Vice Chancellor’s Cup highlights: The Cube

On Monday 22 January, 13 teams met in the Pavilion to take part in the highly anticipated 2024 edition of the VC’s Cup, ‘The Cube’.

The event, inspired by the former TV show, provides an immersive experience that blends problem-solving and team collaboration through a series of short but intense games. Throughout the evening teams not only worked together, but they also had the opportunity to collaborate with other teams, with some tasks requiring teams to join forces and combine their ideas to solve the problem or challenge before them.


The evening started at the Pavilion, overlooking the Kent Sport’s grounds and the Canterbury campus. The aim of each game was to preserve your ‘lives’, with five tasks to complete, each with five lives at stake. All teams took part in an ice-breaker game, called ‘Big Ball Bounce Off’, to compete for additional lives. This game involved teams working in pairs, standing on opposite sides of an exercise ball which had been placed inside a bucket. Teams were tasked with bouncing a small dodgeball off the exercise ball for their partner to then catch on the other side. Teams had 30 seconds to record as many successful catches as possible. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But this challenge was a lot harder than it looked with Marlowe’s Marauders scoring just five, the highest score and securing them an additional five bonus lives!

Following this initial ice-breaker, teams took to the floor to rotate around the following five games.

Game 1: The Cube Puzzle

Here, teams joined forces, finding themselves at the top of a T-shaped grid, each holding a letter of the phrase “The Cube”, they then had to reorganise themselves by moving one person at a time around the grid to spell out ‘The Cube’ in the opposing vertical grid. This challenge proved light work for our teams, with each team successfully completing the task and preserving all their lives.

Game 2: Mystery Rings

Working in their individual teams, each team was provided with 5 different coloured hula hoops; red, green, black, white and blue. Teams were then instructed to arrange the hoops correctly to create the Olympic rings logo. They had three attempts to complete this challenge, with the judge indicating any correct hoop positions before the team could have another go. Teams who succeeded after their first attempt were able to preserve all five lives, two attempts preserved three lives, and three attempts preserved just one life. Teams who were unable to successfully replicate the Olympic rings after three attempts subsequently lost all their lives.

Game 3: Code Names

Here, teams were combined and divided into the “coders” and the “code guessers”. The coders had a list of words which they needed to en-code with a one-word description which would help their team guess the correct word from their sheet. For example, the coder might say ‘bird’ which would correspond with the word ‘eagle’ on the guesser’s sheet, or ‘petrol’ which would match up with ‘fuel’. Each group had three minutes to guess all nine words correctly. Judges saw some fantastic collaboration and camaraderie with all teams completing the challenge.

Game 4: Great Minds Think Alike Card Game

Once again team found themselves working together to preserve their lives. Arranged in a circle, players were instructed to take a playing card from the pack, keeping the card’s identity to themselves. Players then, using the power of their mind only, were instructed to stand up in order of 2-Ace. Players who successfully stood in the correct order were safe, any players who stood incorrectly or before another player with a lower or higher value card reset the game and the cards were issued again to any remaining players until the whole team had successfully managed to stand in the correct order. All without speaking or communicating in any way!

Game 5: 400cm Hurdles

The final game of the rotation was a staple from the old television series. Groups split back into their original teams, each team putting one person forward at a time to face the hurdles. Before them were three hurdles of different heights. Sounds pretty easy, though teams soon discovered things were not as they seemed, with each player blindfolded before setting off to complete the course by stepping over each individual hurdle without knocking it off its stand. Additionally, team members were prohibited from communicating with their players during the course. Each team had 5 attempts to complete the challenge. Judges saw the success rate vary considerably, with some teams failing to complete the challenge entirely, such as Liquorice All Sports and other teams such as Marlowe’s Marauders, Infomaniacs and Fine Ants completing it first try!

Onward to Woody’s

At half time teams transitioned over to Woody’s for some refreshments and a freshenup before the second part of the evening was underway. Teams were each presented with a Where’s Wally sheet, tasked with finding the faces of the Sports Development team (and Wally of course). Heading into part two of the Cube, Marlowe’s Marauders sat in the top spot after preserving 28 lives, with Liquorice All Sports sitting bottom, 13 lives behind.

