Case Western Reserve University students and faculty are playing another game of Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ) from March 27 to April 5. HvZ is open to all members of the CWRU community. As of press time, there are 102 players in CWRU HvZ spring 2019 game.
HvZ is a game that was started at Goucher College, Maryland in fall 2005. The game is played across the world, with games on almost every continent. The original rules, with modifications for safety and balance, are still used today. It is essentially a game of tag, with players designated as Humans and five players designated as Original Zombies, according to the HvZ website. The Original Zombies will then begin tagging humans and turning them into zombies as well.
All players wear bandanas to signify their status with Humans wearing them on their arms and Zombies on their heads. Humans use Nerf blasters or balled-up socks to fend off Zombie players that attempt to tag them while the Zombie players try to surprise or overwhelm Human players. Upon being tagged, a Human player faces a one-hour “incubation” period during which they transform into zombies. While the game is played, a website is used to help track the players and state of the game.
HvZ also includes missions and optional events that grant benefits to participants which differ from game to game.
The goal of any HvZ game is to win. Humans win by surviving and not letting the Zombies spread. The Zombies win by tagging and turning the Human players until none are left.
HvZ started at CWRU in the fall of 2008 and is run by the Big Games Club. The game occurs every semester, with the fall game usually occurring in early October before fall break and the spring game occurring between spring break and the main week of Greek Games. According to Josh Levy, Big Games Club PR Chair, there are around 250 players in the fall games and around 100 in the spring games. The game appeals to many different people with both students and professors competing.
Some HvZ games are themed and include events that incorporate the theme. The current game’s theme is Greek mythology. This theme was exhibited in a “rowing” mission using cardboard warships around Wade Commons and a mission with Simply Greek catering. Past themes for games include the legend of Merlin and time travel.
HvZ Core is a group of nine students who meet weekly to plan and administer the game. They also create missions and themes for games. A team of 12 Moderators also helps run the game.
Levy explained that “players are required to attend at least one rules meeting before each game to familiarize themselves with the rules.”
If students want to learn more about HvZ in a fun and entertaining way, the CWRU website features several informative student-made music videos about the games.