humans vs zombies

A story of college adventures.

My Freshman year the college T.V. station decided to run a month-long event called “Humans Versus Zombies” or HVZ where the participating students were all issued a card with a number on it. If you were a human you were allowed to use an unmodified Nerf gun to shoot the zombies (A major problem for many participants as the routine Nerf wars on campus lead to some heavily modified guns that could shoot a flea off a dog’s back at 100 paces, eventually it was agreed that modifications that only affected reload time was acceptable but modifications to muzzle velocity was not, freaking tech schools, but I digress) and when the zombies were shot they were “out” until they left “line of sight.” If a zombie caught you, then you became a zombie. The zombie would take your card and register their kill online, if a kill was not registered in 48 hours, you died. Now here’s where it gets weird.

One student who was selected to be one of the initial zombies happened to be a parkour enthusiast. In the 2 weeks leading up to the start of the event he took to following people around, making notes of their routes, and figuring out where to lay ambushes. When the event started he began to begin his attacks. He leapt out of trees, suddenly burst from corners and low walls to strike at his “prey” and generally took down the “human” population of the campus.

Now as the zombie population “grew” the humans who remained were exceedingly cautious. Never using the same route twice, only leaving “safe havens” when necessary. Insisting that non-participants not talk to them between classes, etc. Now obviously this made it harder for the less fit zombies (Again, tech school) to get their necessary feeds to live. So the more fit zombies began to set up ambush parties. Large herds of zombies would come charging out at survivors, funneling them into the waiting arms of a zombie who could not hunt himself. They began to plot and plan, figuring out the next target and generally showing to some people just how terrifying an intelligent zombie apocalypse could be. Eventually the zombie menace was curbed by a simple weapon that you would never see in a movie.

The lead zombie’s girlfriend at the time, a non-participant, was feeling neglected and made him stop obsessing over the game in order to spend more time with her. Had she not done that I doubt any of the humans participating would have survived.

Now here’s where it gets even weirder:

As I said this was a tech school, the professors were actively doing research. Now one of the professors in the biology department was listening to the students discussing the events and what all had happened. She decided to ask the campus T.V. station for the records of who was turned and when, then she took that list of students to the registrar’s office and pulled their class schedules and residence locations. From there she was able to model the “outbreak” and the changes in the mentality of the hunting species as the amount of available prey decreased.

She used it as an example in her upper level classes. The next year, there were professors participating in HVZ, and studying the numbers, and modeling the information. I’m fairly certain that they wound up eventually publishing a paper about it.

So long story short my campus hosts a game once a semester called humans vs zombies. It’s pretty much just a gigantic game of tag that lasts a week. It starts where a single zombie is disguised as a human for 24 hours, silently tags people, and grows a zombie horde.
Humans are armed with socks and nerf guns, and can stun zombies in order to get away.
The zombies have one mission: to turn humans into zombies, and humans have the mission of trying to survive.
Humans have checkpoints throughout the week to further a storyline. Some humans will come and get rewards for attending checkpoints, and others will vanish for up to days at a time.

So, long story short, I want this to be a thing in Abel township. I want this to be an annual thing that half the township gets in on.
There’s casual players like Maxine and Veronica and Paula and Sam, who are usually hiding in a building somewhere plotting how to best gets humans past the checkpoint. (Or are the people who set up the game)
Jody strings up a bow to shoot socks instead of arrows, and is usually a tank when it comes to killing zombies.
Simon is a killer zombie, and can easily chase down any human.
Sara Smith is the person no zombie bothers with. She will actually kill you. When she does play as a zombie she prefers ambush tactics.
Jack and Eugene will occasionally play, but prefer to narrate the entire occasion.
Amelia usually just bribes her way out of being tagged (usually by selling out her fellow humans)
Janine is a powerhouse, and will literally hunt down zombies given the chance.
And then, freakin runner five. They always play as a zombie. You will never see them coming. They will tag up to three people in one go without being stunned. You might think you’re safe coming out of the mess hall, but before you know it runner five has tagged you. On the rare occasion you do see them coming, they’re running at you full speed with danger in their eyes. It’s the last thing you’ll ever see.

I need to see this. Six to start please.

I understand that a lot of people enjoy writing shipfics where they transplant characters into a college setting. Since some writers may not be in college, or may have graduated a long time ago, I thought I’d offer a helpful list of realistic college meet not-so-cute scenarios. Forget baristas. This is where it’s at. 

