Thursday, 7 March 2013

For Nerf HvsZ to be this good, takes ageS

Anyone remember this?

Then you will remember the motto...
- "to be this good takes ageS".
And just like Sega, this HvsZ group is the very essence of that. They are one of the respected HvsZ organisations in Australia when it comes to this scene, and for good reason. 

Like Canberra & Southern NSW Dart Tag (Nerf Wars, HvZ), this group shares the very essence of camaraderie, respect and passion - so clear from not only it's Admins but from their consistent participant turnout. Not many organisations can say or run events as clockwork as these folks.
These guys ooze fun-loving!! and with much pride and honour I got to sit down and quiz them from the start of Riverina to what we have today -

Riverina Dart Tag - are you folks ready for what they got in store for 2013??
MyLastDart: Please can please introduce the team to Nerf fans that are not already aware of the awesome work you do?
Andrew: The Admin Team for Riverina Dart Tag is : Andrew Goldstraw (Goldie) , Terri Goldstraw (Tez) , Chris Tomas (Overkill) , Keith Beard , Stacey McCrowe (Hazmat) , Aaron Oakes (Ace) , Gary Canham , And Chris Hearn (Captain Australia) . We use such a large number as due to work and family commitments etc It ensures we always have a few present to help at events 

MLD: How did you guys get in to Nerf and can you remember your very first blaster? Which blaster sits proudly on top of your fireplace?
Andrew: A Work mate of my wife Terri was one of the Original Admins of HvZ@CSU when they first started out. He invited me along. My first game was Their second event , I was hooked and haven't looked back since. My First blaster was a Dart Tag Hyperfire. Pride and place on the mantle? Easy Alpha Trooper ! And hoping to have an Elite to go with it in March
Chris: I've only been playing HVZ for about a year and I heard about Riverina Dart Tag through my girlfriend at the time who spotted an add on a community page on Facebook. I was instantly addicted and have never missed a game since my first appearance. My first blaster, oddly was a vulcan. To this day my fireplace weapon would have to be my fury fire. It's a machine. I still remember the day I won it at an event for having the best costume (I was the only person who dressed in theme)
Keith: My first Nerf was a secret strike that actually came with a vortex as a bonus. I was hooked immediately. I had used cheap projectile toys from a very young age but the power and quality of the nerf gear was like nothing I had seen before.
Whether you're a Human and you 'Got This' or a Zombie bringing your 'Ace Game' - Nerf On!
MLD: What is Riverina Dart Tag, and how did it come about?

Andrew: Canberra & Southern NSW Dart Tag Had 3 founding members ; Neil Stork-Brett , Andrew Goldstraw (Me) , And Shaun Kreiger. We all met when I travelled to Canberra to play in a game of the now Defunct HvZ@ANU. The first Several Events held by this group were run by myself here in Wagga Wagga , With the Other 2 Admins living so far away (300kms) They weren't able to make every game (Though they did try) . So I bought Chris into the team so that I had more local help. Besides distance , The Canberra Crew started to give a lot of attention to modding and releases etc , where I was mostly into Sharing the game I came to love to other like minded people. When I first created Riverina Dart Tag , We kept it as a sister group , and both myself and Neil remained Admins of both. As each group continued to grow We mutually chose to separate the groups so as to lessen confusion and to make it easier for us both to concentrate on the local areas, people and events. At this time we both chose Extra admins for our respective pages. Neil and I remain good Friends and travel to each others games as often as possible , as well as providing support and ideas. When it comes to the page , It is rare you will find reviews or similar , As stated we are about bring the games to the people. There are already so many other pages out there that We don't feel the need to add to them , though I will often share posts and reviews from others pages
MLD: What season (year) are you guys in so far? Is it open to anyone? Or is this only available through membership of a group? What is the best way for me to get in touch with you if I want to come a long for a game? Age restriction?
Keith: We don’t really have seasons as such. We’ve been going on a few years now. There is no official membership and we are open to basically anyone. Most of our communication is via the Facebook page. We do normally have an age restriction of 12 however the occasional exception will be made if the parents are attending and supervising their children. Mostly this is about safety first.

