By Marike Stucky
Beyond providing the Bethel campus with a good laugh as students run frantically across the Green, clutching nerf guns and socks, the Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ) club is breaking records. Fifty-six students participated in the last game, the highest number of participants the club has ever seen.
Kris Dubach, junior from Topeka, explained why he thought that the game was such a success this time round, saying, “there was that teaser trailer that played at convo and some of us think that that was what helped. We did a good job of sending out emails. A lot of the RAs helped. They had answered questions anyone had about it. We didn’t even ask them to do it.”
Dubach was also head moderator of the last game, acting as a sort of referee during the game. “My role as head moderator, basically what I do, is I enforce the game rules that game design creates,” he said. Ben Preheim, senior from Lawrence, serves as game design.
Preheim adapts the rules of HvZ to Bethel’s games, but the basic rules do not change from game to game. Essentially a game of tag, HvZ begins with all participants as “humans,” and one is arbitrarily selected to be the “original zombie” (OZ). The OZ tags human players in order to turns them into zombies. Zombies must tag and “eat” a human every 2 days or they starve to death and are out of the game. After the completion of specific tasks or “missions,” humans can unlock weapons such as nerf guns or socks in order to defend themselves against zombie attacks. If a zombie is hit with a sock or shot with a nerf gun, they are “stunned” and cannot tag humans for a designated amount of time.
Rachel Tamerius, junior from Wichita, is head of public relations for the club. Dubach, Preheim, and Tamerius work together to create the best game experience for players. Tamerius’ job is to draw students in and persuade them to join the club.
“I get convo announcements sent out. I sent out the emails. I filled out all the club paperwork. I had to run around and talk to people and be social. And be not creepy,” Tamerius said.
But HvZ is far more than moderators, game design, and public relations, it is a game of strategy and skill.
Hayley Morrical, freshman from Lindsborg, was new to the game, but quickly caught on to the rules and potential strategies. “I started to get pretty intense into it, too,” she said. “I’m really excited for the next one.” Morrical advises first-time players to learn to properly use a nerf gun, saying, “not many people are good shots. Learn how to shoot.”
Morrical managed to stay human for the majority of the game. “I would go to classes a half-hour early. I would hide behind columns so I could get to my car to go to Wal-Mart. I wouldn’t go to the Caf often,” she said, concerning the tactics she used to stay human for so long.
“Trust no one,” said Cris Nelson, junior from North Newton, a seasoned HvZ player that did not manage to remain human quite as successfully as Morrical.
“Check over your shoulder and be aware of your surroundings. Always have socks because socks don’t misfire. Guns do. Many-a-human has fallen because of such cockiness to think that a gun is their only necessary form of defense,” Nelson said.
Dubach commented on the importance of HvZ, not just for entertainment values, but for the sense of community that it creates, saying, “we stress cooperation and teamwork for the mission and overall gameplay.” Tamerius added, “it gives you an opportunity to meet new people on campus.” Tamerius, playing as a zombie, even got to know president Perry White better when she tagged him during the final mission of the game, securing victory for the zombies.
If interested in HvZ, students should visit humansvszombies.org to sign up for games or contact Dubach, Preheim, or Tamerius for more information.