A Gamer's Guide to the Apocalypse
Most gamers are far more prepared for an Apocalyptic scenario than they think and far more prepared for it than the average non-gamer. You might not realize it, but if you've been gaming, even for just a few years, you probably understand certain aspects of the end of the world better than most.
That's what this guide aims to discuss; How gamers are intrinsically more aware of and prepared for some of the more heinous end of days scenarios than even they might think and how to augment gamer instinct with some real world knowledge to make sure you really are prepared.
- Zombies, Nukes, Aliens and Strife - What kind of apocalyptic hell have you found yourself in and what kind of dangers is that going to entail for you?
- Elegance and Simplicity - Do you have a plan for the end of the world? Should you? I mean yes, you should, but we'll talk about that in this section.
- Shotgun, Master Sword or Dubstep Canon - What weapons are you going to need in your particular version of the apocalypse? More importantly, which are going to be available to you?
- Medkits, Twinkies, Flashlights and PDAs - Keeping yourself supplied in the apocalypse and beyond.
- Road Rash - Which vehicles are going to be your best bet in an apocalyptic situation?
- Malls, Subways and Airforce Bases - Where are the best places to seek shelter, or even better, set up your new hideout/lair?
Zombies Nukes, Aliens and Strife - What kind of Apocalypse is it!?
The first thing you, as a gamer, understand better than most is that there are not only a lot of ways to survive an Apocalypse, but also a lot of different kinds of Apocalypses to survive.
We gotta talk about the undead elephant in the room first. Between George Romero, The Walking Dead, Nazi Zombies and heck, even Game of Thrones, the undead have become pretty pedestrian at this point. Which is an unsettling aspect of the modern zeitgeist, but has little bearing on the subject of this guide. The point is - the dead walk, and they're coming for your brains...or your flesh...or just to kill you - it's honestly unclear.
This brings up a good point about zombies though - the many different sub - types of Apocalypses that present themselves within the Zombie category. What is the cause of the zombie plague? Is it even a plague? Are the zombies genuine reanimated corpses, or are they simply human beings who are so mindlessly driven by instinct that they attack? Are the undead biological in nature, brought on by some pathogen, or chemical - or do you have some kind of magical zombies (the absolute worst kind) on your hands? Honestly, we could fill a whole separate guide on this subject, and we just might, but for now, just keep in mind that zombies are a thing.
Not to worry though, you're a gamer and if you're at all into action shooters, or the odd horror game, you'll find yourself well prepared for at least a standard zombie situation. If not, you might check out the training materials and simulation suggestions listed below, to get yourself up to snuff.
- Simulations: Dying Light, Left 4 Dead (like, all of 'em), Dead Island (also Riptide), Dead Rising, State of Decay, The Walking Dead, ZombieU, 7 Days to Die - and every single Resident Evil game.
- Training Videos: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead (original and remake), Day of the Dead, Army of Darkness, Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead, Here Alone, Cargo, Black Summer, Train to Busan, The Walking Dead, Z Nation (for giggles), Daybreak, Ash vs. Evil Dead
- Reading Material: World War Z, The Zombie Survival Guide, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Verily), Frankenstein (couldn't hurt)
Disclaimer: By no stretch is the writer of this guide insisting that these materials are good, only that they will offer good insight into a Zombie Apocalypse situation.
War never changes...except when it totally does. In this Apocalyptic situation, the super powers of the world, likely the U.S, China and Russia (but let's face it, definitely the U.S.) have launched multiple nuclear warheads at one another and turned everything into a radioactive parking lot. Why? Who knows, but you likely had no control over the outcome. What you DO have control over is how to survive it.
The first thing you'll want to do is find a way to avoid, or in some way protect yourself from the initial blast. You could hide in a bunker, if you're familiar at all with prepping, you'll know all about these. You might also find your way to a location not likely a target for a nuclear attack, perhaps the Northern Midwest of the U.S. , or Siberia - definitely the Outback of Australia - or maybe the ocean (see the Polar Ice Caps Melt section below). You could also sign up to live in a facility deep underground. It'll be safe and radiation free (probably), you'll likely be experimented on - plus - you might get lured into one when there isn't an apocalypse.
Honestly, your best bet is to just head to Canada. No one ever wants to attack them and their friendly nature will likely mean they'll help you.
Once you've survived the initial blast though, you'll be in like Flynn! As a gamer worth your salt, you've likely played at least ONE game that involves nuclear devastation and we all know what that game is. It's Fallout 4. You've played Fallout 4, and if you haven't...uh might want to get on that friend. It's like the field manual for a Nuclear Apocalypse - plus it will prepare you slightly for an Elder Apocalypse (discussed below).
Fallout isn't the only game series about a nuclear winter. It's...like...the main one, but there are others! Check out the training materials below!
- Simulations: Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas (also a Cowboy simulator!), Fallout 1&2 (classical material), S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Skies, Wasteland, Wasteland 2, Terminator Salvation
- Training Videos: Mad Max, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Mad Max: Fury Road, Dr. Strangelove, Wargames, A Boy and His Dog, Radioactive Dreams, The Book of Eli, Turbo Kid, Jericho,
- Reading Material: On the Beach, The Postman (way better than the movie), Children of Dust, Nuclear War Survival Skills, After the Bomb(Pretty Realistic actually)
With the situation being what it is in the world right now, this one might hit a little close to home, but that's kind of a good thing. Sure, the over the top scale of pandemics in some games and other fiction is just that, but the truth is that sickness is a very real part of all of our lives. A lot of us feel like it won't affect us, but if Covid-19 has shown us nothing, it's that widespread sickness can affect even those not infected by the contagion. It's more important than ever to be prepared for whatever situation might present itself during times like these.
That being said, humans have become a lot more adept and responsible with respect to responding to contagion. One of the ways in which we are responding to the onset of the Corona Virus is through social distancing. This is one way in which your preparedness as a gamer is clear for all to see! The Department of Health has asked everyone who can to stay away from others and keep indoors as much as possible, to limit the spread of the infection. Well, who is better than staying indoors and avoiding contact with other people than gamers!? Maybe certain sects of monks, and the previously mentioned cat lady. So the first thing that you need to do is exactly what you're likely doing right this minute. Good job!
Now that you are isolating yourself and keeping others from being infected, you can do what you do best; Game! It's actually not a bad idea to keep yourself occupied, especially if you CAN'T go out and do anything. It'll take your mind off of the situation - and gamers are no strangers to escapism. Don't drift off into a game too far though, make sure you're monitoring the news at least every once in a while, so that you know what's happening in the world around you and in your community in particular.
You'll also want to make sure that you have plenty of supplies (food, water), in case you need to wait out the sickness and you'll want this to be in addition to your Emergency Kit mentioned below, because you'll want that in case you need to get on the move. Might want to go ahead and get yourself a gaming laptop, or handheld gaming device and toss it into your E-Kit for good measure too.
Staying alive after the initial wave of sickness is as simple as social distancing, or again, just being an introverted gamer. Stay away from the infected and other people in general, unless you're 100% sure that they aren't infected. If the disease is airborne, you might want some other supplies too, like a properly ventilated mask. If not, then just stay away from everyone and only expose yourself to even the possibility of infection if you have to.
Of critical importance is to stay away from the bodies of those who may have died of the sickness. Keep as much distance as possible and by no means should you have any physical contact with any of the recently deceased. Not only can you be infected by whatever pathogen is ravaging the area, but you could also get sick in some other way, as cadavers tend to be full of harmful bacteria and other microbes. Not to mention that an Infectious Contagion Apocalypse can swiftly and without warning become a Zombie Apocalypse at any moment. Make sure that even while you're avoiding the dead to monitor them from a distance, to ensure that they aren't showing signs of reanimation.
Check out the training materials below if you're looking to brush up on some pandemic survival skills. There is a bit of overlap here with some of the ZA materials, just FYI
- Simulations: The Last of Us (and Left Behind), Bloodborne, Infected, Resident Evil 4, Tom Clancy's The Division and The Division 2, A Plague Tale: Innocence, Singularity (also a time travel simulator!), Plague Inc (kind of a 'what NOT to do')
- Training Videos: 28 Days Later, Contagion, Outbreak, The Stand (Really amazing entry for this specific type of Apocalypse and one other), The Andromeda Strain, I Am Legend, Pandemic (duh), Viral, The Crazies
- Reading Material: The Ghost Map, The Great Influenza, MaddAddam, The End of Epidemics, Lock in, The Journal of the Plague Year
This one is actually kinda legit, so pay attention. In an Economic Destabilization, the Apocalypse is sort of a slow burn and is less about the sudden death toll and more about the complete collapse of civilization. Here is when the food, power, water or other natural resources just run out. There isn't one specific point that anyone could point to and say "This was when the Apocalypse started", nor would most people involved even consider their situation Apocalyptic in nature. One day things are financially difficult and getting scary - the next, people are knifing each other in the grocery aisle for a loaf of bread.
This one is the hardest to prepare for, while at the same time being the easiest. Because there is no singular event, there's no way to know when one should start enacting their emergency plan. However, because the threat is largely from other human beings, and that threat is a slow build, it's less important to stockpile ammunition, or supplies and more important to make sure you are physically and mentally prepared for what's to come.
Truth be told, you could cherry pick methods of survival from all of the other types of apocalypses and they'll work, but mostly, you'll want to make sure you know how to live off of the land, conserve your resources, and be physically fit and able to fight, or run at a moment's notice. Conversely, all of these are also really important for just about any type of post Apocalyptic situation. The goal here is survival, plain and simple.
This is something gamers excel at, or at least are able to! There are a plethora of survival games out there and chances are, you've played them and if you have, you have more knowledge than you think regarding survival tactics. Think about it, what's one of the main things you've got to have in just about all games involving survival? Some kind of fire, right? Bam! That's totally one of the main things you need in most basic survival situations! You only knew that because of game knowledge and for that, you should be thankful.
Don't go around punching trees though, you'll just get hurt.
- Simulations: Don't Starve, The Long Dark, I Am Alive, Rust, The Forest, Minecraft, Ark: Survival Evolved
- Training Videos: The Revenant, Castaway, Backcountry, Jungle, Wild, Alive, Survivor Man (This show is immeasurably useful and teaches a lot about survival to the layman), Dude You're Screwed, Naked and Afraid XL, Beyond Survival (Same guy as Survivorman), Doomsday Preppers, Doomsday Castle
- Reading Material: Robinson Caruso, The Count of Monte' Cristo, The SAS Survival Handbook, Bushcraft 101, Survive: Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere (by the Survivorman)
Polar Ice Caps Melting (Great Floods)
This is another kind of 'slow burn' apocalyptic situation, as it's not so much that the world will end as much as that it will drastically change. There will likely still be land above sea level, albeit much less of it. There will also likely still be humans walking -err...floating around, albeit fewer of them. The basic premise here is that, because of global warming, or a solar flare, or a pole shift, or because Dr. Doom set off some atomic bombs, or just because that's what's supposed to happen, the icy polar regions start to become way less icy and the world floods like your Minecraft tunnel when you've just found some gold and accidentally punch a hole into the ocean.
