Nubian Jak – the board game was created in Britain and developed in the USA. It has 8 topics: Leaders & Icons, TV & Film, Modern History, Art & Literature, Sport, Science & Engineering, General Knowledge, Music & Theater. The game combines wit, skill and luck to outplay your opponents by getting three pyramid pieces from one area of the board to three new homes.
Nubian Jak uses multiple-choice questions on cards with the correct answer giving an instruction to move forward or throw again. In most cases the least likely of the 3 options carries a penalty for the wrong answer. There is also a Super Challenge Format, which is played by asking the topic card questions without giving the multiple choice options as clues. The correct answer gives the bonus, while any wrong answer incurs the penalty on the card.
Nubian Jak can either be played in singles involving 2-8 players or in teams of 3 with each Jak represented by a player.
The History of the Nubian Jak Board Game
Nubian Jak is a multi-award winning board game combining questions on historical facts with pop trivia, to highlight some of the achievements by people of colour 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 Zone areas on the board. Movement is determined by rolling a dice and answering multiple-choice questions when required to do so.
Nubian Jak – the board game, was created in 1994 by Jak Beula, a singer-songwriter and social worker with Islington Council. After working with some young people who seemed disaffected and marginalized by society, he decided to produce an “uplifting” board game which would look at positive role models of African heritage in Britain and Europe. He tried patenting the name “Union Black” but his application was denied due to there already being a game in existence which used the word “Union”. Instead he combined the similar sounding words “Nubian” (meaning black) and “Jack” (“lift up” or “flag”) to come up with the brand name “Nubian Jack”. The use of the letter “C” in the word Jak was subsequently dropped.
On 16 November 1994, 1000 promotional copies of Nubian Jak European African-Centred Edition arrived at a small office in Clapham Junction, south London. A couple of weeks later the game was introduced to selected outlets in the capital, including Hamleys of London and Morleys Stores. This coincided with a Christmas marketing campaign by the radio station Choice FM London and The Voice.
Within a few weeks the game was out of stock, outselling Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly combined, in Morleys of Brixton, Selbys of Holloway Road, and Smiths Bros in Tooting, all part of the Morleys Stores chain in London.
A re-run was hastily produced and the game was officially launched at Kensington Olympia in January 1995 at the British Toy and Hobby Fair. It became one of the main focus for the British Toy and Hobby Fair that year, and was voted one of the top 10 games for 1995 by Games and Puzzles Magazine.
The BBC also featured the game in a mini documentary called The 11th Hour. The game is often described as “the black Trivial Pursuit”.
Revised Edition Release in 1996
In February 1996, a World Revised Edition of the game was launched at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, at the NY International Toy Fair.
This edition was different from the original as it introduced people of colour from around the world. Its success was followed by a Nu Millennium Edition launched at the beginning of the year 2000 both in London and New York City. This edition to date is the most successful in the game series, selling over 110,000 units.
In 2006 an International Anniversary Edition was launched to commemorate 10 years of selling the game on both sides of the Atlantic.
This was followed by the release of a Special Windrush Edition in December 2008. In February 2009, a Special United States Limited Edition was produced to commemorate the election of the US president Barack Obama.
In 2016, a phone app of the game was launched.
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