Lately it seems that every year is “the worst flu season in decades“. It was certainly true of 2017/18 and this year we’re on track to break that record. It is estimated that there have been at least 6.4 million flu illnesses, 55,000 hospitalizations and 2,900 deaths from flu so far this season. A “B” strain of virus has been more prevalent early in the season, which is unusual for this time of year. The “B” virus has been diagnosed more among children and young adults up to 24 years old, while an “A” virus has been more common among adults 65 and older. Even those of us that were vaccinated are not completely immune as I proved in 2018 by coming down with the flu even though I had been inoculated.
We’re also no strangers to virus-themed board games. We’ve enjoyed a number of titles including Virulence, Pandemic: The Cure, Viral and more. With all the holiday things happening, we haven’t had much time for longer games. Instead, we’ve been relying on shorter, portable card games like Virus! by Goliath Games. It’s a quick game for 2-6 players for almost all ages!
In Virus!, you’re trying to be the first player to collect one of each healthy organ while preventing the other players from doing the same. The game is comprised of a deck of 68 cards, which is made up of four different types and four unique colors. Shuffle this deck together and deal a hand of three cards to each player. Set the rest of the deck in the center of the play area as a draw deck.
On a turn you can either discard any number of cards in your hand and draw back up to three or play one card. Organ cards are played in front of you, forming your “body”. You may only have one of each organ in your body and a possible fifth if you play one of the rainbow-colored wild cards.
You may play a virus card on top of another player’s organ card to affect it in a couple ways. If it is the first virus on the organ, it becomes infected (thus, not healthy). A second virus on the same organ will destroy it and send it to the discard pile. If the organ was protected by a vaccine (more on these in a minute), that vaccine is destroyed, leaving the organ unprotected (but healthy). Except for the wild cards, all viruses must be of the same color as the organ they are played upon.
Medicine cards work in almost the same manner, except you play them on your own organs. The first instance on top of an organ card means it is vaccinated. A second one permanently protects the organ by making it immune for the rest of the game. If a medicine card is placed on an infected organ (one virus card), that virus is cured! Again, medicines must match the color of the organ card.
The fourth card type is treatments. These are rule-breaking cards that might allow you to switch organs with another player, steal an organ or even cause everyone to discard their hand! Figuring out the best time to use a treatment card will certainly play into your strategy.
While the three types of multicolored cards (wilds) are more flexible to play, they can also be countered more easily. A multicolored organ can be immunized with two different types of medicines and can also be destroyed by two viruses of different colors. A wild virus can affect any organ or medicine, but can also be cured by a medicine of any color. Same goes for the multicolored medicine card. It can affect any virus or organ, yet can also be destroyed by a virus of any color.
Players take turns playing a card and drawing back up to a hand of three until one person is able to collect four different healthy organs during their turn. The game ends immediately and that person is the overall winner of Virus! Pick up a copy of Virus! on Amazon or ask for it at your favorite local game store!
If playing a card game about diseases gives you the ickys, check out all the other family-friendly games offered by Goliath Games on their website. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter to find out what’s spreading next season!
Did you get your flu shots this year?