Food, Global Health 3 min

Save sick cows in “Battle for Cattle,” a free science strategy game

Race against time to save cows from the scourge of antibiotic resistance, this addictive new strategy game enables its players to learn about the European research efforts to make the world’s first synthetic vaccine against the deadly Mycoplasma bacteria. It was developed in close collaboration with INRAE researchers and other world-leading European scientists, as part of the MycoSynVac research project.

Published on 09 March 2020

illustration Save sick cows in “Battle for Cattle,” a free science strategy game

“Battle for Cattle” is now available in 10 languages, online at and at the Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, for iOS and Android devices respectively. It was devised by the Austrian science communication company Biofaction.

“Battle for Cattle” enables its players to understand the role of pathogens, antibiotics, and vaccines by becoming vaccine developers themselves. The players begin in a colourful, fun farm, where they find themselves confronted with sick cows. Gradually learning about antibiotics, and the problem of antibiotics overuse, players are challenged by a surge in antibiotic resistance and their inability to combat the resistant pathogens. At this moment, the game introduces the principles of vaccines and their relevance. Over the course of several levels, the player takes control of the design of a synthetic biology vaccine as they try to save as many cows as possible.

“The science game 'Battle for Cattle' puts players in the position of scientists who want to solve a health problem for farm animals. The rather complex scientific challenges are translated into different game levels, to enable citizens of all ages and backgrounds to understand what it takes to develop a new vaccine!”, explains Camillo Meinhart from Biofaction, one of the developers of the game.


What do MycoSynVac and “Battle for Cattle” deal with

The game was developed as part of the MycoSynVan project, which is financed by the European Union Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020. MycoSynVac aims to solve antibiotic resistance in farm animals by designing vaccines using synthetic biology. Every year countless cows, pigs, and chickens are dosed with large amounts of antibiotics in order to control disease outbreaks and avoid significant economic losses. However, excessive use of antibiotics in livestock farming gives rise to antibiotic resistance—a hot topic that specifically affects humans.

Developed in close collaboration between scientists from the MycoSynVac project and designers from Biofaction, “Battle for Cattle” has been made available, for free, to science enthusiasts, teachers, students, and anyone interested in current issues and research. The game was released in 10 languages and for multiple formats: online at and at the Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store for iOS and Android devices respectively.

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Learn more

Food, Global Health

When bacteria adapt to new antimicrobials

PRESS RELEASE - The rise of antibiotic resistance jeopardizes current treatments and encourages the search for new targets for antibacterial agents. A new type of antibiotic is being developed to defeat the multi-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus. INRA researchers and their colleagues from the Cochin Institute (INSERM, CNRS, and University of Paris) have questioned the rationale behind the choice of this target. Their results, published in Cell Reports (17 December 2019), demonstrate how an infected host can offer bacteria ways to escape1 despite being treated with this new kind of antibiotic.

18 December 2019


Taking the bull by the horns

The Cattle Genetics and Genomics Team at INRAE (born January 1, 2020 from the merger of INRA and IRSTEA) Jouy-en-Josas has started a revolution in livestock production. By developing a new way for the industry to select sires, the team made it possible for the widest range of livestock farmers to better align their breeding programmes with their desired outcomes. Genomic selection improves a farm’s competitiveness, the quality of its products and the health of its animals, and will contribute to reducing the impact of livestock farming on the environment.

16 December 2016