Zombie Apocalypse Night: Youth Group Game

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I was discipled formally through Navigators 2:7 discipleship material. One of the prayer disciplines the material helped develop was a pattern of spending a half day or whole day in prayer.

When zombies attack your youth group, will you be ready?  Short answer, no. Let’s face it – the zombies win every time.  But its a fun way to enter into the Biblical narrative.

This game was the kick off for a series we did called The Walking Dead. The idea behind it was to talk about the idea that, as Christians, we have moved from living life as a dead person to one who has been made alive in Christ (see Ephesians 2:1-10).

It is similar to the large-scale game that was popular on college campuses a few years back, with some tweaks of our own mixed in. It is best used as a standalone event, as opposed to a game during your normal youth group time, just due to the scale of it. It can be scaled to include your youth area, your entire church, or maybe even the great outdoors. We had a huge turnout, which was great! Unfortunately, everyone eventually died. But hey, that’s how zombie apocalypses work, right?

General Guidelines

  • Each player must come prepared with a bandana (used to visually identify zombies and humans) and rolled up tube socks (used as ammunition)
  • Humans are identified by having their bandana tied around their arm
  • Zombies are identified by having their bandana tied around their head (or neck ,if stunned [to be explained later])
  • Humans are turned into zombies by having the zombies eat (tag) them – when this happens, the human must transfer the bandana from their arm to their head – after doing so, and after counting to 30, they can then eat (tag) other humans
  • Zombies can be stunned for a predetermined period of time by being hit with the rolled up socks (no weighted or overly taped socks – put names on socks if you want to get them back) or Nerf gun ‘bullets’ – when this happens, they must drop their bandana from around their head to around their neck so humans know that he/she is stunned – while stunned, they may not interact with the game in any way, such as blocking humans from other zombies or continuing to run – they may also not interact with the weapons of the humans, such as throwing the socks where the humans can’t get to them
  • Games end when all the humans are turned into zombies or the set time expires
  • Injuries constitute an automatic time-out
  • Boundaries
    • Make sure you set appropriate boundaries for your space

Game One

Survival

Goal: If you are a human – survive. If you are a zombie – eat all the humans.

Game Begins: All players will start as humans, with their bandanas on their arms. All players will receive a folded up piece of paper, which they are not permitted to look at until the alarm sounds. All players are released into the boundary area. After a set period of time, an alarm will sound, alerting all players to look at their paper. Several of the players will have an ‘OZ’ on their piece of paper signifying that they are Original Zombies (the rest will be blank). These OZ will move their bandana from their arm to their head.

Game Progression: Zombies will eat (tag) as many humans as possible, turning them into zombies. The remaining humans will try to ward off zombie attacks and simply survive. Zombies will be stunned for 60 seconds when hit. Humans will be stunned when eaten for 30 seconds while moving their bandana from their arm to their head. When human or zombie is stunned, they may not interact with the game in any way.

Game Ends: When all the humans are eaten and turned into zombies, or when the set amount of time expires.

Game Two

Get out alive

Goal: If you are a human – collect the four hidden survival necessities (first aid kit, ammo crate, water jug, and Twinkies) and return them with all remaining humans to base. If you are a zombie – eat all the humans.

Game Begins: All players will start as humans, with their bandanas on their arms. All players will receive a folded up piece of paper, which they are not permitted to look at until the alarm sounds. All players are released into the boundary area. After a set period of time, an alarm will sound, alerting all players to look at their paper. Several of the players will have an ‘OZ’ on their piece of paper signifying that they are a Original Zombies (the rest will be blank). These OZ will move their bandana from their arm to their head.

Game Progression: Zombies will eat (tag) as many humans as possible, turning them into zombies. Meanwhile, the remaining humans will try to ward off zombie attacks and survive, while at the same time find the three survival necessities and return them to the designated base. If a human is carrying a survival necessity, they may not shoot at zombies. If a human is turned into a zombie while carrying a survival necessity, they must set it down immediately and leave it there. Zombies are not permitted to move survival necessities.

Game Ends: When all the humans are eaten and turned into zombies, when the survival necessities and all remaining humans are returned to the base, or when the set amount of time expires.

Game Three

Get my people out alive

Goal: If you are a human – collect the four hidden survival necessities (first aid kit, ammo crate,  water jug, and Twinkies) and return them with all remaining humans from your community to your community’s home base. If you are a zombie – eat all the humans.

Game Begins: All players will start as humans, with their bandanas on their arms. They will be divided up into separate communities with separate home bases and various colored duct tape Xs on the front of their bodies. All players will receive a folded up piece of paper, which they are not permitted to look at until the alarm sounds. All players are released into the boundary area. After a set period of time, an alarm will sound, alerting all players to look at their paper. Several of the players will have an ‘OZ’ on their piece of paper signifying that they are a Original Zombies (the rest will be blank). These OZ will move their bandana from their arm to their head.

Game Progression: Zombies will eat (tag) as many humans as possible, turning them into zombies. Meanwhile, the remaining humans will try to ward off zombie attacks and survive, while at the same time find the four survival necessities and return them to their community’s designated base. Other communities are looking for the same four necessities. If a human sees a human from a different community with one of the necessities, they can steal it from them by tagging them, which freezes them for a set amount of time (60 seconds). While they are frozen, they cannot be eaten by zombies. Once an item is in a community’s base, it cannot be taken from them.

Game Ends: When all the humans are eaten and turned into zombies, when the survival necessities and all remaining humans are returned to the community’s base, or when the set amount of time expires.

Encouraged Supplies List

  • Extra bandanas
  • Extra socks
  • Extra Nerf guns and bullets (optional)
  • First aid kits, Boxes of ammo (not real ammo, please), Water jugs, and Boxes of Twinkies (shout out to Tallahassee)
  • LOTS of slips of paper, with a few designated as OZ (how many will be determined by how many people you have and how quickly games go)
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Fitz has served in youth ministries for over 15 years. He is currently the High School Director at Christ UMC in Memphis, TN. Fitz met his beautiful wife, Marcy, while a student at Asbury Seminary (it was not a typical seminary romance – she wasn’t a student). They married in 2003 and they have three children, each of whom have their own set of superpowers. Fitz enjoys reading (although he usually falls asleep after only a few minutes) and all Cleveland and Ohio State sports teams. You can follow Fitz on Twitter and Instagram: @mcfitzie

4 COMMENTS

    • When we did it, we had around 100 students, and I think we started with four OZs. We whittled it down after that to two, if I remember correctly. Just know that the more OZ you start with, the quicker the game will be.

  1. Could you share a little more about how you handled the series? How many weeks you covered it – and how you approached the lessons? Any insight would be great!

    • Hey Sarah, here is the general breakdown of the series:

      -Week One: Zombie Apocalypse standalone fun night
      -Week Two: Eph. 2:1-10 / Main point – We are the walking dead. We have been reanimated by grace. So let’s live like it.
      -Week Three: Romans 8:11-16 / Main point – When we’ve been reanimated, we no longer can live our lives selfishly.

      We also closed week three with some prayer stations so students could respond to what they felt like God was saying to them.

      If you have any other questions, feel free to reply or shoot me an e-mail. Thanks!

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