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Sheila Wright, Founder of Ann Williams Group

People often ask who Ann Williams is. Stemming from founder Sheila Wright’s inspiration to create the company, Ann Williams isn’t an actual person. The name is an idea brought forth from Sheila’s children—the combination of both their middle names. The passion and focus on inventing to broaden the creativity of children, hers or those around the world, has remained at the heart of Ann Williams Group, even as the company has changed and her children grew into adulthood.

Sheila Wright spent 15 years as a mechanical engineer in the automotive industry before leaving her work to focus on her children and family. Years later, this move would push her to begin inventing on her own, eventually leading to the creation of Ann Williams Group, now recognized globally for its innovation and creativity. As her children grew, Sheila recognized the importance of hands-on activities and creation in their lives. Making helps kids develop their confidence and creativity and boosts their overall happiness. Crafting helps them to express themselves and their emotions in new ways while also teaching them to persevere and learn new things.

Sheila had always wanted to start her own business, and after her kids started school she found a way to do just that. After watching her daughter struggle to make bracelets as a child, she created the Loopdedoo bracelet-making kit—a revolutionary way to weave beautiful bracelets. Numerous awards followed its invention, including a nomination for the coveted Toy of the Year awards in 2013 and wins such as ASTRA Best Toys for Kids 2012.

After that, the ideas kept flowing, branching off into more ideas, brands, products, and awards! Sheila had always had a passion for making things, so off she went to design even more groundbreaking crafts for all ages—like Craftastic Puffy Charms, Craft Crush room décor kits, Sticker & Chill adult sticker sets, and more! She went from inventing at her dining room table to expanding and working with an incredible team to grow the company beyond anything she could have ever envisioned at the beginning.

What started out with the creations of a mom for her children in a little company in Michigan has exploded into a line of over 100 incredible crafts for children and adults everywhere. Continuing the success and expansion Ann Williams Group has seen over the years, they joined the PlayMonster family of products in 2021. Their talented team continues to make the same incredible crafts and activities that have inspired and delighted families for years. Only time will tell what wonderful creations are yet to come from Ann Williams, all thanks to its start with Sheila Wright: founder, inventor, and mother.

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Snap Ships® – Scott Pease & Jeff Swenty

In a world where every building toy is blocky, two men came together to create something new and exciting! Scott Pease and Jeff Swenty are…the inventors of Snap Ships!

The pair met at game studio Neversoft Entertainment in 2005 and became fast friends. After spending years working on popular video game franchises like Guitar Hero and the Tony Hawk series, Scott and Jeff were ready to embark on a new journey: becoming toy inventors. Thankfully, their past experiences became a great tool for exploring the vast world of toy creation. Many of their video games featured customizable characters; Jeff and Scott recognized the allure of these customization systems and decided to combine the idea with something they both loved—spaceships.

As avid fans of science fiction novels, the duo drew design inspiration from classic book covers. “The cover art of sci-fi books from the 60s and 70s always featured a cool, unique ship,” Jeff said. “The ships looked like they were ready to go on an adventure that no one else had even dreamed of.” Some of Jeff’s key influences were the novels Ringworld and Rendezvous with Rama.

However, they also wanted Snap Ships to feel realistic. Scott said, “We try to approach Snap Ships as if they are real-working spaceships driven by a technology that could exist in the future.” The desire for realism was inspired by classic action figures. “The G.I. Joe character stats and comics written by Larry Hama were rich in realistic detail, and really fired up the imagination.”

To make Snap Ships as versatile as possible, a special interlocking-cube system was invented. The main objective was to create a connection that was flexible in creativity, so that every piece fit together without unrealistic blocky shapes, while also being strong enough to endure even the longest space expeditions. Unlike some fragile building toys, Snap Ships are meant to be played with…hard! So, a great connection between pieces was high priority.

Jeff and Scott went through several prototypes while engineering the cubes. After creating a simple prototype with only three parts, the pair worked tirelessly to perfect the unique cube-locking system. Once the pieces could strongly lock together, Jeff and Scott got creative. They designed futuristic engines, wings, blasters and more until the arsenal grew to over 100 unique ship parts.

Creating over 100 different parts was obviously a huge endeavor. Thankfully, Jeff had prior experience in model building. “I bought a 3D printer in 2012 and started learning how to 3D model so I could create a replica of a World War I tank. My largest scratch-built tank weighs about 15 pounds and consists of eighteen-hundred 3D-printed parts.” It was the knowledge gained from this hobby that launched the Snap Ships mission. “When we started to create modular spaceship pieces from scratch, I felt pretty comfortable. I knew we could design and print 3D pieces.”

