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Humans, zombies descend on Dawson County library for live-action game
Library event 2
Members on the human team stand guard while another teammate searches for a hidden key in the Dawson County Library’s book stacks during one of the Sept. 16 live-action game’s lights-on phases. - photo by Julia Fechter

Instead of hunting for that next good book or movie, humans at the Dawson County Library this past Friday hunted for the next zombie or clue to defeating their undead counterparts. 

The library’s main campus served as the location for the first “Lockdown at the Library” event the night of Sept. 16, hosted by HVZBLITZ and sponsored by Launch Dawsonville. 

“Humans vs. Zombies” is a live-action role playing (LARP) game, popularly played across college campuses, that’s essentially a giant game of tag.

While this version of the game was open to all ages on Friday, the main goals remained the same: humans try to complete goals within a certain timeframe while trying to survive a zombie attack and not get “turned” or tagged, thus becoming one of the undead. 

This story continues below. 

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Players take care in entering the main area of the Dawson County Library when starting the lights-out round of “Humans vs. Zombies” the night of Sept. 16. - photo by Julia Fechter

Humans are armed with foam dart blasters featuring regular rounds and/or rocket launcher-style ammo as well as sock bombs to stun the undead.  Zombies, on the other hand, have to try to add to their horde by turning all of the human players. They and humans both have the chance to earn various power-up cards.

Moderator Josh Bohn led the evening’s activities, first explaining the rules and also joining in on the fun a little later during the game’s missions.

He and his friends, some of whom are also from the Dahlonega and Dawsonville areas, have been organizing “Humans vs. Zombies” outings for about two years, Bohn said. 

Friday’s event pulled together college volunteers and players from across the state. 

Players prepped for the event by donning an orange bandana tied around their arms if they were humans or up around their foreheads if they were zombies. 

Once the bandanas were donned and the ammo was loaded, it was go time. Human players rushed from the library’s meeting room to its children’s section.

With the room dark and lights only coming from phones, players during the first phase eagerly searched for four gas cans to bring to the lobby’s backup generator. Naturally when time was of the essence, zombies began filling the children’s section and nearby areas, impeding the humans from quickly completing their mission. 

Even with their arduous efforts, the humans fell to the zombies in the game’s first round. During the fully-lights-on phases, humans had an easier, yet still tricky, time at using library clues tied to the Dewey Decimal System to find a key for unlocking the front door later. This meant time spent searching the book stacks and watching one’s back while–yes–still having to stop sometimes to ask for the aid of a local librarian.

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Part of the fun for the game’s players is the pure chaos that can ensue when humans encounter and try to stun fast-moving zombies with foam darts. - photo by Julia Fechter

The humans also won a hard-fought battle dodging zombies amongst the book stacks and vanquishing “the Special” undead monster with a unique weapon and claiming its key. 

Finally, human players were able to hold off the zombies for at least five minutes as the moderators sought to unlock the front doors.

Whether human or zombie, the lockdown event led to much laughter, cardio and in-the-moment strategizing for all players involved. 

Bohn later added that he hopes to garner more interest and possibly help host an HvZ event at a Dawson County outdoors venue in the future. 

In the meantime, people can follow the regional “Humans vs. Zombies” group through their Instagram page, @HVZBlitz.