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Watch out for the zombies: Humans take on zombies in intense game of tag

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Freshman zombie Zach Tobin (right) waits patiently to tag ­— or infect — the humans in the game, (from left to right) freshmen Andy Davison and Andy Fulton.

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Freshman zombie Zach Tobin attacks freshman Andy Fulton, while freshmen Rob Tomlinson (second from right) and Andy Davison attack with Nerf guns.

If you find yourself surrounded by students wearing bright bandanas chasing and throwing socks at each other, don’t be alarmed; they’re only humans and zombies.

This winter, a newly-formed student organization called Human vs. Zombie Tag (HvZT) is introducing the UW to a popular survival-game sport, which USA Today calls “the latest trend in campus entertainment.”

Contrary to what the name may suggest, HvZT is not a role-playing game. Rather, it is a version of simple tag. To start out, one person is randomly selected to be the “zombie” and the rest of the participants are “humans.” The zombie “consumes” humans by tagging them, transforming the humans into zombies.

The game, typically lasting five days, is won either when all the humans are made into zombies or when all the zombies “starve,” which means going two consecutive days without consuming a human. Humans can stun zombies by hitting them with socks or Nerf gun darts.

“This is a fun thing for people to do on their way to class,” said Andy Fulton, overseer and co-founder of the UW chapter of HvZT. “The part I’m most excited about is the social aspect.”

All UW students living on or near campus are eligible to play the game, slated to start during the first couple weeks of winter quarter. A Facebook group detailing all the rules has already attracted more than 80 members.

To identify who is in the game, participants will all wear a brightly colored bandana — on the arm for humans and on the head for zombies. Buying the bandanas will cost $2, a one-time cost of playing the game.

A few weeks ago, HvZT overseers ran the rules by the UW police to ensure safety and avoid surprising authorities with unusual student activity, a problem Fulton said WSU’s chapter of HvZT encountered when it started its game a few weeks ago.

“I think it will catch on and get bigger as the months go on,” said Matt Laurie, a freshman and soon-to-be participant in HvZT. “The first game might be a little small, but people will see it and think it’s a good idea.”

Fulton anticipates about 100 participants in the first game, but hopes for more as the game is repeated.

“Call me ambitious, but I’m thinking about a thousand [participants],” Fulton said.

A sign-up table will be in Red Square during the last week of fall quarter for interested students.

The UW chapter of HvZT began with a group of friends who came across a YouTube video of HvZT being played at Goucher College in Maryland, where the game was founded in 2005. Inspired, they began drafting rules and applied for Recognized Student Organization status.

The UW joins more than 40 other colleges around the country who participate in this survival-game movement.

“I think it’s a great chance to do something crazy, have some fun at UW,” said Kent Wu, a freshman and future participant of HvZT.

Reach reporter Emily Lee at news@dailyuw.com.

Fore more information:

Check out the Facebook group UW Humans vs. Zombies or e-mail uwzombiesvhumans@gmail.com.

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