The current stable of horse-themed board games, many of which are for children, has a new entry. Fantasy Stable Game could easily become the front-runner in this business. Two versions are being marketed by the developers, a regular version and a junior version for the younger set.
Keshia and Anastasia “Ana” Swanlund, sisters and co-developers of Fantasy Stable Game, hail from Monroe, Washington where they live with their mom in a dual-generation household and manage their own stable of five horses. Drawn to the Andalusian breed, they have three of mixed ancestry, an Appaloosa and a Paint. Although still in their twenties, Keshia and Ana have years of experience with horses, starting as youngsters in 4-H, showing and breeding their own mounts and currently settling on trail riding for pleasure. Their small parcel of land is surrounded by friendly neighbors who allow the ladies to pasture their horses on a rotating basis as well as use an arena. It doesn’t get much more affordable than that for horse owners!
Board games have always been a part of their family gatherings and through the years of playing they realized that not much was offered for adults. The games they found were not, in their opinion, realistic as to developing and running a profitable horse business. They wanted to play a game that was accurate and fact-based with real life scenarios plus had a touch of fantasy and competition. A potential business idea was conceived.
Snapping pictures of horses as they attended shows, they spent a year gathering images of their favorite animals. In a sisterly fashion, this led to competitive arguing about which horses were the best examples of various breeds and colors. Ana, a graphic design artist, handled the artwork and touched up the horse photos for the final look. The second year advanced to developing scenarios based on their own experiences in the horse business with risks, setbacks and payoffs for the game to make it as realistic as possible. Loud discussions, occasionally mistaken for arguments by their mom, sifted out their differences and yielded a workable layout for Fantasy Stable Game.
The game was then user-tested as they traveled to various Expos and horse shows, encouraging people to try it for themselves and incorporating the feedback in polishing the final design. Reviews started coming to them from people who said “this is just like real life on a ranch”. Others were thrilled to see pictures of their own horses portrayed as elements of the actual game.
The ladies’ mother spotted them some startup money and they searched for a U.S. based printing company to put this game in a box. Michigan printer E.P.I. Printers was chosen, their first order placed and the freight began to arrive. Now they are busy marketing their games throughout the western U.S. at horse events and through their website FantasyStableGame.com.
What did Keshia like best about this experience? The collaboration with her sister compounded both of their views on creativity and brought them into an even closer relationship. Playing the board game pumps her sense of competition as she works to build her premier fantasy horse collection. Yes, they do play the game themselves. The road trips to market the game at shows give the sisters even more time to hone ideas for more projects. They want to keep this a family business and market the games to large retailers while resisting any buyout offers. They intend to keep working part time in the food service industry for running money and look forward to meeting lots of new people at their product booth when they are at shows.
With shipping costs a challenge and the patent process arduous and long, they still have a ways to go to the finish line, but with their energy and ingenuity, they are sure to make Fantasy Stable Game a winner! Buy your own game and experience the realism of running a horse business and succeeding beyond your wildest dreams.