Hacker Wars streaming on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/57103028

Download the first Hacker Wars movie (1 hour) now (mp4 format, 700MB):

Hacker Wars 2: Synopsis

NeuralCorps has been hacked by notorious hacker Johnny Cocaine.  They are offering money, in the form of (real!) BitCoins to teams that will help find him and recover their intellectual property.



Hacker Wars 2 will be played out over months: online, in teams’ home towns, and at cons.  The finale, Judgment Day, will occur in Pittsburgh, PA, US, in late spring 2013 (attendance is not mandatory to play; see Prizes.)  Missions will be assigned, made available, or discovered; points will be awarded for accomplishing them to the satisfaction of NeuralCorps.  The number of points a mission is worth may or may not be known ahead of time.  You can outsource or trade missions; you can lie about them as well.

There will be a weekly video update posted, including video of teams accomplishing missions (or failing hilariously.)  Needless to say, clues and missions may be in the videos, in the official twitter feed, or stashed elsewhere on the Interwebs.  Some missions will be to set up missions for other teams.

Once again you can only hack (run digital exploits against) networks run by the GMs on private address space.  Once again, you will achieve the most points from accomplishing physical goals.  Teams can recruit new players and teams, but there is a maximum team size for scoring purposes (see Scoring.)

Players do not need to be local, although there will be a finale in Pittsburgh; two prizes are reserved for attendees of this event (Judgment Day.)  Teams are encouraged to recruit as many players as possible in their geographic location, as it greatly increases the scope of missions we can assign (even if they are “hostile” in-game.)

Players do not need to appear on video, although many missions will only receive points for being recorded on video.  Points will be weighted based on quality of video, but there is no requirement for the actual player to be onscreen.  Avatars, machinima, cartoons, visualizations can be used.  (See Video.)

Each player will need to register a single Bitcoin Wallet with the Gamemaster.  This will be their unique identifier.  The goal is to acquire as many Bitcoins as possible by the end date.  You don’t need to give your real name; multiple humans can be a single Player.  (see Bitcoins)


Do I have to be a "hacker"?

No!  Each team should have at least one member with technical expertise in areas such as security, programming, sys admin, etc.  General competence with computers and the Internet is highly desirable.  Other useful skills might be social engineering, (human / social) networking, photography, cartography, data analysis, intelligence tradecraft, fluency in multiple languages, photography / videography, art / design, physical infiltration / urban exploration, and, uh, dancing.

Are there teams?

Yes, and the highest scoring activities will be cooperative, team-based activities.  You can play solo though.

Can I sell out my teammates?

Yes, but see above: If you get caught, you’ll probably be booted and have a much harder time scoring points.  Remember, if another team pays you in BitCoins, your teammates will be able to see it (although possibly not know who paid it.)

Can I have a team that’s geographically dispersed?

It’s not forbidden, but team missions will generally be (legal!) physical infiltration, surveillance, dead drops, contacts, etc.  So if the team is willing to travel to accomplish those (or just forego all of those points), they can.

Team size

Minimum 2 (so one can hold a camera), maximum 4 for point dispersal, but you can cooperate with other teams (for example, to get something you need from a different city.)  If you’re a solo player you won’t be able to do team missions, but there are lots of other ways to score.  You can also recruit new players (“assets”) to help you and pay them in BitCoins (or not).

Will there be a “secret” team like the Counterintelligence team in the first Hacker Wars?

No, you’ll be able to see how many players there are and what their BitCoin transactions are (and therefore their score), but not who they are or what team they represent.  There may be NPCs (Non-player characters) who make BitCoin transactions as well; the difference between a player and NPC will be non-obvious (and possibly irrelevant.)



How do I win?

Get the most BitCoins, duh.  There will be several prizes:

  1. Highest Individual Score Overall
  2. Highest Team Score Overall
  3. Highest Individual Scorer Who Is Present In Pittsburgh on Judgment Day
  4. Highest Scoring Team Who Has At Least One Member Present In Pittsburgh on Judgment Day
  5. Most Entertaining (Voted on by players, GMs, audience)
  6. There will also be awards for "leveling up"; that is, reaching certain score thresholds.  There is no limit to how many teams or players can get these.  Ranks
    1. Script Kiddie
    2. 1337
    3. Hax0r
    4. Ninja
    5. Rockstar



Can I mine new Bitcoins?


Can I simply buy Bitcoins and deposit them in my wallet?

No, only coins that are paid from another in-game wallet are acceptable.  Remember all transactions are public.  BUT, if you make a donation to the fund for running the game, your wallet will be credited with a (yet to be determined) percentage of the donation.

So I can buy my way to victory?

Theoretically, but it would probably be better ROI to simply sponsor the contest.


Bitcoins you accumulate may also be given to others to buy information, required by NPCs to give you information, or required to buy in to a mission.  In the latter two cases, whatever you’re buying will hold the possibility of returning more than what you spent.  In player-to-player transactions…. Caveat emptor!

Can I keep my Bitcoins at the end?

Um, sure.  The smallest value Bitcoin transaction is currently worth about $0.0000001 so if you’re really good, you might clear a penny.


Some points will be awarded for team activities.  Each team member gets the same number of points regardless of participation; this is because people have other lives and real jobs and might not always be able to participate.

Other points will be available to individuals, so people can play who might not have a team.  Also, individuals on a team can work toward a higher individual score even if the rest of their team is not available.


Why “The Hunt For Johnny Cocaine”?

Because I wanted to make it edgier.  Warning: Possible NSFW content.  You can always skip missions you aren’t comfortable with.  If your team accomplishes it, you still get the points too.



The highest points will be from turning in video of certain missions being accomplished.  However, points will be deducted for poor quality video.  Here are some tips we learned from the first Hacker Wars:

  • Keep the camera still, preferably on a tripod or solid surface.
  • Actual cameras are better than the ones on smartphones.
  • People being filmed should move slowly.
  • Please film at 30fps. Please.
  • Film more than you think you need.
  • More lights is generally good.
  • Aim the camera at people's faces, not their feet, groin or breasts!


How do I sign up?

Form a team.  Each player needs a Bitcoin Wallet! Then contact me: dan at bizling dot com or @dklinedinst on Twitter.  You’ll need a team and individual profile, which you can make public or not.  But I need them to create the story and missions.

I can’t help individuals find teammates.

Send me:

  1. Team name
  2. Home city, state / province, country
  3. Each player's handle
  4. Each player's real name (optional)
  5. Each player's BitCoin wallet address (e.g., 1MgA3SPgpbT5Lx9KiLy5T9QFGGam95NWR9)
  6. At least an email address for each player.  Phone number or a way to text you are also useful.
  7. A photo (headshot).  If you get burned, this may become a clue!
  8. A short dossier of each player.  This can be fictional but should list real, relevant skills, like programming or photography.  This will be used by various groups in the game to recruit you / fit you in to the story.

Points Available to everyone:

100 points - If you RT or other wise publicly post @dklinedinst's official launch tweet

500 points - If you recruit a new team

200 points - If you recruit a new solo player

Sign up bonus (must provide me your Bitcoin Wallet number):

1000 points - If I get it by 11/18

500 points - If I get it by 11/25

200 points - If I get it by 11/30


When does it start?

Now!  The sooner you sign up, the more points you can get.

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