All those different pieces mean there’s thousands of different combinations for spaceship building; you can build an awesome ship that means something to you! “One of the goals of the physical toy was to create a buildable ship system that was so detailed you would want to display your creation,” Jeff said. “Working in the videogame industry, you spend a lot of time with people who really decorate their workspace to personalize it. I would like to think that the toy detail is so awesome that anyone would be proud to put it on their desk!”

And, if all that wasn’t cool enough, there’s even an augmented reality app! “The app was designed from the ground up to complement the toys,” Scott said. “You can walk around your ship, get up close, and check out all the systems and components. We were able to add all kinds of extra detail on the digital side: working weapons, humming engines, blinking lights, and sounds. Details that are all there in the toys, you just might not be aware of them.”

But, that’s not all the app does. With the app you can also keep a record of your collection, find never-before-seen building guides, and have easy access to hundreds of building instructions. The inspiration for this part of the app came from Scott’s childhood. “When I was a kid, I used to have a big bin of trashed building instructions that were ripped up from overuse and hard to sort through; the app solves all of that. On your device, you have instant access to every build we’ve ever made, and you can follow along in our 3D instructions, spin the camera. It’s an endless supply of new ideas and activities.”

After starting with a small three-piece prototype, Scott and Jeff have expanded their idea into an awesome building-adventure that includes an augmented-reality app and even a YouTube series! New ship builds are being added to the app every day, and each new YouTube episode dives deeper and deeper into the story. Jeff and Scott’s spaceships have really exploded into an exciting galaxy of their own!

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Despite being an iconic toy, the story of Colorforms actually began in a bathroom!

When art students Harry and Patricia Kislevitz decided to redecorate their home they were faced with a problem… the price of paint was too high. They quickly began searching for a colorful solution to their bland walls. In 1951 they found their answer: a roll of thin-flexible vinyl. The colorful vinyl proved to be an attractive fix for the undecorated walls, but Harry and Patricia realized there was even more artistic opportunity hidden in the vinyl; they began cutting the vinyl into various shapes to create beautiful art pieces on the walls of their bathroom. Harry enjoyed creating abstract modern-art pieces, while Patricia focused on more realistic designs like boats sailing on a beautiful blue ocean.

However, the Kislevitzes assumed no one else would find any interest in sticking the vinyl pieces together. They were content with simply entertaining themselves. But they did recognize how much fun could be had with the vinyl, so they encouraged house guests to join the fun. Hoping guests would add to their creations, the Kislevitz placed some extra vinyl and a pair of scissors in the bathroom. When their friends became entranced with the myriad of colorful shapes and artistic possibilities, Harry and Patricia knew they were onto something. With some more design and development, Colorforms was born!

The first Colorforms set was hand-cut by the Kislevitz themselves. A thimble, a bottle, and a medicine container top were just some of the shapes used to make that very first set. It was designed by Patricia, and is now part of the permanent collection at the prestigious Museum of Modern Art. Fans can still purchase the Original Classic Colorforms Set, a reproduction of the set that started it all!

Although Colorforms originally targeted artists and adults, the product surprisingly became popular with children. Then Colorforms exploded in popularity and orders were rushing in.  Operation began to quickly outgrow the Kislevitzes’ tiny apartment, prompting an exciting move to a factory in New Jersey. With bigger space and more production Colorforms were able to grow into a national phenomenon.

Soon after, a new type of Colorforms set would be introduced. In 1957, the spinach-eating Popeye became one of the first ever licensed characters to be featured in a toy. Today kids can play with their favorite modern characters like SpongeBob SquarePants, Barbie and PAW Patrol, as well as classics like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Snoopy.

Even after nearly 70 years, Colorforms continues to be extremely influential in the toy industry. In 2020, the late Harry Kislevitz was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame because of the innovative practices he employed with Colorforms. Some of these include the use of licensed characters in marketing and combing learning with play to make a fun educational product; two major themes in the current toy industry.

With over 1 billion sets sold, Colorforms have allowed generations of artists, children, and adults to stretch their creative muscles and easily create beautiful works of vinyl art. But it wouldn’t have happened if Harry and Patricia Kislevitz hadn’t decided to redecorate their bathroom walls.

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Break In

At a table in a New York Indian-restaurant, three people schemed their masterplan…the plan to—Break In!

