By Tonya Jameson
As kids, many of us grew up playing board games such as Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly, but we rarely, if ever, saw ourselves reflected in those games. Vicco Barringer is changing that with his trivia game WYKAU – What You Know About Us.
“I thought why not create a game for our culture,” said Barringer who lives in the Highland Creek area.
Barringer said he played games with family and adult friends, such as Taboo and Uno, for game night.
“I wanted something for us,” he said.
He began testing the game on family and friends. He officially released it in 2012 with local launch parties. He began mass production last year. WYKAU is sold at the Harvey B. Gantt Center and Velocity, a boutique sneaker store. It’s sold online at www.wykau.com and on Facebook: WYKAUWAM.
Barringer said he created WYKAU to educate people about African Americans’ rich history and culture. “Our history should never be forgotten,” he said.
The packaging and presentation is as fun as the game. WYKAU is similar to a traditional trivia game, with packs of cards about various topics, a score pad, dice and a timer. The hourglass timer contains black sand instead of the usual white sand. The dice pieces have images that match the topic. The questions involve current celebrities, as well as historical figures.
The topics are Politics & Inventions, TV & Films, HBCU, Sports and Music. Unlike most trivia games, WYKAU is interactive, requiring teams to do everything from The Wobble dance to singing the chorus of Tyrese’s “Sweet Lady.”
“Those categories were pretty much the perfect fit for the game. I thought those categories were best fit our culture,” he said.
The categories may be a perfect fit, but the questions can be tough. The TV & Films category has questions such as, “What two characters played love interests in the movie ‘Independence Day’?” (Will Smith and Vivica Fox). That one was easy enough.
Harder questions include, “How many movies has comedian & actor Chris Tucker had roles in his career as of 2011 (10). Not so easy. That’s just TV& Films.
Inventions and HBCU are even harder. Those truly are more for “edutainment,” as Barringer calls it.
Caponda Narciso, 50, of Columbia, edited the game and has played it with her family and various youth groups in her community.
“It’s a great game,” she said. “My family loved it, everybody loved it. They like that they get to learn things that they didn’t know.”
When Joseph Butler, 49, of Charlotte introduces the game to people, he tells new players that a Black man made the game. He said the glossy packaging is nice. It highlights that this guy created this amazing tool of learning, he said, and it’s fun.
He likes to split up teams along generational lines. It’s fascinating to see the disparity between what the different generations know, he said. Younger generations tend to crush the questions about pop culture, but older generations dominate questions about history.
Barringer says his next goal is to create an app, so the game can be played digitally. The board game is educating, entertaining and unites generations around our shared history. Hopefully, the digital version will also be a powerful unifier.