By Dustin Albino

To some, developing and manufacturing a board game might be fun. For Kim McDaniel, it‘s a way of life.

In 2007, McDaniel and her husband, Ryan, created Across The Board in their garage. The idea stemmed from playing a horse racing board game at Ryan‘s mom‘s house after a family gathering. While the couple enjoyed the game, Ryan believed he could do it better.

The vision with Across The Board was to handcraft board games, and the dream was to one day have it licensed by the Kentucky Derby. In 2012, the couple moved to its current workshop to start its adventure. 

Sadly, in 2013, Ryan was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer and passed away in May 2015. He never saw his game get licensed by the Kentucky Derby.

Kim McDaniel persevered. In the spring of 2016, she traveled to a sports licensing show in Las Vegas. She met with people in charge and the game became licensed by Churchill Downs, and was sold at the 2016 Kentucky Derby and online.

“This was his creation and we‘re finding different ways to reach more individuals to see his dream come true,” McDaniel said.

Currently, Across The Board has approximately 20 different games. Among them are two NASCAR games, and one of those is modeled after the Kentucky Derby game. The other is Farkle.

To get NASCAR‘s approval, McDaniel went to the same sports licensing show in Las Vegas in January 2022. Immediately, NASCAR liked the concept.

“We think Across the Board has a lot in common with the NASCAR customer,” McDaniel said. “We are made in America, which I know is important to the NASCAR demographic. It‘s a fun game and there‘s nothing out in the market like it.

“We thought it was a really good fit that we‘re trying to bring families back around the kitchen tables to play games together. It‘s a great game for tailgating, and NASCAR fans are known for tailgating.”

The rules for the game are quite simple. It‘s played with a deck of cards and dice. There are 11 numbered race cars slotted on the board. All the cards are dealt to the players, which McDaniel said up to 20 players can play. After that, the players roll the dice and the first four numbers that are rolled are disqualified. Anyone who is holding the number of the cars that were disqualified pays to the pot. When rolling the dice, the number that the dice equals moves forward one spot. Then, the remaining cars will race against one another to the finish line and whatever card(s) you have in your hand is the car number that the player is rooting for. Once the first car hits the finish line, whoever holds those cards will split the pot. 

Currently, the game is sold on the Across the Board website, and it will soon be sold on other wholesalers‘ websites. 

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