Toy engineer David Yakos, and husband and wife game-designers Nick Cravotta and Rebecca Bleau first met at the New York Toy Fair and became fast friends. Their relationship blossomed as they reminisced about their various adventures in the toy industry. The trio quickly realized they could combine their minds to create a new type of board game. However, they still didn’t know exactly what that game would be.

Around that time, another form of entertainment was booming in popularity: escape rooms. After playing through some escape rooms, David fell in love with the concept and realized he wanted to find a way to bring the escape experience into living rooms. But he ran into a problem, how could someone escape from a tiny box?  Then, inspiration struck! Since you can’t fit inside the box to escape, it’s better to Break In!

David constructed a 3-dimensional layered-escape concept box and shared it with his partner inventors. Nick and Rebecca loved the idea and began crafting a background story to go along with it.

Nick and Rebecca grabbed from their extensive creative backgrounds to craft compelling narratives to go along with the breakout escape box concept. As a child, Rebecca was inspired by the Choose Your Own Adventure book series, so she wanted to incorporate multiple scenarios and endings into the Break In games. Rather than a single finale like most board games, they wanted players to find a variety of outcomes.

David is a huge fan of adventure movies like Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider. Working with Nick, they decided to incorporate the feelings of mystery and excitement that those movies offer. Because Break In would be an extremely interactive medium, Nick drew from his past experiences writing murder-mystery dinner experiences. His plan was to combine the feeling of adventure movies with the exciting twists and turns of a mystery dinner.

When the core ideas were fleshed out, the trio had to choose a setting for their game. Since they were all well-traveled, they looked at some of their favorite places. Their goal was to recreate some of the most fascinating places on Earth right in a player’s living room! After some discussion, it was decided that their first Break In game would be set in the famous Alcatraz prison and follow the story and setting of the only successful escape attempt, set in 1962.

With a rousing narrative, great gameplay, and an adventurous location, the inventors needed an artist to tie all these aspects together. They called on DC Comics artist Steve Downer to create the art. Steve had experience working on titles like Superman and Wonder Woman, and his unique style was a welcome addition to the team.

With all the necessary components in place, the Break In concept was ready! David, Nick and Rebecca had made their idea an exciting reality! Now people can Break In to some iconic places right in their living rooms!

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SET® – Marsha Falco

Marsha Jean Falco, Founder of Set Enterprises, Inc., received her M.S. in Population Genetics from Michigan State University and her B.S. in Animal Science from Arizona State University.

The idea for the SET game actually has a surprising origin. In 1974 in Cambridge, England, Marsha was studying the genetics of animals like cows and German Shepherds. To keep track of all her data, Marsha created file cards with blocks of information for each animal. Rather than writing out numbers each time, she drew symbols to represent the information. Each animal had a different combination of symbols.

Marsha began sharing her findings with veterinarians. To explain the math behind different combinations, she used the cards and symbols. While listen to Marsha a veterinarian got excited and asked, “So if you combine these you have a set?” At that moment, inspiration struck! Marsha saw the fun in finding different combinations and was inspired to create her first game: SET. Over the years, she refined the game play by using her family and friends as test subjects. In 1990 SET was officially released.

Marsha continued to develop unique games, each spanning various styles of game play. Her other games include: Five Crowns, Quiddler, Karma, WordSpiel and Zangle. She expanded on some of her fan-favorite games by creating brand extensions: SET Junior, Five Crowns Junior, Quiddler Junior, Quiddler Deluxe and The Quiddler SHORT Word Dictionary.

Although she is now retired from Set Enterprises, Inc., Marsha still enjoys creating games. Her other hobbies include horse-riding, creating bonsais and volunteering for K9 Search and Rescue organizations. She is an active member of MarK9, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue K-9 Posse, and MC2, the Mountain Canine Corp in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

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Edie P. – Goo on My Shoe™

Like any kid, Edie enjoys a lot of the same things her peers do—playing sports, watching TV and spending time with her family. But, what sets Edie apart is that she has invented her own game that has made it to market! Not many grade-schoolers can make that claim!

What sparked Edie’s interest in creating a new game was hearing about the upcoming annual Young Inventors Challenge in Chicago during the ChiTAG event. It called for kids to create their own game and submitting a video to explain it. Then, entrants would go to Chicago and present their idea in person to toy industry leaders. This sounded like a fun and exciting challenge to Edie, and so she got to work!

Edie spent a lot of time brainstorming idea after idea after idea…until it finally came to her when she accidentally stepped in her dog’s poo! And just like that, Goo on My Shoe™ was born! We’ve all stepped in something gross: mud, garbage, goo…but not many people have been inspired by doing so! Sometimes the best ideas are just under your nose, or in this case…under your toes!

