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The Humans vs. Zombies logo.

Humans vs. Zombies, commonly shortened to HVZ, is a popular Nerf war variant. Created by various students at Goucher University in 2005, it became a widespread and well-known game due to viral sensation on the internet. While it is mostly played on college and university campuses, it can be adapted for play everywhere.


The following is an example of the official rules of HVZ. Games may be played with a variant rule set if it does not take place on a college campus.


A horde of Zombies.

HVZ is played with two teams: the Humans and the Zombies. Players are able to tell the two teams apart with the use of bandannas; Humans wear their bandannas around an arm or on a leg, whereas Zombies wear it around their head.

Humans are allowed to use weapons to tag out Zombies; common weapons include Nerf and other dart blasters. Balled up socks can be also be used to tag out Zombies. Rule variants exist where Humans are also allowed to use foam melee weapons, such as the N-Force weapons.

Zombies are not allowed to use any form of weapon and instead must tag Humans by hand.


Human players being surrounded by Zombies.

If a Humans vs. Zombies game is large, it requires an online database to track who is Human and who is Zombie. If it is a smaller game, one may not be needed and the moderators of the game will track information themselves.

Each player must have a 3x5 notecard, which will have their identification number on it. When a Zombie tags a Human, they take their ID number and report it to the game's online database (or moderator).

Upon the start of the game, every player is a Human and only one Zombie exists. When tagged by a Zombie, a Human is considered "dead" (or technically "undead") and becomes a part of the Zombie team.

Often a "feed time" is given to Zombies, meaning they must tag out a Human player within a time limit or else they face the consequence of "dying" and being out of the game. The default time for this is forty-eight hours or two days.

When shot with a blaster or hit by a sock, a Zombie becomes stunned for fifteen minutes. They cannot interact with the game at all during this time.

No-play zones/safe zones

Players are not safe from each other on the way to or from classes, practices, etc.

No-play zones

No-play zones are places where gameplay is paused and players cannot interact with one another within the game. This means that Zombies cannot tag Humans, and vice versa. Often weaponry must be concealed as well. This is often to allow students to pursue their education and well-being without having to worry about gameplay.

Common no-play zones include:

  • Academic buildings
  • Libraries
  • Indoor athletic facilities
  • Health centers
  • Bathrooms

Safe zones

Safe zones act as a safe haven for Humans from Zombies. In a safe zone, Zombies cannot tag Humans unless both of their feet are outside of the safe zone. Humans can stun zombies from inside of a safe zone.

Common safe zones include:

  • Dorm rooms
  • Dining halls


Modification of weapons is allowed in Humans vs. Zombies. However, darts must not cause pain upon impact and blasters must not appear to look like real weaponry. Muzzles of blasters are usually kept orange if the blaster is painted in any form.

Other rules

  • Players are not allowed to interact with people outside of the game, where they would benefit in the game from their interaction.
  • Firing darts or throwing socks at a non-player is a bannable offense.
  • Zombies cannot use any form of shield to block darts or socks.

Humans vs. Zombies products


Name Year
HVSZombieFighter8Shot.jpg Zombie Fighter 8 Shot 2011
HVZTripleShot.jpg Zombie Fighter Triple Blaster 2011

External links