Graduates and Gorillas: the game

custom decals, CUUSOO, exhibited, game, Graduates and Gorillas, the lego show

Graduates and Gorillas was my second most ambitious project (behind The EvilMode Movie), and this MOC was one of my attempts at a LEGO Ideas (née CUUSOO) project. At the time I had pondered where I would take the idea, and making a board game around the concept seemed like a good idea – although I’ve never actually played a LEGO Games board game.

You’ll see that this MOC is one of the few online with custom nanofigures (game-sized minifigures). Removing the printing from these nanofigures proved challenging, particularly from the leg crevice, but eventually they had opaque waterslide decals applied to represent the characters. If there was a singular end goal I wanted to achieve with this game, it would have been to have those nanofigures officially made – particularly the Gorillas.

To drum up support for the concept (which we were told was all about presentation), I went as far as making a Flash version of the game, to demonstrate how the game would be played. The Flash game took a good three months to develop and refine, and was eventually uploaded to Newgrounds, where it debuted with a score of 3.5 out of 5.

Imagine how disappointed I was that people instead complained about the Flash game, instead of looking at and/or supporting the project. My response was to add cutomisable options to the game, allowing the players to change the rules as they wanted, as the main concern was that the game was too difficult.

I guess what didn’t come across effectively was that Graduates and Gorillas: the game was more about strategy than anything else. While initially it would be easier to play as Bristowe and the Gorillas, I’ve demonstrated that it is possible for the Graduates to win – even against the computer!
Let’s not forget that Games sets encouraged people to change the rules of the game, and maybe even come up with a completely new game, with the parts they have.

Unfortunately the CUUSOO project reached less than 100 supporters after several months. In fairness it had a disadvantage because of the Games theme eventually being phased out, but as with many of my endeavours it was generally ignored when it was live.

Graduates and Gorillas: the game was exhibited as part of my display at The LEGO Show 2012.

Back story

This game was for between two and four players, divided into two teams: one team controlling the Graduates, the other controlling Bristowe and the Gorillas. Each player takes turns rolling the die.

The game die has six sides: two each of one and two, one Gorilla face (black) and a cross face (red).


  • The Graduates start in the middle of the board on the Dark Tan spaces, and their objective is to capture Bristowe on the balcony.

  • Rolling a one allows the respective Graduate to move one spaces horizontally or vertically.

  • Rolling a two allows the respective Graduate to move two spaces horizontally or vertically, or one space diagonally. In the stairwell they move just one space.

  • Rolling a cross (red) means they miss their turn.

  • Rolling a Gorilla (black) allows Bristowe to place one Gorilla on any black space on the board. If all four Gorillas are on the board, all Gorillas are moved one space horizontally or vertically.

  • The first Graduate to reach Bristowe wins the game.


  • Bristowe takes the spot on the balcony, and his objective is to capture all of the Graduates.

  • Rolling a one allows Bristowe to move one Gorilla on the board one space. (default rules)

  • Rolling a two allows Bristowe to move all Gorillas on the board one space. (default rules)

  • Rolling a cross (Red) means they miss their turn.

  • Rolling a Gorilla (Black) allows Bristowe to place one Gorilla on any Black space on the board. If all four Gorillas are on the board, all Gorillas are moved one space horizontally or vertically.

  • Bristowe can capture Graduates by moving a Gorilla onto a space occupied by a Graduate; that Graduate will then be removed and is out of the game.

  • Bristowe wins the game if the Gorillas capture all of the Graduates.

Other notes

  • Graduates can defend themselves from the Gorillas by obtaining the Golden Mallet, which they can do by landing on the yellow space on the board. When a Graduate has the Golden Mallet, they can capture and remove any adjacent Gorillas after their turn - unless they've rolled a cross (Red).

  • A Graduate with the Golden Mallet can choose to pass the Mallet to another Graduate on their turn, who will then be able to capture any adjacent Gorillas. However, the Graduate passing the Mallet will forfeit their move.

  • The Golden Mallet can't be used in either of the stairwells, and it can't be passed to a Graduate on a stairwell.

  • Graduates don't need the Golden Mallet to capture Bristowe.


  • Of the many reasons given for the lack of support, someone claimed that the Graduates and Gorillas concept was racist. Surprisingly, nobody brought up the potential issue of animal cruelty!
  • Three more Graduates (Cassidy, Kevin and Reuben) were going to be added as playable characters, before the project was cancelled.
  • It was the outcome of posting this particular project that led to my disillusionment with CUUSOO/LEGO Ideas, and the realisation of the online LEGO community's collective "crabs in a barrel" mentality.
  • You can still play the Flash version of the game.