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Discussion: Vampire-Os

in: Orienteering; General

Jan 27, 2024 4:00 PM # 
What particular rules for Vampire-Os do people like/dislike?

What counts as a "tag" to swap a scorecard for a vampire role? (touch or light-based tagging? chasing/evasion going on in the dark?, but has anyone had problems/solutions with versions of the exchange?)

Any variations people really like? (garlic necklaces, "sun"/safety zones, etc.?)

Have read, and reminding others of this thread from 2012; agrees/disagrees/etc. welcome.
Jan 27, 2024 11:59 PM # 
I have never been a fan of Vampire O, i.e. doing all the orienteering only to have someone take it. Having said that I have competed in a few. You may want to check with UNO as I think they regularly have one with their training weekend.
Mostly it is just a score O with the ability to steal punch cards. I haven't heard of anyone using epunch on a vampire O as who would be willing to give up their dibber. So you will need punch cards.
You definitely want a safe zone around the finish so vampires can't just stand at the finish. There should be multiple approaches to the finish area also.
You also want a clear way to determine who is a vampire and who isn't. I think UNO used a red flash light in addition to the Vampire punch card. You will need a way to determine who gets the vampire card (random punch card draw at the start or do you allow for volunteers).
For me everything else doesn't matter (vampire immunity like garlic.) I have heard a complaint in the past if the score O portion is too easy then it isn't fun for advanced orienteers.
Jan 28, 2024 12:59 AM # 
A bit of history that may be entertaining (and I probably posted this before, but...): at the first ever Vampire-O, physical tagging was required, and there were no flashlights, because the start was at noon on January 1 (1991, I think). It was originally supposed to have much more complicated rules, but the organizers simplified it that morning. (I was extremely hung over, and basically haven't had a drink since.)
Jan 28, 2024 8:13 AM # 
Sounds like the first Vamp-O was a Jon Nash production...
Jan 28, 2024 12:36 PM # 
Yes, Jon Nash and Stephen Stibler are the inventors of Vampire-O. The first one was held at Tallman Mountain.
Jan 29, 2024 1:30 AM # 
Talismans to protect from vampires should be bulky enough or heavy enough to cause significant extra effort for the bearer of the talisman. Be sure to specify that if you get tired of carrying a talisman, it must be discarded ONLY at a control (not some random place in the forest).
Jan 29, 2024 7:52 AM # 
Evalin B:
I've organized a few and some of the important rules are making the control sites safe zones (a few meters around or so) and the finish area. (at night) vampires must have their red light on and showing and must be within 1 meter distance to "vamp" and you cannot tag back the team that got you. Also used a couple talismans to be found.
Jan 29, 2024 2:51 PM # 
I think in the past COC has used pumpkins as Talismans
Jan 29, 2024 4:15 PM # 
I've done quite a few, typically with inexperienced youth groups. One unexpected rule I've had to make is that only vampires are allowed to do the tagging. Sometimes the kids are so eager that they start tagging the other way around in hopes of becoming a vampire. Use of the red light would alleviate this, but I usually just use standard physical tagging.

Also, very much agree with the tdgood on the necessity of safe zone around the finish with plenty of access to the finish. Don't make it easy for vampires to stake out the edge of the safe zone looking for victims.

I've also found that 10-20% vampires is a good ratio to keep things moving around. As the total number of participants gets larger, the % vampires gets smaller.
Jan 29, 2024 7:10 PM # 
To Ben Conley's point, COC uses 20-30 pound pretty big sized pumpkins that people have to carry around to be immune from vampires. This makes the decision between having immunity more difficult as the pumpkins are difficult to carry and significantly slow down your race. But watching someone carry a huge pumpkin around is very funny.
Jan 29, 2024 7:23 PM # 
I’ve never been interested in hosting a vampire-o but the thought of watching people try to carry a large potted cactus as a talisman makes the idea more tempting.
Jan 29, 2024 9:09 PM # 
@Cristina - on some of your maps, the potted cactus you'd be carrying is the one you're probably safest from.
Jan 30, 2024 12:08 AM # 
Until you trip.
Jan 31, 2024 11:20 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Hi, I've been the series director and/or event director and/or course designer for CascadeOC's most recent 11 Vampire-O's (and one more before that).

Below are the instructions and rules that are printed on the backside of all of the maps. A few other things to mention:

- Vampire-O is our event that has the highest ratio of newcomers and once-per-year orienteers, which means means we need more beginner instruction and more staff at registration/check-in. We also hand out the maps upon check-in, and not immediately before the start. This helps encourage people to show up earlier in the check-in window (reducing the crush of people showing up at the last minute). It also gives the newcomers plenty of time to understand the map, the rules, and what they are doing. We're not worried about the unfairness of excess planning time; punchcards exchange hands so often that there's no huge benefit to perfecting your plan before the race. It's all for fun, anyway.

