Humans vs. Zombies: It’s Exactly How It Sounds

Have you ever seen people running around campus with Nerf guns shooting people with plastic darts? If so, you've witnessed Humans vs. Zombies.

Humans vs. Zombies is a game played on UF's campus. There is one main game during the semester and mini games throughout. It's basically a giant game of Nerf tag that is played all over campus. And yes, I mean all of campus. It’s a game I've played since my freshman year, and I love it. Here's what you need to know about the game and my experience with this semester’s main game.

How does the game even start?

Well first, you have to go to a rules meeting and register. After learning about the rules, get a blaster and/or socks (you can use rolled up socks as a weapon) and receive a bandana and kill ID, you’re set to go (a kill ID is a code that is used to register your death on The bandana identifies whether or not a player is human or zombie. The bandana on the arm is human, and head is zombie.

At UF, it is tradition to start off each game at midnight, with the Midnight Mission. Each day, there are missions that player goes to which progresses the story of each game and is the core of the game. The Midnight Mission is where the infection starts. The moderators (I’ll explain more about them later) will implement an Original Zombie (OZ) and/or an Original Horde (OH)  to get the infection going. The OZ is a zombie in disguise as a human that cannot use a blaster, and they tag in secret and remain disguised until the moderators reveal them. The OH are just players that start off as a zombie. People get tagged and then there are zombies!

Who creates the game?

This is where the moderators come in. Moderators act as the referees and the creators of the game. They decide the theme of the game, create the story, picks the actors, creates the mechanics and missions of the games and facilitate them. I was actually a moderator for this past summer and helped create the Edgar Alan Poe game.

How do you play the game?

Basically, you get emails tell you where to go based on if you’re a human or zombie on HvZ source and you to that location. From there, with either your nerf gun and/or socks and do what the actors and moderators tell you to do. There are different types of missions. There are sneaks, assassinations, find the things, capture the things, puzzles and many more. Also, there are safe zones across campus where nobody can be stunned or tagged.

In the game, you can’t “kill” zombies. When you shoot them, they get stunned for a predetermined amount of time. The humans must complete their objectives in order to complete the mission and not be punished for failure. Victory is achieved at the final mission if any humans survive or if everyone dies.

What happened at this game?

This semester’s game was centered around Dante’s Inferno and so each mission we traveled through different circles of hell. At this midnight mission, we met different sinners that acted as “special zombies”, specials for shorts. Specials are enemies that have added abilities than a regular zombie. We had to collect bones from each of these sinners in order to create a portal into hell and start our process of getting out of hell.

The next night I had an exam…so I couldn’t play that mission.

On Wednesday, we had to go to the many sets of woods that we have on campus in order to find tiny boxes that will feed gluttony. Literally in the dark of night, aided by flashlights, we had to go in the middle of the woods looking for tiny boxes while also being super wary of the bushes because zombies will hide ANYWHERE (I would know – I’m a better zombie player than human). When we hit the final woods, I decided to screw around and search random places by myself… and my friend tagged me after she disguised herself under a bush. Then the rest of that mission I screwed around.

On Thursday, we played a game of live-action checkers. Every piece was a player with one person from each side being the one calling the moves and the winning side got a reward. I was the person for the zombie side. Every time a piece tried to capture another, the players would have to face each other with the human(s) having one dart per zombie they’re facing because multicaptures are a thing. However, there was something with the story happening in the woods and the zombies were told to set up an ambush there once they once out. So being the smart player I am, and also realizing the rewards were useless — I just stopped caring about properly playing the game, started purposely suiciding zombies while also setting up funny battles to watch. The humans ended up winning, but at least I had fun.

The next day, we had to go to the woods again — but this time we had two specials that worked in tandem (peep the picture). One froze people in place while the other killed. I felt bad because one of the specials is one of my friends, and she was in stilts for the character. Basically we just chased humans around and tried killing them. However, everybody except for one person died at this mission, so the moderators had to put out revive cards around campus. I got revived and was now human again.

For the final mission, we had to help a character in the story build the portal out of hell in the woods again (do you notice a trend?). I died while trying to defend him because of the specials. After, we were told the human’s final destination and decided to set up an ambush. That failed. Then the humans had to hold their position for five minutes while we tried to kill them. I decided to screw around and run randomly while also dancing in front of them. The humans won.

What happens after the game?

After the game, we always take pictures of the players and the moderators and any other groups formed in the game. As per tradition, we go to Steak & Shake to celebrate with good food.

Because of this game, I made some great friends within it and have had some valuable experiences. I found a new community within a giant campus. I don’t what I would’ve done without Humans vs Zombies.

This game sounds like fun! How do I join?

Anybody can join, whether they’re a UF student or not. We have a main game every semester and also mini games throughout. If you want to find out more, like us on Facebook here. Feel welcome to ask us any questions!

P.S. If you see any weird outfits, it's a thing — because people really get into this game. I’m one of those people.