Monday, February 8, 2021

Enriching Education: Blitz Champz

Although the Super Bowl may be over, Blitz Champz—the fun and educational football-themed card game that blends critical math skills with the strategic game of football—is the perfect way to bring the excitement home. Created by Adrienne Smith, Boston Renegades Wide Receiver, football advocate and spokesperson, Orange is the New Black actress, and entrepreneur, Blitz Champz is available for purchase on Amazon and its print-and-play version is available at

I had a chance to interview Adrienne Smith, Founder & CEO, Gridiron Queendom and Blitz Champz to learn more.

1. Why was Blitz Champz created?
Blitz Champz was created to be a fun and one-of-a-kind football themed card game for kids to play with friends, siblings and families. In today’s COVID age, families and educators are looking for ways to keep kids engaged, learning and having fun—and Blitz Champz is the perfect solution. Created for kids age 7 and up as well as their families, the game features 100 vibrantly-illustrated playing cards characterizing a diverse lineup of male and female players. Best of all, it blends strategy and math skills so kids can have fun and learn at the same time. Blitz Champz is available for purchase on Amazon and its print-and-play version is available at

2. What would make it fun even for people who might not be sports fans?
One of my biggest goals in making Blitz Champz was to create the game in such a way that it was inclusive for all people, hence the multi-cultural women and men represented on the playing cards. The concept of inclusion didn’t just extend to physical representation alone: I wanted Blitz Champz to be a fun game for sports fans and non-sports fans alike. I designed Blitz Champz to be playable by people who know nothing about football. There are icons located on the playing cards that provide indicators for how each card can be used. With a goal of being the first person to score 21 or more points, Blitz Champz presents a fast-paced challenge that has proven to be an exhilarating game for non-sports fans who simply want to enjoy spending unplugged quality time with family and friends. As I was developing Blitz Champz, I tested the game with kids and families who knew nothing about American football, some of whom didn’t even speak English, and time and again, these non-sports fans enjoyed the strategy and speedy playing style that Blitz Champz offers, so much so that they wanted to play Blitz Champz again and again.

3. How can games be used to effectively teach or reinforce educational concepts?
I am a huge believer in the power of “edutainment” (i.e. education + entertainment). Gamification allows teachers and parents to introduce and reinforce educational concepts in children without kids realizing that they are learning. One of my biggest joys from having created Blitz Champz is seeing the game used in elementary and middle schools as a math learning tool. I have conducted Blitz Champz Math Workshops both in person and via Zoom, and in the span of a 45-minute class period, have seen with my own eyes how students become more adept at addition and subtraction as they play Blitz Champz. In their pursuit to win the game by being the first player to score 21 or more points, children use offensive cards to add points to their score, and defensive cards to subtract points from their opponents. The children use mental math skills to keep track of their points, but don’t realize they are doing arithmetic because they are wrapped up in the fun and dynamics of the game. It truly is remarkable!

4. Can you share a little bit about your journey through a variety of roles - actor, athlete, TV host, entrepreneur?
I have been blessed to live out my dreams in multiple areas of my life. As an athlete, I have represented the United States internationally in both women’s flag football and women’s tackle football. I currently play for the Boston Renegades, having won three national championships with the team. I got my start in the television and film world in Japan. I majored in Japanese in college and ended up producing and co-hosting a TV show in Japan after graduation. More recently, I played the role of a core inmate in multiple seasons of Orange is the New Black, and even had the honor of playing the role of a mother in Director X’s short film, Seven Mothers. My life as an entrepreneur began after receiving my MBA in Media & Entertainment from Columbia Business School. I co-founded Harlem Hip-Hop Tours, a company that provides edutainment field trips and workshops to students in grades 3-12, as well as Gridiron Queendom, an enterprise dedicated to supporting and promoting women and girls around the world who play American football. My latest venture is Blitz Champz, and I am so excited for all of the fun and math fluency the game will generate in the years to come!

5. What advice would you give to someone else interested in entrepreneurship?
If you are interested in entrepreneurship, know that it can be very rewarding, but that it will be a challenging journey. Before launching, do your research. Find out how many products or services already exist that are the same or similar to yours. Determine specifically who your customer is, where they are located, and at least five ways in which you can reach them to tell them about your product or service. If you can maintain a part-time or full-time job while you launch your business, even better. Having steady income will help you better manage the financial ups and downs that occur when launching a new business. Most of all, build something that has meaning to you, and enjoy the process and journey! It is both gratifying and rewarding to create something new and watch it come to fruition.

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