Play Up, Wigan

Card Game Concept

In th'olden days, supporters used to go to the matches with coloured cards placed in their caps. "Play Up Wigan" or "Play Up Slevin" has been noted to have been written on these small cards. The fashion grew into Baines and other cards and today they are quite collectable and can cost a nice bit of money. Too much for me anyway.

I got thinking. Visually, these types of Cards capture the imagination and look visually spectacular, to me anyway. The idea came of creating a Card Game in the mould of Top Trumps. The Cards would be of similar shapes to Baines or Sharpes cards, similar to below.

As you can see, this particular shield design looks good. The Warrington card has really good colour pops of yellow and blue. Something like this would be quite a neat design for a deck of playing cards. Wigan, Warrington, the Hull Clubs, Leigh... the possibilities to expand from just doing Wigan is a good idea and in theory has great potential.

The Game: "Play Up"

As stated, the card game would be along the lines of the well known Top Trumps. The deck of cards would have 40-50 in each pack. The idea is to simply 'win' the cards from your opposing player by gambling which statistic is 'better' than the other players. If successful, you take the card and grow your deck until the other player is 'out'. I am sure we know the rules.

Here is an early scribble of the design. The rear 'face' would be the same design for all cards, like you'd ee in normal playing cards.

The gameplay side would feature:

  • a club legend - perhaps in caricature form so they're all the same visually at least.

  • Players name

  • Date he played - (The earlier the date the better)

  • Appearances - (the more the better)

  • Trophies won - (the more the better)

  • Tries - (the more the better)

  • Goals - (the more the better)

  • Points - (the more the better)

  • "Play Up" Rating /5

Heritage Numbers wouldn't work as some players played before the formation of the Northern Union. My hope would be to include these legends that played before 1895 and as such, the Wigan club for example, start their Heritage Numbers from 1895. If there is expansion, not all Clubs have heritage numbers for example.

The pack of cards would have a similar colour scheme to the cards, as seen in my kiddy-type doodle. Aimed at ages 5-95. It is an idea not for making any sort of money (as I guess the costs would be high, for me anyway, to produce, but to enable people to learn basic information about players from an older generation that represented each club. It's all about remembering our heritage and past. Celebrating the men who wore the jerseys we chaerish

Jim Slevin, Jack Anderton, Ned Bullough, James Leytham, Lance Todd and Johnny Ring. Imagine taking Billy Boston (7) off your opponent whilst wielding Danny Orr (14) because you played "Goals scored". The smugness and satisfaction you will have! Not that Danny Orr would be an option but you get the drift. (He may be you never know)

Possible Players

Wigan, as we know, could possibly fill three or four packs of players that could create a good game of it. Off the top of my head here is earlyWIGANrugby's two-pence worth:


Jim Slevin

'Jack' Anderton

Ned Bullough

Billy Atkinson

Dick Seddon

John Mitchinson

Billy Halliwell


James Leytham

Joe Miller

Lance Todd

Bert Jenkins

Dick Ramsdale

Johnny Thomas

Charlie Seeling


Jim Sullivan

Johnny Ring

Attie v. Heerden

Jack Price

Joe Egan

Ken Gee

Lou Brown


Billy Boston

Cec Mountford

Eric Ashton

Brian Nordgren

Billy Blan

Brian McTigue

Mick Sullivan


Shaun Edwards

Ellery Hanley

Frano Botica

Colin Tyrer

Martin Offiah

Jason Robinson

Henderson Gill


Andrew Farrell

David Vaealiki

Sam Tomkins

Kris Radlinski

Sean O'Loughlin

Thomas Leuluai

Pat Richards

Obviously, Sean O'Loughlin has to retire, along with Leuluai but you get the gist. It's quite impossible choosing certain players, especially after 1921 when we basically got spoiled with talent. Maybe a Series 2 and 3!

Prototypes and Costs

I have no idea of cost. I guess I can update this section as and when.

When I floated this idea on social media in March 2020 it gained credible traction and a few offers of help with design and artwork. Gaining the information and stats should not be a problem. The issue arises of actually how it can all come together and have an actual worthy card in your hand? It sounds simple, it possibly is, but as this stage I've made this page to try and get feedback, insights or help.

If you're interested in helping contact or drop a message on Twitter @earlywiganrugby

This really is at a snails pace but why not see what people think.