Home > College > I’m gonna do this one of these days

I’m gonna do this one of these days

I’ve figured out what I want out of college. It’s something like this.

The above link is to a regrettably low-quality documenting a game of Zombies Versus Humans, a Nerf wargame played on a number of college campuses. Essentially, every player is a human, to start with, except for one zombie. If the zombie touches you, you’re out of the game for an hour, when you come back in as another zombie. If a zombie doesn’t tag a human (“eat them”) for 48 hours, he is out of the game (“starves”). Humans can shoot zombies with a Nerf gun to take them out of the game for 15 minutes. Humans win by surviving until all zombies starve, zombies win by killing all the humans.

This actually plays into another hobby of mine, which is playing with — and souping up — Nerf guns. Essentially, I’m already set for this game because I have a, err, few Nerf guns laying about, as well as plenty of ammunition and the capacity to manufacture more quickly and cheaply. (Now that I write this out, it occurs to me that I might not need to play in a ZVH game on campus to have fun: I could make a killing selling ammo.)

The interest in playing a wargame is, in essence, the next step up from playing a video game, but infinitely more immersive. This is highlighted by the fact that ZVH often features “missions” for each team, but especially the humans. This came about because humans figured out a good strategy for winning the game (as well as surviving a real zombie attack) was to stock up on supplies and barricade themselves indoors.

Take a mission that is detailed in the above-linked documentary. The humans were assigned to retrieve a specific non-combatant “in a red shirt” from the middle of a quad on campus. When the zombies got wind of this, they sent in one of their own to the area, in a red shirt to sit and wait. Despite the fact that the decoy zombie redshirt was wearing a bandanna around his forehead (the sign of a zombie in this game), the humans retrieved him and believed him to be their objective. Obviously, the plan went very poorly when they realized their mistake.

That sort of chicanery appeals to me on an indescribably deep level and seems like incomparable fun. All the strategy and tactics of a firefight, without the dying part.

It occurs to me that this wargame itch might be scratched by the proper style of paintball play. The problem there is a problem with the medium: paintball guns are expensive to purchase, operate, and maintain. Not to mention the fact that they hurt much more than a Nerf gun and would be infeasible for this sort of wargame in the midst of non-combatants for the possibility of hitting a bystander.

A similar sentiment applies to attempting to recreate the ZVH game with airsoft guns. Because they tend to look very similar to actual firearms, it would be almost impossible to conduct the wargame without molestation by the authorities.

It seems a perfect college student game, given that it only requires about a ten-dollar buy-in of equipment, and some free time. When properly conducted, it can engender enormous school spirit, as detailed in the documentary. It brought together disparate social groups, united under the banner of survival.

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Categories: College
  1. Hazel
    October 26, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    Heck, I’ll join up once I get into State (crossing my fingers for the spring). Let me know if you ever get it started around here.
    Water guns might be pretty awesome for this too, once summer rolls around. Maybe not super soakers or anything, but just the pistols would be cool.

    Reading since you commented on my li’l blog,

  2. October 29, 2007 at 12:55 am

    I have a math problem I’m having issues with. It looks something like this…

    AZ + ZVH = ???

    Any ideas?

  3. lanik
    November 1, 2007 at 8:27 am

    I love you for this post… That looks like SOOOO much fun. Too bad we could never play it at my college.

  4. Ruth
    November 20, 2007 at 11:16 am

    I really want to play this. How would one even get a group started?

  1. October 26, 2007 at 6:35 am

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