For Edie, having a good idea wasn’t the hardest part of creating a game…the hardest part was creating the rules and having a plan in place so everything was organized and fun! She was determined to create something that brought as much fun and laughter as her favorite game — 5 Second Rule! After lots of thought and work, and game testing with friends and family, she had a great game to submit for the Young Inventors Challenge. It was there that she impressed PlayMonster’s VP Product Development, and her game started down the path of production! Her game will now launch with PlayMonster in Fall 2019 on Amazon and in specialty stores! Edie’s friends and family, including her older sister, all love the game and are super excited for it to come out — maybe they’ll even get a chance to play it in Edie’s dream destination…HAWAII.

When Edie isn’t designing fun new games, you’ll likely find her watching TV (Stranger Things on Netflix is her favorite!) or playing basketball, hockey or softball. Edie’s love for sports started when a teacher let the class play fun games and tag in PE, and now that’s Edie’s favorite class! If that’s not enough activity for this 5th grader, when given the choice, Edie would spend the whole weekend at Six Flags, although growing older does have its perks as Edie is looking forward to being tall enough to ride ANY roller coaster! When Edie takes a break to relax, she enjoys drawing just like her role model, Bob Ross.

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Tiggy S. – Draw Into Crime™

Typically, a 13-year-old can be found spending their time watching YouTube, playing video games, hanging out with friends, and so on. It’s not every day that a middle-schooler will use their limited free time from school, activities and chores to focus on a challenging project like inventing a board game, but that’s exactly what Tiggy did…and she did it full-force!

It all started when Tiggy watched a drawing challenge, where one person was trying to copy another person’s drawing without having seen it, and only asking questions. Tiggy thought it was a cool activity, and wondered if it would be a fun game with some added elements to make it more challenging. She thought about what the game would need to be unique and fun to play: drawing without having to be good at it, asking questions and making educated guesses, and an air of mystery! This is how Tiggy’s game, Draw Into Crime™, was born!

Tiggy knew she had a good idea for a game, but she needed help to fully develop it and make sure it wasn’t repetitive so it would be fun to play over and over again. She went to her parents for feedback and worked on making her “Sketchy Game of Sketchy People” the best it could be. When she had some rules set and a prototype made, she started play-testing the game with her cousins. The more she played the game, the more kinks she worked out, and was really happy with how it turned out.

Tiggy decided to enter her game in the Young Inventors Challenge in Chicago at the annual ChiTAG event. This required her to create a video explaining the game, and to also present her concept to multiple toy industry leaders at the event. It was there that she met PlayMonster’s VP Sales & Marketing, Scott Flynn, and impressed him so much that PlayMonster offered to work with her to further develop her game, and then produce it! It was an exciting moment for her and her family, and has been a rewarding experience working with a toy and game company. Her game will now launch with PlayMonster in Fall 2019 on Amazon and in specialty stores!

Other than inventing, Tiggy enjoys lots of activities.  She has tried out for the US Olympic Luge team, loves watching animé, and runs cross country. There’s a lot that keeps her busy! She is also a member of the National Honor Society (she’s a straight A student), likes improv and performing in plays, and even has time to play the euphonium in middle school band!

Tiggy cherishes her experience as a game inventor, and when asked what piece of advice she would give to other young inventors, she said, “Believe in your idea, enjoy the process, and be open to suggestions.” Great advice from a great young woman.


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The Island of El Dorado

The Kickstarter Success Story

Strategy games. That’s a groan-worthy phrase for some people, right? The “non-gamers”, as they’re known, hear that phrase and run for the hills. The stereotype is that strategy games are long, boring and complicated, but that’s not the case. It’s just one genre of games among many different genres. So, those who love strategy games simply find others who do as well, and they form groups and communities to happily play together.

Daniel Aronson, Michael Howard and Nick Tompkins were (and still are!) three such friends who enjoyed playing strategy games! While they had no complaints about their regular game groups, they really missed sharing their passion for strategy games with their “non-gamer” friends and relatives. They felt there could, and should, be games that filled the gap and allowed more game lovers of all types to play together, and so they began making one!