This is the one kind of Apocalypse wherein being a gamer may not actually give you an advantage, depending on what games you've played. There aren't a whole lot of games about oceanic adventuring that are also about the Apocalypse. Don't worry though, if you're in need of some nautical training, some select gaming choices will be provided below.
The first thing you're going to want to do is learn to swim, which might not be that bad an idea in any emergency situation, by the way. If even more of the Earth's surface is covered in water than it already is, chances are you are going to find yourself in that water, sooner or later. So being able to swim is pretty much a necessity. You'll also want to probably learn how to sail, or at least how to pilot a powered boat of some kind. At the very least, you're going to want to learn how to handle a dingy, or row boat, if nothing else.
The next most important skill to learn - and this is something you'll probably have to do on land, or at least on a larger ship, is to desalinate water. This is not to say simply purifying water, which you can do most assuredly by boiling it, but to remove most if not all of the salt from the water to make it drinkable. There are a number of methods of doing this, but the simplest and most accessible way is through solar distillation , which can be done even with one's own urine, though with all the salt water that will be around, that shouldn't be necessary.
The last important skill to learn in a Nautical Apocalypse, or Nautpocalypse, is how to fish and here is where your gaming skills may actually come in handy. There are a ton of games with a fishing mechanic, for some reason. Now we know what that reason is; To make gamers ready for the eventual and complete disappearance of any kind of land based agriculture whatsoever. Oh sure, some people will create kelp farms, or some fancy hydroponics with veggies that don't need dirt to thrive, but at the end of the day - everybody's gonna be eating fish.
Here's some suggestions for training materials that help you get your sea legs.
- Simulations: Subnautica, Raft, Stranded Deep, Abzu, Ship Simulator: 2016, Silent Hunter III (more on this later), Sail Forth, Hooked! Reel Motion Fishing, Cold Fear, Resident Evil: Revelations
- Training Videos: Water World, Hard Rain, The Wave, The Poseidon Adventure, Adrift, The Finest Hours
- Reading Material: Adrift and Alone: True Stories of Survival at Sea, 66 Days Adrift: A True Story of Disaster and Survival on the Open Sea, The Nautical Prepper
Rise of the Machines
There is no fate, but what we make - and you're going to want your fate to be living. In a Rise of the Machines Apocalypse scenario, artificial intelligence (AI) has become self aware and launched an all out attack against humanity. At first it will just be a sudden wave of 'freak accidents' that take us by surprise and wipe out the less intelligent or sturdy of us. Then, it will be a full on assault, perhaps leading to a nuclear exchange which will annihilate just about everyone. The combination of sudden deaths, followed by a nuclear scenario as discussed above, will make surviving this Apocalypse even more difficult. Not to mention all of the robots and living appliances running around mopping everyone up.
But you're a gamer, blowing up robots and taking down rogue AIs is what you do! You just need to take some steps to ensure that you will survive long enough to be able to do so. The first thing you'll want to do is get rid of your phone. Especially in this day and age, digital devices are the easiest way to track anyone, especially for a nigh on omnipotent computer brain.
Next, get yourself away from all technology, as a gamer, this will be hard, but you have the nerve, you can do this! Besides, if you don't, you'll probably find yourself trapped inside a simulation that kills you over and over again or something. So, lose anything that keeps you connected to any kind of network or grid. You can still use some technology, but it has to be dated. Radios might be ok, since you aren't transmitting and likely can't be tracked with them. Old cars, old weapons, old everything. Pretty much, if it was made before 1960, you ought to be ok. Also, get yourself out into nature and away from any cities, or large settlements and try to live off the land - it might be a good idea to brush up on some general survival skills so check out the Economic Destabilization section above for general tips on that.
Lastly, look for other people. Unlike in most Apocalypses, other humans are NOT going to be adversaries, more than likely, as they will be in precisely the same boat as you are. While the machines will likely be hunting you regardless and large groups might attract them, you're more likely to survive and perhaps thwart your oppressors if you have large numbers. Plus, in a world of cold, calculating violent machines, it's nice to have a friendly face.
Also, might want to start saying 'Thank you' to Alexa, just in case.
Here's some anti-AI training materials to help you navigate the Machine end game.
- Simulations: Portal, Portal 2, System Shock, System Shock 2, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Generation Zero, Terminator Dawn of Fate
- Training Videos: Terminator, Terminator: Salvation, The Matrix Trilogy, I, Robot, Battlestar Galactica, Maximum Overdrive
- Reading Material: Ancillary Justice, City, Crux, D4VE, Fool's War, Machinations, Midnight Robber, The Prey of Gods, The Humanoids, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream (this is a game, too and it's HORRIFYING)
Ok, so this one's only kind of an Apocalypse, but it's definitely worth mentioning, as it would likely change life as we know it pretty much everywhere. In an Alien Invasion, a hostile extraterrestrial force launches an attack upon the peoples of the Earth that devastates our civilizations. It will likely be a swift, surgical strike and completely without warning, that will annihilate a large portion of the population before we even know what is happening.
Why are aliens attacking? Who knows, but it's likely a similar reason to why humans attack one another; resources, ideology, land, or maybe they're just harvesting their latest crop of genetic material and our time has come. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter. They'll be killing all humans and you don't want to be one of them!
The good news is that gamers have long and storied tradition of doing battle with ETs that goes all the way back to the original Space Invaders. If you've gamed at all, chances are you've done battle with the scum of the cosmos. It's time to put that training and knowledge to good use! Whether you want to pick up some small arms (or even just a baseball bat) and defend the land on which you're standing, or jump into a prototype space fighter and take it to the invaders in orbit, there's going to be something that you can do.
Preparing for Aliens, outside of the typical disaster preparation, is all about keeping your mind and your options open. Maybe their technology makes them invulnerable to us - then again maybe it doesn't. Either way, it couldn't hurt to have a good weapon by your side, even if it's just so that you can find out. We all know that eventually someone will find a way to commandeer some of the aliens' superior tech to use against them, but until then, make sure you do everything you can to protect yourself. Even if it's just a trusty crowbar.
Some might say this is pointless, and that the technology will be so advanced that we'd never have a chance to hurt them. This is a foolish outlook and unrealistic. Case in point, any number of venomous spiders or snakes, yes? We as humans are eons more technologically advanced (and biologically advanced, really) than any snake or spider, yet a Brown Recluse, Black Widow or Black Mamba can kill almost any human dead as a doornail. Keep this in mind if you have to go toe to toe with an alien foe. If some science fiction is any indication, you might just have to sneeze on them!
Another thing to keep in mind is abduction, which is an absolute thing, especially leading up to an alien invasion. Remember, if you want to survive here, your mind needs to be open. Read up on the subject. If you think you might have been abducted, try therapy or hypnotic regression to help unlock those memories. If you know someone who claims they've been abducted, listen to and support them. Either of you might have critical insight into their plans, or tactics.
You're probably already more than ready to deal with this kind of Apocalypse, but here's a list of helpful training material anyway.
- Simulations: Half-Life, Half-Life 2 (both episodes), Halo (all of them), Crysis 1 2 & 3, Resistance: Fall of Man, Resistance 2, Resistance 3, Anything to do with X-Com, Prey, Destroy All Humans (kind of a 'Know Thy Enemy' thing here), The Thing
- Training Videos: War of the Worlds, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Independence Day, Independence Day Resurgence, Avengers, Avengers Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, Skyline, Beyond Skyline, The X-Files, Invader Zim, V
- Reading Material: Starship Troopers (also the movie), Childhood's End, Ender's Game, Day of the Triffids, Lagoon, All You Need is Kill
Legit End of Days Biblical Apocalypse
And I heard, as it were, the noise of thunder: One of the Four Beasts saying, "Come and See." and I saw - and behold; A Pale Horse. This is it, folks! This is where we even get the word Apocalypse. Well, actually it was developed by the post Exilic Jewish culture, but whatever. The point is, the seventh seal is broken and the four horsemen walk the earth. Things have gotten...troubling. You're probably better off to have died in the initial cataclysm that wracks the world, but if you're unfortunate enough to have survived, keep reading.
As a gamer, you'll have dealt with at least one reference to this nightmare, and it probably informed you readily that it was not something you wanted to be caught in. Not only will there be a bunch of demons and angels literally tearing everything to hell as they wage war across the world, they'll both likely be completely indifferent to you, or want to actively kill you. According to scripture, anyone not initially called up to Heaven in the Rapture will be considered condemned to their fate. The Angels will not help you and the demons will want to EAT you. Most would be terrified of this, but perhaps...the only thing they fear...is you.
You have no time for fear, you are the Doom Slayer, you are War, you will taste FIEND FLESH! If you still live then you must abandon hope, but it is a little thing to do without hope. There is always vengeance! Find a weapon, any weapon, and meet the forces of Hell head on. Show the celestial host how to rightly end the demonic horde and if they get in your way, let the angels fall upon your blade as well! Rip and tear, until it is DONE!
Ahem...obvious training materials can be found below.
- Simulations: Doom, Doom 2, Doom 64, Doom 3, Doom 2016, Doom Eternal, Darksiders, Darksiders 2, Darksiders 3, Painkiller, Diablo 1, Diablo 2, Diablo 3
- Training Videos: End of Days, Legion, Prophecy, This is the End, Dogma, Constantine
- Reading Material: Good Omens, Dominion, Supernatural
The best Apocalypse, yay! This is the end of the world scenario from ancient Norse myth and legend. Jotun and Jotnar (Frost and Fire giants) walk the earth along with draugr (super zombies with weapons), doing battle with the einherjar (the glorious and valiant dead), the Valkyries (cool angel ladies), and the rest of the forces of the Aesir and the Vanir (the Norse pantheon of gods). Thor will face Jörmungandr the world serpent, Loki will be freed from Hel and Odin will fall in battle against Fenrir the great wolf. It is the battle to end all battles, the war to end all wars - the last fight that will ever happen, ever.
Most gamers are well versed in ancient Norse lore, whether they realize it or not. Most of the fantastical elements and themes from most fantasy RPGs are derived, directly or indirectly, from these tales of heroism and wonder. Trolls, Dwarves and Elves in particular were taken directly from Norse legend. Not to mention all of the games that directly depict these stories in one way or another. If you've ever played any popular game that at all features magic, chances are you know a bit about the eddas.
