This article is more than 3 years old

Fun and games for the university lockdown

On the Registrarism blog, Paul Greatrix cracks open the board games for the end of term
This article is more than 3 years old

Paul Greatrix is Registrar at The University of Nottingham, author and creator of Registrarism and a Contributing Editor of Wonkhe.

In these lockdown days there have been many new opportunities to share quality time playing games with family and friends both face to face and online.

As part of Wonkhe’s public service remit (such as it is) it seemed timely therefore to remind everyone of the higher ed gaming landscape including simulations and games for learning.

We’ve looked here before at various different ways in which games have played a part in university life from these simulations to the use of escape rooms in teaching and learning and of course there are the games emerging from higher education enterprise including these Austen-themed activities and the very latest in simulated campus life courtesy of the Sims 4 Discover University Expansion Pack, where Sims enrol before exploring “collegiate experiences” and enjoying extracurricular activities:

Take classes that set your Sims up for success in engineering, education, or law careers. Discover robotics and ping-pong, plus make some mischief pulling pranks against the rival school. Study hard, sleep in, and high-five the school mascot – just make sure to keep those grades up!

You can see the exciting trailer here which shows you all the things the Sims can get up to at the older University of Britechester or more modern Foxbury Institute.

Monopolising the fun

Among the old favourites there are also more games of university monopoly than can any alumni officer could possibly imagine including unofficial ones such as this University of Michigan edition which will no doubt appeal to students, staff and alumni:


And very competitively priced too.

In the UK, university monopoly sector things are a bit more official like this example from the University of Kent:

Monopoly is the fast-dealing property trading game that everybody loves. The University of Kent, in celebration of its 50th Anniversary, has commissioned a special edition. Now you can play this classic game with a University of Kent customised version. Be rewarded for achieving high grades, pay Masters’ fines for ignoring the noise ban and lose a turn because you are lost in Eliot. Or were you in Rutherford? Relive those students days with hours of fun and reminiscences.

Top of the heap

But I do think that the most popular lockdown game for wonks is likely to be the card game which so recently set the higher education community alight – University Top Trumps.



Each card in the Wonkhe University Top Trumps pack shows a list of data about the university. In this best-selling set the items covered are:

  • Year university was founded
  • Times Good University Guide ranking
  • Research Grant Income
  • TEF Rating

As a brief reminder of the rules (far more robust than TEF), all the cards are dealt among the players (for extra fun the players may decide to be a vice chancellor or a registrar). There must be at least two players, and at least one card for each player. The starting player (normally the player sitting on the Dean’s left) selects a category from his or her topmost card and reads out its value. Each other player then reads out the value of the same category from their cards. The best (usually the largest; in the case of the year of origin though, lower is considered better) value wins the “trick”, and the winner takes all the cards of the trick and places them at the bottom of his or her pile. The winner then looks at their new topmost card, and chooses the category for the next round or ‘semester’. There is also the exciting new Campus Lockdown set for particularly experienced players.

In the event of a draw the cards are placed in the quad and a new category is chosen from the next card by the same person as in the previous round. The winner of that round obtains all of the cards in the quad as well as the top card from each player.

Players are eliminated when they lose their last card, and the ‘Chancellor’ is the player who obtains the whole pack.

Order now to avoid disappointment

Some great games available then for locked down higher education wonks. Place your orders now for delivery in around September.

And if you run out of games to play there is always the excitement offered by listening to the University Registrars Talking About Stuff podcast. There are plenty of episodes available covering a whole range of topics, none of them remotely relevant to the Coronavirus crisis.

Leave a Reply