Abigail Smith and Sidjay Slack are the co-owners of Bere Vibes, a card game inspired by Jamaican culture. The women met while attending the same high school and remained close friends. Today, Abigail lives in the United Arab Emirates and Sidjay lives in the United States.
Growing up in Jamaica, they played games such as Ludo, dominoes, cards, and ring games (traditional group games played in primary school). As adults living abroad, they found themselves socializing with others at game nights.
“While these nights had awesome games, none of them represented us or our culture,” said Abigail and Sidjay. “There were things we genuinely didn’t know and could not participate in. We wanted to create something for Jamaicans, by Jamaicans to not only honor our culture, but to preserve it, too. We wanted to add our twist to a good time with a game that could passed down through generations and added to the game night pile.”
Abigail created the initial outline for the game about four or five years ago. Using plain card stock, she tested it out by playing it with some family and friends one Christmas in Jamaica. Everyone loved it. Sidjay came on board about two years ago and helped to refine the game play. She was also the mastermind behind the design aspects.
Bere Vibes is ideally played with two to six people, but can be played with more players. The game depends on one person who is in the spotlight picking from the four categories and others guessing the correct answer. The four categories are:
- Act it Out – Silently act out the word on the card, from a mosquito to a windshield wiper man.
- Jus Dance – Perform the dance move on the card, from oldies to new school.
- Guess Dis – Describe the word on the card without using the four included popular association words.
- Proverbs – Fill in the blank to complete a popular Jamaican proverb using the given options. (Only one is the correct answer.)
In addition to being a fun way to spend time with family and friends, Bere Vibes provides unique opportunities for great intergenerational dialogue, and a way for various groups to bond. Some younger Jamaicans may not be familiar some of the proverbs, while some older players may be unfamiliar with newer dances. These situations set the stage for a dialogue and chances for discussion, teaching, and learning to take place.
“As far as we know, there is no other printed game that highlights Jamaican dances and proverbs, so these two aspects we really wanted to preserve through our game. For the proverbs, we have learned that based on where you are from in Jamaica, they can be said differently. This is an aspect of the game that shows the expansiveness of our likkle culture!”
Though centered around Jamaican culture, Bere Vibes is ideal for lovers of Jamaica from all over the world. Playing the game with Jamaicans, individuals can learn a lot about the island’s culture.
“Our culture is loved and embraced by people worldwide. Anyone who wants to learn more about our culture can get a pack and play. If there is a unknown fact that comes up from the game, its an awesome opportunity for players to discuss and educate each other.”