The Wolfmen Experience – Event Review
I step through the open doorway and try to slow my breathing as I scan the dark warehouse for movement. The rest of the squad follows behind me, picking their way through the debris strewn area. I don’t need to turn around to know that their expressions will be tense, and their hands will be gripping their weapons so hard that their knuckles are white, because that’s exactly what I’m doing. The Perspex riot shield weighs heavily on my left arm and I feel it begin to drop.
Without warning, a shape looms up from behind an overturned plastic barrel and rushes toward me, crashing into the shield and forcing me back. I taste blood in my mouth and return a snarl to the crazed prisoner through the transparent shield, then draw my baton. I strike hard and fast, and the lunatic falls away, but manages to tear the shield from my grasp in the process.
“Contact! Rear!” comes the cry from behind me. I turn to find dark shapes emerging from the doorway that we just passed through, swarming over our rear guard in a frenzy of fangs and claws. I take aim and fire into the melee, feeling satisfaction as the monsters fall away. It’s then that I hear the howl. I turn to find another beast vaulting over a discarded filing cabinet. I squeeze the trigger, but the weapon clicks empty in my hands. I have no other choice. I draw my baton once more and throw myself forward to attack, trying to block out the screams from my squad mates as they are overwhelmed.
Incase you are wondering, this isn’t a scene from my latest werewolf novel. This is, infact, an account of one night in May that I spent in an industrial estate near Droitwich. This is the night that I went on the Wolfmen experience.
There seem to be lots of these experience days popping up on the internet. Most of them deal with zombies, and from reports I’ve had from friends, seem to be very much run-and-gun events, where terrified customers are pursued by undead hordes. To say that RAM Training’s Wolfmen experience is a little more physical than that is something of an understatement.
A mix of werewolves and escaped lunatics assault you at every given opportunity. And I mean, every opportunity. Even something as straightforward as going outside to use the toilet block in between missions is fraught with peril, and you need to go out in armed groups. When the attacks come, they really do not hold back. Werewolves quite literally throw themselves at you, rugby tackling you to the ground, trying to drag you off into dark recesses. If I hadn’t been wearing full riot gear, I certainly would have come away with a cracked skull at the very least. As it was, I emerged with nothing worse than a cut lip where I got a face full of riot shield.
That’s not to say that it’s all one way, either. You are encouraged to beat back the hordes with your riot batons, every chance you get. They may just be bits of plastic pipe, wrapped in foam rubber and gaffa tape, but they pack a hell of a sting, and I managed to break mine, twice, due to the force I was hitting the lycanthropes and assorted nutjobs with it. Let me tell you, it’s one hell of a liberating experience to be able to cut loose like that. Plus, I don’t imagine that the paintball guns we were issued with were exactly painless either. This may account for the werewolves trying to knock the ammunition hoppers off the weapons every chance they got.
That said, there were a few little niggles. We only had a couple of missions, and the first one was batons and riot gear only which was, quite frankly, exhausting. I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it through, although once we got the guns, things were much easier. That big riot shield weighed at ton! Also, despite the subject matter and the fact that we were under constant attack, in the dark, you got used to it quite quickly, so it ended up not being as scary as I would have liked. A little more tension building and atmosphere would have gone a long way. The missions were also not quite as advertised on the website. There were no trip wires or traps to set for one thing, which was a little bit of a disappointment.
The event is run by a group of serving and former military guys, which means that you get briefed on tactics before hand, and during the missions get screamed at in a way that lends the whole thing an air of authenticity.
That said, the experience was brilliant. Once I got into it, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and was a little disappointed when it was all over. By that point, my squad had our second wind and we could have gone another round or two with the hairy buggers 🙂 In hindsight, I also wish that I’d paid the extra 20 quid to stay over on the camp beds, because I was buzzing by the end of the night, and could have done with sitting around, unwinding with a few beers and talking about it with the other guys instead of driving home. I know better for next time.
If you don’t mind coming away slightly battered and bruised, and if your fitness levels are up to it, then I’d wholeheartedly recommend this experience to anyone. Get a bunch of mates together, put some beers in the car for afterwards and then go kick the crap out of some werewolves. There are many worse ways to spend a Saturday night 🙂