HvZ: A History Of Nerf Zombies
Cops and Robbers. Cowboys and Indians. Humans and… Zombies? Humans vs. Zombies is, at its purest form, a game of tag played at schools, camps, neighborhoods, libraries, and conventions around the world. Humans vs Zombies (HvZ) was created over 10 years ago, way back in 2005, by a group of friends at Goucher College.
The year was 2005 in Baltimore, Maryland. A couple of friends are hanging out, bored. They looked at the recently purchased pile of Nerf blasters on the floor. They looked at each other. Then back at the Nerf guns. Back at each other, at the Nerf guns. Each other. Nerf guns. Then, an epiphany. What if we mixed a simple game of tag with a Zombie theme and incorporated these Nerf guns? That dark and stormy night, they came up with a brilliant idea for a new type of game that they could all play. Take aspects of Tag, Freeze-Tag, Manhunt, Hide-and-Seek, and combine that with Nerf guns and Nerf War. Mix it up in a pot, making it spicy, and what do you have? You have the birth of HvZ. And just like the zombies in the game, HvZ has proven to be just as infectious. The game has spread from that college in Maryland rapidly expanding to college campuses around the country and then the entire planet.
“HvZ is played worldwide from Australia to Zimbabwe; there are games on every continent except Antarctica, and we’re working on that.”
HvZ: The Rules.
All players in HvZ start out as humans, save for one unlucky shmo who will be chosen at random. This one bloke will start out as the Original Zombie. The OG Zombie then sets out to “feed” on the human players by tagging them. Once tagged, a human player will be turned into a zombie within the hour. Zombies must tag and bag a human every 48 hours. If they don’t, they starve and die. The zombies win when all human players are devoured and turned, the Humans win when all zombies are starved out of the game. Human players are identified by wearing a bandana on their arm or leg. When turned into a zombie, the player must remove the bandana and wear it around their head. Equipment used will consist of Nerf blasters and some kind of “grenade.” Nerf recently made foam grenades, Z-Bombz, that work well in HvZ. If a human is firmly gripped or tagged by a zombie, they turn. If a Zombie is shot by the blaster or hit with a grenade, he is stunned for 15 minutes. That’s the gist of it. You can find more detailed information on the rules of HvZ by visiting the official website, humansvszombies.org.
Nowadays, what started out as a private game amongst friends at a college in Maryland, has become a worldwide phenomenon. It’s been ten years and the game is still here, still relevant. Not only that, but it’s picking up steam. People are writing books about this, man. There is HvZ merchandise sold online. It’s mind-blowing. But what do you expect? The Zombie craze is still in full effect, taking over movies and video games. HvZ started out as a game for college kids to play between classes to pass the time in a fun way. Now, it’s expanded far beyond that. It has broken free and left the college campuses, it is played everywhere now. It’s on your front porch right now, waiting to get in. There is no designated area, or age range, or gender. The possibilities with HvZ are absolutely limitless. Nerf itself has even realized how popular HvZ is, with the release of their Zombie Strike/ZED Squad line of blasters. So Keep Calm and Carry a Strongarm. You never know when a game of HvZ may be breaking out near you.
“It’s free, you know. And it’s freeing, too. Phenomenally freeing. You don’t have to be a kid to play. You don’t have to be in elementary school or high school or college even. Call it team building. Call it community building. Play in the park, in the playground, in a corporate plaza, a senior center, in an office building, in hospital corridors, in the neighborhood. It transforms the world. It’s awesome fun.” – Bernie DeKoven
If you enjoyed this article, check out my post Zombie Strike: Nerf Blaster Loadouts for HvZ.