TipOff highlights Black experience
Astin Hayes loved to play Ta- boo, the card game where players have to prompt their partner to guess words on the card without using the “taboo” word on the card.
When she graduated from the University of Miami in 2006, she started to come up with a game of her own.
“I thought it might be cool to have a Black version of Taboo,” she said.
Hayes created a layout of words and took the cards to game night.
“People would always have a good time playing it,” she said.
Hayes called her creation TipOff. She sat on the idea for 10 years, until apps became popular.
“Once I saw app started to blow up and started making money, I looked for someone who could help me,” she said.
Hayes found Amanda Spann, who created apps in the past.
“They were legit apps,” Hayes said. “I pitched my idea to her and she loved it.
Spann and Hayes converted the 300-word, physical card game into an app. Spann described TipOff as “Taboo, but for you.”
“None of the games were tied to Black culture,” she said.
For a one-time payment of .99, users can download the app and play the game. There are different word categories and themed packs, which are Black culture-centered. There is a Chicago pack, Black Church pack, Nigeria pack, Chosen Few Pack, as well as a Historically Black College and Universities pack.
“People love it. It’s great to have something of our own; something we can relate to,” Spann said. “It’s a learning opportunity, as well.”
Hayes said she came up with some of the categories for the packs herself, but she also invited alumns from HBCUs to have a brainstorm session.
“It’s always a good time. It’s funny to see how different every- body’s Black experience is,” she said.
While the app allows single player use, it also can be played with other people. Users can play it with their family and co-workers.
“The game is on the go now, people can play it everywhere,” Spann said. “We’re just excited about expanding the new game and collaborating with new brands.”
Hayes said they are working on some new ideas, like a Jamaican and Haitian packs. Hayes said she wants to expand it to make it a African Diaspora and Pan African game.
“People are always excited about it, especially once they play it,” Hayes said. “Once people play it they’re addicted to it.”
There is also a Movie pack. Hayes and Spann host movie screening and give audiences an opportunity to play the game.
“We’re trying some different interactive ways, other than game night to get everybody to play the game,” Hayes said.
The next event will be the screening of “Little,” starring Marsai Martin, Issa Rae and Regina Hall, at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at Harper Theater, 5238 S. Harp-er. Tickets are $25 for general ad- mission. To purchase tickets, visit eventnoire.com/little.