Do you miss the days of running around an empty yard with your friends, playing games and not worrying about things like work, school and the meaning of life? If so, Humans vs. Zombies may be the perfect place for you!
“Humans vs. Zombies at its core is a game of tag with two teams. It gets deeper than that with a lot of story elements and plot, but at its core it’s a game of tag with two teams, the humans and the zombies,” said Content Director Zach Bell, a fourth-year digital media production student.
Bell, alongside other “mods” or E-board members, oversee the club, which hosts mini-games every Tuesday, as well as occasional day games and a weeklong game once a semester.
The club isn’t exclusive to New Paltz. Though it is going on it’s 10th year on campus, games first began in 2003 at Goucher College, a liberal arts school located in Baltimore, Maryland. From there, Humans vs. Zombies took off, and is currently being played at over 1,000 schools nationwide, as well as public parks, libraries and numerous other spaces.
“I played, and I ran actually, an 800 person game this summer in Ohio. We had people who were in their 40’s, 50’s and then we had, you know, the little kids. So it really isn’t just for college students or kids; everyone’s doing it,” said Vice President Rachel Goldberg, a third-year theater student.
As Bell explained, the storyline is quite simple, but the games become more complex. “Survivor” is the most common game, and is what starts things off every Tuesday night. During the game, players use foam-dart blasters and socks (not terminology, literally a balled up pair of socks held together by duct tape, Goldberg explained).
“The humans are defending themselves from the zombies using different nerf blasters and socks and just running away and the zombies are trying to turn every human into a zombie,” Bell said.
While some mini-games have defined winners, like “Capture the Flag,” others are played until no players remain. The E-board comes together shortly before games begin to decide which will be played that night.
“It’s completely random. It is usually decided by either me, or whoever is running the night, which is typically either me, Dylan (President of the club) or any of our other mods or E-board members,” Goldstein said.
The mini-games played on Tuesday nights don’t usually last too long, typically only 15-20 minutes. The short time span makes players eager to volunteer to be zombies. For weeklong and day games, the process is quite different.
“It starts off with usually one but anywhere from one to three original zombies and they are a zombie disguised as a human and they can have two to five, usually five, tags before they’re revealed as the original zombie,” Bell said.
To volunteer as “original zombie,” players check off a box when signing up for the game via the club’s website, and the mods make the final decision.
Along with mini and weeklong games, the club occasionally hosts day games, where clubs from other schools around the country (and even some international clubs) are invited to play. These games, as inferred from the title, tend to last an entire day,
This semesters weeklong game will take place Oct. 1-5. In order to play in the game, students must attend a general interest meeting, which will be held Sept. 24-28.
“I think it’s definitely a game for everyone… It’s something that I recommend to people, especially if they’re in their first year, because it’s one of the things that helped me kind of find my place at New Paltz,” Goldberg said.
More information on Humans vs. Zombies, including specific dates and times of general interest meetings, can be found on their Instagram account, @nphvz.