How to Fail Your Research Degree

This funny and engaging game teaches research skills to postgraduate students.

“How to Fail Your Research Degree” is an educational game for 1-4 players or teams.

You are a student, undertaking a master’s degree at an unusually busy and calamitous stage of your life. Can you plan and undertake your research well enough to pass whilst dealing with a flooded library, your sister’s unexpected wedding, and the many other distractions of life?

How to Fail Your Research Degree was created to deliver knowledge and understanding of research processes and techniques, within the context of a postgraduate training programme at Glasgow School of Art. Development was in relation to the concepts of encouraging creativity and risk-taking within a safe game environment and of learning by (potentially) failing. Game characteristics and intended learning outcomes were defined, leading to game mechanics and text that emphasise player agency, working within a time limit, and humour. Evaluation shows that the game is highly successful at delivering the intended learning outcomes and is a memorable and enjoyable complement to a research skills course.

After playing this game, students should be able to:

1. Understand the various risks affecting research and their impact on projects
2. Recognise dependencies between tasks at different stages of research
3. Understand the interrelations of different risks with the activities to negate or mitigate them
4. Be aware of the time-critical nature of short research projects


Poker DeckPoker Deck (1 deck of 22 cards)
Poker DeckPoker Deck (1 deck of 21 cards)
Poker DeckPoker Deck (1 deck of 22 cards)
Micro DeckMicro Deck (1 deck of 101 cards)
Micro DeckMicro Deck (1 deck of 80 cards)
Micro DeckMicro Deck (1 deck of 72 cards)
Micro DeckMicro Deck (1 deck of 56 cards)
NOTE: This game contains laser cut components. Laser cut items will have a slight amount of soot around the edges, which can easily be wiped off; and will have a campfire smell for about a week after you open them.



Action Shots



Cool Factors

  • Fully evaluated against intended learning outcomes
  • Memorable and fun way to learn research skills
  • See for further research


DesignerDaisy Abbott's Games
Average Rating (2)
Publish DateJune 01, 2017
DepartmentBoard Games
AudienceStudents / Teachers
More InfoHow to Fail Your Research Degree web site

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