements more than jeans and a shirt. Both of which will be worthless against an opponent who's primary mode of attack is the Grab method. A sharkproof suit would just turn you into a packet of ketchup - if the squeeze hard enough on one end, red stuff will pop out the other. A suit of plate would make you a can of tomato soup - might take a bit, but they'll eventually smash it open.
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby SummerGlauFan » Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:25 pm UTC

Indeed. Shields assume that your enemy is going to be trying to bash/stab/slash/shoot you with a weapon. Zombies won't; they'll grab you, ile on top of you if there's enough of them, and then rip you apart with their teeth.

Melee weapons are not the ideal zombie weapon, but they have some advantages: they don't run out of ammo, they are quiet, and they work if you get attacked and don't have time to line up a shot with your spiffy new rifle. The downsides; most put you withing the danger zone of a zombie: arm's reach. Most effective melee weapons are also either fairly awkward (such as a sledgehammer) or require at least some proficiency (such as a sword or machete).

Ideally, a gun is the best weapon; you take out the zombie(s) from the safety of you fort/from a distance. Guns, however WILL run out of ammo (particularly in a high-end outbreak), are usually fairly complex, and need more complicated maintenance than most melee weapons. Plus, if you don't have a supressor, you run the very real risk of drawing in more zombies to your location, which isn't much of a problem if you are traveling, but can be bad if you wind up getting besieged in your fortress.
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby deaddrwho » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:00 am UTC

You could always stratigize them to death.

I don't know how effective this would be during, before or after the process of having your face eaten. For one, it'd be hard to see a computer screen.

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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby Flesh_Of_The_Fallen_Angel » Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:18 am UTC

We talked about shields before in this very topic didn't we? I remember because I was convinced that it was a bad idea (because someone (probably SecondTalon) said about how bad they are).

The Indian war club linked to before is totally bad-ass. It looks like a great weapon, but you would probably need a little knowledge of how to use it before you pick it up in the heat of battle. I mean, sure; you could just pick it up and try to hit zombies with but it would be better to have atleast a little play around with it before you fight with it.

I had a little look around the cold steel site (the one with the war club) and found sword canes! Not that they would be the best weapon, but I thought that people in this topic might like to know. :mrgreen:

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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby LuNatic » Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:14 am UTC

I would be tempted to go for some makeshift 'armour' - maybe hockey shin guards or something similar on my arms, wrapped in barbed wire - if a zombie tries to grab me there, its hands get shredded, and using simple plastic guards wouldn't impair movement by a noticeable amount. A baseball helmet, with an attached tough leather collar would be useful at protecting the back of your head and neck from a zombie that you didn't see coming.
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Re: Taking it seriously: The zombie problem

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:51 pm UTC

It, uh, won't care about getting it's hand shredded. So you're likely just providing extra handholds via wrapping it's shredded hands around the metal wires and yanking you around like a doll.

I assume you mean a batting helmet and not a catching one (with or without mask). I have no idea how much that would affect your hearing. As far as the helmet/leather gorget goes... I don't know.
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