Best WMDs for killing large groups of Z

I like to play on above average zombie spawn rate, with big towns far apart. currently i’m on a quite successfull run (lots of useful mutations, lots of CBMs, wide choice of weapons, etc).

but even thou my skills are not so bad, i really struggle engaging large groups of zombies.

for example: setting up with a sniper rifle long range picking up one zombie after another doesnt work, as it usually takes multiple shots to bringt one down.
going full auto mid range works even worse.
my only real option is taking a relatively fast melee weapon and killing Z at a choke point. but that takes a long time, is rather high risk (shocker zombies can ruin your day) and somehow feels cheesy.

so what are your prefered tools for killing large groups of zombies (hundreds of them - like you get in large towns).

fire, collapsing buildings, minefields?

ps: i used to set up huge arrays of spike traps - that does work, but is extremely boring to set up…

Laser turrets on vehicles, lure zombies to house at night and light it on fire, shredders on vehicle, rams on vehicle, lure into trap field, etc. Blade traps are very good if you make them, 3x3 and do a lot of damage. You can also make a flamethrower, use explosives, etc.

Also don’t forget that you can always lure the zombies away instead of kill them all. A bicycle makes this really easy, and you can fit a folding one in your vehicle quite easily.

I’ve had similar problems. I don’t mess with the spawn rates but four building towns still routinely spawn 60+ zeds. I remember going into a town with approximately six buildings in it, and fighting about 200 of them just to get past the first two buildings.

They typically pile up so much that by the time I get around to pulping/butchering, the first waves are getting up again and I can’t pulp/butcher immediately after killing them because there’s always 3-5 more that notice the character and start approaching in the middle of the process. They’re never hard to put down again but its always a chore. Seriously, I didn’t even want to go into the town that badly; all it has is four houses and sixteen freakin’ liquor stores. Who drinks that much?!

Jokes aside though, other than Shard’s suggestions, people have said that the Chain Lightning CBM is good for crowd control. It arcs to all enemies nearby to the one it hits, but it can hit you if you are too close so its probably not good for indoors. In my experience it doesn’t do much damage so you’ll need ample reserves of power to actually kill large numbers of zeds, though.

You can make Molotov cocktails from Glass Bottles, Rags and Gasoline. They create a square of fire either 3x3 or 5x5 (can’t remember which) about three turns after throwing them, and go out instead of exploding if you don’t throw them, but immediately after you light one you will remain lit up until you throw it so if you light it up at night then all zeds in visible range will see you, and rain seems to diminish its effectiveness. Also, since it’s fire, all burnable drops will be damaged and destroyed. And I think ammo will explode when burned, so if one of them drops some its better to be far away.

Acid Bombs can be made from Concentrated Acid, which can be created from batteries, and a few other things. I’ve never used them so I don’t know how much area they cover.

Grenades can be made from 00 Shot, and a few other things, but loud explosives might draw more than they kill if hordes are enabled.

I, personally don’t have a crowd control solution; it’s always a slog beating down the hordes, butchering a fifth of them, then rinsing and repeating. By far the best method I’ve found for killing large numbers of zeds is simply to run them down. The vehicle parts that Shard mentioned (the Shredder and Rams) will increase the damage output of ramming into a creature. This will not stop them from reviving though; you still need to pulp/butcher manually, unless you use the mod that disables revival. You’ll also need to repair the Shredders and Rams periodically, as well as your car. Headlights are typically fragile, so they should not be around where the Rams are or they will most likely be destroyed.

