The Jazz Board Game, a project for my graduate seminar class, combines my passion for design, jazz and my childhood favorite board game: Cờ Cá Ngựa. I always thought that Cờ Cá Ngựa is an original Vietnamese board game until I started to do the research for this project. Cờ Cá Ngựa is based on Pachisi, which originated in ancient India. I was a bit disappointed to learn that my only childhood board game is not original.
Nevertheless, I had a blast making The Jazz Board Game. Writing up all the trivia questions was quite a relearning experience. I designed the colorful board and even painted my own moving pieces. The best part of the project was selecting and cutting the ten-second samples of the jazz tunes for the listening comprehension component of the game.
When I first pitched my concept to the class, I did not intended to include the audio component. My classmates suggested that I should and they recommended getting greeting cards with sound. I did some research and couldn’t find anything, but then I came up with a different solution, which is using the iPhone for the audio component.
So I ended up creating an app for it using jQuery Mobile. My initial idea for the app was just a simple one-screen design with sample of the tune and info randomly loaded. That was actually all that needed to be part of the game. When I did a test run in class, however, I realized that the players have to have quite a bit of jazz knowledge to play. So I expanded the app to include trivia questions. I also added Jazz a film by Ken Burns and a resource section to help people who would like to learn more about jazz.