MLD: How many members do you have to date? General turnout/game length? I noticed a lot more females playing Nerf/HvZ - what do you think is behind that shift?
Andrew: Likes on our FB page at the moment of writing is 388. At a guess I'd say maybe about 200 of these are local. With the rest comprised of fans both national and international. General turnout for our events range between 20-50 players , so an average of 30 . Our events will on average go for 5 or 6 hours depending on weather and time of year (Shorter in Summer). Average game time during these events is 45mins to an hour. Girls .. lol , Every Nerf group needs more. We usually have a minimum of 3 show up (Often many more). We have never really had a problem attracting them. Some come with their boyfriends , They have fun , then bring their friends etc etc .. As well , having 2 ladies on our Admin team helps as well to a big degree!! They seem to feel more comfortable if there is a lady in charge , not just guys

MLD: How do you help keep things fresh for both Human and Zombie players? I see you arrange a steady flow of games.
Andrew: We try to mix game types around from HvZ to Nerf Wars. New game variants are always being created and tried. Changes of venue every now and then help. As well , every now and then we have Melee games and bring Foam/Latex weapons and Boffers into the mix as well. To help keep it fun for Zombies (Always Difficult) , I have recently overhauled our basic HvZ rules to help zombies evolve to keep up with evolving blasters. See the Notes section on our FB page for this rule set.

MLD: I have heard about different themes of games - night time fright/24hour survival/story-driven/Regular blaster games - have you tried any of these?
Andrew: No insult to any other group intended , but most of our games are all very similar and based off the same basic principle. The ones listed Don't sound familiar , but that doesn't mean we don't play Them , We just might have different names. Game types are as endless as the imagination ! We have all the standard rounds like HvZ , Capture the flag , Team elimination , Free for all etc . We also try various mission games , and night games. I actually have a new secret game planned for one of our upcoming events , but you'll just have to wait for the pics afterwards to hear about that one lol

MLD: What is your arsenal like? What happens if blasters kick the bucket at the zombie showdown? Do you have any resident in-house repair guys and do they charge by the dart?
Andrew: My arsenal personally ? lol , I literally own hundreds !! (No boasting) One day I'll take a pic of them all .. Most of our players are rather good at modding , If there is ever trouble with a blaster they are usually able to fix it themselves. When they can't , Another is always ready to help. Personally I have fixed many blasters for players during events , and helped others to mod or fix outside of events as well. Were all friends and friendly in our group and we Don't charge to help our buds , If they need help , We just do it
Chris: I've never had a blaster konk out on me mid game but my arsenal is pretty simple. Im always trying a new blaster out each game but i always fall back on my retaliator. My newest sidearm addition will be the roughcut and im even considering it as my primary and only weapon.
Keith: Well as per the arsenal… The list would go on forever for most of our admins. If a blaster kicks the bucket we grab another or repair if possible. All the admins have considerable experience modding and repairing blasters. I have on many occasions performed field repairs. Sometimes one handed while fending off zombies with the other… lol.

MLD: How do you encourage new members? Is there a general cost to attend the games? What if they don't own a blaster?
Andrew: Mostly word of mouth , though we have had some Articles and photos in the local Newspaperas well . Recently we held a Nerf shooting gallery at a local charity event , which was very well received and are planning on doing a lot more of this. We also regularly post links to our page and events on various local group and community pages for our city on FB. For the most part there is no cost for our games , we try to keep everything social and fun. The only time we ever charge is to cover costs if we hire out private property for an event , and then it's the bare minimum to cover costs. If a player doesn't own a blaster , There is always someone willing to loan one for them to have a try. Personally I always take extra just for this reason. As they say , the more the merrier.
Keith: Most of our new members know an existing member or find us on facebook. There is no cost except on the rare occasion that we hire private grounds. There is always spare blasters if newbies need to borrow.

