Science Fails Us, Zombie Outbreak Sweeps Across Campus
By Zachary Barry
On Monday, October 25th, a zombie virus broke out on the Mines campus. Since this
wasn’t the first time such an outbreak had occurred on campus, a team was formed to keep the
outbreak under control. During the week-long conflict, both the humans and zombies struggled
to gain the upper hand. Every night, as the sun when down, large battles occurred between the
two factions. These battles were further complicated by the interference of several third parties
who hoped to steer the outcome one way or another. The humans and zombies met on the
battlefield one last time Friday night. The ensuing battle was hectic and, in the end, despite a
strong showing from a surprise third party, the zombies won. Don’t worry, there is no need to
pack your bags and run for the hills, this is merely the story of this year’s game of Humans vs.
Zombies, a game hosted by Mines Belegarth Medieval Combat Society.
This year marked the fourth official game of Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ) hosted by
Mine’s Belegarth Medieval Combat Society. You may have noticed Belegarth practicing on
Kafadar commons at 4 pm this semester. Belegarth has been hosting HvZ since the Urban
Gaming Club at mines, which had hosted it before, disbanded. Since the first game they hosted,
Belegarth has been improving the game to make it more balanced for both the humans and the
zombies and more enjoyable for all those involved, including the moderators of the game. The
first game that Belegarth hosted, HvZ original, was unfairly balanced to favor the zombie side
and didn’t match with the playstyle of most players at Mines. Fortunately, it gave rise to
constructive feedback. This feedback was incorporated in HvZ Resurrected, which was the first
themed game. Resurrected’s story revolved around explorers awakening an ancient curse. This
version was also the first time when the moderators introduced puzzles that allowed players who were busy with school or other commitments to still earn their team points by solving ciphers, riddles, or sudoku puzzles. Though many aspects had been improved from the original to Resurrected, there wasn’t a winner that year as a conflict between the zombies and the humans prevented the game from being finished. Then came HvZ Year of the Plague, which took the feedback from the last two games to improve what wasn’t working and doubled down on what was, including a more ambitious story and more involvement from moderators. The story of Year of the Plague was based on Chinese mythology. All the changes led to an enjoyable game, and for the first time in the game’s history, including when it was hosted by the Urban Gaming Club, the human team won.
This brings us to the current year’s game, HvZ High Noon. As the name implies, High
Noon had a wild west theme. High noon took the concept of characters for both the players and
the moderators, a favorite feature of the game for both parties, and made them even more fun and integral. Some notable moderator characters include an occultist who aimed to resurrect a
Lovecraftian deity, a priest trying to oppose the occultist, a lady demon who encouraged the
human players to gamble with their lives and souls, the demon’s lackey who accidentally
summoned her, an outlaw who decided while crossing through town to stir up chaos whenever
possible, and the town’s poor sheriff who was driven to the point of tranquilizing anything that
moves to bring back order. This year over 70 players signed up to participate. If you saw anyone
on campus with a bandanna on their arm and foam weaponry, that was one of the humans
bravely fighting to keep the outbreak from spreading. If you saw someone with a bandanna on
their head, that was one of the zombies who searched out humans to feed on so they wouldn’t starve to death.
When asked about what she hoped for the future of HvZ on the mines campus Jessica
Bartley, the sheriff from the last paragraph said, “We grow every year, both in numbers and
improvements. We want to one day have this event include a hundred or more people and
include students from every year, professors, and even staff, if SAIL and the school allow it. We,
as the mod team both prior and current, want to see this game truly take off and be a fun way to
make friends and brighten up your day to day with play. Between games, another set of hands
and mind are never unwelcome. Like the theme and characters but don’t want to be a player? Consider being a moderator, I’m not sure it’s possible to have too many. Want to help with some
coding and bot-making? Reach out to us, our bot could always use a bit of help. Want to help
design puzzles and scenarios? Great! We’ll happily accept your input. Please, don’t be shy. We want this to be an event for everyone. You can make friends here, which is truly important. As a
student in her seventh year at Mines, I know. Friends will help you get through that long hard
slog to graduation. This is one good place to find them, so please, join us. We welcome anyone.” If HvZ sounds like fun, be sure to join Belegarth on Mines engaged to get notifications about their plans for upcoming games. Belegarth hopes to host another HvZ in spring, with the Themes of pirates, Japan, and cyberpunk being a few possibilities. Who couldn’t use a little bit of swashbuckling, feudal warring, or dystopian role-playing zombie-slaying fun?
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