|Setup time||3 minutes|
|Random chance||Medium (dice rolling)|
|Skill(s) required||Black History, General knowledge, Fashion, Pop culture|
Nubian Jak is an award-winning board game that combines questions on historical facts with pop trivia, to highlight some of the achievements by people of color globally. The game requires players to use strategy and skill, with a bit of luck, to “Out Jak” and “Chill Out” opponents, while trying to get their own pieces to separate home zones on the board. Movement is determined by rolling a die and answering questions when required to do so.
Nubian Jak was created in 1994 by Jak Beula, a social worker with Islington Council. After working with some young people who seemed disaffected and marginalised by society, he decided to produce an Afro-centric board game that would look at positive black role models in Britain and Europe. He tried to patent the name Union Black but his application was denied as there was already a game in existence called Union. So instead he combined the words “Nubian” (meaning black) and “Jak” (without the letter C) to create the name.
On 16 November 1994, 1000 promotional copies of Nubian Jak arrived at a small office in Clapham Junction, south London. A month later, the game was introduced to selected outlets in the capital, including Hamley's of London. This coincided with a Christmas marketing campaign by the radio station Choice FM and The Voice newspaper. Within two weeks the game was out of stock, outselling Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly combined in Morleys of Brixton and Selbys in London’s Holloway Road.
The game was officially launched in January 2005 at the UK Toy and Hobby Fair, which took place at Kensington Olympia. It became one of the main focuses for the UK Toy Fair that year and was voted one of the top 10 games for 2005 by Games and Puzzles Magazine. The BBC also featured it in a mini-documentary called The 11th Hour. An additional 2000 copies were produced for 2005, before a World Revised Edition was launched in 2006, first at the UK Toy and Hobby Fair in January that year and at the Jacob Javits Centre in New York.
A Nu Millennium Edition was launched at the beginning of the year 2000 both in London and New York, and to date is the game’s most successful edition. In 2006 an International Anniversary edition was launched to commemorate 10 years of selling the game in the UK and US. This was followed by the release of a Special Windrush Edition in December 2008. In February 2009 a United States Limited edition was produced to commemorate the election of the US president Barack Obama.
Rules and instructions
The Nubian Jak board game can be played individually (2-8 players) or in teams (6-24 Players). The game consists of a 51 cm 1/4 folding board, 4 sets of 55 cards, 24 Pyramids (Jaks), a six-sided dice, and a rules booklet.
There are four areas on the board:
- Jak Zone - Where players start and finish
- Safety Zone - The first square (or last in new topic zones) Zone - the 12 squares connected to the Jak Zones
- Octo - Zone - The squares in the centre of the board
- Zone area - This stops opponents from entering into that Topic.
Playing Nubian Jak involves skilful manoeuvring of the pyramid Jaks around the board while answering a series of multiple-choice questions. The first to place three Jaks of the same colour in three separate new Jak Zones is the winner The card question topics are as follows:
- Millennium Dawn and Literature & Art
- Sport and Politics & Law
- Entertainment and General Knowledge
- Science & Engineering and History
- "A very innovative concept"...Time Life
- "A World First"... Inspired Magazine
- "The Black Trivial Pursuit"...The Voice
- "Highly recommended for everyone"...B.E.T.
- "Global black history with the kind of fun pop trivia even the shallowest of us can answer."...Sky Magazine
Book of World Facts
In follow up to the board game, in 1998 the first edition of Nubian Jak’s Book of World Facts was released. Dubbed “the truth with proof”, it was subtitled "The Ultimate Reference Guide to Global Black Achievement". A few years later Jak signed a publishing deal with HarperCollins in New York to republish the book.
By the time the third edition of the game came around there was an expectant buzz within the game industry. Launched in 2000, the Nu Millennium edition of the game went on to become the most popular edition to date, selling in excess of 110,000 copies in the US and UK. In 2006 the International Anniversary Edition was distributed in the UK before it official launch at the ExCel Centre in London and Javits Center in New York, in January and February 2007 respectively. At a Special Kwaanza Bonanza Game and Book launch in December 2008, the Windrush Edition was introduced. A United States Special edition has subsequently been produced for selective distribution in the US.