A Brief History

Nerf Human vs. Zombies (HVZ for short) was created back in 2005. It started on college campuses as a variety of tag. Since it’s introduction, it’s spread faster than a zombie virus. Games can range in size depending on the crowd. It’s gotten so popular, there have been documentaries about it.

Rules at a Glance


  • Nerf Gun Blasters
  • Bandanas
  • Open space to play
  • Something to keep track of time


  • Nerf guns NEED to have bright colors and orange tips
  • Designate no-play zones
  • Vehicles are not allowed

The Complete Rules to Nerf HVZ

When it comes to Nerf HVZ wars, the more the merrier. Players will be broken into teams of humans and teams of zombies. Players on the human team will need to have their wits about them, as well as plenty of Nerf darts, to survive. 


Humans win if all the zombies "starve." Zombies win if they turn all the humans into zombies.

Rules for Human Players

If you are selected for the human team, you’ll need to tie a bandanna around your arm or leg to signal you are a human. You can use Nerf blasters, marshmallow guns or socks (yes, socks….) to “stun” a zombie for a predetermined amount of time.

Using a modified blaster can be acceptable as long as it is brightly colored and doesn’t hurt when the Nerf dart impacts with a zombie player.

If a human is tagged by a zombie player, that person must store their Nerf weapons and join the zombie team. 

Rules for Zombie Players

If you are on the zombie team, you’ll need to tie a bandanna around your head. Zombies aren’t able to use any items or Nerf weapons other than their hand to tag human players. The weakness of a zombie player is they need to “feed” by tagging a human player. If a zombie goes too long without tagging a player, they will be eliminated from the game.

If a zombie is hit with a Nerf dart, they are stunned for a predetermined period of time. After the time is up, they are able to rejoin the zombie horde, if they haven’t starved.

No-Play Zones and Safe Zones

There is a key difference between areas where the game can and cannot take place. Please take note.

No-Play Zone

These are areas that are strictly off-limits to play a game of Nerf HVZ. These places commonly include: 

  • Academic buildings
  • Hosptials
  • Bathrooms
  • Libraries
  • Retail stores

Safe Zones

Frankly, the game is difficult for human players to survive. As such, zones can be designated for the human team to stay without zombies interfering. The key benefit is humans can shoot their Nerf blasters at zombies from safe zones without worrying about getting tagged. 

More Information about Nerf HVZ

These are the rules, but they can be modified and adapted to suit your needs. Larger games will require more organization and the addition of a moderator who will keep track of active human players and when zombies are in critical danger of starving. 

Do I Need to Use Zombie Strike for Nerf HVZ?

Zombie Strike blasters aren’t required to play Nerf HVZ. However, many players like to use Hammershots, Doominators, FlipFury, Brainsaw and Quadrot to immerse themselves in the game. It’s more down to taste, style and any additional rules to put on top of your own spin on the game. 

The Best Nerf Guns for HVZ

The thing to remember about a Nerf HVZ battle is to have fun. Some players take it very seriously and gear up for all out Nerf war. Players in the serious category typically like to carry a primary blaster, usually one with easily changeable dart magazines. They’ll also carry a sidearm or a secondary blaster that is a last resort for a large zombie horde. To carry it all, players will wear tactical vests that can hold all their gear. 

Here is an Example Nerf HVZ Loadout

Find a Nerf HVZ Game

Go Deeper Still

There are plenty of ways to change the rules. Learn more on HVZ.org.

See What Nerf HVZ Looks Like