MLD: Do you take any inspiration from TV shows for any story led or inspired missions? The Walking Dead? Horror flicks?
Andrew: I create most of the events for our group and I will often make them theme based. These can be anything that catches my fancy at the time, from zombies to cartoons, from movies to TV. Most times we will try to make one core game at least based off the theme. Though it doesn't always happen we encourage dressing up in the theme and will usually try to encourage this by offering a prize for best dressed.
Keith: Resident evil was probably the major inspiration behind the HVZ phenomenon.
MLD: Can you give me a run down of a typical games rules - do you have game marshalls? or players manage themselves? How do you best manage to avoid disputes?
Andrew: Our basic game rules are listed under the notes section of our Fb page. Its easier to just read them there than try to list them here Page admins run the events and the games mostly while playing. As well , Our older "Veteran"players also act as game moderators , They know the rules and are quite good at enforcing them. Our players are pretty good when it comes to in game disputes. Most times they will resolve it between themselves and just play on. We hold and promote the opinion that it's not worth arguing about , It makes a bad game for all in the long run , so get over it and lets all get back to having fun. Avoiding disputes? Make sure all players know the rules before playing. It's the easiest way. If problem persists , Take it to an admin.
Keith: The rules are  listed on our page info. The admins all act as marshalls during games however for the most part the players manage themselves. We only step in if absolutely necessary or if there is some confusion about the rules.
Human Vs Zombie in the heat of battle - my money is on the Zombie!
MLD: Is playing a Zombie as much fun as running around like a stealthy Rambo? What do you do to keep things fresh for Zombies as well as Humans?
Andrew: For some yes , Some love and thrive on being zombies !! .. But not all . Best way to combat zombie fatigue? Variety , Bring new elements to the game so that it keeps changing , keeping it fun and challenging for all. (This is why we have just made our new rule set). My first Hvz game was the second event held by HvZ@Csu . I used a hyper fire. Back then it was the most accurate and biggest ammo/easiest reload blaster in the game. I kicked but and survived almost all the time.. Was a lot of fun and kickstarted my love for the game !! Zombies charged? I didn't run , I stood my ground , Shot and survived !! I still do that to this day and often find it intimidates zombies to the point that they run from me !! lol
Keith: Typically our players prefer to be Humans. Especially with the newer more powerful blasters. We are currently working on ways to make being a Zombie more enjoyable.
MLD: Are all the rules set in stone or is there room for innovative ideas? Holy Water Super Soaker? Can I go full melee Dusk Till Dawn style?
Andrew: Never set in stone . Have the basic core rules , then add variety!! Get that imagination working , and give it a try!!

MLD: What is a good loadout for a HvZ game? Why in your opinion?
Andrew: My typical loadout ; Alpha Trooper with 36 drum , Recon / Retaliator with 36 drum , And pistol for back up (Constantly changing pistol types between rounds for variety) , As well I will often have a Jolt hidden and loaded in a pocket. This has saved me many times when they though I was out of ammo !! I don't always carry a pistol , but always carry a secondary , the amount of time this has saved me from running out of ammo , or from a jam is amazing !! Pistol often works for the same reason. Am looking forward to making my third back up the Elite Strongarm. I am quite impressed by this blaster.
Chris: I think anything with a nice high capacity is a good loadout for any intermediate to beginner players. My alpha trooper has saved my butt many times over
Keith: What is your favourite colour? Everyone has their own preference. I am partial to semi-automatic flywheel blasters myself. Easy to dual wield and consistent. It really depends on the situation. My preferences vary with game type and general mood if I feel like doing something different or just for a bit of fun.
Deep in thought over the next move. The wrong one gets you Zombified
MLD: Is there anything that could make HvZ better in Australia? How could Hasbro support HvZ?
Andrew: Not really , Maybe recognition and promotion of the HvZ game itself by Hasbro . After all It's their product we use to play it. Also Being a rural city , We don't have easy access to exclusive lines such as Target and Toy's R'Us exclusives. If Hasbro Australia did direct online ordering of Nerf They would find there is a big market out there for them. A Spare parts ordering service , and a mod shop , We all by replacement springs and parts , They should cash in on that market. Many groups around the world get freebie review samples or prize giveaways , With my above comment in mind , we would love to be able to give prizes not easily obtained away

MLD: How are your games/loadouts affected by the new Nerf blasters that come out?
Andrew: Australian laws limit all Nerf blasters , so the new lines are generally no more powerful here than the old. Players beat this by modding ,and buying overseas blasters . The result , Zombies can't keep up !! Hence our new rules to help them evolve as blasters have.
Chris: The retaliator came out and I have put it down since! The new elite gear is exciting though i always bring along one to try for each game
Keith: If a blaster comes out I like better I will add it, if I don’t like the new stuff I will ignore it. Mostly I will give the new stuff a go at least once.