- I’m really passionate about this cause and I will give you this flier if I have to shove it down your throat

- vicious battle over the only left handed desk in the room

- my roommate’s boyfriend is staying over so can I please sleep on your floor

- it’s pouring and my final paper is in my backpack so I guess we’re stuck under this tiny awning together. do you think they’d deliver pizza here

- hey I have to photograph someone for class will you be my model

- hey I have to take someone’s blood pressure for class will you be my victim

- variations of the above

- I know I keep coming to the cookie shop and for some reason it’s always your shift but don’t you dare judge me I need these for my sanity

- all our friends are drunk

- it’s 3 am and I’m still in the library studying for finals and I’m losing my grip on reality and I think I just saw a ghost

- we’re the only two people in this club. what is this club even for

- humans vs zombies (see you can still have your zombie AU, best of both worlds)

- we’re the only people who ever talk in discussions it’s awful


tRADitions: Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ)

During the Fall and Winter Quarters, the University of Chicago’s Zombie Readiness Task Force holds a game of Humans vs. Zombies.  The premise is fairly simple: humans, armed with Nerf guns, defend themselves against zombie players and survive the week (if they get tagged by a zombie, they become a zombie too).  Competition gets intense–students in the past have even built apps to track other players during the course of the game.


At Missouri State University we’ve been playing Humans vs Zombies for about five years. This video was shot during our first mission for this semester’s game earlier this week. I have to say, it was one of the best missions I have ever seen. Extremely happy to have been a part of designing and running this game, and ecstatic that so many people enjoyed it.

For those of you who have been on the fence about joining, you absolutely should.

Humans Vs Zombies (I don't want your excuses)


Also Known As the most fun you’ll ever have in college.
     AKA “Why are those kids with awesome, bright, giant guns being chased by people with bandanas around their heads?
     "Humans vs Zombies, dude.”
     "Oh. I’ve heard about that. Seems fun. Had a friend who did it.“ 

     ”… I think one just bit me.“

     I’ve proclaimed this great horror/survival game of moderated tag for two years and I am sick of hearing these common misconceptions and excuses for why others won’t play. I want to see our games return to near 1,000 players again:

1) "It’s too nerdy.”

     My theory for as to why this stigma exists is because the “cool” (who really aren’t) people are much too close minded and are unable to come to terms that they enjoy shooting things and eating brains.
     Honestly, if you think not giving a fuck about what people think is too much of an effort for you to experience extreme levels of fun and to do what you want to then it’s best you stay away.

2) “Finals are next week”

     Have you ever heard of a study break? HVZ goes on ALL WEEK LONG (from 4/30 to 5/4) so you can play when you want. If you have no time to go hunt during the day then be like me and only go to the missions that are every night at 6 or 7 PM. Get off your FB arse and go play “RL Left 4 Dead”.

3) “I don’t have a Nerf gun.”

     A) You can buy a six-shot maverick for $10 at Walmart if you need. A lot of players use this gun. 
     B) You can be a sock ninja. We love sock ninjas. They are greatly respected and you have socks so why not?
     C) We’re nice and we’ll lend you a gun if you show up. 

4) “I don’t know anyone”

     The fear of death brings instant camaraderie. And there is always someone you know there because it’s so bloody easy to get your friends signed up and coming. And if you come alone like I did my first time you instantly make friends. You’re all there for the same reason and can all discuss your gear, the mission, the zombies, the brains, the mods, everything. 

5) “I’ll think about it.”

     Shit if you will, you lying fool of a took. You go to right now, register for the site, and enter the OZ pool.

    If not, we’ll be having all the one-man stands against five zombies outside blocker while the main horde trails behind without you.

You know what time of year it is - it’s time for a new season of HvZ awesomeness.

This has to be one of my favorites of all time - easily ranking in the top 5 of NERF loadouts I’ve ever seen. This setup is an excellent example of aesthetic form following practical function in a combat load-out.

Gear Overview:
- Apex Thunderblast Back Scabbard
- Apex Rocket Holders
- Apex Drop Leg Strongarm holster
- Apex Strongarm Spare Cylinder holders
- Apex Drum Pouch
- Apex Combat Belt
- Narrowbase NMAG’s
- Narrowbase Double NMAG’s
- Tactical Molle vest (Full body)
- Tactical Molle Drop leg pad (Large)
- Tactical Molle Drop leg pad (Small)
- Tactical Knee pads
- Tactical SWAT gloves
- Velcro “BIOHAZARD” patch
- Nerf bandoleer
- Gas mask with built in fan
- Combat helmet with cover
- Tactical goggles with cover
- Neck cloth/Shemagh
- 2 Arm bands

Remember to watch those corners and check your six - and stay human out there.


