I Know New York: New Board Game Quizzes Players on the Empire State

A local woman creates a New York-centric board game

The next time you and your pals want to head down to the bar for trivia night, consider staying in and playing I Know New York. The board game is the brainchild of Loudonville’s Gail Keeler and features multiple-choice questions about the Empire State. 

The object of the multi-player game (up to 12 if you team up) is simple: Players move around the board by answering trivia questions from seven different categories (topics range from sports and pop culture to geography and history). With each correct answer, the player collects a token from that category. The player who is first to gather chips from all seven categories wins.

gail keeler i know new york board game creator
I Know New York creator, Gail Keeler

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“I just started randomly writing questions,” Keeler says of the game’s early stages of development. “It was fun to read books about New York.” Besides her own research, she enlisted the help of half a dozen authors from 14 regions of the state to contribute content. She says the result is as “geographically even” as possible, with 785 questions spanning the state from Long Island to Rochester.  

Forty-seven Valley-based questions (like “What is the longest river located entirely in New York?” Hint: It’s our river) made the cut. “I just kept coming up with Hudson Valley questions all the time. At one point I was thinking, ‘Okay, enough of the Hudson Valley, we need to move on here,’ ” Keeler laughs. Those questions that didn’t make it may be included in a future “booster” package of extra trivia to supplement the original.

For help with the board design, Keeler reached out to John Sahler, who has worked for Hasbro and Mattel, created children’s toys, and even contributed natural history questions. The game is manufactured here in the U.S. and debuted in February; it is sold for $29.99 at local museums, colleges, and bookstores around the state as well as online at www.IKnowNewYork.com. A spin-off card game featuring 100 questions about New York City hits stores this month. And although the box declares the game suitable for ages 16 and older, Keeler maintains that it’s appropriate for all ages. “There’s no reason a child couldn’t be there playing along, and learn something,” she says. “It’s an edifying, family game.”

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