Created by two successful black women from Chicago, The game is similar to Taboo, but for you. A celebration of black culture, TipOff is a multi-player game that can be played in-person or remotely and users can customize with different free and paid word packs including “Black Church,” “Chicago,” and “Bougie” pack created in affiliation with black culture blog

Players will divide into teams and enter into a game room where they will take turns TIPping each other OFF to the keyword without saying any of the 5 other words listed on the card. Each team member will have a turn as the “PLAYER” and as the “HATER.” The player describes the keyword, the hater guards the player on each card to make sure they do not violate the rules. When a players’ team guesses the card they were tipping them off to, the player presses GOT EM’, if the word is too hard or they break the rules, the player can press the PASS or NAH buttons. A player gets one point for every GOT EM’ and one point taken away for every NAH or PASS. The points the player earn will be totaled each game and count towards both their team score as well as their individual scores. Individual scores are tracked across a global scoreboard on which players’ can rise in the ranks to become the top TipOff player in the world.

For both Astin and Amanda, can you tell us more about you?

About Astin

Astin Hayes is a Chicago-based sales and marketing specialist whose energy and passion are both inspiring and contagious. She holds dual degrees in Media Management and Africana Studies from The University of Miami (2006) and a Masters in PR & Advertising from DePaul University (2009).

Astin has taken the time to hone her skills in logistics, promotions and event planning and is always creating new ways to connect her clients with their target audience.  Her career extends to working for the likes of Bank United Center, VIBE Magazine, Chicago Cares, Inc and Clear Channel Media & Entertainment (CCME). After four years with CCME, Astin was promoted to Marketing & Promotions Coordinator where she created, executed and/or managed multiple major events such as concerts, live listener experiences, street team promotions and more.

Currently, Astin is a Key Account Manager for Rémy Cointreau, where she creates and maintains business with over 50 accounts in the Chicagoland area. She loves her job because it allows her to do what she does best: create, compete, network and still feed her entrepreneurial spirit. Astin’s greatest achievement so far is adding app developer to her list of accomplishments. The founder and CEO of TipOff, a gaming app which is a game of blacklisted words that is “similar to Taboo, but for you.” The inspiration for the app is to bring people together using culture and technology in an organic way.

Recognizing the importance of community and cultural involvement, Astin is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and an admin for Black Travel Movement, a travel club with over 500K+ members.  Astin is a dedicated University of Miami Hurricanes fan and alum, as she serves as Secretary on the Black Alumni Society. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, planning events, working out and baking.

About Amanda

Amanda Spann is marketer and app entrepreneur on a mission to help fellow founders build and accelerate their brands. She produces startup resources and programming through her consultancy Spann & Company.

Prior to her current venture, Amanda co-founded Tiphub, an impact-driven innovation community for entrepreneurs in Africa and the African Diaspora. She also served as the CMO of Blerdology, a tech social enterprise to support and engage the black tech community and the first organization to host hackathons targeting African Americans. The company helped to spark black interest in technology, assisted aspiring minority entrepreneurs to get their apps or projects off the ground for little to no cost and bridged policy and innovation to combat social issues.

The Florida State and Georgetown grad has been honored as one of Business Insider’s 30 Most Important Women In Tech Under 30, Walker’s Legacy 2016 Power50, Rolling Out’s 25 Women you should know, as one of BET’s Blacks on the Brink of Greatness, as well as one of the 5 future leaders in technology by Black Enterprise Magazine.

Being that you are two successful business women from Chicago, can you tell us more about what lead you to create this game and app?

Back in 2006, I created a card game personally for me to utilize at parties and events. I made a grid of rectangles in Word doc and filled in the content in a Taboo style format. I went to Kinkos printed out the document on cardstock, cut them and stored them in a plastic sandwich bag. It was about 300 cards. People loved the game so much and always asked for me to make “Black Taboo” into a real game. I was 22 at the time with no money or business acumen, so I sat on the idea for a long time. Eventually, apps were on the rise and I had a friend’s father provide the idea of making the game into an app; thus taking away the hassle of shipping and hand selling a game. Fast forward to 2016, I met Amanda who had already developed 3 apps of her own. I pitched the idea to her and she loved it. With her knowledge and guidance, we were able to bring the idea to life in October 2017.

Your game and app are called TIP OFF, how and why did you choose this name and what does it stand for if anything additional?

TIP OFF came from two parts; first, being the purpose of the game is to TIP OFF your team to the keyword. Second, being TIPOFF usually is the start of a (basketball) game.

We know there is so much research that has to go into creating anything, can you explain the type of research you both had to do and was it difficult to gain for the amazing app that was created?

We had to research what games were already out there that were in the same category, how they flow and move, the reviews, demographics, marketing, etc. We wanted to have a base of how we could further differentiate ourselves in the marketplace.  

Can you explain more about what the app/game is about?

TIPOFF is the game of Blacklisted words. The game is similar to Taboo, but for YOU. A celebration of black culture, TipOff is a digital party game users can customize with different word packs including “Black Church,” “Black Cinema,” and “HBCU.”

What would you like people to gain from taking having played the game and having the app?

I would like people to utilize technology to once again be social with each other physically and not only digitally. This game brings people together to enjoy and celebrate black culture in a new and exciting way.

Will you take this app on a release tour, where people can test it, especially being that it both allows you to interact in person and mobile?

We have already hosted various game nights in a handful of test markets, and plan to continue to expand the reach as we develop our “HBCU” and “Urban City” word categories.

What do you ladies have coming up next?

We have recently decided to go with a “less is more” design for the game. Taking it from a multi-user app to single-user. The biggest feedback from users that they wanted the option to only use one phone to play the game versus everyone playing having to download the app. We are interested in seeing how our audience takes to it.

We also will be focusing on hosting more game night happy hours around the country to get more exposure.  

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All images provided by Astin Hayes & Amanda Span