If you’re short on parts like the shredder, mounting spikes (a level 0 fabrication recipe, so you most certainly have it) actually has some of the highest impact damage output I’ve seen. They take a very short time (one or two minutes each) to make using scrap metal or chunks of steel, and roughly 36-40 minutes each to mount at 6-8 Mechanics. The benefit of equipment like the shredder over just mounting spikes is that the description of the shredder states that it is designed to pop off rather than break, where spikes can be destroyed and rendered unusable. Spikes will also need to be repaired periodically and are less durable than shredders and the like, but the ease of replacement and ridiculous damage output makes them well worth using. I’m not sure if it is exclusive to a mod or just the Hulks, but I’ve installed spikes, then rammed Hulks at 30 MP/H (or 48 KM/H) and they exploded into chunks of tainted meat instead of dropping dead, so I didn’t have to butcher anything. That doesn’t seem to happen to any other creatures, though. It scared the crap out of me the first time it happened because I knew I had just killed a Hulk but couldn’t find the body.

If you’re worried about your primary vehicle being damaged, you can always mount the spikes onto a temporary one just laying around town, and if you have a Remote Control Unit CBM or whatever electronic device (I think its a control laptop), then you can install an electronic control unit into a vehicle and sit in a safe, reinforced area and run the hordes down with impunity, so long as you don’t take the vehicle too far away and lose control of it.

Most importantly, if you’re using a vehicle that has wing mirrors, take them off before you go running things down, because a few zeds will slip by and they will hit the wing mirrors and they will knock them off and if you run over them they are destroyed. I’ve lost so many mirrors this way that I habitually steal them from every single vehicle I come across in every city I go into because I know I’ll inevitably need replacements.

Out of curiosity, what’s your current kill count?


L.T. Carbine.

20 char limit blah blah blah

current kill count is 4252.

the vehicle approach seems to be quite effective, but i will have to build a better death truck to make i work.

i dont really like the L.T. - found one on the first or second day (!) but the fire axe seems much more effective. also the ammo drain on te L.T. is horrible…

fire DOES work, of course. unfortunately i still havnt found a book with a flamethrower recipe.

Just smash the corpses. It’s far faster.

Grenades and other bombs are currently pretty anemic.
I’m almost done:tm: overhauling fragmentation, which makes them massively more deadly (I’ve seen 100+ zombie kills from a single grenade). Pipe bombs will be getting a similar buff.

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What about nail bombs and the rdx sand bomb?

Everything with a shrapnel tag, and holy shit I just looked at the RDX bomb… you might want to be underground when that goes off…

Lesee, quick math…
RDX bomb is about 100kg, call half of that frangible casing or projectiles, leading to an initial velocity upwards of 2,000fps
50 kg of fragments, let’s make them average for bomb fragments and call them 0.1g, so 500,000 fragments,
500,000 fragments spread over the outer edge of the reality bubble, which has a volume of 60^3, or 216,000 tiles
Each square at the edge of the reality bubble would have ~2 0.1g fragments passing through it at pistol round speeds.

Heh, not as bad as I thought, but you still are more likely than not to get hit, though one fragment at that distance isn’t going to be that dangerous.

OTOH, call it 30 tiles distance, same calculation works out to…
27,000 squares, so about 20 fragments passing through each tile, that’s quite a bit more significant.

Nail bombs and pipe bombs are going to be closer to a hand grenade in effect, so more like 5 tiles very lethal range, very dangerous out to 15 tiles or so.

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Well this is what the radio activation mod is for right? On that note I assume in the game setting cell phone calls are not possible therefor removing the possibility of phone detonators.

In a previous world I had a 3x3 electric vehicle (no quarterpanels or anything that blocks movement) with 9 storage batteries and a laser/turbolaser cannon (I haven’t found a Fusion Blaster Arm CMB yet in my current world).
Made a autohotkey script to shoot the cannon with one key.

Guide the horde of zombies to form a column coming towards you.
Wait for zombies to be 1 tile away or be adjacent to your vehicle.
Hit the autohotkey script to shoot the laser/turbolaser cannon and watch most zombies get splattered into tainted meat with a single shot.
For hulks or monsters that have more HP, hit them with the cannon a couple of times while they are far away and make the killshot when they are 1 tile away or adjacent to your vehicle and they’ll also be splattered into tainted meat.

