| Nunami by Nunavik's
Thomassie Mangiok now available on Amazon and at Nunavik's co-op
the creator of the board game Nunami, plays the game with
his daughter at home in Ivujivik. Nunami is now available
on Amazon and at co-op stores in Nunavik. (Photo courtesy
of Thomassie Mangiok)
A board game developed over the course of years from cut-up cereal
boxes in Thomassie Mangiok's Ivujivik home is now ready for worldwide
The artist and educator bills Nunami as the first Inuit board game.
Nunami means "on the land" in Inuktitut.
Here's a closer view
of Nunami. (Photo courtesy of Thomassie Mangiok)
Players from two to four can take on the role of
either human or nature. It's a game of strategy, but the goal is
not to control the land or beat your opponent, but learn how to
"Each time you play, not only do you get a sense of exploring,
but you also see what's happening and you create a picture in your
head," said Mangiok.
Mangiok derived the game from a variety of inspirationwatching
his aunt's games of Chinese checkers, time spent on the land, even
"It's similar to Star Trek as it's about exploring, " he said.
What it's not like is chess: "in chess you have a much better chance
to win if you start first, but in Nunami it doesn't matter who starts
first or second."
The game sat in the back of Mangiok's mind for years, but he said
he didn't dare tell anyone about it until he had worked out the
Mangiok, a graduate in fine arts from Marie-Victorin CEGEP in Montreal,
is now centre director and vice-principal at Ivujivik's Nuvviti
A couple of years ago, he tried to raise money for his project
with Kickstarter, an online crowd funder for creative projects.
But he didn't hit his fundraising target, so he couldn't draw the
funds Nunami had raised from potential supporters.
Mangiok said in the end that turned out well, because it gave him
more time to improve the game: "the board is much better, the cards
are more secure, and I was able to make it for four players."
Then, he went back to Kickstarter, but this time he had also received
loans and grants from the Kativik Regional Government to manufacture
Bringing Nunami to world turned out to be complex: he wanted to
find a manufacturer in Canada, but ended up sourcing it to China.
Now he's selling it online through Amazon and in Nunavik's co-op
To sell Nunami he had to obtain a unique bar code, and and Amazon
required him to supply photos of the game and himself to prove he
and his creation were legitimate. But it was worth it.
"I am now so happy with it because it's available on Amazon," Mangiok
said. "I never imagined that it would be at this stage."
And the timing is good, he said, because board games are regaining
So far, 5,000 Nunami games have been made and 200 of these go as
needed to Amazon warehouses.