We realized that we could create a strategy board game that we absolutely loved, while making it accessible enough for our friends to jump into the strategy genre with us.” – Nick Tompkins

At the time, Daniel and Nick were working together with Daniel’s creative agency out of Daniel’s home. The two grew up together and had been friends since they were kids. Michael, a touring guitarist, lived a few houses down from Daniel and soon became a close friend as he started visiting and hanging out there when he wasn’t on the road. During lunch breaks, the three would brainstorm game ideas and work on development. To create a gaming experience everyone could enjoy, they decided to approach it from the story aspect. “Some of my closest friends aren’t gamers, but they enjoy stories. I wanted to get everyone around a table and tell epic stories together,” Daniel recalls.

In early development, they were working with the concept of a map that was unknown and mysterious until you played through it in the game. Needing a back story to build on, they suddenly realized one day that the map should be of the most mysterious island, El Dorado. It was a perfect fit, and so they began diving into the lore and history of El Dorado. According to Daniel, “it became a bit of an obsession!” And so, nearly all of the explorers in their game, The Island of El Dorado, are based off of people in history. One explorer that isn’t based on a historical figure is actually a nod to their very own Nick Tompkins: “Nick always seems to have terrible luck during his dice rolls. That’s why we named one explorer ‘Nicolas the Fortuitous’! In the rules, the phrase ‘Nicolas has an interesting relationship with luck’ was an inside joke to the same end,” Michael confesses happily.

Naturally, Daniel, Michael and Nick had a lot of fun working on their game. They played The Island of El Dorado A LOT, changing the rules and adding artwork because, as Nick admits, “as graphic designers we just couldn’t help it!” As the game evolved, the group discovered that making sure it was well-balanced was an important, and difficult, aspect of game design. As Michael puts it, “You’ll be working the game and discover a hole in the rules that breaks everything which can really freak you out. But you just keep plugging away until you find a fix. Break it, fix it, break it, fix it.” They also learned that you sometimes have to let go of something to make the game better and well-rounded. It’s the difference between making a game for yourself and making a game for everyone.

“Kill your ‘darlings’. If you get too attached to an idea, mechanic or storyline that isn’t in the game’s best interest at the end of the day, you’re just shooting yourself in the foot.” – Michael Howard

Eventually, the trio began playing The Island of El Dorado with other friends and relatives to test it and get feedback. Nick says, “The feedback has been the most important thing to the development of this game. There has been so much feedback, ideas, and support from everybody!” Their friends had so much fun playing their game that they figured there “must be something to it” and decided to take it to Kickstarter to expose it to more people and the gaming community, and raise funds to produce their gorgeous tabletop game.

Daniel, Michael and Nick had some PR and marketing experience, and used that to help make their Kickstarter campaign look great. But Daniel notes that they “had to learn the Kickstarter process from scratch. There is so much that goes into it!” It was a learning experience, and one that paid off. As Nick tells it, “Honestly, we took it to Kickstarter so that we could get a copy of the game for ourselves. The goal was to just break even on the project. We were blown away by the support of the gaming community.” Their campaign was fully funded in 20 hours, and went above and beyond their hopes and expectations. Daniel says he didn’t expect the response it got: “The community that showed up on Kickstarter was nothing short of incredible, and they made the game what it is today.”

So, they had accomplished what they set out to do: The game’s adaptable rule sets allowed the play experience to be tailored to the style of people at the table, and so there really is something for everyone with The Island of El Dorado! It’s the perfect gateway game to bring people into the genre of strategy games.

PlayMonster took notice of their Kickstarter success and soon a great partnership was formed. PlayMonster has the means to get their game into more retailers and make it available to more people, and Daniel, Michael and Nick have the experience and knowledge to help PlayMonster grow their strategy game line!

Daniel, Michael and Nick live in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and still get together to hang out and play games. Daniel and his wife have two young boys, Michael and his wife enjoy life with their little girl, and Nick and his wife love relaxing with their two dogs. The three partners still work on expansion for The Island of El Dorado, along with other fun games, and remain connected with the Kickstarter and gaming community. The feedback and stories they receive are the true reward for the time and passion they put into their games.

“We receive a whole range of feedback, but one in particular has always stood out to me. A father messaged us and told us that he hadn’t hung out with his son in over six months, but since they had gotten The Island of El Dorado game they had been playing every night. They were finally spending time together. Doesn’t get much better than that!” – Daniel Aronson


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Walkie Chalk® – Matt & Shaunna Damman

Shauna and Matt Damman were living a happy, busy life in Detroit, Michigan, enjoying their growing family, when they stumbled upon a genius idea that was the solution to a problem, but also a lot of fun. Rather than just keep it to themselves, they dove into the world of manufacturing, marketing and selling, so that the world could enjoy the benefits of their invention, Walkie Chalk®!

