Virus Fight

Players 2-4
Length 30 minutes
Equipment Required single standard piecepack (2 piecepacks for a 3-4 player game)
Designer JorgeArroyo
Version 1.0
Version Date2008-02-27
License Copyright 2007-8 JorgeArroyo. Released under the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND License , dual-licensed CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


Each player owns 4 types of "computer instructions" and builds a small program which then runs around the board (computer memory) changing itself and trying to destroy the opposing programs.

Each player uses a 12 coins to represent their instructions, so for each player, the same instruction may use a different suit (in 3-4 player games), as the game can be played with mixed types piecepack sets.

There's a special piece (represented by a pawn) that acts as the program counter, or instruction marker. This piece is placed on top of the instruction that will be executed next. If a player cannot move this piece then that player is eliminated.

This game was originally released for the Icehouse game system.


A game in progress.


Here's a link to the universal rules (for all three gamesystems):

They include playaids for all the gamesystems (piecepack, icehouse and cards).


Designer Notes

This was my second Icehouse design, and later I realized that it could actually be played with a piecepack set with little changes. It's a luckless abstract where the position of your pawn determines what action you can take on your turn: The instruction for the program. Then you must decide where to move next, to execute another instruction next turn. If the instruction marker (pawn) is trapped and cannot move, you lose the game.

The game can also be played with a standard deck of cards and some pawns. The 5x5 board can be made out of face down cards, or drawn on a piece of paper. Unless you're playing with two identical decks, to be able to chose 3 cards with the same numbers (1,2,3) for each player, you'll have to give even cards to a player and odd cards to the other (1,3,5 and 2,4,6) and be aware that consecutive numbered cards are regarded as the same priority.

Reviews & Comments

Cool idea for a game, Jorge! I remember back in the late 1980s, one of my roommates was a computer science major, and he used to play a computer game called Core Wars. This reminds me of that somewhat. -- ClarkRodeffer

The inspiration for this game was from a similar computer game featured in an article of Scientific American in the 80's. A friend's father had lots of issues and my friend told me about that program. Somehow I remembered and thought it could make for a nice board game :) Maybe that game in the magazine was Core Wars... :) -JorgeArroyo

I remember the column by Alexander Dewdney, and it was indeed about Core War. -- RonHaleEvans 2008-02-27

Thanks for the link! :) It must have been that article. My memory is a bit fuzzy because I was pretty young when I read it (about 10-11 years old) but I was fascinated by the concept. The board game's language is much simpler because many decisions are left to the player, and you cannot create new processes (only one instruction marker per player) but I think it captures some of the essence... -JorgeArroyo


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