We have all grown up with our favorite board games. The common thread in many of these games is that they may not be as culturally diverse as some would like. Astin Hayes and Amanda Spann have provided an answer to this problem with their game TipOff.
Rolling out spoke with Hayes and Spann recently about the game they created, the importance of diversity in gaming and why it was important to launch their game during Black History Month.
What inspired the creation of this game?
Spann: My partner Astin conceptualized the game over a decade ago. After hosting a game night with friends, she found herself frustrated with the fact that she and her guests didn’t relate to [much] of the content in the game. She decided to create her own game and manually made a Black version of the board game Taboo in Microsoft Word, printed it out at Kinkos and used it at her next game night to the delight of her guests. After carrying around the physical copy of the game for years, it only made sense to transform it into an app for everyone to enjoy.
Why is it important to have games like this for our community?
Hayes: African Americans over-index on mobile apps and games, but there isn’t much in the way of content to represent us and our culture.
How has it been navigating as Black women with this product in the business world?
Spann: We see our race and gender as an asset, not a hindrance. We spend our time aligning with people who get it.
What made you partner with Kid ‘n Play and host the Pajama Jammy Jam for the launch of TipOff?
Hayes: TipOff launched some months ago, but we’re ushering in a new version of the app this month just in time for Black History Month. This iteration will feature a single-player mode as well as new word packs to explore. We’ve always, however, been fans of Kid ‘n Play. They are the perfect pair to kick off our relaunch.
Talk about the importance of Black business and why we should support it.
Spann: It is important to our economic independence and the survival of our communities. When a Black business thrives so do its owners, employees, vendors and their families.
Talk about the importance of launching this product during Black History Month.
Spann: It’s always a great time to celebrate us, but we’re particularly excited to reintroduce the product this month when people are looking for new opportunities to learn and commemorate. Game night will definitely be lit when people download the TipOff app on their iPhone or Android.
To learn more, visit www.tipoffgame.com.
Check out a few pictures below from the relaunch with Kid ‘n Play at The Pajama Jammy Jam.