Zedtown originated in Australia but has been hitting various cities across the US for one to two days per stop, when they came through Arizona they set up shop at Rawhide which is a old western themed attraction we have here that has plenty of open space for a game like this. They have two ticket options for purchase, which are survivor tickets and Alpha zombie tickets. The event lasts for four hours from start to finish and there are several easy to follow rules in place to keep everyone safe such as only allowing certain Nerf gun ammo, being asked not to shoot anyone directly in the face and more. In total there were about 550 people at the event on the Saturday we attended (including staff), only 16 of them started off as Zombies!
Survivors need to bring Nerf guns or rolled up socks (used like bombs/grenades) to use to defeat the zombies who will be running around, when you arrive to the event you meet up with your faction color and download the Zedtown app which sends you missions and information during the event. Not only do the survivors have to fend off zombies but they also have to face each other! There are three factions in total, Red, Gold and Blue all of which have their own leader and will do different missions such as collecting gas to fuel their generators. Before heading to Zedtown you have the option to dress up based off of the suggestions given for the faction, for example the Red faction can dress like Mad Max or Borderlands characters while the gold faction can dress like Hunger games characters. If you do decide to dress up there is a costume contest at the end.
For those who purchase Alpha Zombie tickets, you arrive early and get treated to a seat in the makeup chair while a makeup artist transforms you into a zombie! Our group was split on how we wanted to start out, my husband and I started off as Zombies and the rest of our group went as survivors. Since we saw they were having a costume contest my husband wanted to dress up as a charger which is a character from the video game Left For Dead, we've done the costume in the past before but this time we ramped it up and fixed a few things on it making it better than before. I decided I would get my makeup done at the event instead of doing it at home so that I could see what their process was like.
I was honestly a little worried about the event at first, I am a big baby and sometimes my anxiety gets the best of me so I was worried about being split off from the rest of my group. However once everything got started I was perfectly fine and had a wonderful time. When we first arrived we made sure to get there early so I could get my makeup done. It was neat arrive early because several of the people who had arrived at the same time we did were checking out my husbands costume and asking for photos. They had several security measures in place to keep everything fun and safe, We went through a decent check in process where they used the metal detector wands, did bag checks, nerf gun checks and more. After getting through the checks my husband and I were directed to the zombie area where all the zombies would stay out of site until the event started.
The makeup process was fun although I wish they were doing it in a better lit room as the poor lighting made it hard to see and photograph in the room. Makeup wise I was quite happy with my makeup, the process was longer than I had expected it to be which is nice since Alpha Zombie tickets cost more than survivor tickets. Prior to the event I had thought there would be more zombies starting off so I figured it out be a five minute makeup process but it ended up being closer to a half hour. Once all the zombies were transformed we had to wait until the start of the game before wandering out so no one would see us, during the waiting time they ran down the rules and how to turn survivors into zombies. Like the survivors the zombies also had someone leading us and helping us along the way, they were both known as the Boss Zombies and were unable to be "killed" in the game.
They had gathered all the survivors into the middle of the western town so the mayor could make an announcement and tell everyone the rules of the game, towards the end of the instructions they opened up a gate which is when all of us dressed as zombies ran out. As soon as you started running out a adrenaline rush hit, all of the survivors started screaming and running to get away from the zombies and head to their faction head quarters. During the initial zombie release several people had dropped their nerf gums, ammo and more trying to run away and many others ended up falling and tripping trying to get away it was a bit chaotic but a lot of fun and resulted in several good laughs.
During the course of the game survivors were given tasks which took them through the other factions territories and of course near the zombies so they had to watch their backs constantly. It was a lot of fun being a zombie because you were able to hide and chase after people to "tag" them as a zombie, once you tagged someone they gave you their Zedtown dogtags (given to them at the start of the game) for you to scan and turn them into a zombie on the Zedtown app. After being turned into a zombie they were instructed to go to the zombie hub to thrown on some zombie makeup and re-enter the game as a zombie. Remember how I said at the start that we started out with 16 zombies (18 if you include the two boss zombies) and almost 500 survivors? Only about sixty people made it out alive as survivors by the end, some of the aplha zombies were pretty fast and racked up a lot of "kills".
As a zombie if you were shot and killed you had to return to the zombie hub and wait to re-spawn in the game. They had a small station set up that had a count down and music that would play, once the time and music stopped you re-entered the western town to hunt for more survivors. To keep track of who was who they gave everyone colored headbands, green meant you were a zombie. We were required to wear the headbands during the entire event and if we were shot we had to lower the headband to let the survivors know we were out and needed to re-spawn.
This event was one of the best events I've been to, everything was well thought out and executed. If you didn't bring a bag to carry your Nerf guns in after you were turned into a zombie they had a bag check area where you could store your guns, they also had paramedics on hand, water coolers out for everyone and marshals walking around to help anyone with questions or problems. The only thing we had a boo moment with was my husband was a bit disappointed zombies weren't included in the costume contest, but I can see why they wouldn't because most who are arriving as zombies don't do their own makeup. I am a bit jealous of the people who get to work with and travel with Zedtown it seems like a fun place to work. There is a ton of information that goes with this event but not enough space to write about it all! If you want more information on this event or to see if it is coming to a town near you (or you can request that they do) check out their website and facebook for photos, information and more.