Humans vs. Zombies: Fight of the living dead



Johnson State College is about to be the scene of an apocalypse—a zombie apocalypse. Four students have organized several games of Humans vs. Zombies, a campus-wide event in which players must either survive an onslaught of zombies or join them.

The semester-long event, featuring multiple games across the term, has been completely organized and set up by sophomores Thomas Gunn and Siobhàn Anderson and juniors Sawyer Judkins and Colton Anderson. Each student will moderate his or her own game.

Played at over 650 campuses, libraries, neighborhoods and office retreats worldwide, Humans vs. Zombies was invented in 2005 at Goucher College. The goal is to keep from being turned into a zombie (if you are a human) and to turn all of the humans to zombies (if you are a zombie). The game starts with one or two original zombies. The players will wear bandanas to identify their status: on their arms for humans, and on their heads for zombies.

The zombies turn humans by tagging them, while humans defend themselves by throwing balled up socks or firing foam dart blasters at the zombies. “If they hit the zombie with a Nerf dart or a balled up sock that zombie is stunned for 15 minutes and cannot tag any humans during that time,” said Gunn. “If a zombie does not tag a human within a certain amount of time, then that zombie starves to death.”

To reduce any cheating about zombification, each human will be given a card with a number that zombies will submit to the moderators if they get tagged.

Safe-zones in the game include all buildings as well as a 10-foot radius around doorways. Players cannot shoot or tag across safe-zone lines.

The humans shouldn’t expect to last out the zombies by sticking to the safe zones, according to Judkins. “Human players will also be given incentives to go out and play as well so they don’t just sit inside.” They will have to complete missions designed to draw them out, which will ensure they get to take part in some action.

Gunn explained that these missions are critical for the humans’ success in surviving. “The end of the game will happen on the Friday mission at the end of the week. It could be anything from ‘the government sends a helicopter to evacuate the humans’, or ‘the humans have activated a radiation system that will kill all the zombies—but they have to get to a bunker before that radiation also kills them’,” he said. “Basically the game [ends] if a human or a group of humans survive the end of the last mission on Friday, or the zombies win if they manage to tag all the humans before that time.”

The four moderators began planning the game last spring in anticipation of the time it would take to get permission from the administration. “First we went to Krista Swahn, over at the department of Student Activities,” said Gunn. “We met with her to discuss the rules, to discuss the safety precautions, times of play, and she was all for it. From there I met with Michael Palagonia from Public Safety and just talked about boundaries, safety with the Nerf blasters, and he was totally ok with it. I’ll be giving public safety a whole list with the basic rules and the dates of our games so that they’re on par with us for everything as well.”

The first game is scheduled to begin on Monday, Sept. 16.

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