Tag Archive | top trumps

# Galaxy Zoo Top Trumps!

Here in the Oxford University astrophysics group we’ve been thinking about astronomy games to play with the school and public groups that come to our telescope evenings — do you remember the “Top Trumps” card game? Well how about “Galaxy Top Trumps”?!

If you grew up in the UK then you may have spent your school lunch hour playing this game. It’s a really simple card game: each pack of Top Trumps has a theme – cars, footballers, fighter planes, now they cover pretty much anything you can imagine (except galaxies). For example, each card in a cars pack would have a picture of a car and a handful of numbers for that car, such as its top speed or fuel consumption. The player on the dealer’s left chooses one of these numbers, and players compare the number on the top card in each of their hands. The card with the best number wins the trick, and its owner collects the other cards. Play continues until one player holds all the cards, or lunch hour ends and double maths begins, whichever comes first!

At school we became experts on cars as a result of playing this game (did you know that a diesel Ford Fiesta uses three times less fuel per kilometre than a Land Rover Discovery?). So, we had a first go at making astronomical Top Trumps – we made a pack for stars, and one for planets, and are finding that playing the game is a great way of introducing these objects to people, showing them the wide range of things out there, and giving them an idea of their relative properties. (Did you know that Saturn’s moon Titan is bigger than Mercury? And Betelgeuse is 140,000 times brighter than the Sun?)

Now we’d like to make a Galaxy pack, and we’d like your help! We think galaxies are a perfect theme, and we should be able to design a pack that is fun to play and through which people can learn a little bit about the amazing objects in the Zoo. Designing a mathematically perfect pack can get complicated, as James Grime explains in this great video, so for now we just want to focus on cool galaxies and good numbers to pick!

So, which galaxies and which attributes? There are some starting thoughts below, but what we really want are your ideas! What numbers would you like to see on the cards? Are we missing an interesting class of object? Did we forget your favourite galaxy?! Let us know!