One fortnight ago my university was infected by the zombie virus. It was a horrible, fast spreading infection that consumed the entirety of the Boiler Tag club. What I am referring to is the recently played game of Humans vs. Zombies. The game is basically a giant game of tag. When I say giant, I do mean giant. Over 700 people took part in this campus wide event that engulfed the events of the week.
The rules are basically as follows.
- All people start out as humans except for 6 OZ (original zombies).
- If you get tagged by a zombie you become a zombie.
- A band around the head signifies zombies.
- A band around the arm signifies humans.
- All bands must be visible when on campus.
- If a zombie is shot with a Nerf dart or hit with a sock grenade they are stunned for 15 minutes and must re-spawn in a safe zone or touch a tree.
- Safe zones are defined as a 30 foot radius in front of any door that all people can enter and inside public buildings on campus.
- Safe zones turn off at 11pm and turn on at 6am.
The way tagging worked was that when you joined the game you were given a “Feedcode.” These were a string of numbers and letters that were unique to you. When you were tagged you would give the tagger your Feedcode and they would, in turn, submit the Feedcode to the website. The information would update showing them as the killer and then changing you over to a zombie. It was actually really well done, and impressive how organized the moderators made it.
If there is an exploitation you can see, they probably thought of it too. The chief rule stressed was “Don’t be a jerk.” I think it’s important that it was stated because the game is very honor based. Being tagged and being hit is always based on the discretion of the players involved. While not every encounter can be taken care of neat and tidy, most can be solved with that simple rule.
So, that’s the game and it lead to some extremely fun days. It was held the week after spring break (3/23 – 3/27) with missions during the day and every night from 8pm to 10pm.
The missions were sent out every night by email to the players. There were different “factions” that had different objectives. You could align yourself with any faction you wanted and change it up throughout the game. If those missions were successful the humans gained special advantages such as more safe zones or automatic weapons. The Horde (zombies) also had missions which usually was the foil to the human missions. Just like the humans, if the Horde was successful they would get upgrades such as faster re-spawns.
The human missions usually involved escorting an NPC (non-player character) to locations or collecting items. Conversely, the Horde was usually responsible for tagging said NPCs or protecting items. The humans were usually much better at the night missions due to organization. The zombies had no really good leaders and usually meant to small scraps of people running about and that mostly left the humans free to move about if they just waited long enough.
The game started with a briefing at 11 pm on the steps of Stewart. Lauren, Kelsey, Eli, John, and myself are all in attendance and as the rules state, all humans. The paranoia has already set in. We know this is more than an explanation of what’s to come. It’s a trap and it’s not even clever. The mob is told to move from Stewart to MSEE. Instead of falling prey to the zombies we blaze our own trail and watch from a considerable distance. Midnight strikes and still no commotion. Then huge screams are heard. The OZ (original zombies) hit. They are not required to wear any indicators on the first day so the initial infection can take place. We run into two heavily armed guys with their headbands around their neck. They were tagged on the first night. Sorry guys. I maintain my distance from them. I didn’t know how nervous I would be. It is affecting me like crazy. We safely make it back to Eli and John’s and then head back home. Initial infection crisis averted.
Not much action during the day thanks to an Exam. I am stuck in my room all day to study, but can see the orange headbands of the zombies walking by Pao. After my exam I call Eli, to meet up with him and John for the night missions. I am to meet up with them by Beering. I ride my bike to the location and am all by myself. I am looking everywhere all at once. I know I am the prey. I lock my bike and take out my Maverick and make sure it works. I am just really wanting those guys to show up. I notice two zombies trying to circle me. I know if they flank me I am done for. Just then a guy comes barreling towards me. I see the orange headband. I don’t think, I shoot. I’m still alive. I’m shaking. Need to get back in the game. The two zombies tell me they are “Not interested in me.” I call bull. I get them far enough away from each other. I know if I don’t make a move they will. I charge towards one and fire. Direct hit. I look up and there is John leading a sizable pack of humans. I am safe for now. John, Eli and I take the helm and try to locate more humans. It seems everyone is disjointed and not sure what to do. We make our way from safe point to safe point. We hear there is humans by the bell the engineering mall so we try to make our way. 10 or so zombies come at us. Humans scatter. Not the plan! Many are turned. I barely make it out shooting and running. John, johnny boy. He didn’t make it. He’s one of them. I think, how long can I make it? Eli and I make our way over to Schleman. We are looking for a good group. Not newbies who run. We find one who looks pretty good, but she tells us her group is too full and to go away. WHAT A BITCH! I am fuming and I just tag along behind them mad as a hatter. Then, BAM. I get tagged by someone on my bag. A dude who was hiding as part of the group. I…I’m turned. 1 day and I’m already a fucking Zombie. I call John to see if he wants to hunt. I have a sudden urge to kill. Everyone is done for the night by the time John and I meet up. Tomorrow, brains.
I try hunting during the day to no avail. The humans are plastered to the safe zones. No one is moving. They are too powerful in groups. They are all wimpy, no guts. I must wait until night to hunt again.
The zombies actually have a bit of organization on this night. The Hordes numbers are quite staggering now. It appears it’s about half (humans) and half (zombies) now. The NPC that was turned gets us all together. Our chant goes as follows.
“What do we want?”
“When do we want them?”
“What’s our favorite color?”
We are told that the items we need to protect are by the bell tower. It’s imperative that we protect these or the humans complete their mission. We set up a trap to get a group of humans coming. One faction steps right into our trap. We feast! We kill about 20-30 people. Great night for the Horde!
