Virulence: Infectious Fun! – Genius Games

Making Learning Fun

We’ve all seen movies or read comics where the bad guy seems sooo much cooler than the good guy. Let’s face it. Sometimes the good guy is BORING.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be the bad guy? Only in a game, of course. This game is a fast and fun way to BE a virus—just for 20 or 30 minutes. And the biggest, baddest virus with the most points wins!

Fast and Furious Fun

With Virulence, comic book style art meets virus science in this battle card game! It’s fast, it’s simple and it’s addictively fun. Players compete to infect a host cell (place bids using virus cards) and they can replicate their own viral components, allowing players to either score points up front or build the power of their bidding hand.

Virulence is a relatively simple battle card, set collection game that still requires some strategizing to win bids and gather the most points. It comes with a large, beautifully designed deck for two to five players and some dice to decide ties within each deal. And watch out for those pesky vaccine cards—they’ll lower your point score every time.

A full round takes only 15 to 20 minutes to complete, depending on the number of players. Virulence is also highly competitive and losing payers will want a rematch right away.

What Do Kids Learn?

While Virulence may not be as scientifically complex as some of our other games, it still provides valuable information about viral terminology and virus behaviors.
Players (recommended for students eight years and older) learn:

  • Virus terminology and structures (icosahedral, helical, spherical envelope, spherical envelope, virus replication, and mutations)
  • Viruses have individual genomes
  • Vaccines limit viruses

While it may be mechanically simple (it comes with detailed directions and scoring instructions as well as a section clearly explaining viral science and behavior), it requires a certain sophistication in trying to suss out your opponents’ strategy while keeping your own in mind.

Who Can Play?

This is a great game for both beginners and experienced players versed in blind bidding and set collection games. It’s designed for anywhere from two to five players, although with two players, a dummy hand is required. Of course, the more players you have, the more strategy required, but it’s worth the greater excitement it generates. As mentioned, the scientific knowledge required for the game itself is relatively basic, but the terminology and supporting science comprises some sophisticated—even college-level—concepts.

The game still teaches important life skills such as strategy and quick decision making under pressure. All players simultaneously place secret blind bids that determine the order in which they select from the available Viral Component cards. Players want to be one of the higher bidders in as many rounds as they can, but the real challenge is to do so without wasting their best bidding cards.
The Viral Component cards won may help a player build the power of their hand, allowing them to win critical bids later in the game or to combine sets, thus scoring points in a varying number of ways.

Nuts and Bolts

Several mechanics are used in Virulence: blind bidding and set collection.
Blind bidding requires each player play a number (or point) card face down (1-6) to try and be the first player to choose from available viral component cards. Once all players have laid down their bids, all the cards are flipped and the player with the highest card gets first choice of component cards. Remembering what your opponents have played in previous rounds is important and enables you to choose wisely.

Set collection means that you’re trying to earn points with the specific viral component cards you collect. Some sets earn you more points; the more cards of that set you collect, the higher your score. Other cards have just a straight point value. Vaccine cards lose you points because they weaken your virus. Remember: you’re the big bad virus in this game.

The Final Word

If you enjoy battle card games, you’ll like Virulence! It’s popular even among adults who may intensify the game’s competitive spirit. It’s a quick and addictive game that’s perfect for preteens and teens to play against one another, with a high re-playability factor—plenty of strategy and competitive fun!

This game makes a great stocking stuffer. With its vibrant artwork, fast pace and strategy building—to say nothing of the competitive fun—this is a game for the entire family with an incredibly reasonable price tag of $19.99 per set.