Conflicted: EMP and FAR AWAY – What Would You Do?

The game BEFORE the SHTF!


Conflicted is a Survival Card Game.  Each card in the deck has a scenario that will stretch how you would respond in an SHTF situation.  What would you do?  Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

SCENARIO – You are at a business convention 1200 miles away from your family when an EMP goes off and stops the entire civilization in its tracks.  None of the means of communication or transportation work, the banking system and all the comforts of modern civilization are broken, setting the entire country back hundreds of years.

Infrastructure won’t be fixed anytime soon and you aren’t ready for this.  You have $300 in your pocket and a few hours before all shelves are empty. Would you stay local or head for home?  Whatever your decision is, what would you buy with the money and why?

Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Todd Sepulveda

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9 thoughts on “Conflicted: EMP and FAR AWAY – What Would You Do?

  1. Raymond Dean White

    I wonder why anyone would think you’d be able to buy anything with $300 in paper money. No cash registers would work. Lighting in stores wouldn’t work. Aside from owner/operators it’s unlikely any store would be open. I’m assuming this doesn’t happen in the dead of winter, though that would be the best time for an enemy to hit us with an EMP.

    But, assuming a pawn shop was open, I’d buy the cheapest bolt-action 22 caliber LR rifle I could find along with some ammunition ($150). I’d also get a KaBar or other decent knife. If a sporting goods store or Walmart was open I’d a Survivor Filter (portable water filter better than a LifeStraw–$25), a poncho ($10), a space blanket ($10), some paracord (for rigging a sling for the rifle and to secure the poncho as a pack or shelter–$10), a firesteel ($10) and some windproof, waterproof matches ($7), some 20 lb test fishing line and hooks (for rigging a cane-type fishing pole–$10), a floppy hat–($10) and some trail mix or M&M Peanut candy $8). Since I probably don’t have enough money to buy a bicycle and a tire changing/flat patching kit, I steal one then buy a can of WD-40 to keep the bike lubed, and Head for home. Assuming I could only make 30 miles a day (what with time off for avoiding other people, fishing and hunting rabbits and squirrels) I’d be home in 40 days.

    If it was Winter I’d still buy the rifle and other gear, then I’d find some place to hole up where I could scavenge, hunt or fish for food and wait for Spring before heading home. Or, get the rifle and ammo and steal a pre-74 car and use rest of the money to buy gas cans and fuel and get home before things went completely to hell.

    Point of fact: Even when I fly somewhere my Get Home Bag with all the goodies except the gun and ammo (due to air travel restrictions) goes with me in one of my suitcases. My hiking boots also make the trip–always. And my every day shoes are sturdy, well broken in, leather walkers. In that scenario I just have to buy a gun, ammo and a bicycle before heading home.

  2. Drake Savage

    With the $300, I would purchase a good fixed blade sheath knife, a backpackers water purifier and all the beans(dried)and rice ( white &not instant), that I could. Two disposable lighters would complete my gear. These food items have a long shelf life & provide protein/ carbs. Make a bag/pack perhaps out of pillowcases from the hotel.Scrounge empty can(large) for boiling. To get home I would find a 1970’s Volkswagen. It will be unaffected by EMP. Drive it to railroad tracks and remove rubber from the tires leaving rims attached. Now the rims will mate up perfectly with the tracks. I would have to keep the speed low. There are probably going to be stalled trains along the way. If need be, I could jump off tracks, drive on rims around stalled train, then back on tracks on other side of train. Traveling this way would be a hell of a lot quicker than walking.

  3. MIc Roland

    If hunkering down seemed risky (riots, fires, killings), you’d stand a better chance outside of a city. Maybe you hunker down in some suburb, becoming part of a neighborhood group. Things might not calm down. They might get worse, so you’d decide to walk.

    My guess is that, on foot, 1200 miles is probably 100 days of traveling. Some days you’d go more than the average 12 miles. Some days not. You can’t carry 100 days of food with you. You’d have to scavenge as you traveled.