Game 6: Jenga Block Killer

The first game involved a fun adaptation of the popular Darts “Killer” game. Each team had a Jenga block with their name on it, which was sat in the middle of an upturned cone. To become a killer players had to bounce a table tennis ball into a neutral area before they could start attacking other teams. Lives were lost if a ball landed in the cone surrounding a team’s named block. This challenge saw lots of lives lost, and the leaderboard to dramatically shake-up. Some of the hardest-hit teams were leaders, Marlowe Marauders and Infomaniacs and underdogs Liquorice All Sports.

Game 7: Destiny Dice

The next game was Destiny Dice, a very simple concept but with great consequences for the overall standings. Teams had to choose a number between 1-6 to stand next to in hopes that their number was not rolled on the dice. Teams could decide for the first three rounds to split their team members up to have a higher chance of success. When a number was rolled, any players standing by that number were out and life was deducted from their team’s total. On the final roll, the remaining players were instructed to combine with any other team members still playing, choosing a number to all stand against. Lucky number six proved to be the winning number, avoiding any rolls, meaning any plays left standing here won one extra life per team member for their team. This proved to be a lifeline for some!

Game 8: Limitless Lives

The final game before the quarter-finals was “Limitless Lives” a game inspired by Ant and Dec’s new game show “Limitless Win”. Six questions were posed, with each answer being a number. All questions were about aspects of the University whether that be the number of seats in the Gulbenkian cinema or the number of sports courts in the Sports Centre. Each team made a guess for the correct number, with a safe zone created for each question, meaning any team whose guess landed within that safe zone lost no lives. If an answer was exactly correct then lives would be gained. Falling outside of the safe zone resulted in lost points. After this round we had our top 8: Fine Ants, Marlowe’s Marauders, DoNATS, Liquorice All Sports, Keepers of the Keys, Flu Fighters, Infomaniacs and RISistence is Futile.

Ball Bounce (Quarter-Finals)

The quarter-finalists then went head-to-head in an elimination game. The game was simple, bounce a volleyball into an upturned bucket. Following some tense bounces, DoNATS, Marlowe’s Marauders, Keepers of the Keys and surprisingly Liquorice All Sports bounced into the semi-finals after some tactical wins.

Colour Dice Tower Block Build (Semi-Finals)

Each team put forward a player who was provided with a bucket containing four different coloured stacking blocks, each colour corresponded with one of four coloured dice. Chief of games, Oli, rolled out all four coloured dice, allowing them to settle before releasing the contestants to begin building their block towers to match the numbers rolled on each dice. For example, a rolled six on a green dice would mean building a tower of six green blocks. The first team to stack the number of blocks correctly was the winner. Amazingly, in an epic comeback, Liquorice All Sports found themselves heading into the final against last year’s Cube winners, DoNATs.

End to End

With our two finalists decided, the battle for 3rd place was on between Marlowe’s Marauders and Keepers of the Keys. The game involved rolling a pool ball down the table to bounce off the far cushion and eventually rebound and stop as close to the baulk line as possible. With carefully placed rolls, Keepers of the Keys took the win in this best out of three games to secure 3rd place!

Triangle of Fire (Final)

The final between DoNATS and Liquorice All Sports was decided by a triangle of fire. Sounds dangerous! With a set of pool balls positioned in their usual triangle formation at the bottom of the table, each member had to roll the ball so that it bounced off all three surrounding cushions (without touching the triangle of balls) and come to a stop in the baulk area. After a number of goes, some good some atrocious, it was amazingly Liquorice All Sports who came out on top! An unbelievable turnaround from starting the games at Woody’s in last place! Even the team couldn’t believe their luck as they celebrated this epic victory, dethroning DoNATS and leaving them in second place!

Thank you to all teams who came out for The Cube, it was a fantastic turnout with teams having a lot of fun. Congratulations to Liquorice All Sports for winning the event, with DoNATS in second place and Keepers of the Keys in third. The FairPlay award for this event goes to the Flu Fighters who were incredibly supportive of all the teams and had a great smile on their faces throughout!

We’re looking forward to the next event, indoor rounders on 6 and 8 February. Keep up to date will all the VC’s Cup news and results on our webpage!

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