Humans vs Zombies (HvZ) is a massive asymmetrical game of tag developed in 2005 by Brad Sappington and Chris Weed at Goucher College. In the Fall of 2007 Cody Sumter and Dale Pahls brought it to Truman State University, where it has been played once a semester since.
The rules at Truman closely parallel those at Goucher. All players (400+ in recent semesters) begin the game as a human (designated with a bandanna around their arm). From this pool, a handful (1-5) are selected by the moderators to be the Original Zombies. These zombies tag humans to turn them into zombies (designated with a bandanna around their head). Humans are not without means of defense, however, as they can throw a balled up sock or shoot a zombie with a nerf gun to “stun” them for 15 minutes (a zombie is unable to tag a human while stunned). The game takes place 24 hours a day for up to a week – if you are outside, you are playing. This can make getting to class quite the adventure by midgame.
While the game is officially won when either all the humans have been turned to zombies or all the zombies have starved, by not feeding for 48 hours, that can lead to an anti-climatic finish to the game. Thus, to ensure that people aren’t hiding in their rooms, and to ensure that the game has a definite conclusion we run what are known as missions.
These missions are intertwined around a story, in a manner very similar to a choose-your-own-adventure book. The outcomes of the first missions impact the story, which directs the possibilities for future missions, and eventually, the conclusion of the game.
Coordination of the week long event falls on the shoulders of the moderators. We do not play, as to ensure that the game runs smoothly. We focus our time on making sure over 8% of the campus has a awesome time, and that the other 92% are not inconvenienced in the course of that awesomeness.
Want to see what Humans vs Zombies is like? Check out the great documentary from Goucher College on the right.