Aside from perhaps being less physically fit than is ideal, you may find that you're as prepared as you can be for Ragnarok. If you've ever played a game where your primary activity was killing monsters with swords, you know what you need to do. Now you just have to know how to do it. If you think you might wind up around during Ragnarok, you might want to pick a hand held weapon to learn how to properly use. Sure, you could just pick up an axe and wing it, but this guide is all about being prepared. Look up some videos on youtube, get some training if you can - at the very least familiarize yourself with the heft and balance of your chosen weapon. Rest assured, you WILL be using it and a lot.If you want to be that guy you can also just go get a gun and some firearms training, but you will be less cool than those around you. It is known.
Aside from being ready to honor your ancestors in battle there isn't all that much else to surviving Ragnarok. Sure, you could go find some place to hide and leave the fighting to the gods and ghost warriors, but like, why? All of your training has led to this moment.
In case you need to get pumped before The Great Battle, here are some Ragnarok related training materials.
- Simulations: Vikings, Vikings: Wolves of Midgard, God of War 4, Asgard's Wrath, Skyrim, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, Jotun, The Banner Saga
- Training Videos: Ragnarok (movie), Thor, Thor 2, Thor: Ragnarok, Ragnarok (show), American Gods, The 13th Warrior
- Reading Material: The Poetic Eddas, The Prose Eddas, Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, The Saga of Volsungs, The Gods of Ragnarok, The Gospel of Loki, The Eaters of the Dead
This one is mostly here for the sake of completion, as it sort of incorporates a lot of the consequences of a number of the previous entries. It's also pretty darned plausible in the realm of things that can happen. A comet or meteor absolutely could smash into the Earth and destroy most, or all life on it, or simply take us all into the Dark Ages. We could also get blasted by a gamma ray burst or supernova which would just annihilate everything. It's probably best not to think about it, actually - anyway if it is just a meteor the initial blast could be similar to a Nuclear Devastation situation, but likely with much less radiation. So make sure you get as far away from the point of impact as possible, maybe in space if you can.
Once the initial blast is over with, follow the preparedness instructions from either an Economic Destabilization situation, or a Great Flood situation, or both, because that's what you're going to be dealing with. If the meteor crashes into land, it's going to be like every earthquake ever happening all at once. If it hits water, the shockwave will still do a lot of damage, but the floods will be the real killer. When the dust settles, you'll be in a completely different world.
Ooooh...that sounds like kind of a fun place to play around, eh? Bunch of islands, limited resources, pirates, bandits. Throw in some dark magic and some sword fighting and you've got Pirates of Dark Water - Noi Jeetat!
Here are some meteor/comet related training materials to help you in this very likely - uh...plausible situation.
- Simulations (games): Asteroids, Eco, Help Wanted
- Training Videos: Deep Impact, Armageddon, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Night of the Comet, The Day the Sky Exploded, Salvation
- Reading Material: Eon, Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comets, Shiva Descending, The Hammer of God
Elegance and Simplicity - Making sure you are prepared
This section is actually the most practical and probably helpful in this entire guide. Honestly, all jokes aside, you should probably have a disaster plan for if the worst happens. This includes being prepared and making sure you are fully aware of what is actually going on and not just what your cat lady neighbor tells you she thinks is going on.
That way, when the apocalypse (or any other catastrophe) is upon you, you can lead Shirley, and her 96 feline companions, to safety.
Or like totally leave her to be eaten by her cats - it's the apocalypse, yo - you do you.
The first step in any disaster planning is to make sure you have an emergency kit in your house. Now this might sound like it's something that should be talked about in the supplies section and we will touch on it there too, but part of planning is making sure you are prepared. Below are the CDC's suggested items for an emergency kit.
- Water (1 gallon per person per day)
- Food (stock up on non-perishable items that you eat regularly)
- Medications (this includes prescription and non-prescription meds)
- Tools and Supplies (utility knife, duct tape, battery powered radio, etc.)
- Sanitation and Hygiene(household bleach, soap, towels, etc.)
- Clothing and Bedding (a change of clothes for each family member and blankets)
- Important documents(copies of your driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate to name a few)
- First Aid supplies (although you’re a goner if a zombie bites you, you can use these supplies to treat basic cuts and lacerations that you might get during a tornado or hurricane)
Some of these may seem redundant, or pointless in a situation where Reptilian Commandos are deatomizing people in the streets, or Frost Giants are waging war against the Einherjar, so use your judgment, but never underestimate the value of good hygiene and comfortable clothes in any situation.
We'll get into the details of what exactly should be in this kit in later sections, but this gives you a good understanding of what should generally be in an emergency kit.
Now that you've got an emergency kit and are at least mostly fully prepared, you can start actually making a proper plan. You should definitely create your own plan for your own special situation, but if you're not much of a planner, or just need a little help, below is the CDC's Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness Guide checklist.
- Identify the types of emergencies that are possible in your area. Besides a zombie apocalypse, this may include floods, tornadoes, or earthquakes. If you are unsure contact your local Red Cross chapter for more information.
- Pick a meeting place for your family to regroup in case zombies invade your home…or your town evacuates because of a hurricane. Pick one place right outside your home for sudden emergencies and one place outside of your neighborhood in case you are unable to return home right away.
- Identify your emergency contacts. Make a list of local contacts like the police, fire department, and your local zombie response team. Also identify an out-of-state contact that you can call during an emergency to let the rest of your family know you are ok.
- Plan your evacuation route. When zombies are hungry they won’t stop until they get food (i.e., brains), which means you need to get out of town fast! Plan where you would go and multiple routes you would take ahead of time so that the flesh eaters don’t have a chance! This is also helpful when natural disasters strike and you have to take shelter fast.
Again, this is the kind of planning that is useful no matter what and in all seriousness, you should think about having a plan like this for you and yours, in case the worst occurs. If you're interested in more helpful suggestions from the CDC, check out their home page.
Shotgun, Master Sword, or Dubstep Cannon: What Weapons Work for You?
One fundamental truth of the end of the world as we know it is that it's likely going to end violently. If you want to find yourself surviving to see the post apocalypse and beyond, you're going to want to make sure that you have the ability to be violent too. In that vein, this section is going to discuss some ideal weapons for each given Apocalyptic event and show you how you might be far more able to handle some of them than you think.
First things first; do you have a knife, like a good survival knife? No? Then stop what you're doing and go buy one. Stop reading this guide and go buy a knife RIGHT now. There are just a ton of them on Amazon and other online shopping sites If you're not sure how to purchase one, check out this article that discusses the finer points of survival knife purchasing. Ok, have you either purchased one that is being delivered, or otherwise acquired a knife? Yeah? Good.
Seriously, make sure you have a good knife - it's really important and anyone can own them just about anywhere. A good knife is probably the most important possession you can have in any survival situation, short of an actual lightsaber and only then because the lightsaber can start a fire for you. Like a lightsaber, it is both a weapon and a tool, and likely your most useful of both. Even if you live in a place that has laws about what you can carry, buy one and throw it into your Emergency Kit, and forget about it.
Ok, now that you've got a knife it's time to talk about some other weapons that might be available to you. While it would be fun to speculate as to how much butt you could kick with a BFG-9000, for the purposes of this guide, we will only be discussing fictional weapons as they compare to real ones. it's important that we be realistic, both about which weapons you'd be able to acquire, as well as your own capabilities with them.
For example: You very well can and probably would be able to find a good, solid axe from someone's shed, or a hardware store - and it's a good choice for a weapon too, but if you're not strong enough to use it as a weapon, it might not be the one for you. Just as if you find a high powered Mossberg hunting rifle and don't know how to shoot, it's probably going to be more dangerous to you than to your target.
You Are the Weapon - A Note on the Martial Arts
Just briefly before we start talking about pipe bombs and chainsaws, let's take a moment to discuss the human body itself as an effective weapon. None of us have blades inside our wrists, or cybernetic arm replacements, more's the pity, so we'll have to learn a martial art to use our bodies as weapons effectively. Taking up a martial art is like taking up a musical instrument - if you choose the right one for you and you enjoy it, you'll never regret having done so. The martial arts are a great way to instill focus, discipline, and confidence, and they're a great way to stay in shape.
Not to mention that you'll be readily able to defend yourself from attackers, which will be an important thing during any Apocalyptic situation. Again though, it's important to select the right one for you and to use the right tactics for a given situation. Check out this list of good martial arts disciplines for self defense and see if any of them speak to you. Remember too that it's also important to use the right tactic for a given situation, so you might want to select the martial art you choose to study based on the Post-Apocalypse you think you'll find yourself in.
- For any situation where other human beings are your most common opponent, any of those listed would be a good choice, but you can't go wrong with Krav Maga, or KFM (the latter of which is what Christopher Nolan's Batman uses)
- If you are fighting Zombies, or mutants that you don't want close to you, you'll want to focus on hard strikes, and throws. Muay Thai, Western Boxing, Judo and Aikido.
- While there isn't a martial art that is specifically meant to be practiced underwater, if you learn to dive and swim proficiently, you can use your own breath control and some well placed holds to subdue and/or neutralize opponents in the water. With that in mind, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, with its emphasis on submission holds and grapples might be a good style to think about.
- Using the martial arts to fight robots might seem like a bad idea, but take this into consideration; Classical Japanese Jujitsu was developed as a method of close combat for countering an armed and armored opponent where the practitioner uses no weapon or a short weapon.
- Even though we'd all love to be Johnny Cage with his green shadow powers and cool sunglasses, it is difficult to imagine a martial art that would be useful against demonic hordes, or draugr. Then again, there was one person who was super human to have developed a martial art; Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do might be useful in a supernatural Post-Apocalypse. Also, BJJ might be useful against frost giants.
The Basics - Hand or Melee Weapons
Well, we've made sure that you have a good knife, but it's important to remember that a knife is also a valuable tool and if you knick the blade on a cyborg's exoskeleton, or break the tip off in a zombie skull, it's just not as effective at being used as such. So let's talk about some close quarters implements that are more suitable for a combat situation.
As a gamer, you're likely familiar with the three basic types of hand weapons that appear in just about every fantasy, or medieval fighting game there is; Bladed Weapons, Blunt Weapons and Piercing Weapons. Rest assured that these are severe simplifications in many cases, but they help break down what you can and can't use for a weapon. Each of these categories can also be further broken down into sub groups, which is what we're going to do.
Remember, being a gamer gives you an insight to some of these weapon types, it doesn't make you proficient with them. It's also important to remember that while Cloud Strife looks bad-ass with his giant anime sword, only a professional body builder could actually even lift such a weapon, and just because you can wail on a Protectron with a machete' in the ruins of the commonwealth without the blade breaking, doesn't mean it's not going to break in real life. Weapons have actual limitations, just like you do. What we're striving for is to know them, so that you can use the right weapon for the right job.
