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The Battle for the Campus: Students engage in a mock zombie apocalypse By:Dan O’Regan Photo by Stephanie Walker

In addition to Ultimate Frisbee and Extreme

Croquet, New Paltz students have been playing a game that takes the cake for unconventional. It’s called Humans verses Zombies (HVZ for short) and it is taking over college campuses across the country. “I bought a Nerf gun and felt that there was more that I could do with it than shoot my RA,” said HVZ moderator David Lustig, “after going online and Googling Nerf guns at college the site humansvszombies.org came up and from there I decided that I wanted to play it at college.”

Nate Krantz, human, lines up a shot during the most recent round of Humnas vs. Zombies. Nate is one of the moderators who helps run the game.

The game consists of a large group of students (roughly 70 to100, with no limit) who all enter the game as humans, save one randomly chosen alpha “I bought a Nerf gun and zombie. The alpha zombie begins tagging human players felt that there was more who then become zombies that I could do with it themselves, able to tag still more players. than shoot my RA.”

Photo by Stephanie Walker

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town of New Paltz. Everyone has his or her own reasons for playing. Matt Dorsi, a second-year communications major, says, “My favorite part is going around with a squad of people.”

— David Lustig “You see another human and you’re HVZ lasts until all players have become zombies, an like ‘you’re part of the struggle, be evacuation is announced, or all of the zombies starve strong,’ I like the level of companionship.” after 48 hours of not feeding. Players in the game must wear a bandanna, on the upper arm for humans, and Lustig shares this love of the game’s camaraderie, “in on the head for this game if a person’s wearing a bandanna on their zombies. A human arm it encourages you to go up to that person, you’re may stun a zombie safer in a group for humans. Or if you see a zombie for 15 minutes by with a headband you’re supposed to go up to them and either hitting them say, let’s hunt together and it gives a reason to talk to with a dart from them and then once you’re walking around you start a Nerf gun or a talking to a person and getting to know them. It’s a balled up sock. really cool effect.” The game is only played outside and Players also like the game for its core elements, like is played on the Members of the human resistance take the battles and encounters that take place between their posts and prepare to defend the SUNY New Paltz the humans and zombies. Matt Wright, a secondSmiley concourse for 40 minutes. campus and in the


Photo by Stephanie Walker

year radio/TV production major, describes his most exciting encounter in the game as when, “I got chased to my car and [the zombies] proceeded to wait around my car for like half an hour.” According to Wright the ordeal lasted until his fellow humans, “came to save the day.” “I was not expecting to make it back alive, at all. At one point there [were] like 15 [zombies], maybe more.” The second most recent game of HVZ at New Paltz sparked a controversy over whether students were allowed to carry Nerf guns across campus. According to Lustig, “a police officer stopped a kid and said it’s illegal to have [a Nerf gun] on campus.”

After this encounter, Lustig made the decision to have the game continue with humans only able to wield their secondary method of zombie stunning, balled up socks.

Rules for Zombies

  Objective: to infect all humans. 1. Bandanna must be displayed clearly on the head 2. Tags are constituted by a zombie touching any part of the human including anything they may be wearing and excluding the head and neck. The tagging zombie is stunned immediately after completing a tag. 3. If a zombie is hit with a dart or sock or makes a kill, they must pull their bandanna around their neck and cease from tagging for 15 minutes. They may not follow humans after becoming stunned. The stun time is reset if hit by another sock or dart. 4. No players are allowed to barricade any doorways; non players must be able to move freely. 5. After tagging a human the zombie must take the human’s ID number and enter it into the HVZ website. 6. Zombies may not pick up a human’s loose darts and socks unless that human has fled the scene. It is the zombie’s responsibility to clean up the scene and return the darts/socks to the human at a later time in a safe zone. If still perusing the human the zombie is not required to pick up their darts. Photo and rules courtesy of humansvszombies.org.

Photo by Stephanie Walker

Survivors of game 3 of HVZ pose with their guns and celebrate their victory.

According to New York State Law under a section entitled Firearms and Other Dangerous Weapons, “It shall be unlawful for any person age sixteen or older to knowingly possess any airgun, spring-gun or other instrument or weapon in which the propelling force is a spring, air, piston or CO2 Justin Berger stalks his prey during cartridge in or the most recent game of HVZ’s upon a building final mission. or grounds, used for educational purposes, of any school, college or university, without the written authorization of such educational institution.”


Players did not see the reason to ban the Nerf guns, “I thought it was stupid because it’s not like they’re dangerous,” said Dorsi. “I did not see the point at all,” added Wright. “It’s weird to classify something that is a toy with the requirements of being ages 7 and up as a

spring-loaded weapon.”

Photo by Stephanie Walker

“I immediately went to the chief of police within an hour of hearing this story, met with him, and was told why this is the way it is.” After more discussion with New Paltz Chief of Police Raymond Bryant and Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. David Rooney, a compromise was reached. Nerf guns were to be allowed back during the day while only socks were to be permitted at night. The compromise, however, would not be put into effect until the next game, round three of HVZ.

The police feel differently on the matter. Lt. Smith of the University Police Department said, “20 or 30 years ago this wouldn’t have been a problem. Publicity of shootings have made people more suspicious about concealed weapons.” Lt. Smith points out that Game moderator, Dexter Pabulayan, targets zombies the real danger in having during the most recent round of HVZ’s final mission. students carry the Nerf guns is more that they Rules for Humans will be mistaken for a real Objective: to survive the zombie apocalypse. gun and not the actual danger of someone being 1. Bandanna must be clearly displayed on the upper arm and must not be hidden in any shot with them. way.

As for preparing another HVZ game, Lustig says he’s going forward, but has a new approach. “If I have to become an SA club in order to have this Nerf gun approved deal, then depending on how long that takes.” Lustig assured that, “it’s definitely not the last HVZ game--that’s for sure.”

2. Humans must not be jerks; this game is about having fun. 3. Spring/air fired foam darts and balled up socks may be used to stun zombies. Any shots landed on the head do not count. 4. Humans are safe from being tagged in any and all buildings. Safety is extended to classes/jobs/sporting activities that occur outside. If within the radius of a door that human is safe from being tagged as long as they can enter the building and do not linger outside the door. Shots may be fired from inside a safe zone building.

Photo by Stephanie Walker

5. HVZ ID cards must be carried with humans at all time. 6. After being tagged a human must relinquish their ID card to the zombie who tagged them. They must transfer their bandanna from their arm to their head and immediately start playing as a zombie.

Nate Krantz settles an in game dispute with a short game of rock paper scissor.

7. Humans may not leave campus, or town, for more than 24 hours. After this time they become a zombie. Extenuating Photo and rules circumstances can be taken into courtesy of humansvszombies. consideration. org.

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