Students on Auburn's campus tread carefully when walking on campus the week of Feb. 6, to avoid getting hit by a Nerf gun or run over by students wearing bandanas. What was the cause of all the commotion last week? Humans vs. Zombies.
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“Humans have Nerf guns, marshmallows, socks or other various items that they can stun zombies with for 15 minutes to avoid getting tagged,” Marcus Robinson said, a participant of the Auburn game.
Since its inception from Goucher College in 2005, Humans vs. Zombies spread virally through the internet and on Facebook, according to the website humansvszombies.org. It is now played at over 650 college campuses and six different continents. Auburn is no exception.
Robinson initially saw the game played on other campuses, such as UAB and UAH. When he saw that Humans vs. Zombies was coming to Auburn through Facebook, the sophomore in mechanical engineering immediately signed up and told his friend, James Sartor.
“Someone named Garrett Blackburn decided that we should do this at Auburn,” Sartor, a junior in Physics said. “So, you make an Auburn page on the website and then people go on the concourse or on Facebook and tell people about it, and people go to sign up on the site and that makes them players of the game.”
The Auburn site had 500 participants sign up, yet Robinson predicts that 400-450 Auburn students actually played the game on campus.
The game begins with all the players as humans and three original zombies. Once tagged by a zombie with a two-hand touch, the player is turned into a zombie. Zombies cannot be killed, only stunned for 15 minutes, but they must feed on humans every 48 hours or they starve. If a zombie starves, the player is considered a corpse and can no longer interact with gameplay. Once a zombie kills a human, they must take their ID issued from the website (hvzsource.com/auburn) to record their kill.
Bandanas are worn to distinguish humans from zombies. Humans wear a bandana on their arm, while zombies wear them around their head.
Human vs. zombies encompasses battles where humans strategize different mission to win the game. Battles can only take place outside, so buildings are safe-zones for humans. The Village was the site of one big battle on Thursday night, Feb. 9.
“It was a mission where the humans had to retrieve a device and zombies were trying to stop them,” Robinson recalls. “It ended up being about 40 humans and 35 zombies, it was interesting.”
To strategize missions, participants use the website where they have a human chat and a zombie chat. Planning is imperative to the final battle in order to win the game.
“The way the end of the game works is that there is a final mission which is an evacuation mission. The humans have to hold a certain spot until a certain time without dying. If they do, they get evacuated and that means they win,” Sartor explains. “The zombies win if no humans get evacuated.”
The final mission took place Sunday, Feb. 12 with the zombies declared the victors. Robinson and Sartor enjoyed participating in this game and said that they would both do it again next year.