If you don’t want to cause a zombie to be splattered into tainted meat (shockers,technicians,scientists,etc), just shoot them from afar.

I can only assume they get splattered because of a critical hit/headshot due to the range is that correct?

It’s very likely that. I don’t have that save game anymore.
I would rarely miss when shooting from afar, but never from up close. I think I had the Targeting System CBM installed also.

That reminds me, I dont think bomb fragments are gonna gib the targets pretty much ever, but they probably should, hmm…

Possibility of explosives either transforming or adding a debuff to enemies if they lose parts but not die entirely?

If you want consultation regarding fragment mass distribution principles or anything related to fragmentation munitions in general, I can help with that. I know how to calculate the Gurney velocity for any given fragment, just as an example (I doubt that would be considered in Cata but I’m just saying I know my stuff). Whether you want to know the fragment size and numbers for real-world munition or a theoretical one, I’m your guy.

If I can’t figure it out, I’ve compiled >40 documents worth of extensive testing done by both private and government entities, and there’s some research papers in there as well regarding metallurgy and it’s relationship to fragment size and distribution as well as the charge to mass ratio.

I was once somewhat autistic about this stuff for a while, as you can clearly see^

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Ugh, where were you two months ago when I started researching this, I’ve pretty much hammered everything out with a selection of papers I was able to dig up.

Surprise, that’s exactly what I did.
I’d be interested in your review of what I settled on.
Here’s roughly what I’m doing:

  1. Set explosive charge (in grams of TNT-equivalent), casing mass, and per-fragment mass for an explosive device.
  2. Use spherical Gurney formula to determine initial casing velocity. No nuance for different explosive compositions, in practice damage output and range aren’t particularly velocity-sensitive, so I’m not too bothered by this approximation. I’m interested in hearing whether you agree.
  3. Apply standard drag equation for fragments with a bunch of simplifying assumptions, such as pinning fragment density to steel and making all fragments spherical and setting Cd to 0.5.
  4. Calculate a density function for fragments passing through a given square based on in-game obstacles and inverse-square law for spherical expansion.
  5. Sample density function at a target (adjusted for target size) by modeling fragment count as a possion distribution.
  6. Calculate damage based on Joules of terminal velocity for each impacting fragment, scaled as usual for projectiles with a gross “quality of hit” factor.
  7. Tune SWAG constants on my test case, which is checking lethality rates of m67 at designated ranges.

For the m67 I ended up settling on extremely small fragments, 0.05g, which leads to a large number of fragments, roughly 4,000. Otherwise the fragment field gets too diffuse too fast and damage becomes inconsistent really fast.

I have one question about the whole fragmentation stuff. Will it be possible to use zombies as living shields? Suppose that a grenade explodes in the middle of a small horde of zombies. In my opinion all fragments should stop at the first / second “line” of monsters even if they are just a rotting meat. Fragments should not pass through few monsters. I am asking because a situation in which a given grenade kills 100 zombies seems a little strange to me

Zombies (creatures in general actually) do block fragments, but outside of hulks most monsters don’t fill their squares, so many (half of them for a regular zombie) fragments will continue beyond a monster.

That implies you can use zombies as undead shields, but you need 4-6 zombies in a line to reliably stop all the fragments.

An 11 by 11 square of zombies with an empty space in the middle contains 120 zombies, and each of the 40 zombies the outermost rank has 4 zombies between them and the space in the middle. If a grenade goes off in that space, the first rank of zombies is hit by 100% of the available fragments, the second rank by 50%, the third rank by 25%, the fourth rank by ~12%, and the last rank by 6% - and that’s still lethal to around 30%-50% of them if a single grenade can kill 100 zombies in this perfect example.

Survivors are often tougher than zombies, and better armored. It’s still probably safest to throw grenades far enough away that the survivor isn’t in the blast radius.