Over the past 30 years, the Academic Staff Union of Universities in Nigeria has embarked on strike no less than 16 times. This is the backdrop for Campus Wahala!
Pidgin is the unofficial lingua of the Nigerian people and a reflection of the unique communication among us. Like most pidgin words in Nigeria, a word originating from a cultural tribe can easily transition from the traditional language group and become a generally acceptable term of description in the widely spoken pidgin.
Wahala is a typical example of how words are used with the same meaning in different languages. Like ‘walahi’, which is a Hausa word (which in turn was originally Arabic) meaning to swear or promise that something is true and when used in pidgin now simply communicates an individual’s sincerity, Wahala made its way into Nigerian pidgin English and it means trouble. It depicts a picture of stress and problem in different degrees depending on the context. As an exclamation: “wahala!” means “trouble!” As a complaint “which kind wahala be this” communicates “this problem was unanticipated and is stressful” or “what is your problem” if directed at an individuals attitude.
Campus Wahala features unique mancala mechanics infused with a special type of take that and light strategy. It is currently available on Kickstarter by Cowrie Games.
On your turn, you get to pick 5 cards and distribute them in a clockwise fashion while taking note of character cards and resolving actions. Deciding who gets what and especially noting what is being locked away is particularly important. Books help you by adding up to your total based on their point weight, while characters allow you to maneuver distribution or even change the contents of people’s lockers.
A locker gets locked to safety once its contents get to five. The character cards are discarded and the books are stored away to safety and this forms the basis for the unique take that—you only have the final say on a person’s locker if the card you placed is the fifth, otherwise they can be changed. This sets in motion the typical lobbying and fun table engagement both to get preferred cards and gain favor while also trying to get other players off your back (they’re definitely tracking how many books you’ve locked away).
If the question in your mind is “what are the various forms in which “wahala” pops up in a typical Nigerian Tertiary institution?” Well, let’s dive into some of the characters as featured in Campus Wahala
Fresher: having just gotten admission into school and new on campus. This is the earliest time to decide if they’re on the right course. Sadly, being new to the system, they lack the requisite information to make the best decisions.
In Campus Wahala, the “fresher” card allows you to swap cards and that opens a whole new world of opportunities. You just might be able to place two great books in your locker
Prof: senior lecturer who has a major say in the standard of learning available to students. Safe to say they’re massively undervalued as shown in their pay, they also are frankly quite powerful seeing how much of a rare resource they are. In some cases they get away with personal decisions even when not in line with school rules- this can be good or bad and in Campus Wahala, the prof is the only card that allows you start card distribution from any player of choice.
Presido: typical of students who are now ingrained into the school system and its workings, they possess the ability to lead other students in a somewhat political position. This is serious business as they have a say in certain important matters of the school and education. The question remains the same as it is to several politicians today: would they plead the cause of students and common good, or sink into corruption and care about only their selfish interests? The Presido allows you to convert (steal) a book from any other locker directly to your safe pile.
Organizer: caught up in social activities, they dictate the social life on campus, most times at the cost of academic excellence. The organizer causes a loss of the highest book in your locker upon its closing.
Dean: working for effective running of different faculties or colleges, they impact the Vice Chancellors tenure and are the bridge between the campus administration and other lecturers/students. The dean card allows you to skip two players in Campus Wahala.
Course rep: tasked with the job to ensure smooth running and alignment of students with their lecturers, they follow up on schedules, assignments and the great ones make sure their colleagues are carried along. Course rep allows you to skip a locker during distribution granting some flexibility
C.S.O: the chief security officer, characterized many times by their flashlights and team of security personnel capable of showing up anywhere at any time. The CSO offers security and allows you to drop another card with it in the same locker, another solid way to quickly populate or lock away your books to safety.
Oga VC: rarely ever seen, the head of the university and person in charge. The vice chancellor is heavily responsible for the overall state of the school. In Campus Wahala Oga Vc allows you to jump any number of players as you wish while distributing cards.
Consider the fiasco and ordeal of tertiary institutions and students over the years in Nigeria. Between the dramatic characteristics of different persons to the poor state of education and frequency of total shutdown due to strikes by the academic associations to pressure and force the government to provide a seemingly better environment for a thriving educational sector, you have in various degrees Campus Wahala!
“No wahala” is the state we’re aiming for where we can say we’re fine and the situation is great or at least, much better!