Culture

9 Months After Successful Kickstarter, Black-Owned Card Game Expands To Target Stores Nationwide

9 Months After Successful Kickstarter, Black-Owned Card Game Expands To Target Stores Nationwide

Now we’re in the game!

Nine months after its successful Kickstarter, a Black-owned card game has expanded to Target stores nationwide.

CultureTags is a new uber popular card game designed for people who love hashtags and the culture. The brainchild of Eunique Jones Gibson, cultural curator, visionary, wife, mother of three and founder of our beloved site, Because Of Them We Can (BOTWC). A natural storyteller, Gibson has spent the last decade bringing otherwise unheard stories highlighting Black culture and community to the forefront, this card game is another extension of her commitment to that work. 

The inspiration behind CultureTags first came to Gibson while scrolling through social media, coming across a hashtag that only those within the culture seemed to be able to decode with ease. It was then that she realized there was something to this. Last December, Gibson began working on the framework for a game, eventually cranking out a prototype just in time for the new year.

“I was online and I saw a long acronym in my Instagram feed. There was no context and people were amazed at their ability to decode it with no help. I was one of those people. As I read the comments and laughed in agreement, I realized this was a game, but it wasn’t until December 2019 that I actually started to take creating it seriously. By New Year’s Eve, I had a prototype that I debuted at our annual NYE party,” Gibson told BOTWC.

One month later, she would launch a Kickstarter campaign aimed at raising $15k to launch the game. She decided to crowdfund because she wanted the game's success to feel like a win that everyone could celebrate, for the culture. Before it was all said and done, more than 400 funders backed the project, surpassing the initial goal in under 8 hours and garnering more than $35k! Realizing the potential generated by the game’s buzz, a friend of Gibson’s connected her with Target’s supplier diversity team. A few meetings later, Gibson had secured a distributor and a "yes" from the major retailer. Now, the game is headed to Target stores nationwide, just 9 months since its initial launch, a feat of enormous proportion.

“It’s surreal. To manage this during a pandemic and to have the game available in cities and states that I have yet to step foot in is overwhelming. It’s hard not to get emotional thinking about it. Although it seems like this happened fast, I have been head down, taking risks and failing forward, in order to create products and services that amplify the best of us for a long time,” said Gibson.

The culture aficionado rose to prominence during the social media era, launching Because of Them We Can as a campaign, and growing it into one of few media sites solely dedicated to positive Black content, during a time when the community needed it the most. Her latest offering, CultureTags, positions Gibson to be one of the next leaders in the board game industry, expanding the category by opening the door for a new wave of culturally based home entertainment options. 

She says the consistent appreciation of Black culture is the bigger picture for the card game. It is the joy and nostalgia the game inspires that she hopes resonates most with players. 

“I think having what will soon become a household classic, that has been created by a Black woman, further cements what we already know. That we are the creators of culture. And instead of waiting on those who co-opt and package it for consumption without a genuine connection, we have the power to create things in an authentic way that honors our experiences while inviting others in. To me this has been a testament to our dreams, our village and the things we can accomplish, for the culture, when we look out for one another,” said Gibson.

She is grateful for all of the new fanfare around CultureTags but acknowledges trailblazers like the creators behind Black Card Revoked and her village with helping her accomplish so much in such a little time. 

“Outside of having a great product, my relationships also helped. From my husband and our three kids lending me their ideas, patience and feedback throughout the entire process, members at Dream Village validating my idea, Luvvie pushing me to create it ASAP, my friend connecting me with the supplier diversity team, Arsha Jones of Capital City Mambo Sauce helping me find my confidence as I was creating my deck, all the influencers and friends who said yes when I asked them to play virtually during the pre-order period, and of course, everyone who backed the Kickstarter. My path was also made smoother due to games like Black Card Revoked because they proved that there is a market for games centered around Black culture on a massive scale,” she said. 

In the future, she plans to roll out more expansion packs for the game that highlight other aspects of culture along with plans to turn it into a television game show. To coincide with the in store launch, there was a virtual “Friendsgiving” edition of the game played over the holiday weekend, featuring DJ Beverly Bond, comedian Spice Adams, New York Times bestselling author Luvvie Ajayi Jones, and artist Mack Wilds, that was hosted by comedian Kevonstage. 

Visit your local Target store to grab your copy. 

Congratulations Eunique and Gibson family! We are so very proud of you!

Photo credit: Ashleigh Bing Photography