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In Viral, from Arcane Wonders, the 2-5 players are competing viruses spreading throughout the human body. 'Too soon!' you might think, in our post-Covid world, but in fact this game pre-dates the pandemic: it was first published in 2017. And tho' the game is played on a board that displays human organs connected by arteries and veins, the anthropomorphic cartoony art leaves you in no doubt that the theme is intended to be tongue-in-cheek. This isn't Cytosis (Genius Games)!

In Viral, players each have a hand of basic action cards and cards representing specific organs. Over six rounds, you select and simultaneously reveal two pairs of cards to play; attacking or absorbing other players' viruses and moving your own or other viruses. You're aiming to score VP (in this case not Victory Points but 'Viral Points') by having area control (ie: the most viruses) in an organ, tho' for paired organs (for example, the lungs or the two ventricles of the heart) you'll need a virus in each part in order to compete for area control.

Tho' the human body is your battlefield, Viral is a tussle between rival viruses: it's a light-hearted 'take that' game where players will be constantly attacking each other in order to maximise their scores. Along the way you may be affected by Event Cards and you'll be picking up upgraded action cards, while avoiding or making tactical use of the body's Immune System defences. And when you win area control you are also likely to attract the attention of medical research scientists: if and when the research on your virus reaches the end of the track, all your viruses will be flushed out of the body.

Viral is designed by Gil d'Orey and Antonio Sousa Lera, and the cartoon art is by Mihaljlo Dimitrievski. There are special rules for the two-player game but for us Viral is at its interactive best with four or five players. It's a fun 'take that' game that plays in around 60 minutes. Not to be sneezed at!

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