Cambridge’s Wackiest Societies

Dotted in every college are those societies that seem to border or simply topple over the line of bizarreness entirely. RUBY CONGJANG WANG investigates.

assassin's guild cambridge university dcience fiction society capture the flag Club live action roleplay Lord of the Rings society the treasure trap tolkein society weird

Cambridge: home of Ye Olde traditions and eccentricities. Our clubs and societies include the obvious and run-of-the-mill orchestras and sports clubs – impressive in their own right, but typical of every university and school nonetheless. Dotted in every college, however, either tucked away quietly or boasted of proudly at every opportunity, are those societies that seem to border or simply topple over the line of bizarreness entirely.

Lucky for you, we’ve found them all.


Cambridge University Science Fiction Society: The name is pretty self-explanatory. These guys get together to discuss all things science fiction, including alien biology, space travel and Watership Down. It proudly boasts: “unless you’ve seen the Sci Fi society arguing with a bunch of drunken rugby players with fake breasts over room usage, you haven’t lived.”

Tolkien Society: Enthusiastic member Samuel Cook describes this society as: “obscure fantasy confabulation, with cookies.” He welcomes everyone who is healthily obsessed with Lord of the Rings, and presumably, offers them cookies. The society holds an annual Varsity Quiz with Oxford, not to mention frequent games of Middle Earth Articulate.


Assassin’s Guild: The aim of this society is to maim and murder your fellow members using any imaginative form of harmless weapon that you can lay your hands on. The process occurs in Michaelmas, and I was once spectator to a ferocious and well-planned attack-by-teddy-bear. Other weapons include cardboard pianos and polystyrene fridges, but be warned: this sport is not for the faint-hearted.

Don’t be fooled by his cuddly appearance – he’s deadly

Capture the Flag: A variation of Assassin’s Guild which consists of two-team games in which there is potential both for death and constant “re-spawning,” if the term is correct.

The Treasure Trap: a Live-Action-Roleplay set in “Grantabrugge, Feudal England.” Members have magical powers and live alongside Orcs and Elves, under the “young King Samuel of Wessex” and say that they often startle dog walkers and small children when acting out their role-plays in the local park.


Tiddlywinks Club: This classic children’s game made a comeback in 1955 thanks to Cambridge University, and has since been flourishing as a competitive adult sport, with annual, well-documented Varsity matches against Oxford. Being a member of the club will allow you to look impressive by using nonsensical words such as Boondock, Gromp and Squop in all sorts of serious settings and intellectual conversations, as these are just some examples of the associated terminology.

Sheila and Her Dog: Okay. This is quite difficult to explain. The self-proclaimed “silliest society of Cambridge” meets weekly to read out aloud and act out children’s books in squeaky voices, as members, or “Penguins,” are deemed to be “morally six-years old” for the period of each meeting. Penguins also undertake activities such as Penguin Sacrifice and Summoning of the Dragon. All are welcome, but beware: “any overt mention of horrid grownup things is frowned upon.” Oh, and they also offer cake and juice.

Gog Magog Molly: “An ancient tradition from the depths of East Anglia,” Molly dancing was “once widely observed in the fenland villages, but now only a few hold the ancient secrets.” However, as a Cambridge student you too can learn and celebrate the dances of Why the River Goes Crunch and Russell Wortley’s Maggot (whoever that is). “Gogs,” as members are known, can be “easily spotted by their colourful attire and carefully un-coordinating faces.” I have a feeling this is not your average Ceilidh, but a more sophisticated/scary form of traditional dance, in which Dosey-does sadly may not feature.

Sidney Sussex Vampire Society: Fans of Twilight need not bow their heads in shame any longer, for this society allows fang-fans to revel in all manner of blood-sucking delights. Members meet to “explore vampires through various media” such as films, short stories and plays.

Look at all that pale angst


Cambridge Caving Club: Sick of essays and supervisions? Want to try something new? This society organises weekend trips around the UK, climbing where no human being has been before. Described as “dark, dirty and sometimes lovely,” about 90% of the members have found love and coupled off, perhaps because of the fact that they have “literally been in deep shit together.”

Cambridge Flirting Service: These guys boast an impressive repertoire of 153 success stories and 11 weddings, including the union of “Kitten and LlamaMan”. Thank-you notes left on the website range from: “I’ve found the love of my life,” and “We’re getting married in two months” to “I got laid within 5 hours of joining!” Wahay.

Cambridge Fire Troupe: “If there’s something we’ve not yet set fire to, then we’d like to know about it.” Ooh-er. This society attracts pyromaniacs everywhere, attaching fireworks to the end of broomsticks and burning paintings and statues. Make that fake paintings and statues – we’ve gotta keep it legal, guys. The troupe also performs at various events in Cambridge, bellydancing and juggling with fire, then eating it (because you do get hungry after a while).

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up!