When I first started looking at Nerf guns, I noticed that there weren’t any girl models on the boxes - no badass girl side-by-side with the decked out guy model demonstrating how cool you can be with a Nerf gun. I didn’t think too much of it, because it’s the same thing with other “guy” toys, like lightsabers.

I brought it up to one of my guy friends, and he said “that’s because Nerf makes those”, and pointed to the Nerf Rebelle line of weapons - “Nerf for Girls”.

These guns seem very sub-par compared to the regular line. From what I’ve seen, they’re cheap plastic, shoot horribly, and (to me) look like little girl’s toys, all pink and white with swirly designs. And they’re not really practical: everything in the line is a single shot except for a crossbow and one blaster, which is no help in a battle.

What’s more, the names are terrible. The regular line has awesome names like strongarm, rampage, barricade, vuclan, and alphatrooper. The Rebelle line? Heartbreaker. Star Shot. Pink/Blue Crush. Femme Fire. Pretty Paisley. Angel Aim. Sweet Revenge.

Nerf doesn’t need to make overly-girly guns to expand its sales to girls. Just a little “girly” would be fine - keep some pink or color, or add some cool design. But don’t suggest that’s the only line girls should buy. All Nerf needs to do is put a girl on the boxes of the regular line, just as decked out with guns as the guy. Acknowledge that girls can play with regular Nerf too, and we don’t need everything to be made cutesy in order to catch our attention. The Rebelle line is for pre-teen girls who like that style, perhaps. But for the rest of us, it’s demeaning and childish.  

If I’m playing a college game of Humans vs. Zombies, I am not going up against a horde with a white and pink single shot. I’d be laughed at, and people will say that it’s proof I can’t really play. So I’m going with an Alphatrooper in my hand and two Strongarms at my side.

*NOTE: I know that some girls are perfectly fine with the Rebelle line and will completely disagree with this post. I just wanted to state my personal opinion because a guy i know was making fun about it, and it made me angry so I wanted to say something that’s been on my mind for a while.

Previously on Humans Vs Zombies...

So the mission at 2pm was interesting….

it was a lot like

because there weren’t a lot of zombies…The mission was simple. Find the scientist that could shed some light on the zombie outbreak and get the generators back online.

so we did what was needed

The mission continued and teams separated into their factions. We needed to clear rooms and fend off zombies.

but it was a trap from the start. The scientist didn’t make it. We needed to move on to the next objective.

From the remaining few, the rest of the objective was to finish clearing rooms to get the generator back up but that ended badly as well.


~zombie now~

Oh. Its just a Zombie.

Every quarter my college does Humans Vs. Zombies, which is fun.

You know, if you like to live a week in paranoid terror.

During the very first year it was being done, on it’s first round, though I had one very bizarre experience.

As I walked up to my dorm late one night, I became aware I was being followed by a man in an oversize d black hoodie.

Me, being at the time an 18 year old girl, immediately became rather concernicus.

So I sped up walking a little. I can’t see anything on this guy, as his face is also hidden by a bandana.

Then, as I glance back, the man is gone.

Now very much scared as hell, I take off towards my dorm, calling up my friends and the campus police.

You know, because I’m a girl.

And College has taught me that everybody wants to rape me.

Just then, the man in the hoodie jumps out in front of me, reaching out to grab me.

So I do the only thing I can think of doing.

I deck him in the face.

Real hard. And I kick him rather hard in the gut.

And as he goes down, I set upon wailing on him

Then these two other guys with hoodies and black facial bandanas jump out of the bushes, and at this point, I’m ready to go.

I’m fuckin’ ON like DONKEY KONG man.

But then, they go to their injured friend and one of them goes:

“What the FUCK lady?!”

And they pull back their hoodies to reveal orange bandanas that denote that they’re actually players in PvZ, and they’re zombies.

About this point the campus police arrive, and the three guys go about stating how I assaulted their friend when were just playing HvZ.

However, rules state that you HAVE to have that headband visible at all times. To y'know, prevent cheating and THIS EXACT MOMENT FROM HAPPENING.

So the police officer came to me, sighed, and asked.

“Ma'am, why did you assault these men?”

And I was so relieved at this point, I’m laughing and I managed to stutter out:

“Oh god, I didn’t know they were zombies, I though they were rapists!!”

And after hearing what had happened the officer just sighed, gave a stern talking to the boys, and walked off, muttering “Dumbasses”.

They made their way back down campus, I went back to my dorm.

And THAT, my children, is why you don’t chase women dressed like a mugger.

Game or not, don’t be an idiot.