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Lehigh Alum Creates Strategy Game “JING”

Third generation Lehigh alumnus, Bret Talbert ’85, used his love of board games to create JING, a smart strategy game that is a mix of checkers and tic tac toe. Jing is for sale in multiple location in the Lehigh Valley, including the Lehigh University Bookstore.

Bret Talbert ’85 grew up playing games with his family and jokes he “could shuffle a deck of cards before he could walk.” Once he became a father, he found ways to invent games for his daughters, originally building off fundamental tic tac toe boards. Each game he created for his girls would grow into a more refined game, and soon he had created JING, a fast-paced, strategic game that is easy to learn but takes practice to master.

From conception on, it took Bret about two years to prepare JING for the consumer market. After refining the rules, playability, and competitive level of the game, JING went through the copywriting process, and was registered in the Library of Congress on December 28, 2005. JING was actually Bret’s fifth game to be published.

In 2006, Bret began exploring ways to manufacture the game. “The challenge was to make the game affordable, durable, practical, and attractive,” he says. In the end, a simple, standard mousepad ended up being the playing area for the game. “In a world of DVDs, video games, I-Pods, and MP3 players, JING represents a refreshing change of pace in entertainment. Board games like JING bring people together and allow them to have fun on a more personal, interactive, and intellectual level,” Bret says. During this time, Bret also founded his game business, Talbert Games.

JING became available in October 2007 and is for sale in select, higher-end game and toy stores in the Lehigh Valley, such as The Moravian Book Shop, Home & Planet, and the Moravian, Muhlenberg, and Lehigh University Bookstores. Recently, Bret has been working with Lehigh’s Computer Science department to develop a computer version of the game.

The big draw Bret sees for the Lehigh community is that the game is fast paced and easy to learn, yet challenging. “It is my goal to bring games like JING into the world of education,” he says. “The process of studying, learning, and playing games like JING helps to develop powers of creative thinking and abstract reasoning—things that are not conveyed nearly as well using conventional tools.”

JING is currently for sale at the Lehigh University Bookstore. It retails for $12.00. Learn more about JING and inventor Bret Talbert at www.jing-game.com.