Publishing lessons

Board games & crowdfunding

2022 – A year in review for The City of Games

20th December 2022 2

2022 has been an amazing year and I would like to highlight some of my key moments and share them with you, just like I did in 2021.


  • I sent out my first ever demographic survey to start the process of better understanding my community. I learned a lot from the results and will continue to send out demographic surveys annually moving forward.
  • For nearly 5 years I only sent out newsletters when I had a big announcement, which to be honest wasn’t very frequently as I only aim to release one game every 12-18 months. In 2022 I switched to sending monthly newsletters to keep everyone updated on what is going on. I’ve found this has created a better connection with my community and taught me to focus on achieving at least one thing every month.


  • Within days of Russia invading Ukraine I stopped working with my Russian partners. I also took the profits from the last Russian print and used them to pay for a Ukrainian print. I am glad that during this time I was able to help some Ukrainians have moments of joy in their day, and it was a strong reminder of how global The City of Games has become.
  • I fulfilled my last Kickstarter for Explore & Draw and several new expansions for The Isle of Cats. This was my largest project to date and I had to manage the shipment and delivery of over 100,000 products to over 80 countries within the same 3-week window. I was very happy with how this went, especially given the challenging times we were going through with shipping.


  • I didn’t think too much about it at the time but March was the 5th anniversary for The City of Games. I wrote a report featuring sales and statistics for my first five years and couldn’t be prouder of what I achieved.
  • The Isle of Cats released on Board Game Arena to a great reception and so far, has been played over 85,000 times. I’m really glad to have partnered with BGA on this and will be exploring other games in the future.


  • Explore & Draw launched in retail stores around the world and was my fastest game to sell 20,000 copies. I never planned to design Explore & Draw and while the pandemic was generally a very difficult time, I am glad it resulted in this game being created.
  • I have helped mentor a lot of new publishers over the past few years and in April I finally got around to writing my Kickstarter page design guide which has proved incredibly popular to people who are looking to design a Kickstarter page.
  • Kittens + Beasts and the Boat Pack launched in retail for The Isle of Cats, bringing the total number of expansions available to 5. I’ve been really pleased with how these have been received and I am glad I waited until the game was released before designing them.


  • While I am the only employee of The City of Games, I do have an office which I share with a number of other self-employed people. I moved into a new office in May which is located in the centre of Bristol on the side of a river overlooking a park, it’s been great for my mental health!


  • I exhibited at the UK Games Expo in June which was my first in-person convention since the pandemic started. It was great to be back in the halls and have an opportunity to meet so many people who had discovered my games during lockdown.


  • The City of Games website continues to grow and I’m constantly reviewing its purpose. This year I passed 1 million views which was a good reminder the website needs to focus on a wider audience now and not just my immediate community.
  • I continued my brand updates by designing a series of thumbnail graphics to be used across all articles, videos, and a number of other locations to provide a more consistent experience regardless of where you discover my content.


  • Perhaps the biggest achievement of 2022 for me personally was the release of The Isle of Cats in Target. I’ve always seen this as an unobtainable goal, and it has been amazing seeing the game on Target shelves all across the country.


  • I had a number of opportunities to partner with new companies in 2022 and one of those was Meeple Design who released a series of posters for The City of Games games.


  • My fifth game released on Kickstarter and I couldn’t be happier with how Race to the Raft was received. I’m really looking forward to its release in 2023 and supporting its worldwide rollout next year.


  • As I continue to try and offer the best experience to my community possible, I experimented with the launch of a US test store for my games, providing a better experience for customers from the US and Canada. I’m really pleased with how this went and will be going even further with this in 2023.


  • Finally, while this highlight isn’t specific to December I am proud to say I managed to get through the year without raising any of my prices. With the shipping crisis in 2021 and some of 2022, and the recent cost of living crisis, I’ve worked hard to keep my prices down to make sure my games remain affordable for everyone.

I look forward to seeing what happens in 2023!

Frank West

Frank West is a gamer and designer based in Bristol, UK. He published his first board game, The City of Kings, in 2018 and now works on other games and organising events in the local area. His goal? To design and publish games focusing on immersive themes, fun mechanics and beautiful components. If you have any questions or would just like a chat, feel free to get in touch at any time!


  • Wonmin

    20th December 2022 at 7:02 pm

    Here’s to an even better 2023!! Happy holidays Frank


    • Frank West

      21st December 2022 at 10:45 am

      Thank you Wonmin, and to you!


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