1. Introduction

You are the less than honest sysadmin of a machine. Your job is to take over the machines of your fellow sysadmins, whilst preventing them from doing the same. It’s a process eat process world out there.

CPU by Næþ'n Lasseter is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


2. Contents

  • 128 Cards:

    • 20 Option ROM cards

    • 40 Source Code cards

    • 48 Linked Library cards

    • 20 Special Action cards

  • 50 Cycle Counters

  • 100 Compiled Markers (Paper Clips)

3. Starting Hand

  • 10 Cycle Counters

  • 6 Cards in Backing Store (hand)

4. Basics

Each player starts with 10 cycles (or actions) 6 memory slots (places on the table to play cards) and 2 Option ROM slots (space to make upgrades to your machine).

There is only one phase to your turn, in which you spend your cycles. Once you have no free cycles remaining your turn ends.

At the end of your turn, you can only have as many cards in backing store as you have cycles.

When you successfully attack another player, you take their cycles equal to the amount you attack. When you have no cycles left you are out of the game. Your backing store and memory go into trash.

Once the draw pile is empty shuffle the trash to create a new one. When you do this, disassemble any binaries.

5. Basic Actions


(1 Cycle) Do nothing


(1 Cycle) Take a card


(1 Cycle) Play a card from backing store into memory


(1 Cycle) Take a daemonised binary or any memory slot back into backing store


(1 Cycle) Build source code and libraries into a binary


(1 per card) Execute a binary


(1 per card) Execute a binary in daemon mode

6. Compilation

Source code cannot be exectuted. It must first be compiled. Libraries cannot be compiled alone, they must be linked into a program when the source is compiled. So a binary can be composed of one source code card and any number of libraries. Binaries cannot be disassembled. Binaries only cost 1 to load, and use only 1 memory slot.

Compiled binaries have attack, defence and reaction values equal to the sum of those of the source and libraries from which they are composed.

Use the compilation markers to hold binaries together.

7. Execution

You can execute binaries in memory. The cost of execution of a binary is equal to the number of source and library cards it is composed of. When executed you can use its attack value against another machine. Once execution has finished the binary is returned into backing store.

8. Daemonisation

Rather than executing a program you can daemonise it instead. The cost of doing this is the same as executing it. You can use its attack value, but afterwards it stays in memory.

Daemonised binaries execute automatically at the start of your turn. If the binary has a special action, you can choose whether or not to use it.

Daemonised binaries also protect you outside of your turn. When you are attacked, the other player must first defeat your defenses by matching their defence value. If defeated, the binary gets trashed.

9. Reactions

If your defence gets touched by an attacking machine, and it has a reaction value, you can use that value as a return attack against the attacking machine.

10. Special Actions

Some cards may have special actions, either in place of or in addition to their standard attack/defence/reaction, which are detailed on the card. You can choose whether you want to use this when you execute the binary.

11. Shutdown & Restart

You can shut down your machine at the start of your turn for free. When you do this, your memory gets freed into backing store.

You can now optionally uninstall one and/or install one Option ROM (upgrade) card to your machine. You can only have one of each Option ROM installed.

Your machine cannot be attacked if it is shut down.

From your next turn you may restart your machine, you must pay one cycle to load the BIOS, then one cycle to load each Option ROM. If you do not have sufficient cycles to boot completely, your turn ends and you continue booting on subsequent turns. Your machine IS vulnerable to attack while booting.

12. Cards

12.1. Option Rom (4 of)

Dual Channel

Load two memory slots at once for one cycle

In The Cloud

5 extra cycles per turn (Does not affect hand limit)


10 memory slots

Jam It In

Extra Option ROM slot (place two Option ROMs on top of this card)

JIT compiler

Execute or daemonise one, single, uncompiled, loaded source code card for one cycle as if it was a binary.

12.2. Source Code (4 of)


2,0,0 - Allows you to see the open ports of a target machine


0,3,0 - Set up a firewall to block incoming connections


2,2,0 - Build applications "Disassembler" Execute at +1 cycle to disassemble a binary. You must have the memory available


1,2,0 - Traces the network hops of a connection


2,0,0 - Connect to a target machine


3,2,0 - Hackity, hack, hack, hack "Abysmal Code" The defending player can use 3 idled cycles from their previous turn to nullify this attack


2,0,0 - Gain root access to a target machine


1,0,1 - Find out if a target machine is online


0,2,1 - Detect and block attackers


2,0,2 - Find out about your target/attacker

12.3. Linked Library (8 of)


0,1,0 - Set up an intrusion alarm


0,2,0 - Encrypt your defences


2,0,0 - Wreak havok with their data


0,0,2 - Send your attacker a little thank you note


0,1,0 - Display notification of intrusion attempts


1,0,0 - Hijack your opponents security cameras

12.4. Special Action (4 of)

Play from backing store at any time for free.

Computing Time

0,0,0 - Play from backing store at any time for free. Donate any idled cycles from your previous turn to the machine of your choice.


0,0,0 - 2 cycles. Attacks values are doubled for the rest of this turn.

Digital Economy Act

0,0,0 - Play from backing store at any time for free. Get another player sued for downloading copyright material. They miss a turn to attend court.


0,0,0 - 4 cycles. Choose another machine, that player misses their next turn. They match your every move until you or they run out of cycles. (Deduct for any daemonised programs they have running.) If you have cycles remaining you may continue alone.


0,0,0 - Play at the start of your turn. Reboot your machine. While shut down you may restore up your 10 cycles by retaking them from anyone who attacked you. (Any number from any player(s), but they MUST have attacked you.) You miss the turn in which you have fully restarted your machine.