Mikaela Wegner — Staff Writer
A male student stalks towards the Commons Dining hall. Multiple rolled-up socks bulge out of his various pant and jacket pockets. A green band wraps around his arm. He glances around, checking his surroundings. Humans vs. Zombies 2020 is officially underway.
Humans vs. Zombies is an elaborate game of tag open to male dorm residents. This year’s race to survive lasted from October 21 to October 24. In that time 125 of the 179 total players ended the game as zombies. Calvin Bader snagged the top zombie spot, catching 21 humans, and Jase Nicklas survived as the top human with 81 points.
“This year, it’s all about the corners,” Bader said when describing his strategy.
When offered to start the game this year as a zombie, Bader jumped on the opportunity. Last year he started as a human. For the 2020 edition of Humans vs. Zombies, Bader said the key to his success was hiding around corners or working in groups of two.
“I just stand,” Bader explained. “eye them down, and then while they’re distracted with me wondering what I’m going to do…the other zombie comes in from behind and tags him.”
After a zombie tags a human, the human gives their name and code number, which the zombie can put in a document at the end of the day to keep track of who is still a human. Bader kept track of his top record right from the beginning.
“I felt really good about it,” Bader said. “It’s all about working hard on the first day, cause that’s when there are just a few zombies, and none of the freshmen know what’s going on.”
Being a human is stressful, Bader said.
“You always had to look behind you, always had to worry about going around corners, what you’re going to do outside, how you’re going to get to class, how you’re going to get back to your dorm,” Bader said. Being a zombie was something new to try, and Bader though it was a lot more fun.
“Some people don’t care as much if they get caught … but others will go all out,” Bader said. “Some people take trips to Walmart and buy a lot of socks. And those are the fun ones to catch.” The game also served as a distraction from COVID-19 according to Bader.
Bader is unable to play next year as he will not be living in the men’s dorms. But he is still excited to see how 2021 will play out.
“I guess I’d like to see how many kills the top zombie gets next year, see if they can keep up,” Bader said. “I would definitely say if you didn’t participate this year and you can next year, do so. It’s lots of fun.”
Bader caught many humans, but Nicklas did not land on his list. Nicklas put a lot of effort into finding creative ways not to be caught. At one point during the game the humans had to go to Covenant’s lobby for a mission. Nicklas said the night before he was lying in bed not knowing how he was going to get to the lobby, since it would be crawling with zombies. Then an idea hit him. The next day, Nicklas met with two girls from Covenant who gave him clothes and a wig. Nicklas walked in and out of Covenant, a girl on either side of him, without any suspicion.
“There was an amazing amount of, not trash-talking, but just banter”
– Ben Schmidt
Ben Schmidt, the RA for North Hall’s first floor, finished with 16 kills as a zombie. One night he and about 15 other zombies surrounded the bathroom entrance in hopes of trapping someone in the bathroom. Nicklas and his roommate ran for the bathroom in order to help the trapped person escape.
After at least a half-hour of counting zombies and looking down the hall, they decided to go for it. Nicklas took off, throwing socks at as many zombies as he could. His roommate followed right behind. Nicklas successfully made it to the room, but his roommate was caught.
“I did have the thought a couple times of, ‘Man, how long do I really want to stand out here waiting for these guys to come out of the bathroom?’” Schmidt said.
As the four humans stood and strategized, Schmidt said the zombies laughed because they felt certain the humans would get caught.
Although Schmidt felt disappointed that he never tagged Nicklas, he appreciated his gameplay — especially sneaking into Covenant dressed as a girl.
“I thought that was awesome.” Schmidt said.