CPU Wars – Numbers and CPU lexis practice

The #EAPchat gaming blog challenge is an opportune time to write about CPU Wars, a Top Trumps modelled card game that I use with first year engineering students to practice numbers and CPU related vocabulary.

In the deck, there are 30 cards of desktop CPUs from the last 40 years. I use a blown up A3 photocopy of one of the cards to show the class. I point out the various characteristics and clarify any questions. A common question is about the unit for the max bus speed, GT/s, which stands for giga transfers per second. Although I have yet to do this a possible extension is to get them to read up on this and explain it to the class.

CPU Wars example cards

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As there are 30 cards in a pack, you need to make groups into a number that divides into 30. My typical engineering class is 12 so I usually make 3 groups of 4 students or 6 groups of 2 students depending on how much time I want to devote to the game, i.e. 6 groups for longer game play sessions.

I deviate from the usual rules by allowing each group to nominate their category in turn rather than the winner of the previous round. I also make sure that each person in the group has a go at saying a category and its value.

CPU Wars how to play card

Click to enlarge

The game is great to practice pronuncuation of numbers and CPU related vocabulary. One could also use the short descriptions under each CPU photo, for example, in a scan reading/multiple matching type task though I have yet to do this. In addition one could make use of this document explaining the various categories.

There are plans for a deck based on mobile phone cpus, exciting stuff!

Hope you pick up a pack after reading this post.