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Game Review

The computer crime card game

Author: Steve Jackson
Steve Jackson Games
Game © 1992 Steve Jackson Games Incorporated
Hacker in play

3-6 Players60+ minutes


In 1990, Steve Jackson Games was raided by the U.S. Secret Service during a hacker investigation. This game was written as a parody of that situation.

Each player is a computer hacker -- your goal is to gain access to the most computers on an ever growing computer network.


To start, each player is dealt several system cards (the number of cards dealt varies with the number of players in the game.) Players in turn each place one card onto the table to form the starting network. Once all of these cards are placed, regular play begins.

A normal turn goes in this sequence:

  1. Roll for crashed systems -- if there are crashed systems on the net, roll to see if they become "un-crashed."

  2. Roll for house cleaning -- if there are too many hackers on a system, or a systme becomes "un-crashed," the computer administrator may remove unauthorized accounts.

  3. Draw a card -- if it is a new system card, it is placed in the net. Otherwise, the player uses the special action cards as specified.

From here the player may:

  • Skip the remainder of his/her turn for a system upgrade (that is, get bonuses to dice rolls.)


  1. Hack -- roll to gain access onto a computer.

  2. Phreak -- give friends a chance to gain access on a machine where you already have access.

  3. Nark -- try to get opponents thrown off of systems.

The "Hack" phase is the most important of the game. When a player hacks, there are two types of accounts they can gain -- regular or root. Gaining a root account allows extra bonuses for hacking into similar computer systems as well as giveing the player extra protection against housecleaning.

When a hack fails, the player's roll must be above the security number for the system, otherwise you get raided lose all of your system upgrades! If a raid gets you busted...well, it's literally three strikes & you're out of the game...

Hacker closeup

Winning Conditions:

  • Short Game: The player who has access to 8 computers wins.

  • Long Game: The player who has access to 12 computers wins.

Our Opinion:

Thumbs Up! This game is infused with early 1990s computer jargon -- that's okay... that's when it was written. If you aren't familiar with computer networks from that time period, or even the current computer systems -- the humor in this game will fall flat.

As all of the Game Zombies here are computer professionals, and have been familiar with the internet for a long time, this game was a blast form the past and often quite amusing.

If you bought this game new -- the packaging of the game markers and consoles left a sour feeling -- the account markers were punch outs, but you have to risk the other pieces of the game by cutting them out of the printed cardboard. This is not a fun way to setup a game, but you only have to do it once.

The Zombies liked the game in general -- it was balanced, and funny. We especially liked getting the other players raided during play. However, the main complaint that anyone had afterward, besides long game length, was that by the end of the game it was difficult to keep track of all of your bonuses on each roll. When players can remember all of their bonuses, the game moves much faster.

If you successfully find this game for sale -- buy it at a reasonable price, we think you'll like it.

Where to buy:

Unfortunately, this game is out of print. If you want to purchase this game, try a used game auction at a game convention.

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