The outbreak made its first appearance on campus on Oct. 20. More than half the original human population had been turned into zombies by the night of the first mission, Oct. 22.
After an approximatey hour-long campaign of hunting undead, subduing a group of rogue humans and getting ambushed while trying to acquire a medical supply drop, “Fighting Polygons” squadron leader Ryan Franz officially declared victory. Projected casualties were estimated to be more than eight humans lost from the original group of approximately 50, one of them Humans vs. Zombies president Dan Gray.
One human player, Parker Ryan had this outlook on the situation:
“We’re all going to die,” Ryan said.
The University of Idaho fall Humans vs. Zombies game officially started on Sunday, Oct. 20, signifying a large group of students, (176 players as of Oct. 23), wrapping bandanas around their head or arm to show their participation in the game, and ready to do battle against the opposing team. HvZ works like an extended game of tag, and is played throughout the UI campus, with the exception of both Arboretums as well as indoors, HvZ president Dan Gray said.
All students start out on the “humans” side with bandanas around their arms, but hidden within this group are two “original zombies” who represent themselves as humans. The original zombies, whose identities are announced before the first mission, are able to tag other humans, turning them into zombies. From there, the zombie hoard grows as zombies tag other humans, who then take their arm bandana and put it around their head to signify their transformation. The game ends when all the humans have been tagged, but the humans are able to defend themselves with Nerf blasters or socks in order to stun zombies.
“It’s amazing how fast you can meet people in this game,” HvZ secretary Don Bellevue said. “You have no idea who these people are, but suddenly, you’re like brothers in arms after having to fight for your lives against the hoard.”
There are also different missions and “plunger drops” that give players of both teams the ability to have structured confrontations, as well as give participators the ability to earn points towards different end of game awards.
“You know, it almost felt like we were facing a real apocalypse,” first-year player Gretchen Pixley said. “There were so many people shouting at each other, so much disorganization, and people who were inexperienced were trying to go on their own.”
Gray said these events are all coordinated through the HvZ Facebook page and through the official UI HvZ website, and while people interested in joining the game can do so on these platforms, most players register before the game starts.
Gray also said that the game operates on an honors system, and is a great way for students to go out and be a kid for a week. One student, UI senior Sam Kohl, doesn’t participate in the game, and thinks it comical for college students.
“Honestly, it’s kind of ridiculous I came here for an education,” Kohl said.
The humans will make their final stand on Borah Hill on Saturday, and until then, watch out for roaming bands of the undead or stray Nerf gun fire from the final vestiges of humanity who refuse to be turned.
George Wood Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org