CPU Wars: Top Trumps with CPUs

CPU Wars is a Top-Trumps-style game whose play-tokens are cards bearing the likeness and specifications of various CPUs (what else?) through the ages, from 8088s up to contemporary 64-bit multicores. It was produced with the help of a successful Kickstarter, and is now available as a normal object of commerce, with regular expansion packs.

CPU Wars is a trump card game built by geeks for geeks. For Volume 1.0 we chose 30 CPUs that we believe had the greatest impact on the desktop history. The game is ideally played by 2 or 3 people. The deck is split between the players and then each player takes a turn and picks a category that they think has the best value. We have chosen the most important specs that could be numerically represented, such as maximum speed achieved and maximum number of transistors. It's lots of fun, it has a bit of strategy and can be played during a break or over a coffee.

CPU WARS - The Card Game / SHOP


  1. You think your Commodore 64 is “really neato” —
    What kinda chip you got in there, a Dorito?

  2. I’m no CPU expert, but I wonder if this set of cards would suffer from a playability issue.  That is, since CPUs tend to get better in every category over time, you wouldn’t have the skill component where you learn which of the categories for a particular card is unusually strong/weak.  

    To illustrate the point, I’d say the Athlon shown above beats/equals the PowerPC in everything, although it depends on how you interpret “better” for some of the fields – I’d say the 65nm is better than 90nm despite being numerically smaller.  Not sure about the die size, though!

    And I’ll just include this, in case it tickles any other middle-aged reader’s nostalgia bone.

    1. I believe the arrow to the left of the category name indicates whether higher or lower is better. If that’s true, the PowerPC beats the Athlon in three categories: Introduction Year, Die Size, and Max TDP. They tie in Data Width, and the Athlon is better in the four remaining categories. Not a bad match-up.

  3. I’m disappointed that there’s no Intel 4004 card – at the very least for historical reasons.
    It could be the equivalent of  ‘Enchanted Bunny ‘ or ‘Small Rock’ inMystic Warlords of Ka’a.

    Still, I ordered it.

    1. Hi Paul, thanks for the order! I didn’t include the 4004 because although it was the first microprocessor it wasn’t used in what we would now call a desktop computer. I would like to add it in a later version if I manage to get a hold of one.

  4. A bit outdated. AMD has introduced chips, called APU’s that put the GPU on the same chip as the CPU. I was going to use an APU in my latest machine, but decided that a 6 core Athlon 2 was better suited to my needs.

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