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.

If you’re interested in starting a game, you might want to check out our handy Dungeon Master’s Guide. If you do modify the rules, share your ideas with us! Shoot us an e-mail or head over to the community section of the site. These rules were illustrated by, an outstanding artist and interactive designer.

CC LicenseThe rules of Humans vs. Zombies are available under a Attribution – NonCommercial – ShareAlike Creative Commons license. That means you can use the rules for free, but you can’t sell them, and you should give us credit.


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.

This gear is required for all players:

Foam Dart Blaster, Marshmallow Launcher, and/or socks
One 3×5 index card

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.
2. Blasters may not be visible inside of academic buildings or jobs on campus.
3. Players may not use cars or play where there is traffic.
4. 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.

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:

Academic buildings
Indoor athletic facilities
Health Centers

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
Dining Halls

hvz_rules_humanrules_girlStaying 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.

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

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.

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!)

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

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

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.

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.

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.