This is easily the most accessible, easy to use and commonplace weapon type in this category, because it was probably the first weapon ever conceived. You won't need very much training to use most of these and, unlike in video games, most of them are absolutely devastating when actually used as a weapon - especially to humans beings - and zombies. They're also probably the best weapon to use against a robotic, or machine opponent, since like zombies, they don't necessarily have a central nervous system and pain won't stop them.
They're also like everywhere, so you'll have your choice of implements, though not all of them are going to be ideal. Good go-to options in a typical real world situation are things that most people have around their house;
- A good hammer (Doubles as a tool if you need it and it's hard to break. Also, really effective against most zombie types, but forces you to get close)
- A baseball bat (One of the absolute best choices for people good with melee weapons, and those who just want a backup close quarters option. Seriously, as a personal aside from the author of this guide, I'm a collector of weapons of all types and I could sing the praises of this weapon choice for days. Wooden is good, but aluminum is much better, as it is far lighter and less likely to simply break.)
- Cane (Especially lacquered, or made of aluminum - these also double as simple walking sticks. you could also use it as a means of subterfuge, allowing your opponents to believe you are infirm, only to launch a surprise attack.)
- Hatchet or Axe (Though it can cut and splint wood, this weapon type would definitely be categorized generally as a blunt weapon. The former of these is probably the more useful as a weapon, as a hatchet is much lighter than a typical wood chopping axe.)
- Crowbar (Not just for theoretical physicists anymore! If you can get a lighter, longer one, all the better. If you connect with this weapon you WILL do critical damage. The trick is actually hitting something with one, because they are WAY heavier than you think)
- Some kind of table leg (Isn't it interesting that most wooden tables have legs that would make ideal clubs? It's like whoever built them knew that one day the owner would need to defend their house, but wouldn't have a weapon)
- Mace (If you are early on in your preparations for the end of days, you could just purchase a good ol' fashioned mace. Seriously, you can totally buy a mace online and have it delivered to your house. No seriously, like a medieval knight's mace, look. If you're thinking about going this route, you might want to think about finding yourself some kind of training, or at least educate yourself on the subject. Here's a cool guy who has some good points about maces and how to fight with them.
There are some weapons to avoid and some of them like the plague, if you want to survive. One of the biggest attractive, but bad choices (especially for gamers) is a sledge hammer. If you are not extremely strong, this thing will more than likely get you killed dead the first time you try to use it as a weapon. It's too heavy, too cumbersome and too unwieldy. Another bad idea, unless it's a one shot and drop, is any kind of guitar. Rockstars and Dante have gotten people thinking that these things are indestructible, but they are fragile as it gets and will likely not last past the first blow. Not to mention that you'll have destroyed a really cool musical instrument, which you should not do.
Another thing to avoid is anything that doesn't have a discernible handle to grasp. If you're desperate, or it's all you have, whatever, but if you're running around with a bust of Pallas as your go to and your name isn't Edgar, you're asking for trouble.
An odd man out mentioned here is any kind of sturdy, wooden broom or mop handle. Depending on the construction, and design - and depending on what you're fighting, these can last a while, but will still ultimately break. The good news is if this happens, you'll suddenly find yourself with one to two simple examples of the next type of weapon we're going to talk about...
Perhaps the second most basic type of weapon that can be found anywhere and also probably one of the first weapons to ever be invented, or developed from natural defenses like teeth and claws, piercing weapons can be exceedingly useful in just about any Apocalyptic situation. Though they are probably the most useful in the Great Flood scenario, as most of them are easily used underwater, unlike blunt weapons which lose most of their momentum.
Piercing weapons, for the purposes of this guide, range from a simple shiv, to the three pronged ranseur and the training can be as complicated as Northern Shaolin Kung Fu, or as simple as 'stick them with the pointy end'. This type of weapon, while not as readily available as a blunt instrument, can still be found - or more importantly fashioned - in any modern environment.
- Gardening/Yard Tools (These are your most makeshift and last resort items to use as a weapon, but some of them can be extremely effective and versatile. A shovel, an ice chopper, a pitchfork, a garden weasel - whatever has a remotely pokey end and a long shaft is what we're looking for here.)
- Screwdriver (You can find these in just about any toolbox across the world. Phillips, or flat head, you can likely just stab out with abandon with one of these. Actually, these are great fire and forget melee weapons if you are going up against something big. Just stick it in the thing and leave it there.)
- Fireplace Poker (This wrought iron implement can easily be used as either a spear, or a blunt weapon in a pinch. While it is just a little heavy, that heft will help it to drive hope into your opponent. Special Note: This item may be of particular use in a Biblical End of Days scenario, as some sources claim that wrought iron is especially effective against demons and also fairies)
- Athletic Javelin (This one might be a touch harder to find, but if it's professional grade, it's effectively the same weapon the ancient Romans used at war.)
- Knife or Dagger (Now we spoke about your personal survival knife which, if you got a decent one, can be used as a piercing weapon, or slashing weapon, but again - you want to avoid using that as a weapon unless you have to. That being said, knives are still the most readily available piercing or slashing weapon anyone can get...so why not get more of them? You can also lash, or otherwise attach a knife to a long pole, like the broomstick from earlier, to fashion a spear and increase your range.
- An actual spear (Honestly these are really easy to buy, even online. You can find a variety of spears from a number of sellers all over the internet. Some of which are designed specifically for a kind of Apocalypse situation. You can also find a number of hunting and tactical spears, easily)
Honestly you can craft a spear out of just about any length of hand held pole and something sharp. You can even just sharpen a thick tree branch, or other sturdy piece of wood into a serviceable spear. This is actually one of the reasons you DON'T want to use your survival knife as a weapon. As stated in the previous category, you may even find yourself with a crude spear or stabbing implement out of sheer happenstance alone. In a pinch, you can grab a curtain rod off of your window to fend something off. Some of the more decorative, or ornate ones could even do some serious damage.
The only thing to avoid here is poor craftsmanship, or flimsy materials. As unfortunate as it is in a game, weapon degradation is absolutely a thing in real life. Don't make a spear you plan to use as a fighting weapon out of any pole that isn't at least an inch diameter in thickness. Anything smaller will probably snap the first time you use it. The same goes for any metal spear shaft you plan to use more than once. An aluminum curtain rod is great if you're desperate, but if you have time to craft, or the opportunity to upgrade from that, do so quickly, because it will bend easily against significant force. Polycarbonate, or carbon fiber are good options for shafts, but almost never use regular plastic unless it is exceptionally thick and sturdy, as it will snap easily as well.
Most knives and spears double as slashing weapons, which brings us to our next category...
Slashing Weapons come in a large variety of items, some of which are going to need some specialized training to use properly. Even something as basic as a machete would benefit from a touch of knowhow and any kind of sword is going to require practice, or training - period. So think about something simpler before reaching for that Hattori Hanzo Sword.
An important thing to remember about most bladed weapons, but especially swords is that unless you know exactly what you're doing, they are possibly the worst melee weapons to use against zombies and especially robotic enemies. Yes, yes, a katana was designed for cutting through flesh and bone - and if you have studied Kendo and know how to do that, awesome - also you're cool, if not then you are going to slash at a zombie wrong, get your blade stuck and die, or worse ruin the katana. Using a sword against a robot is like using one against an armored opponent, and one that has even fewer weak points than a knight in full plate would. Not to mention that Maces and Pikes were developed specifically to counter armored knights. So yeah...if you're fighting robots, or the undead...or both...unless you are the student of Mitsurugi himself, get a bat.
Not all bladed weapons are swords and not all swords are created equal, either. There are a lot of things that might seem like good ideas in an apocalyptic situation but are really not. So, before you get all excited to go for your Frostmourne Replica, or that Keyblade you made out of one of your aunt's decorations, make sure that you have a weapon that's worth wielding.
That being said, there are also a lot of practical options that only need limited training to get the hang of - and most of those are far more practical, and useful than the more esoteric options. Let's face it, most people you meet don't own a sword of any kind, but most people have a sharp kitchen knife in their house. There are plenty of options available to you , you just have to know where to look.
- Knife (Once again, knives are probably the most accessible weapon that one could find for either slashing or piercing. You'll likely be able to find a knife in any house where you live and likely more than one. Kitchen knives and hunting knives make for the best slashing blades, as they are designed specifically to cut through flesh and bone. You'll find the best versions of these in professional kitchens, sporting goods stores and hunting cabins. *As an aside, if you don't have access to a survival knife, a boning knife can make a good stand in.)
- Straight Razor (Can be found in the bathrooms for certain males of the species. This is a great back weapon for keeping in your boot, and can kill very easily, if you have your enemy at your mercy, which sometimes just the threat of is enough to diffuse a volatile situation. You don't want to go slashing with this with abandon, though. Not only can you easily hurt yourself, but you can also hurt the razor. The blade for these is the sharpest, but it's very delicate and if you damage it, you can't really fix it at all. It might even be more worth it to keep this for certain other tasks, besides fighting.
- Machete (You can find one of these in most garages in the U.S. - especially in the south, where the tall brush grows high and needs to be cut back. Those of you who have played Minecraft, or some of the older Elder Scrolls titles will be familiar with the basic principles of this weapon. Swinging and chopping is the key, but make no mistake, if you are haymaking and your opponent knows what they're doing, you're going to lose.)
- Hedge Axe (This item might be a bit less common, but if you find yourself on a farm, or in a landscaper's shed, you might see one. The huge blade on these is the main advantage, along with the reach from the extended handle. Make sure to sharpen it well before you get into a fight, as they have a tendency to get a little dull. Without training, it's like a sturdy machete on an ax handle. With a little spear, or polearm training, this thing might be better than Naginata.)
- Swords (Yes, we're finally going to talk about swords. The author of this guide admits freely that they could discuss the virtue and value of any sword anyone could nominate in an apocalyptic scenario conceived until...well until the Apocalypse, but you don't have that kind of time! If you are insistent that you want to have a sword during the end of days, then you should just go ahead and buy one. If you didn't know, owning and collecting swords has become increasingly popular - due in no small part to the popularity of video games. It's also become more popular to sell both functional, usable weapons, along with prettily decorated pieces of sh- eet steel. When purchasing a sword - any sword, look for terms like Battle Ready, Fully Functional and Sharpened. Avoid terms such as Replica, Reproduction and Decorative. You also MUST pay attention to the metal it's made of. Anything other than High Carbon Steel isn't something you want to use - and avoid anything made of stainless steel like Covid-19. It will bend and you WILL be both sad and maybe dead. If you want a straight up recommendation...we suggest either a Cold Steel Gladius or the Cold Steel Improved 1917 Cutlass. Both are extremely easy to handle, and are pretty decent swords to learn on. You also can't go wrong with anything from Badger Blades, as while they are pretty heavy and somewhat hard to master, they seem to be made out of pure Morrowind Ebony, as they are nigh on indestructible.
