Danielle Broadway is an English Literature MA student at California…
Few people know about the amazing Black game creators who have introduced some of the best card and board games that include Black history, Black culture, and even lessons about financial independence in the Black community.
These businesses aren’t just game changers in the gaming world, they also use their platforms for positive societal change to uplift the Black community.
BGN was fortunate enough to interview the creative minds behind Fam Foolery, Brilliant or BS, Verified, Financial IQ, and Black Wall Street.
These are games that are perfect gifts for the holiday season, but honestly great for any occasion. After all, it’s not every day that games are centered on Black history, family bonding, creativity, and finesse all while supporting Black-owned businesses promoting Black excellence.
We’re excited to introduce these games, as each of them has something unique and exciting that will have us all celebrating their Black excellence. Below, enjoy learning about each game and the visions behind them.
Fam Foolery is a social enterprise founded by Chris and Rachel M. Gregoire. Rachel shared with BGN what inspired her and her husband to make the game TrapWars:
“Two key events in my life played a role in inspiring us to start Fam Foolery. At the end of 2017, I experienced probably the hands-down worst experience of my life — the first daughter that I was pregnant with was stillborn. That was devastating not only for me, but for Chris. In that moment, I knew that I wanted to do was to somehow bring honor to the life of the daughter who did not live.”
Gregoire shared that the second event that inspired was her 30th birthday. She wanted a new game to play, so she and her family created one on the spot.
“We made what we were calling at the time Trap Taboo. The theme of my party was Dirty 30, so what I did was use loose leaf paper and we just wrote up dirty words on the ends, like words from trap culture and Black culture. In the end, the game basically ended up taking over the party.”
Following a lot of praise for the game, Gregoire and her husband decided to become game creators.
After the loss of her daughter, Gregoire said, “One time I did feel normal is when I was having a nice game night with my family.” For her, family games were a source of catharsis and fun.
The Gregoires formed Fam Foolery and the game TrapWars, which includes a Black History edition and an Urban Game Night Experience edition.
Fam Foolery also promotes cultural education, healthy communities, and economic opportunities.
Brilliant or BS was founded by Kimelia Weathers Smith. Smith explains that Brilliant or BS “…is a trivia game, but it’s not really about what you know. It is about what you can make other people think. So, if you’re not good at trivia, don’t worry. It’s really about who’s the most persuasive or who can be who can give the best convincing argument.”
Basically, this game is perfect for brainiacs and big liars alike.
“I love trivia. I am somewhat of a trivia buff and also love bluffing games when my friends get together. For some reason, we like tricking each other. This was my way of combining two things that I enjoy: trivia and laughing.”
Two Thanksgivings ago, Smith surprised her friends by designing a game to play, and it was a huge success. They encouraged her to start a Kickstarter.
Starting January 2019, the Kickstarter’s received almost 200 backers and raised over $10,000 to pay for its first print order and is on sale now.
Verified was founded by Davon Clark and his dad and is a product of ADC Kid. It was inspired by their experiences working with at-risk and incarcerated youth.
Davon Clark shared that he’s the founder ADC Kid, which according to their website is “a multimedia company focused on combating educational inequalities and injustices around literacy and media.”
“I started working with the youth that were incarcerated,” Clark explained. “I would go to the detention center and create an icebreaker for them to play. I noticed that after playing all these games, someone would connect or someone wouldn’t connect. However, it was always a similar conversation happening after the game that circled around social media.”
After hearing youth interest in social media, Clark shared that, “Verified was born from our youth within the detention center after having those conversations and trying to figure out what could be more relatable to them and their age range and also relatable to millennials.”
“The objective of Verified is to get 50 likes and 50 followers and become the first to be verified and get your blue checkmark,” Clark added. No, winning the game won’t actually get people verified on Instagram — but it will get them dope notoriety points from family.
Financial IQ was founded by MaQueba Massey.
“The inspiration behind my game was specifically what I was experiencing as a person,” Massey expressed. “I am an accountant and an internal auditor. I was working for one of the largest accounting firms, and I just got to a point in my life where I just wasn’t walking in my purpose and living my passion.”
“I felt as if I was giving my Black education, my Black expertise experiences to a white company. I really wasn’t doing anything for the community,” she shared.
So, Massey went from working for corporate America to teaching students how to perform the work that she did for corporate America.
As a doctoral student, Massey was teaching a financial literacy workshop to graduate students when she was inspired to create a prototype for a game based on financial literacy.
Although she wasn’t making very much as a student, Massey invested what she could. She tested the game with her students, and they loved it.
Financial IQ focuses on normalizing discussions about finances. It’s fun and educational as gamers learn facts related “to credit, expenses, income, savings, investing, and other topics.”
The game Black Wall Street was founded by De’Von Truvel.
“We were in an incubator, and we were the only Black team creating something for Black people in that incubator,” Truvel explained.
“We would present the results from our focus group, and every week this panel of venture capitalists would ask us, ‘Does the game have to say Black? Does it have to be about Black Wall Street?’” The panelists said, “Wall Street can just be Wall Street and about financial literacy.” But, according to Truvel, they weren’t getting the “whole point of the game and the real history to it.”
Black Wall Street has moved beyond doubtful panelists into its own game on its second edition.
The goal of the game “is to become the best entrepreneur possible by buying different sole proprietorships and then investing in those businesses to make them limited liability companies, to make them corporations.”
This board game is all about increasing knowledge of Tulsa’s Black Wall Street, increasing financial literacy, and celebrating Black excellence.
Check out all of these indie creators games featured in the image below.
What's Your Reaction?
Danielle Broadway is an English Literature MA student at California State University, Long Beach. She has been published in Black Girl Nerds, LA Weekly and Medium, is a writer for CSULB’s the Daily49er, is a managing editor for Watermark, her school’s academic literary journal and is an assistant editor at Angels Flight • literary west. She’s an activist and educator that is inspired by her family to make social change both in the classroom and beyond.