top of page

Immunitarium Challenge - Playful initiation

to immunology

This game allows you to acquire the following notions

Understanding of the immune system and the cells that protect us

Discovery  defense techniques against infectious agents


strategy and focus

Resource management and decision making

When  immunology becomes child's play...

2. Description of the game and objective

The game has  of 3 categories of cards:

  • Immune defenses composed of innate and adaptive immunity cells as well as regulatory and memory cells;

  • Infectious agents represented by viruses and bacteria;

  • Special cards such as energy foods, vaccines and  Immune System Escape and Immunosenescence type effects  (Fig. 1).  

At the start of the game, each player receives a series of  cards constituting his  initial immune system  and its infectious cards as well as a capital of energy points. In  3 or 4 player mode, "Objectives" cards are also dealt (Fig. 2).

1. Concept

Immunitarium  Challenge is a  card game  educational for 2 to 4 players to understand how our immune system works and how it interacts with the infectious agents that surround us.

This game is aimed at young people (from 10  years) as to the older ones.

Figure 1. Overview of card categories

The objective of the game is to develop  a strong immune defense combined with an effective infectious strategy to overcome its adversaries.  The winner is the player who manages to exhaust his opponent's energy or reach his goal in multiplayer mode.

3. Categories of cards and their effects


   3.1. Immune defenses

Our immune system is made up  of different types of cells, each playing well-defined roles in order to protect us against viral infections and  bacteria. Some cells are able to attack infectious agents in a "non-specific" way (innate immune cells), and others act in a specific way  (adaptive immunity cells) (Fig. 3). In addition, our immune cells produce cytotoxic substances and antibodies to fight infectious agents.

  • The actors of innate immunity


    •   NK cells  non-specifically attack alpha and delta viruses. They secrete cytotoxic substances represented by the symbol        (red chips - Fig. 4).

       •  Macrophages  non-specifically attack alpha and delta type bacteria. They secrete cytotoxic substances represented by the symbol         (red chips - Fig. 4).

  • The actors of adaptive immunity


       •  B cells  specifically attack alpha or delta type bacteria. They secrete antibodies represented by the symbol        (gray tokens - Fig. 4).

          •  CD8+ T cells  specifically attack alpha or delta type viruses. They secrete cytotoxic substances represented by the symbol        (red chips - Fig. 4).

Figure 2. Game setup at the start of the game in mode two  players

Figure 3. Example of a player's field of play

       •     CD4+ T cells  help B lymphocytes and CD8+ T lymphocytes to secrete more antibodies and cytotoxic substances and act in a specific way according to the alpha or delta type of the infectious agent. In other words, a card  CD4+ T lymphocyte” alone does not generate antibodies or cytotoxic substances. It must be associated with cards "  CD8+ B or T cells  to exert its effect (doubling of antibodies or cytotoxic substances produced by an immune response directed against an infectious agent).

  • Memory cells


When a player manages to eliminate an infectious agent by establishing an effective immune response, the player can choose a card "  Immune memory  » corresponding to one of the lymphocytes used during the established immune response (B or CD8+ T or CD4+ T lymphocytes) and  of the same type (alpha or delta) as the infectious agent eliminated. 

The cards "  Immune memory  are then deposited on the player's playing area and constitute immediately usable immune defenses during subsequent exposure to a new infectious agent of the same type.​

  • Regulatory cells

           •     Regulatory T/B cells  eliminate CD8+ T, CD4+ T or B lymphocytes.

          •      NK Cells Regulators  eliminate NK cells.

Figure 4. Example of tokens

3.2.  Infectious agents


A player can launch an infectious attack by placing one of these cards in another player's play area. These cards inflict an energy cost at the end of each turn as long as the attacked player fails to clear the infection. Lost energy points are given to the attacking opponent (“  infectious tribes  "). Since a player can be subject to several infectious attacks initiated by different opponents in the 3 or 4 player mode, tokens  are used to identify adversaries behind infectious attacks. The emblems of these tokens  represent disease vectors such as mosquito, dog/wolf, bat and tick  (Fig. 5). 

Thus, when a player launches an attack, he places a black token on the infectious agent's card in order to identify himself and perceive his "  infectious tribes  » in the next round(s). 

Figure 5.  Example of "Vector" tokens

Picture 6.  Example of infectious agent

Infectious agents are the target of the following immune cells  :

            •   Bacteria  are attacked by macrophages and B lymphocytes.

           •   Viruses are attacked by NK cells and CD8+ T cells.

The symbol      represents power  infectious  of a virus or bacteria. The power  infectious  defines the number of red (cytotoxic substances) and/or gray (antibody) tokens to accumulate to eliminate the infectious agent (Fig. 6).

3.3.  The special cards


  • Vaccines make it possible to obtain cards "  Immune memory  by becoming immunized against infectious agents. The use of a card  Vaccine  has an energy cost. The player must put the required two energy points on the card when it is activated. The map "  Vaccine  "can be exchanged into a card"  Immune memory  after two rounds. The player can choose the type of infectious agent (alpha or delta) as well as the desired lymphocyte category (B or T CD4+ or T CD8+).


  • Immune system evasion represents the ability of an infectious agent to evade immune defenses by mutating. Using this card removes 3 antibody points and  3 points of cytotoxic substances in another player.

  • Immunosenescence represents the reduced efficiency of an aging immune system. The use of this card eliminates a card "  Immune memory  from another player.

Considering the explanations mentioned above, Figure 7  illustrates an example of a player's playing field being played in mode two  players.

Picture 7.  Example of a player's field of play during a game in mode two  players

The Immunitarium Challenge game  is at a stage  pilot. We would love to hear your comments. 

The Immunitarium team is evaluating different options to continue the development of this game. We will keep you informed of the progress of this project.

Immerse yourself in the world of immunology by  directing your defenses  immune to infectious attacks

bottom of page