MLD: Is modding a big importance to HvZ? Or can stock do just as well?
Andrew: Modding is more important to players than the game , I have seen players do just as well or better with stock weapons. Where the difference is easily seen is in Nerf War games rather than HvZ . Every now and then , we run stock only games to help combat this.
Chris: Stock elite gear i think competes just as well with modded gear. In saying that im currently moddifying a longstrike ..
Keith: In conventional HvZ modding is not super important. Most of the blasters I use are stock. When playing HvH games the benefits of modding are much more significant.
"Heard you boys got a Zombie problem?"

MLD: What next gen blasters would you like to see?
Andrew:  Elite Alpha ,,... Nothing else matters . Once I have it , I'll be complete !!! lol ... Future blasters? Semi auto clip fed with attached grenade launcher would be nice to see
Chris: I think the rumoured elite stampede would be amazing. Just for that 50 dart drum. But less remakes would be nice. Originality is king.
Keith: I’m pretty happy with the range so far. Elite Alpha is looking good. I would like to see more clip fed semi-automatic. Some more compact without clip overhang that could be easily holstered as pistol would be great. Now I’m getting a little picky though…

MLD: Australian Toy Safety Regulation Law (compared to US blasters) is pretty strict - how does this affect your game ?
Andrew: Briefly touched upon this earlier , but they are what we use and are used to , so it doesn't affect our games in general , If we went up against a U.S. team however , we'd be greatly under powered!!
Chris: It doesn't! I import ALL of my blasters from the states
Keith: This doesn’t hugely affect the game itself. For those of us who are interested in modding and getting best performance it is very frustrating for a number of reasons. Firstly there is immediate disadvantage. Secondly many of the modding items available for sale are based on the international versions and don’t fit properly in Aussie versions. How hard is it to unify them seriously?
Locked, and Rocked to get Rollin'

MLD: I once had the pleasure of Tim-Tam'ing with Natalie Imbruglia at a cafe in Melbourne - do you guys do it too?
Andrew: Nope, you're one up there lol , Though I played paint ball last weekend with A famous Australian Comedian Tim "Rosso" Ross from the duo Merrick & Rosso!! Was awesome fun !!
Chris: Who doesn't?

MLD: Where can I get a Tshirt that says "Goldie got this" and "Bring your Ace game"?
Andrew: When I saw this I LMAO!! I do actually have a Riverina Dart Tag Online store at, I need to update the logo's on there soon and will keep these in mind !! !!

MLD: What do you get out of playing Nerf?
Andrew: Many things , Friends and fun for sure , As well as sense of pride and achievement. Exercise for sure lol . Running and organizing a group such as this also brings some pressure and stress , but these are greatly outweighed by the benefits .
Chris: Good friends, great company, fitness, and most importantly .. the ladies
Keith: Friends, Fun, Exercise, an excuse bring out the arsenal.

Quick-fire to the team:
Fav soft drink?
Andrew: Coke (coca-cola) Hands down!!
Chris: Coke
Keith: Probably Pepsi but I’m variable.

Dialling a takeaway whats everyone choosing?
Chinese / Sushi / Pizza / Curry / Croc burger n fries
Andrew: Pizza
Chris: Pizza
Keith: If I’m gonna call them it’s gonna be Pizza. Not much else gets delivered here. 

Rock, Paper, Scissor?
Andrew: Rock, good ol' dependable rock (I watch way too much Simpsons)
Chris: Rock
Keith: Lizard, Spock.

Slam-Fire, Flywheel or N-Force?
Andrew: Slamfire
Chris: Slamfire
Keith: Depends on the situation but mostly flywheel. 

A massive thank you to the Admin team of Riverina Dart Tag, but before I go, please check their upcoming event on the Saturday, 23 March 2013, 10am - 5pm, Link is below:

Sticks and Swords........

Have fun, keep it cool, and bring a friend or few! Game on :)


  1. How many times to do people need to tell you it's spelled "HvZ" not "HvsZ"?

  2. Yeah, I think you should just call it "HvZ" as well. Theres nothing wrong with initialing it as HvsZ but a big vast majority knows it as HvZ. I know a guy who tried to get "ONC" going as Online Nerf Community. But the vast majority know it as the "NIC", the Nerf Internet Community. You just have to realize that there are traditions and ways of doing things that have been set up by years of good results. Referencing Humans vs Zombies in real life as HvZ is shorter then HvsZ, and is also shorter to type. A bit of a long answer, but you get the point I'm trying to make.

    As for the interview, you did another solid job I would say. At first a felt like you asked some generic, stale questions. But their answers justified the question and brought life to them again.