Hunting Club Live is (the rather awkwardly-named) cousin of Zombie LARP, the other livegame that I founded back in the heady days of the late 2000’s. Funded by 20th Century Fox, it’s a tie-in intended to promote the release of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter on Blu Ray – but, if everything goes to plan, it’s going to be a lot better than any other press event that happens this year.
Importantly, it is still a game. There are plenty of companies who could run an “experience day” for the launch, and they’d certainly do a better job than us. I didn’t want to do that; HCL is born from a lot of the same design ideas as Z-LARP, and therefore, it’s still possible to lose. There are no guarantees in place. No fake scares. No big bad NPC character to whip out a pistol and make sure that you’re safe from the horrors.
The game will progress as follows – you (assuming you come, and you really should – it’ll be super) enter a sprawling, industrial-gothic club in the heart of London under the pretence of becoming one of a new breed of modern vampire hunters. After some brief training (and I mean really brief – like, slightly briefer than you’d like) vampires attack the place and play shifts from jolly fun-times exploration to mad dashes through the darkness and a desperate attempt to construct an adequate defence before the army of undeath comes crashing through the front doors and kills the lot of you.
That two-hour slot is full, active play – although it’s not the same sort of thing you’ll have done at Zombie LARP. Some of the game is spent in a large player area (with a bar provided, of course, we wouldn’t want you to be thirsty while you played) where you’ll be searching through reams of notes collected by the vampire hunting guild, learning about the history of the area and collecting information on attacks and drop locations throughout the building. You’ll also be responsible for planning the defence of the building in the final stages, and dividing your supplies appropriately – where does the machine gun emplacement go? Would the silver-smoke generator be better placed on the top or bottom floor? How do we divide the silvered weapons? You’ll need to think tactically to make sure you get out alive.
We’re looking to make the downtime as much fun as possible, basically, rather than just phoning it in so you’re left waiting around for the next exciting thing to happen.
In smallish teams, though, you’ll occasionally be led out of the complex by one of our five NPCs – either on a combat mission (where you beat back vampire recon teams using shotguns and silvered fireaxes) or an acquisitions mission, where you use stealth and cunning to sneak past large groups of enemies to gather supplies for the defence.
And you will die. The combat system is deliberately brutal to reflect that you’re going up against immortal creatures of the night armed with improvised weapons. A distracted or poorly-organised team will be destroyed in fairly short order; victory comes from using guns to stun and knock down your attackers and silver melee weapons to mash them into bits when they’re weakened. Injuries are sudden and all too common. We can guarantee that every single team will limp back into the player room, dragging their wounded behind them – if they come back alive at all, that is.
Much like Zombie LARP, death is not the end. Not by a long shot. Get taken by the vampires and you become a Thrall, utterly devoted to the predator that drank your blood. You’ll act as honour guard, bullet-shields, sentries, mumbling sycophants, traitors and close-combat support for your masters. You’ll help bring the fight to those poor deluded vampire hunters and show them that humans and the undead can live together in harmony. Well, harmony following brief periods of frankly unnecessary violence, anyway.
It is at present something I’m really happy with, and it continues to grow as we speak in the ten days before launch as I co-ordinate a team of devoted experts to build something amazing.
With the decline of Zombie LARP – not thanks to any decisions on our part, but due to a lack of suitable premises to run our ridiculous system in – this might well be the last chance you’ll have for a while to take part in something that we’ve all worked together on. I’d love to have you along. Please, do come.
If you’re interested, tickets are available here. You should buy one. I’m going to make it easy for you and post that link again just in case you missed it the first time – TICKETS. AVAILABLE. HERE. BUY. It’s taking place on the evening of Sunday October 21st, and we have two time slots available.
Note for press: If you want press tickets, I have those. Please get in touch via email or comments or Twitter or whatever and give me a shout – I’ve been to enough press jaunts in my life to know how utterly dull they can be, on average. This promises not to be.