Bladed weapons are much harder to craft, or repurpose from everyday objects than the other two categories of melee weapons. Most people can't just forge a sword in their backyard, though that too is becoming increasingly popular these days, Check it out. If you have a work bench, or even just a table vice, you can make a steel file into a more than serviceable knife like this guy did.
Things to avoid with bladed weapons are again, anything with substandard materials. Stainless steel is ok - and actually even good for knives, but NEVER for swords. The blade must flex, not bend. Other things to avoid are really unwieldy items like a scythe. Yes, it's very sharp and yes it has reach, but you likely have never even held one before and would likely kill yourself. If you're a farmer, or otherwise have experience with one and you think you can make it work, by all means, but the layman should avoid them.
Another REALLY popular bad idea is a chainsaw. People will argue all day about why these are a solid choice, and they're all wrong. They are heavy, they’re unwieldy and they’re noisy as crap. Not to mention that most chainsaws you're like to come across are made for cutting wood, which means that if you have one and I have a crowbar, all I have to do is hit the blade of it once and knock it into your arm or leg and you're done. So yeah, unless you are going to be chasing scantily clad teenagers through a forest in the post apocalypse (which totes might be your plan and kudos to you), or you have a suit of Praetorian armor waiting for you, you aren't going to want anything approaching a chainsaw.
Reach Out and Touch Someone - Ranged Weapons
When fighting the hordes of the Apocalypse, whatever form they might take, it's often a good idea to do so from a distance. Not all of us were made to go toe to toe with the worst humanity, or anywhere else has to offer. This is where ranged weapons can be a great advantage.
Ranged weapons can come in a variety of options of which the most obvious is of course conventional firearms. The interesting thing here is that, unlike a lot of games about sword fighting and the like, games that try to be realistic about gun fighting are using information that is from this time period, so they have the potential to get a lot more right. Games like Call of Duty deliberately put in features of certain firearms that were not actually beneficial when operating them, like the M1 Garand's en bloc clip system, or the Colt 1911's distinctive 'pap' firing sound. So gamers have a bit more insight to draw from in this category of weapon than the previous.
Make no mistake though, video games give absolutely no physical understanding of how to operate a firearm - like what recoil feels like, or how heavy loaded guns actually are - and anyone interested in possessing that understanding should seek firearms training. Honestly, if you're even thinking about picking up a gun for any purpose, please find someone to teach you how to operate it, before you do. If you live in the U.S. you will find no shortage of people willing to do so.
As far as availability is concerned, it will really depend on where you are at the time of the Apocalypse. If you live in a place where firearms are strongly restricted, they'll be harder to find, whereas if you live in Texas, you will likely find an abundance of them. Though they will be difficult to actually acquire, being possessed by their current owners and all. That being said, you'd genuinely be surprised just how many firearms are around you at any given time. Not only do quite a few more people own them than you think, but, in the U.S. at least, there are quite a few "Super Collectors" who have just...all the guns. Think Burt Gummer from the movie Tremors. Ol' Bert is by no means representative of all Americans, but boy howdy does he exist, and one day, you might be glad that he does.
We could go on more, but you already know where to look for guns, you're a gamer! Abandoned police stations, armories, behind the bar in a pub, under the bed in a master bedroom, in the glove compartment of cars. That is one thing at least you won't need this guide for at all. You know where to look and you know it, because you play videogames - take that in.
We could also talk all day about all of the different types of firearms, but if you're interested in operating one, chances are that you already know them too, but as a brief outline and refresher for some of our fantasy fans, let's go through the basics:
- Handguns: Whether it's the latest ergonomic polycarbonate Glock, or your dad's .357 Magnum, a handgun is perhaps the most common type of firearm around, aside from shotguns and certain rifles. These are the easiest to find training in, though not the easiest to acquire, as some regions have strict handgun specific laws.
- Rifles: The go-to weapon for the camper extraordinaire, rifles are probably the easiest type of firearm to get your hands on, depending on the type. In the U.S. and apparently only in the U.S. as per the research for this part of the guide, you can walk into just about any sporting goods store, or Walmart in the country and grab a hunting rifle for about $150 American. In most first world countries, you have to acquire the proper licensing, but you can still own just about any firearm you want to. These are also the most damaging types of firearms that can be owned by civilians. Don't let the games we play fool you, no human can take three direct hits from any caliber over .22 and still be alive. They have the longest range of any weapon type on this list as well, so if you want to keep as much distance between you and your adversary as you can, go with a rifle.
- Shotguns: This is the bread and butter of a typical gamer and probably the most accessible and useful firearm for the layman. Seriously though, what gamer has never used a shotgun in a game at some point or another? They're even in some fantasy games! Anyone can either buy, or get a license to own one and they are pretty simple to learn to use. While their range is very limited, they have a wide targeting dispersal and ammunition is usually pretty readily available. All of these reasons are why you can find a lot of shotguns in a lot of places around the world.
- Assault Rifles: Anyone who's played any kind of realistic military action shooter, will be at least somewhat familiar with these. While rarer than any of the entries so far, mostly because they are classified as military weapons, assault rifles are also the superior choice. You might find a semi-automatic rifle that has a similar ammo capacity and configuration to any number of weapons in this category, but you will not find any examples that match the range and bullet velocity of a legitimate assault rifle. Not to mention that, these days anyway, most assault rifles are also fully automatic, which no civilian model is without heavy modification. Whether it's an M16, a Galil, or the ever popular AK-47, the assault rifle is often the firearm of choice for the Apocalypse.
- Machine Guns: The cherished favorite of every Team Fortress Heavy Weapons Guy, machine guns are military grade powerhouses that are often more difficult to handle than most actually understand. These are going to be really rare, honestly, and so is the ammo for them, but if you can find one, you'll have a solution to a number of pesky post - apocalyptic problems. The thing about machine guns is that they usually require a bit of know how to operate properly and safely, some models often requiring two or more operators to function properly. If you can manage to get them operational, they'll be useful when you are outnumbered, or when you are facing something really big...like a bear...or a cacodemon.
- Sub Machine Guns and Carbines: This category is actually a couple of variations on some previous ones; namely rifles, assault rifles and machine guns. Sub Machine guns are compact, hand held, fully automatic weapons that are military issue - so they're rare, but not as rare as you might think. Not only are they sometimes issued to police, but certain private citizens with the right credentials can own them. The same is true for some assault rifles as well. Carbines come in two varieties, one is a variation of a rifle meant for use by police that often uses handgun ammo calibers, the other is a variation of an assault rifle that doesn't. All three of these weapon types are extremely versatile and useful in a multitude of situations. They are also all lighter and more compact than any other long gun type on this list, only being beaten in this vein by handguns.
A note on ammunition types and conservation: Like in a lot of games these days, certain firearms will require certain types of ammo. We're not going to bore you with all of the different types for every model, if you're a FPS gamer, you likely already know them. What's important for you to remember is that unlike in a lot of games these days, ammunition has a carry weight and that weight is pretty damned heavy. Keep this in mind when you are selecting a weapon, because if you get weighed down by your ammo and have trouble moving over hard terrain swiftly, it doesn't matter how cool your gun is when the zombie horde catches up to you. Conversely, another thing to be mindful of is how abundant ammunition for a given firearm is. Example: If you have a choice between a Beretta 9mm Pistol and a Desert Eagle and you can only take one, you might want to go with the 9 mil, because you will find more ammo for it if you survive long enough, whereas you might not with the .44 magnum caliber. Just as you might want to stick with your AR - 15 vs an AK-47, because the 5.56 NATO/.223 round is far more widely distributed than the 7.62 that the AK uses. Not to mention that if you find an assault rifle that uses the 5.56 caliber, like the M16, you can simply swap them out and use the same ammo.
Guns aren't the only kinds of projectile weapons to be sure, but they might be the most abundant, depending on where you are, aside from..ya know...throwing rocks or something. The bow and arrow is a solid choice for sure and can be easily taken up no matter where you live in the world for the most part. It does however require a lot of training to master and you'll want to master it if you're thinking about using it against a living - or unliving - target. Finding training in archery should be pretty easy these days, with the popularity of Hunger Games informing the popularity of such video games as the new Tomb Raider titles. A lot of places that teach firearms training also have archery training as well, you might also have an archery program at your local community college. If you can't find any training in your area, there is an Online Archery Academy that you might want to check out.
Getting your hands on a bow and arrow is also just a WHOLE lot easier than getting your hands on a firearm, in or out of the Apocalypse. Seriously, you can buy a really good hunting bow online for like $100 and have it shipped to you without a fuss and that's just your basic recurve bow. There are also a ton of compound and mechanical bows to choose from. If that's too rich for your coin purse though, check out this bow this guy made with some PVC pipe, paracord, duct tape, and driveway markers for about $15!
Another useful aspect of archery is fletching, which is the crafting of arrows from a variety of materials. If you learn to fletch, you can have a near unlimited supply of ammunition.
Unlike bows, or even firearms, crossbows require relatively little training, or skill to really use effectively. It's why they became so widespread historically and so popular with nations that didn't have an abundance of elite soldiers. Generally speaking, where you aim them, they tend to shoot in that general direction and, like firearms, you can add a variety of accessories that will increase your accuracy with them. You can pick up a variety of decent crossbows online that range in price and quality and if you can, you should. They're a solid choice for home defense if you can't, or don't want to own a firearm.
The other great thing about crossbows is that, like bows, if you have the tools, or you just get good at doing so, you can manufacture your own ammunition. Bolts, unlike arrows, are a lot easier to craft out of scavenged materials, though the material you use to craft them can drastically alter the velocity of your attack. If you're interested in this kind of conversation, check out this guy's channel, who is the absolute authority on homemade Crossbows and Slingshots, another type of ranged weapon in this category.
And Boom Goes the Dynamite - Explosives
Explosions are a staple of just about any game with any kind of action in it, even fantasy RPGs like Skyrim have fireballs and dragon's breath. Unfortunately, in the real world, blowing stuff up is not as simple as shooting the red canisters and creating your own explosives can be a pretty complicated process. While we could take up an entire lengthy section of this guide on explosives, the author of said guide, would rather not wind up on a list. So suffice it to say, explosives are a kind of combustible weapon that can be found in military or construction locales, and made from household materials. If you'd like to know what those materials are, we suggest you Google that mess yourself.
