Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Zombie Tag Rules

My ARC contest is open until midnight, July 17th. Please enter here.

There are a few reasons why this is the most important thing you will ever read.

1. It details proven zombie-killer techniques.

2. It's the most fun you will ever have with spatulas, brains, and your mouth.

3. If you are at SCBWI, we're going to be playing this, and you better be part of the fun, bitch.

Before we begin, I would like to state, for the record, that as much as I would like to, I can't take credit for Zombie Tag the game. (I can take full credit for Zombie Tag the book, so put down your pitchfork.) It was invented by my lovely friend David Colby who kindly insisted that I write a book about it. I made a few small tweaks, but this is largely his game. This is a very good example of how most of my good ideas come from infiltrating (eating) the brains of others.

This official rulebook WAS written by me, as you can probably tell by the snark, but the ideas behind it are his, and I thank him enormously. He'll be in the acknowledgments, and he is also a Zombie Tag player in the book.

So. Without further ado, the rules to Zombie Tag.


For the best game of Zombie Tag, you need somewhere between 8 and 15 people. More or less can work, depending on the size of the house. Wil, the main character in Zombie Tag, plays with closer to 6 people, because his parents would never let eight kids in their house at once.

This game is played at night, in the dark.

Let's say you're playing with eight people.

--Your objective is: If you are a zombie, turn everyone else into a zombie. If you are a human, escape the house.

--One person is Zombie God. This is a great honor, usually granted to you if it is 1. your birthday or 2. your house.

-- Zombie God has one very important job. He writes BARRICADE on seven post-it notes, and ZOMBIE on one. He shuffles these and passes them out to all the players, keeping one for himself. The post-its are secret, and none of the players, including the Zombie God, know what post-its the others have. The Zombie God's job is now over.

--Everyone secretly looks at their post-it notes. Chances are, you are a human, in which case your post-it will say BARRICADE. Keep that note. Keep your face neutral.

--Everyone gathers into a circle and closes their eyes. At this point, the lucky player with the ZOMBIE post-it sneaks out of the circle. In some versions of the game, all players will stomp their feet to drown out the sound of his sneaking. But true zombies will not need this, as they move silently and possibly with powers of invisibility.

--The zombie takes a predetermined object--in Wil's versions, a stuffed dinosaur--and hides it somewhere in the house. To escape the house, you need to find this object. It is the key, and the only way to open the front door.

--The zombie runs around the circle and taps each person on the head. Once you are tapped on the head, you silently count to ten before opening your eyes. This allows the zombie to sneak back into the circle.

--It is now time to play. Grab a flashlight and a spatula. You'll need them. You may either strike out on your own or team up with as many people as you like to search the house for the key. The zombie, at this point, pretends to search as well.

--The zombie has thirty seconds to pretend to be normal. At this point, he then reveals himself as a zombie ("RAWWWR, BRAINS," etc.) and attempts to bite as many humans as possible. Ears are a good bet, but anywhere will do.

--If you are the victim of an attempted zombie attack, you have four ways to escape:

1) Fight him off with your spatula. Zombies are terrified of spatulas.

2) Hit him on the top of his head with the flat of your hand (gently, please) which is a zombie paralysis move that will freeze the zombie for ten seconds, allowing you to make an escape.

3) Run. Be warned, however: Zombies possess super speed.

4) Remember your BARRICADE post-it? Slap it on a door and hide in a room. The zombie, upon encountering a barricaded door, must bang on it for thirty seconds to break the barricade before he can enter. This should give you time to find the key if it is hidden in this room, at which point you will need to find an alternate route or fight the zombie long enough to sprint to the door. Or, if the key is not in the room, it is enough time for you to call your mother and tell her you love her.

--If you are bitten, you become a zombie. But all is not lost! You now begin hunting the others with your zombie compatriots. And you win if everyone is a zombie at the end.

--If you are a human and you find the key, run like hell towards the front door. If you escape, you win! You are now the only hope for humanity.


cat hellisen said...

I actually read all the rules through this time. :D

we need a game of muser zombie tag to happen. Preferably in some kind of crazy abandoned factory.

Sage said...

Yay, official rules.

I have a question, and I always forget to ask it. Obviously spatulas strike terror in the hearts of zombies and therefore it is easy to fight them off with one. But if the game zombies are played by humans, how does the spatula attack actually work?

Christopher Ing said...

This shall be the new schoolyard craze, I can feel it.

It'll also be one of those games with a thousand different rule-sets. Like:

"In Soda Zombie Tag, everyone but the zombie carries a soda and if you get bit you can drink your soda as an "antidote" except you have to drink the whole thing before you can move and you can steal other people's sodas."

Except they'll be better than that.

Shelley Watters said...

Hysterical, and sounds like SO much fun! Love ya Hannah!!

hannah moskowitz said...

Sage--the details of the spatula attack differ from game to game, but, in general, this is the only item that works for an attack. Hitting with hands--UNLESS, of course, you're going for the head-tap, which is relatively gentle--are generally ineffective against zombies. And might get you in trouble.

Unknown said...

LOL Nice!

grace said...

I am so. excited. to play this.

suzie townsend said...

The next time you're in NY, we must have an office round of zombie tag. With the interns - we should have almost 15 people :) muahahaha.

hannah moskowitz said...

Suzie--oh my God. I told you I'm coming August 5th, right?

My roommate's lovely brother just reminded me to point out that this game is, obviously, played in the dark.

Rachael said...

I need to find people willing to play this with me. It sounds better than ninja destruction. =D

Steve MC said...

Thanks for the tip on shutting off the lights. It’d definitely make it harder to find the key, as well as make the whole thing SPOOKY AS HELL.

One question: What are the rules on where you can hide the key (aka the dinosaur of life)? As in, does it have to be in sight, sitting on a shelf, or just partly in sight, as with its tail sticking out of the fruit bowl, or can you actually hide it by like stuffing it in the microwave?

Molly said...


hannah moskowitz said...

You can hide it ANYWHERE YOU WANT.

Steve MC said...

Like in your friend’s father’s underwear drawer? Yikes. This game is more scary than I’d thought.

DK Whisman said...

I instantly love zombie tag.

Corinne O said...

this is terrific! LOL!

Anonymous said...

So these rules are sort of awesome. :D

Anonymous said...


vic caswell said...

this sounds like so much FUN! guess i know what the kids and i are doing tonight! (heaven knows we have enough dinosaurs in this house!)

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I would totally play this. And then have nightmares for days.

tlbodine said...

I'm late to the party, but I'd just like to say that I now feel as though I should have a zombie party, just so I can play this with my friends.