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.

The app becomes an educational resource on its own in addition to being complementary to the board game. Here’s the snapshot of The Jazz Board Game and here’s the actual working app.