We are very excited about the availability of our new computer security-themed card game, Control-Alt-Hack®. We hope you enjoy it and play it yourself. If you like it, we also hope that you take the opportunity to share it with your family, friends, students, and colleagues.
What it is: Control-Alt-Hack® was designed to be a fun way to get people exposed to computer security terminology and to think about the role that computer security plays in their lives. We focused on making it fun to play so that people would come back and play again and, in doing so, absorb some of the educational material that we embedded within the game. Little to no technical knowledge is required to play the game. From an educational perspective, Control-Alt-Hack® is designed to help increase the awareness and understanding of high-level security concepts amongst those who play the game or interact with the cards: a player might become a little more aware of an attacker's potential ingenuity, might rethink the breadth of technologies impacted by computer security issues, or might learn about the skills involved with being a security professional. (And if you're already knowledgable about computer security, you'll probably notice a bunch of the inside jokes or references to real incidents and events.)
What it is not: Control-Alt-Hack® is not meant to teach hands-on security skills. If this is your goal in using Control-Alt-Hack®, then we suggest that you use the game to bootstrap a more focused educational activity.
If you're in industry and interested in using the game to help raise security awareness amongst fellow employees, please see the For Industry page for information about how to use Control-Alt-Hack® in a corporate environment.
To see a video that describes some of our learning objectives, please see our BlackHat 2012 talk. This game description starts at 10:55, and includes a slideshow walkthrough of a round of gameplay.
Getting over the learning curve: Control-Alt-Hack® has a number of rules; for those not familiar with this style of game, it can take a little time to get the hang of gameplay. If you're planning on using the game as an in-class activity, we suggest showing the gameplay instructional video and/or having a group play the game ahead of time in order to seed multiple gameplay groups.
Talk back to us: Of course, our ideas are only a starting point. We hope to hear from you with improvements and suggestions for new activities! You can reach out to all three of us at email@example.com. You can also send us feedback or questions via the Feedback Form or by posting public reviews on Amazon.
Availability: Educators (in academia and industry) can submit a request for one or more free copies of the game via this form. To make this game available to as many people as possible, it is also being sold commercially via Amazon by RGB Hats, LLC.
Keep in the loop: We plan to share more information about possible educational and industry activities soon. If you are interested in learning more, please subscribe to our announcements mailing list by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with subscribe as the body or subject line of your email. (To unsubscribe, send an email from your subscribed account with the word unsubscribe as the body or subject line of your email.)
PG-14 heads up: We hope that you will take the time to read through all the cards before using Control-Alt-Hack® especially if you are an educator of teens or pre-teens; however, in case you do not have the opportunity, we want to call your attention to some particular cards which may not be appropriate for all audiences. While—as representatives of the University of Washington and as individuals—we strive to be tasteful, humor and playfulness can often incorporate innuendo or other contextually sensitive topics. Depending on your particular policies and audience, you may wish to remove some of the cards from the game. Removing these cards does have an effect on gameplay balance, but the game can still be played without them. We call out the cards that we believe are most likely to raise objections here.
Steve Jackson Games, Intel, NSF, and ACM SIGCSE: We built Control-Alt-Hack® on top of the Ninja Burger card game mechanics, and we wish to thank Steve Jackson and Steve Jackson Games for licensing the Ninja Burger Burger mechanics to us. We thank Intel Labs, the U.S. National Science Foundation, and the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education for making this game and its distribution possible. The game contents are solely the responsibility of us as the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of Steve Jackson Games or our funders.
Thank you very much, and happy hacking!