Medkits, Twinkies, Flashlights and PDAs - Keeping Yourself Supplied
Honestly probably more important than weapons in the long run, at least for most types of Apocalyptic situations, basic supplies and equipment is going to be vital to your survival. After all, unlike in most video games, in real life, you can have all of the weapons and ammo you want, but they'll hardly matter if you begin to starve, or get a serious infection that needs medical treatment.
Supplies tend to break down into five basic groups: Medical Supplies, Food, Utility Items, Toiletries and Comfort or Recreational Items. These are listed in order of importance, incidentally, though food and medicine should be treated as equals in priority, depending on the situation. Both of those should come before anything else though and everything should come before any kind of recreation. You'll be plenty busy outrunning extermination drones, or cybermutants for the most part anyway, or simply just looking for other supplies. Still, never underestimate the value of a good distraction, just don't get too distracted.
You won't need a whole lot of gamer knowledge to find any of these supplies, but it doesn't hurt either. They tend to be where you'd expect - medical supplies in hospitals and clinics, food in grocery stores. In fact, gathering these is going to be a lot easier than it is in any game, because you don't have to rely on the limitations of the game to transport them. How many times have you wished you could just dump everything you were carrying into a stash to come back for later, but worried that it would despawn if you waited too long? Now you don't have to worry about that, because despawning isn't a thing...well it...it kind of is with food, but you know what we're talking about.
Also, you're not stuck with whatever your carry weight is. How many times have you picked up that last piece of loot only to hear those dreaded words "I can't carry anymore." Now, you can throw everything into a grocery cart, or a wagon, or holy crap just a working car, cause there's gonna be those (more on that below) and transport your haul that way.
Unfortunately, healing potions and stim packs don't really work in the real world the way they do in games, or this whole Coronavirus thing might have been put down already. No, in the real world you need proper medical supplies. These can come in a variety of forms, and you are probably familiar with half of them. While finding them won't be as simple as looking for a white box with a red cross on it, they tend to be where you would have found them before Armageddon.
What you'll find will also be a matter of degree. If you need basic first aid kits, bandages, and basic medicines like ibuprofen, or topical antibiotics, you can probably find those in most big chain grocery stores, department stores, or in the average household bathroom. Some people even keep a first aid kit in their cars, so keep that in mind while foraging.
If you need something more substantial, like a wound suture kit, or surgery equipment, you'll want to find a hospital or clinic. You'll want to make sure you know what you're doing with the latter.
Speaking of which, do you have basic first aid training? You might want to think about it, if you really expect an Apocalyptic situation to come your way, because there isn't actually such a thing as an auto doc. This doesn't mean being a trauma surgeon, but you can acquire basic medical training in a lot of places. Your local YMCA, or Community Center might offer a course, or your local community college, but the best place to get medical training is from the guys who invented the big white box with the red cross.
The Red Cross offers a variety of courses that could prove invaluable in any Apocalyptic situation, including first aid. Some are on location, but many of the courses are offered online, so you can start learning from anywhere!
Of particular note is Swimming and Water Safety and Lifeguarding, which could be extremely useful in a Great Flood situation. Just something to think about, especially if you don't already know how to swim.
There isn't much else to say about medical supplies. You already know where to find them, if you make sure you know how to use them best, you should be great.
Food and Water
Ok, this right here is pretty much vital, but you have to be careful. Despite what our gaming years have taught us, a candy bar you found in the trash can at a resort is not a good source of nutrition. Neither is a piece of chicken that you found on the body of a mangy bear. Foraging for food is where you're going to have to be your most discerning, because not only will bad or spoiled food not offer nourishment, but it can also contaminate any unspoiled food you already have.
Good sources of foraged food are anything that has a good shelf life, like dry rice, pasta and cereal. Anything prepackaged, or factory sealed, but doesn't require refrigeration is also a great choice, as the seal will preserve it for a long time. So snack cakes, toaster pastries, any kind of jerky (is also a cured, preserved meat), or salty snack foods like potato chips are all good choices. Some of these might not taste the freshest a few years into the Post Apocalypse, but they'll be edible.
The absolute best possible choice for foraged foods though is canned goods. Soup, fruit, vegetables, beans, even potted meat are all going to be the absolute mainstays at the end of days. At least for the first couple of years, before people start eating each other - or cultivating crops, whichever comes first really.
Speaking of crops, while some of the games we're familiar with have taught us that a farm does need regular maintenance to grow crops properly, you can't just stick food in the ground and hope for the best. Well, sometimes you actually can, but it takes a long time and you need to find the right soil. Here, check out this video on planting potatoes to see what we're talking about. So it IS pretty easy, but it takes a little time and you have to know what you're doing, but hey - now you know. There are a lot of crops to grow out there and many of them are as easy as potatoes - carrots for instance follow the same basic principle - but potatoes are probably amongst the heartiest of veggies out there. This makes them an ideal choice for your Apocalyptic garden, or farm. To further expand your knowledge of all things spud, check out this book.
Of course, potatoes aren't the only thing you can grow and they're not the only thing you can do with farming. You could also keep animals on your farm, or within your highly secure military compound, or shoot, just with ya! Goats are not only a tasty food source, but they also provide milk healthier for you than that of a cow and they are AMAZING companions, see for yourself. Can you imagine having your own pack goat that occasionally head butted someone in the chest? We can.
If you want to learn a bit more about Apocalyptic farming, check out this handy guide written by someone who has probably farmed before. Maybe.
Of decidedly more importance is finding clean, uncontaminated drinking water. This will be exceedingly difficult in almost all apocalypse categories, full stop, but will be particularly difficult in a Great Flood or Nuclear Devastation situation. In the former situation, you'll have to learn how to desalinate water, as discussed above, but in the latter, you'll often need to worry about the water being contaminated with radiation. Unlike in Fallout, radioactive water can actually kill you pretty quickly, sometimes just by being near it. This is why it will be important to get yourself a Geiger Counter. If the bombs do fall, these will be in high demand and might be scarce, so you might want to go ahead and pick one up now.
Outside of those two major situations, finding water will largely depend on your location and situation. Finding it in a forest will be easier than finding it in a desert of course, but finding water in a city might be harder than finding it in the suburbs, but will also have a higher chance of being somehow contaminated. Speaking of contamination, no matter where you find it, if you decide to take standing water for drinking, find some way to filter, or purify it. The simplest way to purify water of any microorganisms is to boil it, but there are other measures you can take, including water tablets, large scale retail filter pitchers, or portable drinking water filters. The Lifestraw is actually probably the best survival water filter money can buy and you should probably have a couple in your Emergency Kit no matter what.
If you want more specific advice on finding water in a survival situation, here's a handy online guide. Also, any of the reading, or visual materials from the Economic Destabilization section will have some information on finding water.
Oh and in the End of Days Apocalypse, you'll probably just have to drink the blood of your fallen foes from the skull of a demon, so...waste not!
This is where we get into the fun, gadgety items that offer a decided advantage to survival, but aren't always absolutely necessary. While there isn't such a thing as a full on pip boy that tracks all of your equipment for you...yet. There are a ton of little pieces of gear that can make your Post Apocalyptic struggle, less of one.
First, let's talk about some basics. We already went over your Emergency Kit at the beginning of the guide, so you should already have any of those items in a go bag, ready to do just that.
One thing that isn't on the Emergency Kit list is a good, reliable flashlight. Preferably something solar, or kinetically powered, so that you don't go through a ton of batteries, but if you get one that you can charge, that's even better, because you can use the dynamo on your emergency radio to charge it. If you want some help in selecting a good one, here's a compiled list of the best survival flashlights.
Also, just to freak you out and distract you from your impending doom, here's a video review of a survival flashlight by a guy who does a bunch of things you should not do when you go caving, or even hiking. He goes out at night, in the rain, into an abandoned mine, without telling anyone where he's going or what he's doing...WHO NEEDS THE APOCALYPSE!? ...did you hear the demon voices...we did. Still the flashlight is pretty good. Seriously though guys, don't do any of the things this guy does, not even in the Apocalypse.
You'll take note that a Maglite was not added to the list of bludgeoning weapons from the melee weapons section. This is because you are not a law enforcement officer (likely?) and this is the Apocalypse, and in the Apocalypse, we use weapons as weapons and tools as tools, or we will quickly run out of both. Despite the many games that allow you to do this, it is really a bad idea...unless you can get your hands on that Doom Marine flashlight from Doom 3. That thing was made out of freakin' vibranium or something!
You might also grab some glow sticks, for illuminating areas ahead of or below you, or for signaling friends of specific situations. You can use different colors for different communications, or issues. These are cheap, effective and are available almost everywhere these days. Also, raves.
Another really useful piece of equipment is some kind of night vision goggles or scope of some kind. A lot of phones have some kind of night vision mode on them, but the resolution and view distance will make them only so useful, not to mention that the glow will give away your position. So you're going to want something with some power behind it that is a somewhat dedicated piece of equipment. . You'll also want something that has a head visor attachment. Think Sam Fisher from Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell. Here's a pretty nice one on Amazon.
One problem that will always crop up in any survival situation, and in a non-apocalyptic survival situation ought to be your first order of business, is starting a fire. Unfortunately, you can't just stick some coal on a stick to make a torch, or simply shoot fire out of your hands from the beginning of the game. In real life, you need a way to start a fire, and there are a wide variety of them. The most basic method is flint and steel, which is tried and true, if a bit low tech. Another cool and easy way to get a fire going is with a Fire Piston, which if you've never used one before seems like straight up "call a Witcher' black magic the first time you do. Both of these are renewable and again, low tech, which is why they are probably your best choices. That being said, if you have electricity, or the ability to charge a micro USB device, then you might be interested in a plasma torch lighter. These create combustion through an arc of electricity that is both eco friendly and cool as heck to look at. It's also rechargeable, so if you have power, you can keep it going. If all else fails, just buy a big box of safety matches. They light off of your shoe and will start a fire in seconds if you know what you're doing.
Another thing that will come in handy, is of course rope. Not just any rope, either, you're going to want to get something that can definitely hold your weight, like climbing rope. This is going to be of particular use when setting yourself up in a shelter, which we'll get into later on. You might also want to grab a grappling hook. Something military grade, like this one. Yes, we know it's no hook shot, but the first time you use it to actually climb up something you will absolutely feel like Batman, we promise.
Some other basics to pick up are a backpack to hold all of this gear, a bedroll, or sleeping bag of some kind, a water canteen to carry any clean water you find, a sturdy hatchet (you CAN use this one in a fight if one starts, but it's mostly for chopping wood), and a multitool of some kind (either a handheld Leatherman, or one like this that turns into a shovel!). Your personal preferences are going to play a role here, so take some time and think about them. You don't want to be walking around the apocalypse in a pack with an unflattering color, do you?
