In fact, most (if not all) of the options they considered were combinatorial games. This makes a lot of sense when you realize they were looking for the following properties:
- well-established, but obscure (strategies are known and discussed online, but the students probably didn't already know the game)
- simple rules
- race/gender/culture neutral
- "Engine" groups: Implemented the ruleset
- "Player" groups: implemented a strategy
It was a great talk and very interesting. One of the main takeaways from the group is that they would remove the engine group next time and just have all the players working on implementing players.
Here are the paper and the project's website. There are resources for using their materials, with support for other games aside from Quoridor!