Black History Month is for Gaming

This is a list of wonderful games by Black creators. Enjoy!

Card Game: Phase 10

• Designer: Ken Johnson
• Publisher: Fundex, K&K International, Mattel Inc. ect.
• 2-6 players
• 45+ minutes
• Ages 8+
 
Driven by the success of Uno, designer Kenneth Johnson set out to create a rival card game and he has done just that! His first customers were K-mart and Meijer, and Phase 10 is now the second most popular card game. The game first came out on August 10, 1982. This lightweight fast paced game is played in rounds. In each round players are trying to advance through the phases, which get progressively harder. Phases include things like collecting sets and runs based on numbers and/or colors. The first player to complete all 10 phases is the winner. Help this amazing game celebrate its 40th anniversary this summer!

Drawing Game: MonsDRAWsity

• Designer: Eric Slauson
• Publisher: Bread and Circuses, Arrakis Games, Deep Water Games
• 3-8 players
• 5-30 minutes
• Ages 8+
 
This game is a delightful, light, drawing and memory game. So many large group games rely on the way that people interpret words, like Codenames, Taboo or Just One. This game twists the concept a little by investigating players’ visual memory and ability to describe visuals. One player looks at a monster card for 30 seconds and then has two minutes to describe the monster. All of the other players try to draw a picture as close to the original monster card as possible. It is simple and easily taught. The art on the cards is intriguing, strange and wonderful.

Party Game: Brilliant or BS

• Designer: Kimelia Weathers Smith
• Publisher: Brilliant or BS
• 4-6 players
• 30-60 minutes
• Ages 14+
 
Trivia meets deception in this party card game. In each round a judge presents a multiple choice trivia question to the rest of the players. The players answer in secret and then try to convince the judge why they in fact know the correct answer. The judge then tries to figure out who is lying and who is telling the truth. Points are awarded for correct answers, correct deductions of truth and fiction, and excellent bluffing. It’s a delight to play a trivia game where I can still win without knowing all the answers, and nothing is quite as fun as pontificating on an answer I don’t know. The flip side of sniffing out my friends’ deception is equally as engaging and clever. Easy to learn and teach, as well as adaptable for virtual play, no BS this is a brilliant game.

Role-Playing Game: Companions Tale

• Designer: Laura Simpson
• Publisher: Sweet Potato Press
• 3-4 (2-8 with optional rules)
• 2.5 hours
• Ages 8+
 
In this map-making and storytelling game players explore a hero’s journey and their world through the lens of the people living in it. Throughout the game players will take turns being cartographers, historians, biographers, witnesses, lorekeepers and yes, companions to the hero.  The game asks players to tell the story from their unique perspectives and embrace the role of the unreliable narrator. As the story progresses important events and key landmarks are drawn upon a shared map and by the end a unique artifact of the players’ journey is created. The base rules of play call for 3-4 players, however variant rules within the rulebook also offer alternatives for as few as 2 players and as many as 8 players. This is a GMless game and while someone may take the role of the facilitator to help familiarize everyone of the rules, all players are responsible for and in control of the narrative. Taking on multiple roles, exploring varied points of view, and sharing in the story building process makes for a fantastically engaging gaming experience.

Video Game: Swimsanity!

•Lead Designers: Ahmed and Khalil Abdullah
• Publisher: Decoy Games
• 1-4 players
• Ages 10+
• Available on: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4
 
Brothers Ahmed and Khalil Abdullah grew up fans of the early 3D multiplayer video games of the late 1990s and early 2000s like Perfect Dark and GoldenEye 007. After graduating from UMass Amherst with computer science degrees, they took that love and developed their first game. Swimsanity! is a rad shooter that takes place underwater. It can be played in solo, co-op, or PvP versus modes. Play as the game’s hero, Mooba, and use unique power-ups and weapons to survive a dangerous aquatic world.

Extra Resources:

Panel of Black Creators in Board Games: https://youtu.be/IVEaUOjE2Jg
Designers Talking Fun: https://youtu.be/NuA8sy1H3BE
Black Voices in Gaming: https://www.elizhargrave.com/black-voices-in-board-games
BGG Celebrating Black History Month 2022: https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/295404/celebrating-black-history-month-2022

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