- A lot of our regular/advanced orienteers stay away from Vampire-O, which is fine. More recently, we started organizing a Halloween-themed double-header event day with a "Skeleton Bones" (aka Dog Bones) event in the afternoon, Vampire-O in the evening, and our club's annual meeting sandwiched in between. Some people come for one event and that's it. Some people come for one event and the meeting. Some people come for all three. Some of the regulars who aren't participating in Vampire-O are more likely to volunteer at Vampire-O since they are already there for the earlier events.

- If you have one, bring a megaphone or something. And something to stand on when you do the pre-race briefing and hand out the punchcards. In my experience, there are a lot of kids, especially groups of kids, and you need something to get them all to pay attention to what you are saying.

- For the immunity pumpkins, I try to find the largest/heaviest ones I can find (I buy them where it's a unit price, not a weight price!). I also write "Vampire Immunity" on them in giant sharpie and I also attach a glowstick to the stem. We have 4 vampires and 4 pumpkins. In all my years of doing this, every pumpkin has made it to the finish at the end of the event (ie: not left at a control site).

- Another tweak that I've heard about that sounds fun is having a few "trick" controls. You show up to the control flag shown on the map only to find that there's no punch there; instead there's a small laminated map showing a nearby location where the actual punch is.


Basic Rules:
• There are 24 checkpoints, each worth 1 point.
• You may visit checkpoints in any order you wish.
• There is a 1-hour time limit, ending at 8:00pm.
• If you return after 1 hour, you will lose 1 point per minute late.
• Do not put your name on the punchcard until after finishing.
• The winner is the person/team with the most points. Ties will be broken by the shortest time.

• Vampires: bite victims! Vampires may not punch checkpoints.
• Everyone else: Punch as many checkpoints as you can!

Vampire Info:
• 4 vampires will be randomly assigned just before the start.
• Vampires will be issued a punchcard with "Vampire" written on it and a red flashlight.
• Vampires will start 2 minutes after everyone else.
• Vampires may use either the red flashlight or regular flashlights.
• The final vampires still need to check-in at the finish!

The “Bite” Sequence:
1) The vampire must shine his/her red light on the victim, usually at a distance of 5-10 feet.
2) The vampire yells, “Vampire Attack!” (or something equivalent).
3) The vampire and victim exchange punch cards, and the new vampire takes the red flashlight.
4) Now the victim is the new vampire, and the previous vampire is free to find checkpoints.
Note: There will always be only 4 vampires.

Vampire & Victim Code of Conduct:
• If you are bitten by a vampire, you may not run away and ignore it.
• If you are bitten by a vampire, you may not immediately bite the former vampire (aka "no bitebacks").
• A vampire may not turn down a punch card just because it has only a few punches on it.
• If you are not a vampire, please don’t pretend to be one!
• Please be honest. This is for fun! If there are any disputes, the vampire wins.

“Bite” Prevention:
• No Bite Zones (aka “Garlic Zones”)
• Vampires cannot bite within any checkpoint circle, which has a 10-meter radius. No camping!
• Vampires cannot bite within the large open area near the start/finish, which is marked on the map.
• Vampire Immunity Tokens (aka “Giant Pumpkins”)
• Immunity tokens are marked with glow sticks and located at undisclosed checkpoint locations.
• Vampires may not bite victims in possession of an immunity token.
• If you have a token, you may keep it as long as you wish.
• If you decide to give up a token, you must either: leave it at a checkpoint, or give it to another participant. Do not hide tokens in the woods!
Feb 1, 2024 1:21 AM # 
Feb 1, 2024 5:08 AM # 
Nicely detailed.
Feb 1, 2024 5:32 AM # 
This looks like a standard night- orienteering event in Transylvania, except of course the bites are real
Feb 2, 2024 4:06 AM # 
Our Halloween Vampire O used to include treat controls (surprise, you got double points) and trick controls (the punch strung dangled down into a pile of leaves - pulling up the “punch” instead brought up a rubber snake or spider.)
Feb 3, 2024 6:24 PM # 
I have fond memories of UNO weekend vampire-o’s!

Also appreciate how thoughtful Pink Socks & team are at thinking through what will make it effective, fun, and have a good connection to the club (even for those who don’t want to race it).
Feb 3, 2024 11:33 PM # 
Note that the UNO camping weekend has a regular night-O (the Wicked Hard Night-O) that takes place at the same time as the Vampire-O. The origin of this was that sometime around 2000 I was doing the Vampire-O with Nancy and her kids. We were vampires to start, and Nancy asked what we should do. I said we should just stroll out to the beach and wait for some hotshot like Boris to come by and take his card. So we went to the beach, and somebody approached at high speed, and we vamped him. It was... Boris, and he had a whole bunch of punches. So then we quietly snuck back to the pavilion.

And then I thought, what the heck is Boris doing in a Vampire-O with all these kids, anyway? So the next year I set the first WHNO, and now there are two offerings, so there's something for everybody. The Vampire-O starts first, then about 15 minutes later the ambitious people go out on the WHNO, and the Vampire-O is done before they get back.
Feb 4, 2024 3:31 PM # 
I'm honored, I think?
Feb 5, 2024 12:01 AM # 
You were the inspiration for the WHNO, and I think that's pretty cool.

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