How to win the zombie apocalypse

Zombie man costume

The zombie apocalypse has arrived. Your neighbors are creeping after you and the world is facing its most terrifying disease. Everything is coming to an end. Here is how to not only survive but win.

First thing first, this is a war, it’s the zombies vs the living. We must act appropriately. I’m talking daily training with push-ups, discipline, and combat practice. The good news is that we have all the advantages, we are faster, smarter, and stronger. Plus, we can form groups that multiply our abilities.

Step 1 – Join Steve’s Army

I like to think of myself as a master tactician and solid leader. I will be leading this force and we will not hide from the zombies. Every day we will kill several of them. All are welcome to join the army, men, women, and children. With the condition that you accept my command and discipline.

Step 2 – Killing the Zombies

The two most important elements of a zombie war are intelligence and weapons.

For intelligence, I’m not talking about IQ but knowledge of the zombies. How many are they, where are they, what are the best locations to attack from. We want to be offensive as well as defensive and will win through superior tactics.

This is especially important because unlike most wars losing a soldier is a double loss. Our fighter joins the enemy as zombie.

We will spend a majority of our time patrolling, creating maps, working out communication channels, and more. Like Sun Tzu said, “every battle is won before it is ever fought.

Ideally we will have a doctor, scientist, or researcher among us who can help us understand the zombie. Like this fellow:

For weapons, we need to consider our enemy. In the show, The Walking Dead, firing a gun makes a loud noise and attracts more zombies. This makes firearms only ideal for certain situations. Used only as a last resort or when you want to attract the zombies for a killfest.

We also know that destroying the brain of the zombie is the only way to take them down. This is called a headshot and as any gamer knows it is the most challenging one to get. We will need to train very hard on our weapon skill.

Under my command each person will develop a primary and secondary skill, with tertiary training on all other weapons in our arsenal. The most likely primary weapon will be a long kitchen knife as these will be plentiful. Non-sharp weapons like bats and golf clubs will also work but are not ideal for zombie killing.

The ideal weapon is the classic bow and arrow as shown by the character Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead. In it he wields a crossbow which allows him to quietly dispatch a zombie from a distance. A much better alternative than close combat with a knife, bat, or golf club.

The real challenge will be finding a Fletcher and a Bowman to build our arrows and bows, respectively. Trees are always plentiful and renewable whereas bullets and guns will always be scarce.

Step 3 – Clear and Hold

All zombie stories show people hiding and running. Not this army. We will initiate counter-insurgency, Dr. Nagl style, with the goal of holding entire cities.

The first step will be to establish a base, green zone if you will, where people can live. Next, we secure essential service stations like the local power plant, water supply, hospitals, gas stations, etc.

We will form a perimeter around the these areas and continually expand outwards. With this method we ensure that the fight is taken to the zombies and away from our inner living areas.

This ever-expanding perimeter will need an extensive communication system. Early on that would probably be simple eye contact or fires, rather than electricity and battery power. With a growing perimeter we may find new capabilities, like solar panels, that can dramatically improve our communication. Our previously mentioned intelligence will be crucial in this effort as we strategically expand into valuable areas.

24-hour patrols will be necessary as will basic barricades and other materials of the clear and hold. Ideally we will have a few veterans of the Iraq or Afghanistan Wars to guide us with their past experience.

Step 4 – Rebuild

The classic zombie apocalypse mistake is to get soft and not have extensive back-up plans. Our first order of business will be to build-into our society the proper protections.

This includes basic emergency procedures for a zombie attack and a zombie over-run of our borders. Everyone will need to keep up their weapons training and we will perform regular emergency drills.

We have all seen what happens when a zombie gets past the outer defenses.

For civil society we will need to go back to the basics. The internet will be down and so books and copies of the constitution and other basic laws will need to be found. From these we will form a committee that runs the camp. As it expands I expect elections and then appointment of officers in charge of critical functions.

Ideally there will be skilled workers among us who can operate power plants or water pumps. Beyond that we will have to hope that our homes will contain enough books and tools to get us going.

Step 5 – Bad Humans

A zombie apocalypse wouldn’t be complete without some human on human bloodshed. It will be important for our army to prepare for this as well as the zombies. Especially as our perimeter grows and our quality of life improves.

Imagine if we could get our electricity working again and have running water. This will undoubtedly draw roving bands of violent gangs to attack us and try to take what we have created. There will be those that join us, indeed this will be crucial for our growth, but we will always be on the watch for Mad Max-like gangs.

The key to this will be superior discipline both in the early days to allow us to survive and grow, and also in the later days as we get soft and comfortable.


Have no fear of the zombie apocalypse. We will fight and we will win. Join Steve’s Army!

More Info

Zombie Preparedness with the CDC

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead

The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse

Audio Interview: Studying the Zombie Brain

Neurobiology of the Zombie Brain

[photos: moggs oceanlane-prom queen / kevin dooley-zombie boy / makeup by mellie-top zombie / jamesrdoe-zombie eating]

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