City of Play Festival 2013: Zombie Ward

Over this last weekend, I attended the City of Play Festival in downtown Pittsburgh. The festival included games of all types, ranging from physical games played on the streets to social games played with PS3 Move controllers.

My favorite of the games that I played was Zombie Ward.

Zombie Ward is a turn-based tag game played outside in an open area like a park. Scattered about are bags containing various power-ups.


  • Zombie Gun – An elastic band that is a one-time-use zombie killer. A zombie hit by one of these is permanently dead.
  • Antidote – A ball which makes the owner immune to zombie attacks. As a an immune carrier, it is your responsibility to find the “secret lab” to mass produce a cure.

As a human, the goal of the game is to avoid zombies, find the “antidote” and bring it to the “secret lab.” As a zombie, your goal is expand your zombie army by tagging humans.

This game turned out so much more fun than I had initially thought it would be. We played with a group of about 35 people. The games started everyone in a circle with the moderator randomly choosing one person to be the first zombie.

From there the moderator calls out humans and zombies to take turns taking 1-2 steps (at the moderator’s discretion). This is where things get interesting. A degree of strategy is required to navigate the landscape without getting tagged (as a human) or letting any humans get away (as a zombie).

Things get really interesting towards the end of the game when the secret lab is found and everyone is making a mad dash for the lab with a horde of 30 zombies on their tail.

Being a game played in real life, it was much more thrilling to experience than a zombie video game. Best of all, because there isn’t any blood and gore, people of all ages can play. I would definitely play this game again.

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