Tim and Shannon Swindle: Siblings Making Utter Nonsense a Hit

Laura Richards
3 min readNov 2, 2017

By Laura Richards

Siblings Shannon and Tim Swindle

It’s not often that siblings get along so well that they choose to go into business together but that’s the case with Tim and Shannon Swindle. The brother and sister duo are the brains behind the hit game Utter Nonsense which features two pantless men in hats on the packaging.

Before their big game success, Tim was the partner in a software development company and Shannon was a teacher so neither had experience in the game development field.

Utter Nonsense Family and Naughty Editions

Utter Nonsense came into being while Tim was sitting in a bar with a friend on New Year’s Day 2014 looking for something to do with their creative energy. They started to brainstorm about a funny card game. Tim shares, “We had a eureka moment when we put two pieces of paper together and wrote down the name of a person we wanted to do an impression of on one piece of paper and then we wrote down a funny phrase on the other. Two piles. People could do their impression with the accent and phrase.” Well, the game became a hit with family and friends because it was not only clever but fun and funny all at once. They knew they may have a hit on their hands and named it Utter Nonsense.

Initially, Tim and his friend started the process of formally pursuing production of their game by forming a Kickstarter campaign in July 2014. They were fully funded just a month later in August 2014. Theirs was the first game that Target found on Kickstarter or a crowdfunded site. Because of Target’s experience finding Utter Nonsense via a crowdfunding site, the company is now searching for more games the same way as a result. Target’s VP of Toys talked about them at PlayCon a yearly toy conference and how they paved the way for Target’s searching for games via crowdfunding sites.

The original Utter Nonsense game was geared toward adults ages 18 and above, so it was called Utter Nonsense: Naughty Edition. Tim shares, “After Kickstarter, we got the game in the markets by November 2014. Naughty was picked up quickly by Target.” At this point Tim’s friend was pursuing other things so Tim bought him out which allowed he and Shannon to run the company together with a few others who do writing and graphic support.

The first Utter Nonsense was such a hit, they rebranded it to another version appropriate for family play. Tim says, “In November and December of 2016 we pitched the family version to Target. People liked the original but had to take out half the deck to play with their kids. Target said yes and wanted an exclusive for a year and it launched this fall. Only available at Target.” The Utter Nonsense Family Edition is for players ages eight and above.

As Shannon says, “The whole country could use a laugh right now” so this opens it up to a younger audience and just in time for Thanksgiving and the holiday season when many are spending time together as a family.

Tim says, “I don’t find it as entertaining to play kid games as an adult who has no kids but this appeals to both kids and adults. Innuendos that adults will appreciate that will go over kid’s heads.” Shannon says, “Tim and I are a great team, I bring my mom and former teacher lens to the table and Tim is the fun uncle without kids and brings that perspective. It appeals to so many different ages and provides variety.”

For more information check out Utter Nonsense online below:

Utter Nonsense-Family Edition: https://www.target.com/p/utter-nonsense-family-board-game/-/A-52137387

Utter Nonsense-Naughty Edition: https://www.target.com/p/utter-nonsense-naughty-board-game/-/A-17368014

Instagram and Facebook: @utternonsensegame

Twitter: @NonsenseUtter



Laura Richards

Bylines at The New York Times, The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, The Boston Globe Magazine and more. Portfolio: www.LauraRichardsWriter.com