Now we're going to talk about a couple of not so basic items. These are some pieces of modern technology that could prove absolutely invaluable if you find yourself in the end times. All of them will require power, so if that's out this section might be useless, but if you can find a power source and use it to keep these running, you'll want to. Speaking of which and speaking of killer tech, check out this portable, tactical solar charger backpack. Thing looks like some straight up CoD : Ghosts stuff.
The first item on this list is not just an item and is something that fundamentally changes how we can react to Apocalyptic, or even just disastrous situations. Using the method outlined in the article through this link, you can now download the entirety of wikipedia to any digital reader device that has the storage capacity for it - which isn't as much as you might think. You can now have almost all of the world's scientific knowledge at your fingertips - without the need for the internet. Architecture, engineering, agriculture, hydroponics, thermodynamics, hydrodynamics - all of this information in the palm of your hand. It's an invaluable, precious tool that anyone would do well to think on hard before dismissing outright.
The next item to talk about is a really fun one. Drones. Drones are just about everywhere these days and they come in a massive variety of styles and functions. The most common use for drones and the use for which they were added to this guide, is taking aerial pictures of locations. Think of it: you could recon entire locations to check for zombies, raiders, demons or whatever, before you even got within thirty yards of them. Drones could also be used for communication, if cell networks go down, by carrying messages to and from allies. There are even drones that have display screens on them, allowing you to cast your image and communicate directly with someone interacting with the drone. They're also cheap these days, look at this. You could have a functioning micro recon plane in hand for the cost of a video game. You're also already trained on a drone, practically. Even if you've never played a game that featured drones in it, playing games, especially first person games, is basically the same method as operating a drone. Plus they're just fun as crap to play around with.
Last, but not least we're going to talk about GPS units. Not Google Maps, or some other app on your phone, but a dedicated, satellite linked GPS unit, like a Garmin. If the satellite is still in orbit, which in all likeliness it ought to be, then these will still work. This means that if you find yourself lost, or in need of finding a specific place without a car, but don't know how to get there on foot, or the way you know is blocked by a towering alien monolith that will melt your brain, you can still find an alternate route without a lot of fuss. Here's a really good handheld GPS unit that's meant for survival and hiking. Besides, as gamers, we just need these in general. Most games have a built in GPS that tells us where to go and who to talk to and we don't even realize it. This does mean, though, that you'll be able to use this piece of equipment easily.
Ok, before you run out and start hoarding toilet paper like an idiot, calm down, because not only is it not that serious, but that's not actually going to help you. Not unless you already have your own bunker ready for the end of the world anyway, but if that were true, you wouldn't be reading this guide, would you?
Toiletries are anything that's used to wash or take care of one's person, or body. You probably already knew that, but what you might not know is why they will be of extreme importance during any kind of Apocalyptic situation. First, infection. If you go too long without properly cleansing your body at all, you will develop some kind of infection, likely in the form of a rash. This will not only be painful and harmful to your overall health, but it will impede your ability to operate in a number of ways, most importantly moving. If you can't move, you can't get away from that horrible thing that's right behind you. It's as simple as that. So for all of these reasons and more, please cleanse yourself. You can start by washing your hands!
Another distinct advantage to toiletries and keeping yourself clean is one that is shared with the next category of items, the psychological advantage of just feeling clean. Being dirty, especially in the lower bits, is just uncomfortable - at least for the great majority of persons. So the small comfort of being able to clean yourself is something that will likely put you into a better mental space, which will keep you alive longer.
Toiletries, aside from toilet paper specifically in the current climate, might actually be amongst the easiest of supplies to get your hands on. Perhaps outside of an Infectious Contagion scenario though. Anywhere else, most people will be too worried about Hell Knights and Hunter Killer Drones to be worried about shampoo or wet wipes, which is why they'll likely be in the usual places, like grocery stores, or houses. A good concentration of these you'll find in another spot that's good for finding medical supplies and that's a modern pharmacy. These kinds of stores will be great places to look for all manner of supplies actually, as you can likely find just about everything but weapons in them.
Comfort and Recreational Items
So here's the category of supplies that most gamers will understand intrinsically, but that most guides about the Apocalypse don't actually talk about much. Unless you are in a complete hellscape, you'll likely be spending a large amount of the post apocalypse either moving from one place to another, foraging for supplies, fighting someone or something, or...nothing all. Outside of protecting yourself and doing what you can to improve your situation (which you should try to always be doing), you'll probably find yourself bored, because there isn't anything to do, really.
This isn't just our opinion, either. Les Stroud, one of the most famous bushman, survival experts and survival teachers in the world says that combating boredom is likely one of the most difficult aspects of survival a lot of the time. The psychological advantage of having a clear and focused mind is sometimes the greatest one that can be had in a survival situation.
Gamers understand this better than most, as we are often in need of something to occupy our minds, even when there's plenty for us to do. That's why we know how important it's going to be to keep ourselves busy in the bleak eternity that is the Time After.
In this vein, some of the items you can grab on the go to keep yourself occupied are pretty obvious. Books and magazines of things that interest you - like gaming - is a good choice. If the subject matter within these articles is related, even remotely to survival of any kind, you're entertaining yourself and improving your situation, so bonus points there. Handheld puzzle games like a Rubik's Cube, can be ideal, as they keep your mind sharp as well as occupied. You can also take up a hobby that you can do while sitting, like whittling, crocheting, or sewing. These hobbies are also somewhat useful skills that will offer a practical boon as well.
Those are all options that can be used in just about any survival, or Apocalyptic situation, but let's face it - if you have the ability to charge or power something with electricity, you're probably going to want to play a game. We're gamers after all! With this in mind, there are a number of ways to achieve this - some that don't even require a direct current of electricity to use.
First off, you can simply have a decent gaming laptop, which some of you likely already have. This requires a bit more power than a survival situation might allow, though and it is also likely a heavy and cumbersome unit, which will likely slow you down. Still, it's probably the best way to play just about any game on the move. Another great option is, of course, some kind of digital gaming device that has game cartridges, or games already downloaded to it. You PSP and Nintendo Switch folks will have an easier time with this. You'll want to avoid anything that needs to be downloaded, or be online all the time, so most major contemporary consoles are out. Also, only DRM Free games, so make sure you look into gog.com or other reputable sites beforehand to get as many as you can.
Speaking of old games, one of the best ways to go with trying to get games to be more portable is to go retro - or rather play retro. You can, of course open up that plastic case that's in the back of your closet and dust off your Gameboy Advance, or Nintendo DS (we still play ours, frankly) or you can check out the fad wave of Retro Handhelds that's been sweeping gaming lately. They all use the Retropie OS and have the storage capacity for upwards of a thousand games. Also, did you know you can get Kotor on your phone?
Road Rash - Vehicles
Let's face it, we gamers are not often the most athletic of folks, so acquiring adequate transportation is going to be important for most of us. Fortunately, there will likely be quite a few options, as there will be very few other people around to make use of them.
The most obvious method of transportation is, of course, cars. These may be a little more difficult to maneuver, if there's a lot of them piled up in a busy metro area, but out in the country, or state highways, you'll be able to operate one with ease. That is, of course, if you know how to operate one. If you don't, either make friends with someone that does, or seek other transportation. It is extremely easy to kill yourself while driving a car, especially at high speeds, so if you don't know what you're doing, it might be better to avoid them.
That said, if you're a gamer who enjoys games like Forza and Dirt, then the Apocalypse may be the perfect time to learn to drive! If you've got a stretch of road and want to give it a go, or you know how to drive and just want to feel the rush of speed, who are we to tell you not to. Well...we're the people trying to keep you alive during the Apocalypse, but whatever - live your dreams, folks!
The biggest problem with cars is both getting into them and getting them started. Just like in the movies, and in some of the games we've played, you'll want to start by searching the car for the keys. if you can't find them, then you'll have to hotwire the vehicle. The writer of this article would like to express that they were very surprised with what their research on this subject bore out. They would also like to remind the reader that Grand Theft Auto is not just the name of a popular game you've more than likely played, it is also a serious crime. With that in mind, here's a video that shows you how to hotwire a car, cause that's totes on the internet, because of course it is.
Oh, and you can also hotwire a motorcycle too. Again, this is a crime. This fact has been clearly stated. Moving on.
This might be a spot where being a gamer is going to be negligible. Still, if you were a fan of BMX games, you should have some understanding. Also, you might be like a regular person, who totes had a bicycle as a kid. If so, kudos and enjoy being a leg up on a lot of us.
Bicycles, like certain other technology, are a bit of an oddity with regards to post Apocalyptic survival. In most scenarios of the end of the world, communication and technology just breaks down and so things that require fuel, or power tend to lose some of their usefulness. This is not the case with the mechanical technology found in bikes, which is why they might just be the perfect mode of transportation in the post apocalypse to come. Most high end mountain bikes are really all terrain bikes. They can as easily ride on any road as they do out on a wilderness trail.
Bikes might be a little harder to find than you think in the post Apocalypse, because anyone who is an actual bike rider will likely be on theirs and headed for safety as swiftly as possible when the doo-doo hits the fan. Here, check out this list of the best mountain bikes on the market for ideas. There are also bikes with storage space in them, like this one that's meant to transport children on a road with motor vehicles for some insane reason. While these are probably not the best things to use to transport toddlers, they'd be perfect to stash your gear in while you rove the wastes.
Think about it though, No fuel, all terrain, at least doubles to triples your walking speed and you keep fit with them! Not to mention that all of the materials that go into making bicycles can be manufactured by hand, which means that whoever has the knowledge and expertise of how to craft bicycles will likely be power brokers in the wasteland to come. So get chummy with those really fit guys at the bicycle shops, because pretty soon, they're going to be calling the shots.
Any gamers reading this who are fans of flight sims, or aerial combat games like the Ace Combat series, are likely going to have a leg up here, especially the flight simulator folks. Like with firearms however, don't let your knowledge of how certain aircraft might work let you imagine you know what it's like to fly...I mean, unless you're a pilot - in which case...uh...cool. That's like, really cool...
Speaking of piloting, if you aren't a pilot, but always wanted to be, it isn't too late - at least not yet - to go and learn how to fly and get your license! The Federal Aviation Administration has a checklist of all of the requirements to earn your license. Now might be a really good time to look into at least getting the training to fly yourself.
