MU students organize game of Humans Versus Zombies

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 | 4:14 p.m. CDT; updated 10:21 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 14, 2009

COLUMBIA — A game of Humans Versus Zombies, a twist on the classic game of tag with complex rules and a grisly scenario, will begin April 15 on the MU campus.

Sarah Hirner, a freshman chemistry major at MU, knew of its popularity at Truman State, and decided to organize a game with her friends at MU. She said that what makes the games exciting is "all the crazy rules and twists."

Humans Versus Zombies Rules Summary

The game starts with one player named as the original zombie. The zombie's goal is to turn all of the humans into zombies by tagging them, and the humans' goal is to keep the zombies at bay until they starve.

Players identify themselves as zombies by wearing a bandana as a headband. Human players wear a bandana on their arm. gives out ID numbers when players register. These ID numbers are used to keep track of player status, as well as the number of kills.

When tagged by a zombie, humans must surrender their IDs and join the zombies.

Zombies will starve to death if they have not tagged a human in 48 hours.

Humans can temporarily stun zombies by shooting them with Nerf guns or hitting them with balled up socks.

Humans cannot be tagged while inside any buildings, while at work, or while at league, club and varsity athletic games.

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"It's big at Truman State," said Jesse Hirner, Sarah's brother. Jesse, a sophomore chemistry major at MU, estimates that Humans Versus Zombies games at Truman state typically include more than 200 people.

To play, one must register at, a Web site that describes its purpose as "a central gathering place to share and exchange opinions, information, and media with fellow students at your school." The site allows users to share professor reviews and post on forums, as well as play games such as Humans Versus Zombies. Registration at requires an MU email address, and also allows interested spectators to keep track of the number of zombies and humans in the game.

Currently, more than 160 MU students are registered for this week's game.

Nathaniel Mahieu, a sophomore studying chemistry at MU, said via e-mail that he expects upward of 200 people to participate. He said "200 is low for a school this size," but expects the game's popularity to increase as more games are played.

Moderators will ensure that players obey the rules, and will also plan missions the humans must complete to stay in the game. Sarah said a typical mission requires the humans to protect an individual or group of players from the zombies. She said missions "get pretty intense."

Jesse said that the organizers of Humans Versus Zombies warned the MU Police Department about the game. The MUPD could not be reached for comment.

The game's organizers have planned a rally tonight at 6:30 in the amphitheater outside of Plaza 900 "to get everyone pumped up," Sarah said.

And though he says he's excited to play Humans Versus Zombies for the first time, Jesse is realistic about his chances. He said "the word is that the humans almost never win."

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Amber Hanneken April 14, 2009 | 6:11 p.m.

Am I allowed to skip my journalism classes for this?


(Report Comment)
Anton Berkovich April 14, 2009 | 7:49 p.m.

It'd be appropriate to, Amber, seeing as this is about zombies, and journalism *is* a dying industry.

(Report Comment)
Matt Y April 14, 2009 | 8:00 p.m.

Bravo, Art, Bravo.

(Report Comment)
Amber Hanneken April 15, 2009 | 10:20 a.m.

Oh hey, a comment from Art (nice Seinfeld reference, I see what you did there) putting down the journalism industry. When did you get so bitter, Art?

(Report Comment)
Anton Berkovich April 15, 2009 | 11:03 a.m.

How was I putting it down? Are you saying the industry isn't dying?

(Report Comment)
Amber Hanneken April 15, 2009 | 12:17 p.m.

No, it's not. It's changing, but journalism is more important than ever and people are now consuming news more than ever before. It's got you talking right here.

(Report Comment)

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