    You’d be making a new bed-down every night for 100 days, to keep up the pace. No time for fishing or snares. Hunting would have to be opportunistic while you walked. I agree with the previous commenters about getting a 22lr rifle, if possible. The odds seem slim on that, in the chaos right after an EMP. The locals will also be scrambling for anything and everything. The recent hurricanes showed that reality. Still, if you can get one, it would be great. If a squirrel or rabbit crosses your path, it would be great to bag it.

    A good knife is important too, but you probably won’t be able to be brand-fussy. IF you find a store open and taking cash manually, you’ll have to pick from whatever they have. A medium-sized full-tang blade would be good. Big enough for light woodwork, small enough to skin a squirrel.

    When I was posting chapters of my stories online for beta readers, a couple of them said the main character should have stolen a car or a bike instead of just walking home. I didn’t change the story. Where I work in a major city, every bike I ever see is locked down AND missing parts (like wheels). Anti-theft is the norm — even in pre-EMP days. After an EMP, even more so. Trying to deliberately steal a bike also puts one at risk of harm by the owner (who may be armed).

    The same goes for cars. If, post-EMP, there are a few cars still running, they will be in high demand and probably fought-over. Not as likely they’ll be unattended on a quiet side-street. A pre-1970 Bettle would be great. I had one. Easy to work on, but in 2017, what kind of shape will a 1969 Beetle be in? Even if in acceptable condition, the owners may likely be willing to shoot you dead for even attempting it. That’s a pretty steep risk-benefit curve.

    If you’re successful, you’d only get as far as the gas in the tank would carry you (200 miles?), assuming someone else didn’t carjack YOU to get your only-running car. Gas stations won’t be selling gas post-EMP. You’ll be on foot again.

    Now, if I happened across an unattended, unlocked, whole bike with no apparent owners around, (like after a few days of travel beyond the outskirts of the city) I would take it. You can make much better time on a bike. However, it also restricts you to roads. There’ll be less hunting opportunity and more risk of being seen by people who would kill you for the bike. Travel might not be much faster if you bike a few days (say, at night), then bed down for a day or two of hunting/scavanging.

    But, back to the shopping. IF you find a store open and taking cash, the odds are, prices will be jacked up. $300 won’t go far. The knife. The poncho would be good, and paracord. If not a poncho, a light tarp. The water filter is good (Sawyer mini, etc.). A backpack to carry your stuff. Lighters and/or matches. Any boil-and-eat or ready-to-eat foods you can afford. These will only get you out of town. They can’t last the whole 100-day trip.

    Knowing wild edibles could be the key — but again, you’re not traveling quickly if you’re digging up, peeling and cooking cattail roots or peeling pine bark. It will be a really tough 100 days.

    You’d need determination and a keen eye for opportunites along the way. You won’t be able to buy enough to make it all the way.

    — Mic

  4. Dan

    I considered the problem years ago and my solution was not to go father than I could walk in two days an I have never had to. I look for problems that could occur and try to find solutions and put them in place before the problem occurs.
    Cars won’t run after an EMP because the electronics are fried. If you want a working vehicle after an EMP remove the electronics and replace them with non-electronic parts, replace the motor with a pre 1979 motor or keep replacement parts in a faraday cage.
    Defence will be a big issue when SHTF. You can fight like a tiger or hide like a rabbit. Tigers are almost extinct but there is no shortage of rabbits’
    Tigers chose guns for defence. The drawback is they are expensive, high tech, hard to get in some places and are noisy. They give away your position and make you a target. They can be taken away and used against you.
    The rabbits use alternative use traps and other primitive weapons which are easy to make from available material and are inexpensive and silent. Rabbits use stealth not confrontation.
    Guns won’t stop a person in body armour but a sling can if the ammo is fragile container of strong corrosive liquid. The container shatters when it hits and the corrosive liquid seeps through the joints to the skin. Corrosive liquid burns the flesh and is extremely painful. He looses all interest in you.
    A sling can stop an armoured vehicle that can withstand 50 caliber bullets and explosives. The ammo is paint in balloons slung at the windows, cameras, if any, and the air intakes. Vision is obscured and the air filters clogged cutting off the air supply to the cab and the motor.
    Slings can ranged from a piece of rag and two strings to a huge catapult.
    Traps are other effective weapons and can work for you 24/7 providing you with food and protection from the most dangerous predators (humans). They range from simple snares to elaborate ones that can take out multiple predators. Booby traps can be put in your house, outbuildings or any place on your property. They are perfectly safe until they armed which can be quickly done. Their big advantage is they work for you even when you are not there
    Try thinking of as many alternative ways as you can and see how they can be used. Often what seems ridiculous at first might be the best solution. But it must be there when it is needed or it is useless
    No one has the right to take another person’s property but everyone has the right to defend it. That is the right to self defence. Property is everything a person owns including life and body.

