Friday, April 8, 2011

Zombie Plague and Other Sicknesses, Part One

So, this week started the Spring quarter game of Humans Versus Zombies (HvZ) at Western Washington University. This is a giant, worldwide sport that is mainly played on college campuses. 
Basically a modified game of tag, Humans try to survive for a set time, while Zombies try to tag every Human by that time. Every one starts with two cards, a Human and Zombie card with their player ID on them, these are used to determine points, as well as separate registered players from people trying to ruin the game.

Humans wear caution-orange bandanas as armbands and can use Nerf guns blasters (approved by Officers) and balled up socks to stun Zombies. Zombies wear the bandanas as headbands, can only tag with their hands, and being stunned by a dart or sock renders them inert (headband around neck) for 10 minutes. If a Zombie tags a Human, the Human card is given to the tagger (and becomes a Zombie after 20 minutes), and the tagger uses the ID to log points on the official website.

Some campuses have rules like 24-hour game play, or if a Zombie doesn't score a tag within a timeframe they are out of the game. WWU's game is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for a week (and without the Zombie-starvation rule). There is an official site for Western's game, as well as an official Facebook page. On the official website, one can look at the Human to Zombie populations. (April 8, 8:30 pm - 201 Z / 128 H).

The game is usually played the week before Dead Week for a quarter (third from last), and during Fall game I didn't have a gun blaster, so I stayed out of it. Spring's game is super early (its only the second week), and I didn't hear about it until the very last day to register--which I was able to do--and started playing on Wednesday. It was at the registration / briefing meeting Tuesday night that I found my gun blaster I had was non-regulation because of the stock--which when you first put together has a warning saying it is immovable once assembled--but I went back to my dorm, and twenty minutes with some borrowed tools made it regulation once again.

[The full version was non-regulation because it looks like a legit rifle from afar, which University Police don't like]

The following day, I was able to stay away from Zombies for a while, mainly avoiding the large hordes of them by building-hopping (buildings are Safe Zones). It was the afternoon that I ran into trouble:

I had a class in Fraser Hall, which is a bad place for Humans, and Zombies had surrounded the place (see below). There were a few of us holed up in there trying to make a plan, when someone with a big gun blaster and belt of darts just ran for it. A horde of like seven people chased him, and that's when the small group's unity fell apart and it was every man for themselves. As I darted out of the Hall, I was pursued immediately by two Zombies. I shook one of them, but the other chased me into the middle of Red Square, and he was fast. As I looked for an exit, another Zombie yelled "Human!" which only brought more Zombies into the plaza. After missing a shot, the Zombie tagged me. I don't feel bad for being tagged on the first day, mainly because I later found the guy that tagged me was like one of the top three zombie-runners on campus.

Also, Wednesday was the day that I started feeling sick, mainly a sore throat, but has since become a light cough. Hopefully it'll go away, and its not the Zombie plague...

 [Aerial of Red Square (Google), with my path (green) from Fraser, and the incoming Zombies (red)]

During HvZ, there are the normally scheduled / regulated gameplay hours, and then there are missions, as well as Gladiator / exhibition matches. Last night was the first mission, and it was fun!

Humans and Zombies started the mission from different points on campus at 6 p.m., and had to complete objectives before 7 p.m. Humans started mid-campus (green, see below), and were given an official objective to go somewhere, and the Zombies started on South Campus (red), with the objective to stop the Humans, without knowing what their objective was. After splitting the Zombies into groups, we all scouted around, and then we got a tip about the tennis courts at The Ridge were an objective. My little group arrived just in time to see about half the Humans in the tennis court (safe zone in blue, 1), and then a huge wall of armed Humans rushing for the safe zone being met with a wall of Zombies. After a flurry of action, lots of yellow, blue, and orange (Nerf colors), there were panting people and used darts everywhere.

A few minutes later, as the Zombies searched for stragglers still trying to get in, we were given a tip about how Nash Hall's tennis court (blue, 2) was the final zone, and so the Zombies headed over that direction to prepare a defense. The final battle at Nash was intense again, as we tried to stop large groups of humans from entering the court the last few minutes of the mission. At seven, the moderators called the game and had a debriefing meeting. Humans won their objective: Finishing the mission with at least 15 Humans in the final zone at 7 p.m. (with exactly 15). As a reward, Humans were rewarded immunity from tags today from 7 to 11 a.m. I bet that was a nice break from being paranoid.

 [Approximate directions of teams during Mission One. Green - Humans, Red - Zombies, Blue - Safe Zones]

There is another mission tomorrow afternoon, so we'll see how that goes. I'll write at least one other part about HvZ next week, so stay tuned! 
I did write another part, the next day!


  1. Very nicely written, Alex. I appreciate the attention to detail, while still holding your reader's attention! Also, excellent job describing and summing-up the game in so short a piece, fantastic writing!

  2. Thank you very much, Humans! Good luck with the rest of the game!