John and I go out in search of brains late after his practice. He got two kills during the day, but I don’t know how. We have some intense chases, but the night is over. I need a kill and I need it tomorrow.
I hunt before lunch and the situation is worse. Humans won’t go almost anywhere without an escort of other humans. The weather is terrible. It’s cold and rainy. It’s the cold you can feel to your bones. The need for brains overtakes any emotions about the well being of myself. Lauren is turned now which is going to help a lot. I see lots of zombies hiding their true identities under umbrellas. It seems like a good strategy. As I leave lunch I notice a human walking alone. I ask to borrow Joe’s umbrella as we cross paths. He didn’t notice me. Perfect. I drop my bag and quietly stalk him. When I am in range I bolt. I have him. My first kill. A girl who is not even playing shouts “ZOMBIE!” Damn her! She alerts him and I lose the element of surprise. Just as he turns another human joins him. It’s too late, I can’t get him. I express my anger for the girls intervention in a frank and uncouth way, “I hate you so much!”
Night starts and Lauren and I hunt early. We get information from other zombies on where the humans should be. The humans are clumped together and again the zombies are unorganized. A group of zombies by the name of RAVE are going around with a boombox dancing. They have no interest in feeding, they are not of concern to me. We are having little luck tonight. We have a group pinned down, but we are at a stalemate. Just then I spy two humans running for a safe zone. I take off. Another zombie and I tagged him. I was first. My first feedcode. It was delicious. I can still taste it. The night ends with a whisper and Lauren and I go home.
Eli is tagged early in the morning followed by Kelsey after lunch. No humans in our group remain. The infection spreads quickly. Unfortunately, other plans arise and I don’t hunt. I am still full from the nights kill.
This is the final day for any remaining humans to get to the extraction and win. Eli and I are the only zombies who want to hunt. We want kills and we want them bad. This day is filled with last stands. Eli and I make a great team. We flank some guys making a run for it and Eli tags him. We also kill some people at last stands by Armstrong. Eli and I finish the game with 2 kills. No human stood a chance that day. They were all decimated. Zombies achieve full infection.
This was one of the most fun experiences I have had at college. It completely sucks you and and makes you feel like a kid again. I have heard the whole “too old” argument and I find it ludicrous. The game is a great deviation from the norm and a chance to grab a slice of childhood in a time where responsibility is increasingly playing a bigger role. Thank you Boiler Tag for organizing all of this, without all you guys it never would of happened. I can’t wait to play it next semester. I hope I can survive past the first day!
So, the Boiler Tag moderators made a mistake and released a .CSV file of all the stats. I spent about a day figuring out some cool stuff using numbers. Here is my findings.
Names of Kills:
- Zach Fisher
- David Harbaugh
History of my Zombification
OZ –> Ben Kuttesch –> David Montgomery –> Me
# of Actual Players: 789
# Zombified Per Day of Play
Sunday (late entries): 9
|Rank||Player||# Of Kills||Oz?||Time of Zombification|
|1||Justin Sue||53||Yes||Tuesday 23rd of March 2010 at 00:42:45|
|2||Dexter Soong||25||No||Tuesday 23rd of March 2010 at 14:28:35|
|3||Alisha Yadav||22||Yes||Not yet zombified.|
|4||William Ehlhardt||21||Yes||Not yet zombified.|
|5||Cody||14||Yes||Not yet zombified.|
|6||Eric Kaiser||13||No||Tuesday 23rd of March 2010 at 01:52:08|
|7||Nathan Claus||13||No||Tuesday 23rd of March 2010 at 11:26:11|
|8||Andy Brun||12||No||Tuesday 23rd of March 2010 at 12:49:58|
|9||Scott||12||No||Tuesday 23rd of March 2010 at 20:24:32|
|10||Kyle Donnelly||12||No||Tuesday 23rd of March 2010 at 16:06:12|
Top OZ Kills
|Rank||Player||# of Kills|
Top Non-OZ Kills
|Rank||Player||# of Kills||Time of Zombification|
|1||Dexter Soong||25||Tuesday 23rd of March 2010 at 14:28:35|
|2||Eric Kaiser||13||Tuesday 23rd of March 2010 at 01:52:08|
|3||Nathan Claus||13||Tuesday 23rd of March 2010 at 11:26:11|
|4||Andy Brun||12||Tuesday 23rd of March 2010 at 12:49:58|
|5||Scott||12||Tuesday 23rd of March 2010 at 20:24:32|
|6||Kyle Donnelly||12||Tuesday 23rd of March 2010 at 16:06:12|
|7||Chris Abernathy||11||Tuesday 23rd of March 2010 at 16:05:57|
|8||Garrett Thomason||10||Tuesday 23rd of March 2010 at 13:30:19|
|9||Zachary M Soehren||9||Tuesday 23rd of March 2010 at 17:27:36|
|10||Dustin Hare||9||Tuesday 23rd of March 2010 at 14:32:52|
Deadliest Times of The Week
|Day||Time of Kill||# of Kills||Death Time||# of Kills|
|23||1:29 PM||2||9:54 PM||3|
|24||9:36 PM||3||9:56 PM||3|
|25||9:59 PM||2||10:33 PM||3|
|26||3:03 PM||2||2:59 PM||3|
|27||2:50 PM||2||9:36 PM||3|
|28||9:08 AM||2||9:49 PM||3|
Will add more as the become available!
Boiler Tag Flickr!