Humans vs. Zombies is a game of tag played at schools, camps, neighborhoods, libraries, and conventions around the world.

Human players must remain vigilant and defend themselves with socks and dart blasters to avoid being tagged by a growing zombie horde.

Since beginning at Goucher college in 2005, Humans vs. Zombies has developed an international fan base and received prominent press coverage from the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, the Associated Press, and The Colbert Report, who named us the number one threat to America. HvZ is played worldwide from Australia to Zimbabwe; there are games on every continent except Antarctica, and we're working on that.

Humans vs. Zombies is always free to play, and made available under a Creative Commons license.

Intro to HvZ

2007 Documentary

Spread of HvZ

Support Humans vs. Zombies

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"It's free, you know. And it's freeing, too. Phenomenally freeing. You don't have to be a kid to play. You don't have to be in elementary school or high school or college even. Call it team building. Call it community building. Play in the park, in the playground, in a corporate plaza, a senior center, in an office building, in hospital corridors, in the neighborhood. It transforms the world. It's awesome fun."

- Bernie DeKoven

The Rules

These are the official ”Goucher-Style” Humans vs. Zombies rules as invented by Brad Sappington and Chris Weed in 2005, with a few changes since to make the game more balanced and safe.

We encourage you to adapt the rules to fit your game ‐ account for what will keep your players safe and your game exciting. You can see dozens of alternate rule sets on the wiki or talk to players about what works best in their games.


Humans vs. Zombies is a game of tag. All players begin as humans, and one is randomly chosen to be the “Original Zombie.” The Original Zombie tags human players and turns them into zombies. Zombies must tag and eat a human every 48 hours or they starve to death and are out of the game.


The Zombies win when all human players have been tagged and turned into zombies.

The Humans win by surviving long enough for all of the zombies to starve.


Foam Dart Blaster
Marshmallow Launcher
and/or socks
One 3x5 index card

Safe Zones

Some areas on campus are “no play zones,” where the game is permanently suspended. Blasters must be concealed and no players may be stunned or tagged. These areas include:

Health Centers
Indoor Athletic Facilities
Academic buildings

Other areas on campus are merely "safe zones", where gameplay continues but humans can't be tagged (unless a zombie has both of their feet outside the safe zone). These areas include: Dorm rooms and Dining Halls

Safety Rules

Rules created for the safety of all players are strictly enforced. Violation of safety rules will result in a ban from the game.

  1. No realistic looking weaponry. Blasters must be brightly colored and have blaze-orange tips.
  1. Blasters may not be visible inside of academic buildings or jobs on campus.
  1. Players may not use cars or play where there is traffic.
  1. Socks, Darts or Marshmallows must not hurt on impact.*
*Foam dart blasters and marshmallow launchers are children’s toys – it should be obvious that your blaster won’t hurt anyone. If you modify your blaster or are somehow not sure if it is safe, speak with a moderator and ask them to check your blaster.

Human Rules

Wearing a Bandanna: Humans must wear a headband around an arm or leg to identify them as players of the game. (This headband will come in handy when you become a zombie!)

Stunning a Zombie: Humans may stun a Zombie for 15 minutes by blasting them with a blaster or throwing a sock at them.

When Tagged By a Zombie: When tagged by a Zombie, a Human is required to distribute their ID card. One hour after being tagged, tie your bandanna around your head – you are now a member of the Zombie team! Go tag some Humans.

I.D. Number: Humans must keep an index card with their unique identification number on them at all times.

Staying On Campus: Humans must sleep on campus. If you need to leave campus for longer than 24 hours, contact the game moderators and remove yourself from the game.

Zombie Rules

Feeding: Zombies must feed every 48 hours. A zombie feeds by reporting their tag on the website.

Tagging: A tag is a firm touch to any part of a Human. After tagging a Human the Zombie must collect their ID card and report the tag.

Getting Shot: When hit with a dart, a marshmallow, or a sock, a Zombie is stunned for 15 minutes. A stunned zombie may not interact with the game in any way. This includes shielding other zombies from bullets or continuing to run toward a human. If shot while stunned, the zombie’s stun timer is reset back to 15 minutes.

Wearing A Headband: Zombies must wear a bandanna around their heads at all times. The Original Zombie does not need to wear a headband.

Other Rules

Blasting Non-Players: Blasting non-players is a bannable offense.

Non-Player Interference: People who are not registered participants may not directly interact with the game. This includes bringing food to humans or spying for either team.

Safe Zones: A zombie must have both feet outside of a safe zone to tag a human. Humans can stun zombies from inside of a safe-zone.

No Shields: Zombies may not use shields to deflect foam darts, marshmallows or socks.

Athletes: Athletes are safe during official practices, but not on the way to or from practice.

Required Academic Events: Similarly, students at required academic events are safe for the duration of the event (even if this event is in a free-play zone), but they are not safe on the way to or from the event.

DBag Clause

Don’t be a douchebag. Everyone plays Humans vs. Zombies to have fun, and the rules of HvZ only exist because we agree they do. That’s why the most important rule of Humans vs. Zombies is to treat your fellow players with respect, and gracefully accept when you have been tagged or stunned.

Who are you guys?

We are the original co-creators of Humans vs. Zombies: Chris Weed, Brad Sappington, Joe Sklover, Justin Quick, Trevor Moorman, Ben Beecher, and Max Temkin. We have a game company called Gnarwhal Studios dedicated to maintaining Humans vs. Zombies as a free project and making new multiplayer experiences.

How do I start a game of Humans vs. Zombies

Anyone can start a game of Humans vs. Zombies; you don't need our permission. The only rule is that you can't charge people to play or require them to buy any bullshit. We make a free online service called HvZ SOURCE that makes it easy for anyone to start a game of Humans vs. Zombies. We wrote this guide (the Dungeon Master's Guide) to help moderators start a new game.

How do I find games of Humans vs. Zombies to play in?

Most games of Humans vs. Zombies are hosted on college campuses and limited to students. You can search HvZ SOURCE for a game near you.

Is Humans vs. Zombies safe to play?

Humans vs. Zombies is played safely every day all around the world. It's a physical activity like tag or soccer, so we recommend asking players to sign a safety waiver before the game. If you play with dart blasters, we also strongly urge organizers to clear that with their school and/or local law enforcement; you don't want to scare or surprise anyone. Over nine years and thousands of games, Humans vs. Zombies has proven to be safe and delightful for players and spectators.