The University of Toronto Students’ Union held a clubs fair on September 6 with over 300 clubs in attendance — including the newly created Humans Vs. Zombies & Nerf Club (HVZNC). The Varsity had a chance to talk to the club’s president, Jacob Friedman, a second-year cinema studies and political science major, and attend the season’s first game on September 24 at the Innis College parking garage. 

A Nerf war variant, the game of Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ) was first created on the Goucher University campus in 2005. In the game, the ‘human’ team, armed with Nerf guns, attempts to shoot the ‘zombies’ — a team that tries to infect the humans by tagging them. The game ends when all humans are turned into zombies or when the humans survive until the set time limit. HvZ quickly grew in popularity and spread to other university and college campuses. 

“I’ve played HvZ on other campuses a handful of times. There’s approximately, I believe, 1,000 campuses it’s played on across the world,” Friedman said. “When I came to U of T, I was like, ‘Is this a club here?’ and I saw it wasn’t. I was like, ‘Well that’s unfortunate, I guess I’ll make one myself.’”

‘Humans’ and ‘zombies’ battled each other in the Innis College parking lot. COURTESY OF REGAN BOYLES

Traditionally played over several days, HvZ features 24/7 campus-wide gameplay, with designated no-play and safe zones to not interfere with classes. The game can also include unique variants of ‘zombie’ roles, such as Wraiths. The HVZNC, however, is playing with some modified rules to allow for multiple matches to be played in a single afternoon. 

Friedman said, “I think that if it’s a first-year club, it’s good to start smaller and work our way up as we go along. Maybe there will be larger games, invitationals, or something, once we get more solid footing. For now, I just want to see how U of T and HvZ go together.”

When asked about his interest in running other Nerf-style games, Friedman advised that “some people were interested in other types of Nerf games, and I’m open to organizing that, but the HvZ games were far and away more popular than anything else.”

For new players interested in playing HvZ, Friedman suggests connecting to the club’s official Instagram page. “In the Instagram bio is a LinkTree, which has everything else… the club constitution, the gameplay rules, and the Discord link,” he said. 

“I do have roughly around 30 Nerf blasters that people are allowed to borrow,” he explained. If possible, though, Friedman encourages bringing your own blasters to allow more players to get involved. 

The club provided NERF weaponry for the first Humans vs Zombies event. COURTESY OF REGAN BOYLES

Students had a great time at the first game. Marcuz Cosiquien, a third-year environmental studies major, said the game was enjoyable and encouraged people to join future events — sentiments that other players echoed. Steven Kim, a fourth-year double majoring in cell system biology and human biology, said, “It’s really good, I’m liking it, you guys should all come out.”

If you’re interested in joining in for the next game, be sure to look up the club’s official Instagram page for more updates.