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Here Comes the Hoard

Peder Aalgaard | Staff Writer | 11-15-2012
Last week, Bemidji State University hosted its first Humans vs. Zombies event. After registering on the website, students were able to participate in the week-long game. The goal was to either be the human with the longest game life or the zombie with the most kills.

A total of 43 students signed up for a chance to be the last survivor. The winner of either category would receive season one of The Walking Dead and a prize that differed depending on whether the winner was the last surviving human or the zombie with the most kills.

Humans vs. Zombies is basically a glorified game of tag. Rather than becoming “it,” a tagged person simply joined the mass of living dead.

To keep track of who was a zombie and who was still a human, each person registered was given an ID card with a code on it. When he or she was tagged by a zombie, the human would give it the card and the zombie would enter the code number into the website. That person would then be listed as a zombie online and any kills he or she got would be recorded there. Kills were recorded through the cards given out to everyone at the start of the game.

The entire campus was the playing field, but academic and residential buildings were safe zones. The tunnels, however, and any open areas were fair game for zombies to tag humans.

To identify each other, players wore bandanas on their arms. After being tagged, the bandanas would be worn on the players’ heads. Bandanas had to be worn and visible at all times during the game. The only players not wearing bandanas were “original zombies.” These players were sophomore Eric Armbrust and senior Dylan Davison, who is also president of the campus activities board (CAB).

Players could conceal their bandanas by wearing shirts, sweatshirts, or coats underneath their bandanas that matched in color. When being pursued by a zombies, human players were allowed to throw socks at them. Being hit by a sock meant a zombie had to wait 15 minutes before they could tag anyone.

While this might not sound too serious, zombie players who did not feed  by tagging a human player within 48 hours were eliminated from the game. Zombie players who wished to support their teammates could “feed” other players when registering their kills, resetting their time limit.

Armbrust brought the idea of doing this event to CAB, thinking it would be fun for students to try. With their help, Humans vs. Zombies was properly advertised, and rules were discussed with public safety and residential life. Some changes had to be made, such as making dormitories off limits to tagging and not allowing Nerf guns on campus.

Originally, Armbrust thought the prize would be cash, and each person playing would put a dollar in the pot. Since that was not allowed, he changed the prizes to a $50 bookstore gift card to the human winner, and the zombie winner got a zombie beanie and a trophy that would be on display in the CAB office for the next winner to sign.

On Friday, Nov. 2, there was a small issue with the game: few people were getting tagged out, and even fewer had tagged anyone. At the wrap-up party, there had been a three-way tie, with each player having one kill. The majority of the tags had been done by original zombies who were also moderators, which meant their scores could not be counted. To fix this, Armbrust planned to have original zombie, Ike Carlson, become a target for the zombies and humans to eliminate. Eventually the humans were eliminated, leaving Brandon Allan the longest survivor and David Cooper the zombie with the highest kills with a score of three tags.
Both Armbrust and Davison would like to make Humans vs Zombies an annual event for BSU to host. CAB is always looking for new and fun event ideas to host and wish to get more input from students. Davison wants to make sure students know that CAB will try and work with them to make their suggestions happen. Hopefully, Humans vs. Zombies will be the first of many student-based events.
More information about Humans vs. Zombies can be found at humansvszombies.org.