  5. Michael

    Enjoying whats already been said. Love these what if scenarios.

    A few things. First SO MANY VARIABLES not given. Season and Location would help make the plan. Winter in Minnesota vs Winter in Florida are huge differences and the plans for getting home in each would be totally different. Also Miami to Chicago (1189 miles) will be a lot different than Dallas to Los Angeles (1240 miles). Scenario 1 is almost entirely in temperate forests and farmland filled with game and water and edible plants. Scenario 2 is hard core desert most of the way.

    While I agree a small game rifle would be very important in getting home when every store and restaurant on the way is closed you should consider a piston air gun. Cheap gun. Cheap and light ammo. Far more quiet than a conventional gun. Lethal on rabbits and other small game.

    Love the bicycle idea. Much better than going on foot though it does tie you to existing roads. And 40 miles a day is pretty easy. The most I ever did was a 54 mile day and we started late, rode casually, and before we knew it had eaten up 54 miles.

    Of course agree that a knife, some food, water filter, rain gear, fire kit are all important. I would take a rain suit (head to toe) over a poncho.

    And don’t forget a small road atlas. Chances are you will be crossing unfamiliar territory and while you may know where the interstates go you will get lost pretty fast on surface roads. Of course you can always figure out N-S-E-W but actually knowing where a road will take you is a good thing. If nothing else you will want to know where the bridges over the rivers and streams are and whether or not you are heading into farmland or about to walk into a big city.

  6. James

    1,200 miles is a long way from home. I’ve thought a lot about this EMP scenario for my normal commute of 55 miles from home. 1,200 miles is crazy.

    I’m not sure how many stores would be open and accept cash? Assuming I’m able to get back to the hotel and get to my luggage (multi-tool, walking shoes, extra clothes) I’d want to use the $300 to buy or beg the following:

    Tarp – 8′ x 8′
    Hiking boots
    cooking pot
    water filter (sawyer)
    Bic lighter
    Fire steel
    emergency blanket
    trash bags
    all easy food I could grab (bars, boil-to-eat stuff)
    US map/atlas

    I’d hate to ever be that far from family and home when an EMP hits. I don’t travel that far alone but if I do I’d try to have as much of the above packed inside my normal business luggage.

  7. Heartless

    If an EMP hit – there’d be virtually no store able to sell. No electricity – no ATM’s, debit/credit machines, cash registers……… and within minutes those willing to take cash would be reconsidering that. Refrigerators, freezers would be down, most generators would be useless, no lights, no security systems, no communications…

    $300? It would not matter if that was $30 or $3000. I’d start moving out of whatever town I was in, look for perhaps some other lone individual or some friendly local and just offer the entire amount to them to augment what they may be able to get with their local knowledge of what might be had. I settle for a good coat, blanket, a knife (even some kitchen knife would be fine), any non-perishable food they’d be willing to let me have and info on the way out of their locality that might be safe.

    In other words, I’d gladly just gain a day or two of information to start moving and do the best I could on the road/back ways in the general direction of my own home.

    1. James

      Good thoughts. I think you would have at least a few hours where most people would assume that the power would be coming “back on soon”. After the truth settles in, all bets would be off. Best to get out of town and moving ASAP like you said.

      I believe it’s wrong to steal, but in this situation, I’d find it hard not to help myself to things if easily available. My whole mindset would be to get home to my family. I would be praying God would supply what I needed to get home, legally.

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