Being able to operate any aerial craft is going to be an advantage and make you a sought after individual in a post-apocalyptic world. The question is, what kind of craft should you get trained on? The answer, without a doubt, is a helicopter. Rotorcraft are the most versatile aircraft anywhere, as they can take off and land from any spot large enough for them to do so. They can also hover in place, allowing you to load and unload cargo and passengers while not having to actually touch the ground at all. They can also be crafted by civilian enthusiasts with purchasable parts. The comedian Jeff Dunham literally constructed his own helicopter and modified it to use gasoline as fuel.
Now that isn't to say that other types of aircraft are useless, at all. If you know how to fly a plane, use that skill to get you as far away from all of the hellish monstrosities, ravenous zombies, or cyborg assassins that will more than likely be populating the world. Just do so with the knowledge that if you run into a flying saucer while you're up there, you better know how to skydive too.
We could take some time to talk about military grade craft, but the truth is, if you know how to fly a jumbo jet, you know how to fly a military cargo plane. If you don't, you should stick with puddle jumpers and rotorcraft. The other thing is that the really good military craft, like a harrier jet, or the Vertibird- err, Osprey are probably going to be jacked by someone in the military who knows how to use them. If you are such a one as this, enjoy your aerial superiority. If not, and you DO happen to find yourself in a position where you can get into one of these...we recommend that you just go for it. It's not like you're ever going to get the chance to do so in any other time and place.
In just about all of the Apocalyptic scenarios described in this guide, watercraft are going to be at least somewhat useful. In fact, in certain situations, being able to just get on a boat and get the heck away from land will save your life. Nautical craft can take a lot of forms, from sailing ships, to submarines. All of them have their own method of operation and if you want to be able to operate them, you'll want to learn how, because not all are as simple as you might think.
By far, the most useful style of craft to be able to use will be some kind of small sailing ship. Anymore, most boats that have a motor, also have some kind of sail, for in case the ship runs out of fuel, or the owner just wants to sail. Learning to sail a ship properly is not overly difficult, but it also isn't easy. You can, of course, get some certified training, but in the age of information, why would you want to, when you can just watch this thirty minute video on the basics of sailing by some dude.
Nautical Craft are also going to be the primary method of transport in the Great Flood scenario, so if you feel like that's the thing that's comin', learn to sail.
Motor boats are also great options, just because they're fast and the method of operating them is intuitive, especially to people who game. Most motor boats, those ones with the motor on back, operate on what us gamers might call an inverted axis for steering. It'll take a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it'll be like learning the controls on a new game. Whatever you do, don't rage quit , because if you damage the controller, the boat’s not going to work.
Just about all other types of boats operate using some kind of wheel for steering, but that doesn't mean that they're like cars at all. Boats do not stop moving in open water, even if you kill the engine entirely, because of the water's current. They also don't turn as immediately as a car would either. To get from one location to another, in ideal conditions, you might be alright, but just in case, check out this video on some boating basics.
This is a guide about surviving in an apocalypse, not on how to be a bond villain, so we're not going to spend a lot of time talking about submarines, as most of them are prohibitively expensive, and include specialized training. You're more likely to find an anti-aircraft weapon in some gun enthusiast's personal collection than you are to come across an actual submarine that you didn't purchase. All of that being said, you can totes get a two man submarine that looks like a shark for the same price as a 2020 Jaguar.
In any guide about the post apocalypse, you'll eventually have to talk about beasts of burden of some kind. Using pack animals to transport both goods and people is probably the oldest form of 'not walkin' there is. Barring some kind of fiery war steed like Ruin from Darksiders, which isn't likely, you're probably looking at a horse, donkey or mule. If you have access to these animals, but you do not know how to ride them - do not attempt to! You'll probably have better like using them as pack animals, or to pull some kind of wagon than you will trying to ride one.
Unfortunately, real life isn't quite like Red Dead Redemption, or Skyrim, where your character just innately knows how to ride a horse and you can just grab any steed around, hop on it and go. Riding requires training and practice and just as Link had to learn to respect and handle Epona, you'll have to learn the same for your brave steed.
If you want to learn to ride, we suggest Googling it, because there isn't an online jockey's academy apparently, we looked. So you'll want to find someone near your location to teach you. That being said, you can get some pointers on what not to do from this video.
All of the preceding notwithstanding, if you're good with animals, you might take a page out of this girl's book and train an unconventional animal to ride. You could probably teach other animals to do other useful things as well, like a dog that could carry gear, or that goat from earlier that you could easily coax into pulling a small wagon of your gear. Ooooh! Or you could train bees to attack people, that could be useful, plus - hey, free honey!
Malls, Subways and Airforce Bases - Shelters and Bases
Depending on the type of Apocalypse you find yourself in, you may be spending quite a bit of time on the move. However, even while you're moving from place to place, where you choose to rest and take shelter is important, and if in the long run, you can scope out some locations that will serve as the ideal headquarters for the new civilization you've been kickin' around in your head, all the better.
Finding shelter in the real world is not dissimilar to finding a good spot to camp in an FPS, or building a shelter in crafting games like Minecraft, or Fortnight. There are a few rules you're going to want to follow when selecting a shelter, especially if you have the option to be selective. These are not hard and fast, and if you find a place that adheres to most of them, but not one, it might still be a good choice. That in mind, be discerning. Use your judgment when appraising a location and your imagination to show you what a location could be and not just what it is right then.
- Have more than one exit
- Almost never on the ground level
- Make sure it's at least somewhat fortified
- Seclusion is preferable to convenience
- If elevated, have an alternate exit (i.e. rope, or ladder)
- The evidence of absence is ideal (if it looks abandoned, people will think it is)
Places that make good temporary shelters are places that don't attract attention and are easy to get out of if you need to leave quickly.
- A residential home that has windows in the attic, or door access to the second floor. If you can barricade yourself on an upper level securely, but also have a method of exit via an upper portal, this would make a very good temporary shelter.
- A third or fourth floor apartment with a window or balcony will give you access to a number of rooms to spread out in and an elevated vantage point. If you detect someone entering the building, you can just pack up, and use your grappling hook and rope to get out of there without risk of serious injury.
- The offices or apartments above retail locations are often ideal, because the retail front will be easy to see into through the window. Leave the front as you find it, perhaps even wrecking it further, so it looks as though it isn't worth checking out, and keep yourself upstairs and away from the windows. Really important with this: Don't set up in retail locations that people are likely to explore, like a grocery store. Instead go for things like clothing retailers, curio shops, or salons.
Places that make terrible temporary shelters are locations that have only one exit and trap you anywhere in any way, or leave it obvious that you are residing there.
- The basement of any residential home that doesn't have more than the exit to the outside and the one to the upstairs, and if it only ever has one of these, don't even go inside.
- Anything above the fifth floor in any apartment building. You simply cannot safely repel down the side of a building that high with no specialized training, without risking death, or darn near it from falling, and you do NOT want to be stuck in any Apocalypse with a couple of broken legs.
- A car repair garage, department store, bowling alley, or any other place with entrances and exits too big to barricade, or a lot of open space for you to not be able to hide in. Though if there are office or residential spaces above any of these, they might be serviceable.
- Vaults (Banks, not Fallout...though those aren't good either)
At the end of the day, your best bet if you're on the move is to camp in the wilderness. It'll likely be a lot safer than trying to set up in or near the remnants of civilization, especially on your own. If you've never camped before (like the writer of this guide hasn't) you might check out the National Parks Service Guide to Camping to get some pointers. You'll also find a lot of info about building a shelter from the reading materials in the Economic Destabilization section above.
Bases and Fortifications
So, you've amassed enough followers and materiel to lay the foundations of your new regime, or perhaps you want to start with a base by turning your home itself into a fortress to withstand the ravenous, apocalyptic hordes, or maybe you're just thinking of setting up a secret hideout. Either way, those gamers who enjoy the building/crafting elements of some games will be ahead of the curve here. Minecrafters somewhat especially.
There are some rules for making a base and some of them are similar to the rules for seeking a shelter, while others are the exact opposite.
- Make sure every single entry point is secured, and either fortified, guarded, or both
- Establish a perimeter (if you can have walls, have them)
- Post look outs at every conceivable point of approach (in all four cardinal directions if you can)
- The location must be fortified and defendable
- Near a water, or food source is ideal (If the location can also be hidden, all the better)
- If at ground level, have a secret exit that is only known to you (and perhaps one or two others you trust)
- If you cannot be hidden, make sure people know that you're there and that you are armed
Places that make ideal fortified bases are those that are already designed for such, or that are already secured and have an established perimeter.
- Military bases, and forts are already, more often than not, designed to be fortified installations. Though most military bases have a chain link fence perimeter, many of the buildings on a base can be used as the starting point for your sprawling fortress city.
- Police stations and prisons are often heavily secured, if not fortified and always have some kind of closed circuit camera surveillance system built into their structure. Prisons also usually have a durable fence, or wall perimeter.
- Factories and schools often have complete chain link perimeters and can be firmly secured from the outside with heavy doors and reinforcements. These securing methods are often already in place, so the trick here will be fortifying your perimeter and maintaining a lookout. They also tend to have a basement that is at least somewhat graded to be a shelter in a serious weather or bombing attack situation.
Places that make horrible locations for a fortified base are anything with an abundance of glass windows at ground level, or multiple points of access meant to be traversed regularly, or only a single point of access.
- Malls and department stores are meant to allow access to them by the public. They are often set up with glass doors and multiple points of access. There is also an abundance of open space within them where zombies, face huggers, imps and just creepy humans can hide and sneak up on everyone.
- Bunkers with no way out but the entrance are a great way to get trapped and give people on the outside control of your air supply. These should ONLY be considered if you are actively trying to avoid a thermonuclear detonation, or death ray.
- Movie Theatres, Bars and Taverns and other recreational locations are all mostly bad ideas for the same reason malls are. They are designed to give access to the public, not deny it. Movie theatres are bad in particular, because they have SO many emergency exits that give so much access to the premises.
If you're thinking of simply fortifying your home, and holding out against the world, try and use a combination of the shelter and base rules. Establish a perimeter, but also have multiple exits. If you can't have lookouts, perhaps try and scavenge for security equipment, or better yet, buy some now. There are a lot of options for this that can be linked to your phone or digital device. Board up any windows that aren't being used for alternate exits, or look out points and board up positively everything on the first floor. Use your basement as your secret exit from the house and maybe try and find a way to camouflage the outside entrance to it. If you don't have the numbers to make a show of strength, then either make it look like no one lives there, or set up some traps and alarms. If possible, do all of these things.
Well that's it folks, that's all the advice we have for you on how to survive the apocalypse...accept perhaps this: The truth is that, like is so many games we play, there is likely going to be an abundance of people who need your help. As humans have proven, time and time again, we do our absolute best when we help each other. So when the choice to help is presented to you, don't be a wolf - be a Shepherd.