Humans Vs. Zombies (HvZ) is like a game of tag on steroids that started in 2005 on the Goucher College campus in Maryland. The game has developed an international player base, according to the official HvZ website, and has reached the University of Rhode Island with a keen following.
The basic rules of the game are simple, humans, marked with orange bandannas tied to one’s left bicep, try to stay alive for as long as they can, while zombies, identified by an orange bandanna tied around one’s head, try to tag at least one human ever 72 hours to keep from “starving out” of the game.
Humans can use un-altered nerf guns, clean, balled up socks or marshmallows to stun zombies. A zombie stays stunned for 15 minutes and can be recognized by the orange bandanna hanging around their neck. When a zombie tags a human they use a code, assigned randomly at the start of each game from the hvzsource.com, to register their “kill” and are able to choose two other zombies to “feed” so they do not starve out of the game.
“You make a log in, it hosts your account picture so we can tell who is playing by looking at them, you can learn every one’s faces. And it keeps track of all of that for us so it’s really convenient and easy to use,” said Sarah Skov, URI’s HvZ treasurer.
The game last usually for a week and consists of the daily game of tag that takes place within the playing areas, but also includes daily missions and events designed to speed up the game and keep players from camping out in a dorm until the final mission. Events have included scavenger hunts that must be completed before one can use nerf weapons, friendly games of capture the flag or missions that require you to escort someone to an extraction point.
“Usually we tie it in so it’s part of a plot where by the end of the week there is a big build-up to this event where the humans try a last ditch attempt to save themselves from the zombie infection,” said Skov.
The rules used in the URI’s version of the game very closely follow the Goucher regulations, but some have been changed in the favor of player safety and to preserve the campus’ support of the game.
“Our biggest rule is that if you have someone who is not playing in between you and the person you’re chasing you have to figure out how to go around them,” said Skov.
As outlined by the Goucher rules, buildings are “safe-zones” and nerf guns must be kept out of sight. The URI chapter extended this safe zone to 15 ft., from any door that can be used to enter and exit any buildings in the play area, allowing players to keep shenanigans to a minimum around other students.
“The goal is not to loiter there,” Skov said. “It’s so the people who are trying to go in and out of the building don’t get stuck if zombies are trying to chase you and you’ve decided to hide in the building.”
More than anything players are encouraged to play with the “Dbag Clause” in mind according to the official HVZ website. “… That’s why the most important rule of HvZ is to treat your fellow players with respect and gracefully accept when you have been tagged or stunned,” according to humansvszombies.org.
The club meets on Tuesdays in room 360 of the Memorial Union. The next round is slated to begin sometime in early-mid April.