Like most involved parents, Matt and Shauna enjoy spending time with their children, and during warmer days this always included drawing with sidewalk chalk. Shauna was outside with her children shortly after having had a C-section with her third child, and her two older children wanted her to draw with them. Shauna wanted to play, but she couldn’t easily get down on the ground because she was still recovering. Rather than miss out on play time, she had an idea and quickly came up with a solution.

A little while later, from just a few feet away, Matt saw his wife drawing—but, she wasn’t crouching, kneeling or sitting on the ground…she was standing! Shauna had zip-tied the sidewalk chalk to a rake handle, so she could stand up and draw, and it was working! Matt recognized the brilliance of it and how others could benefit from such a product. Parents would love using it to play with their children without having to kneel down and get dirty, and kids would love the fun new way to draw outside!

Obviously, the Dammans couldn’t sell rake handles with zip-tied chalk, so Matt worked on figuring out a new design. “One struggle,” Matt said, “was how it could hold sidewalk chalk in a way that stayed tight, but also had ‘give’ and allowed children to draw without the chalk breaking. It also had to be super simple and easy for any child to use.” Matt had the idea to use foam to make it work, much like a pool noodle, and that lead to the current foam material used on Walkie Chalk, which is now patented. The material holds chalk well and allows for easy drawing, as well as simple switching of chalk. It can also hold just about any sidewalk chalk, round or square!

Walkie Chalk went through several revisions and prototypes— over 25 versions were toyed with and tried—before it became what you see today. Through the process, Matt made sure to always have others try and test his designs, keeping an open mind to change and improve. It took that much work to make it so simple, which was Matt’s main criteria for the product. It was an experience he and his family enjoyed, having fun with it and embracing the challenges of production and selling into retail. Their first purchase order came from Ace Hardware, with Hobby Lobby, Toys “R” Us and other retailers soon after.

What has surprised the Dammans the most is how many different ways people use and enjoy Walkie Chalk. People have used it to draw lines on sport courts (mainly pickleball) or outline booth space on trade show floors, art teachers have used it outside to teach drawing from a new perspective, college students have used it to market and communicate around campus sidewalks, crossing guard companies have raved about it, and so much more. Matt and his family love one use in particular: “The best has been the special needs community and all the folks, both kids and adults, who are wheelchair-bound and can now draw with their friends and family.”

As Walkie Chalk becomes more popular and is available in more stores, Matt continues to listen to consumers and enjoys hearing stories of how Walkie Chalk is used. He and Shauna stay involved in the marketing and development of it through PlayMonster, and can’t wait to see where it goes next!


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Utter Nonsense® – Tim Swindle

Despite a high tech background as a software entrepreneur, Utter Nonsense creator, Tim Swindle, went decidedly low tech with his first foray into creating board games. Tim and his friend developed the basic concept for Utter Nonsense over several years while on weekend getaways and needing some entertainment for the group. It began as a simple hat trick: two piles of paper, one with accents and one with ridiculous phrases. Each pile went into a hat and players pulled out a combination of an accent or impression along with a phrase. Then, on one fateful New Year’s Day, they decided to take the basic concept of this game they had been playing with friends for years and turn it into Utter Nonsense. Utter Nonsense encourages players to step outside their comfort zone and engage with each other, without the distraction of technology.  Although he had no prior experience with writing or developing board games, Tim grew up playing games with his family, which cultivated his love for bringing people together to laugh and have fun, and led to the creation of and motivation behind Utter Nonsense.

The meticulousness and ambition that Tim fostered in his professional career beforehand served him well in the undertaking of Utter Nonsense. He says, “Since we had no background in creating games, every step required research. For instance, we had to Google ‘how to design a board game’ and ‘how to manufacture cards.’ It was all new to us, but we took our time, asked a lot of questions, and found great partners to help us throughout our journey.” Their Googling skills paid off. After launching on Kickstarter, they were fully funded a month later for their first production run.  Shortly after their successful Kickstarter campaign, their first version of Utter Nonsense hit the shelves in Target. Because this version originated amongst adult friends, the content was geared toward people 18+. This led to the name becoming Utter Nonsense: Naughty Edition. After two years of success, Tim, along with his sister, Shannon, decided to create a family-friendly edition of Utter Nonsense.

After PlayMonster acquired Utter Nonsense in January 2018, Tim has continued to work in the industry introduced to him by Utter Nonsense. He enjoys developing and creating new game concepts and hopes to make people laugh and have fun, for a living.