Here's a list of board or card games that are based, more or less, on computer programming, along with a description. The games range from obscure to humorous.
Note that I have not played any of these myself, but some of them look like they might be interesting as teaching tools. A few look like they might actually be fun.
I'm still waiting for "Ruby: The Board Game". Hey, if Fortran can have its own game... (see below).
1. c-jump - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/18731
Discover the fundamentals of computer programming by playing a board game! c-jump helps children to learn basics of programming languages, such as C, C++ and Java.
The game teaches basic commands of a programming language, such as "if", "else", "switch", and introduces variable "x" concept.
Skiers and snowboarders line up at the start location and race along the ski trails. Spaces on the board show statements of programming language. First player to move all skiers past the finish line is the winner.
Players calculate number of steps in the move, including addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication of small numbers. The game helps to develop understanding of a complete computer program, formed by logical sequences of commands.
2. Extreme Programming Playing Cards - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/39054
The game contains a deck of 100 cards. There are Problem, Solution, and Value cards. Oh, and a Joker card, of course. The intention of these cards is to help people to understand the methodology behind Extreme Programming and improve the way they practice XP.
3. Programmer's Nightmare - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/3564
In this game, players take turns laying out program instructions with "ownership bits" on the cards they play, creating a long line of interrelating program instructions that become more complicated as the program builds. Finally, a player will play a RUN card and set the program running. Who will survive the convolutions of the program? That's anyone's guess; each player decides if and how their own program instructions will function!
4. Problems and Programmers - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/21999
Problems and Programmers is an educational software engineering card game. Featuring over 120 unique cards, it is intended to simulate the software development process from conception to completion. The game's players compete to finish their projects while avoiding the potential pitfalls of software engineering. These players will quickly learn that the strategies that will let them win the game are the same that will help them in the real world.
5. WFF 'N Proof - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/5663
As well as building WFFs (Well Formed Formulas), players must also try to reach a goal by using rules of inference.
For example: If the goal is 'p', a player could use the 'Ko' (or Conjunction Out) rule and use 'Kpq' as a premise. In other terms, if the following sentence is true: "The first games of WFF 'N PROOF are easy and the last games of WFF 'n PROOF are hard." Then it can be inferred that the following sentence is true: "The first games of WFF 'N PROOF are easy."
6. Boolean Rithmomachia - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/37003
This game was inspired by the medieval game Rithmomachy. But whereas in traditional Rithmomachy the pieces are labeled with natural numbers and captures are based on arithmetic progressions and geometric ratios, in Boolean Rithmomachy the pieces have binary nybbles 0000, 0001, ..., 1111 and captures are based on the logical operations AND, OR, XOR, NOT.
For good measure, the board has also been updated from two dimensions to three.
7. bOOleO - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/40943
bOOleO is a card game which combines strategy card play with the concepts of Boolean logic. Players must race to resolve an initial binary number to a single specific bit. This is accomplished through the use of logical gates.
8. Virus Fight - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/33838
This is a perfect information abstract game with a light theme of computer programming. Each player builds a small program that then modifies itself and the other programs on the board, trying to isolate the instruction marker of the other players so that it's the only running program in the memory.
9. Management Material IT Edition - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/7259
Management Material is a card game with a corporate theme where the players try to win by avoiding being promoted to management. This is done by playing Excuse cards to avoid the Project cards and passing the Project to the next player. Other players may also play Recognition cards on you, which make it more difficult to get out of the project with an Excuse. Ultimately, some player will end up completing the Project, and that player adds the card to their completed projects, pushing them closer to the 30 points necessary to be identified as Management Material and losing the game. The last player that avoids being promoted to management wins the game. Event cards provide an additional randomizing element.
10. Fortran - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/17948
The elements of how a computer program works are learned as players move through the program, entering values on three different "counters," and transferring results to their own "printers".
11. Hacker - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1250
This is the computer crime card game inspired by the 1990 Secret Service raid on Steve Jackson Games. Play is similar to Illuminati except players play cards as part of the ever-expanding "Net" in the center of the table instead of having individual card stacks. Players use indials to break into systems and gain root access. Upgrade your hacking tools, deal with other hackers for access, phreak others onto your system, etc. is all part of the game. Avoid ICE and law enforcement raids to gain the greatest number of root access sites and win the game.
12. Bugs & Looops - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/27706
Players program a simple Turing Machine, also known as a State Machine. One cube, called the pointer is positioned opposite a line of 7 other cubes, called the tape. For each state that the pointer/tape is in, a player writes an instruction changing the state, and moving the pointer. Points are scored for the number of times the pointer moves, unless the pointer moves past the end of the tape (a bug) or gets trapped in an endless cycle of instructions (a loop).
13. Processing - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/41725
You just finished your program, right on time. Now you only need to process it through the computer and print your report; it’s going to be a major breakthrough for mankind.
As you go by the hall, you see that strange fellow that works at the other end of the laboratory, and, of course, you never liked him. As you walk you realise he is going to the same computer room as you. He also realises this and, running, you both enter the computer room.
You argue, the lab rat responses, "I was here first!" Just as the dispute was going backwards in evolution, the technician says the stupidest thing: "Why don’t we share the computer?"
You agree, but you know that the computer only has 4 slots for 8 computing boards; you intend to be smarter than him and have your program processed as soon as possible.