Publishing lessons

Board games & crowdfunding

4 things I learned in 2022

15th December 2022 6

Today, I’ve been thinking about my plans for 2023 and reflecting on some of the challenging times I experienced in 2022.

Things change

Over the years I’ve built up a lot of long-term relationships with companies but many of those relationships are closely connected to the people I speak to on a regular basis, rather than the companies they work for.

This year several of the companies I’ve worked with for the past 5 years have had a change in staff and as most of my interactions have been with those individuals who have moved on, I’ve had to reconsider my options.

Do I stay with the company and effectively start over, do I move on to the new company the person I have been working with has moved to (assuming they are in a similar position), or do I reach out to new companies and start fresh?

It’s been a good lesson to always keep my options open, while I may be happy with a current business arrangement, I have no control over any changes that company makes and any day I might find myself having to find a new option.

The right balance

I love going to conventions, whether it’s exhibiting at a show like Gen Con, interacting with industry professionals at GAMA, or walking the halls of Essen, it’s always a great experience.

However, this year I spent 51 days away from home due to conventions and that’s nearly 1 day from every week. Not to mention the time spent preparing for shows and catching up afterwards!

Having not attended any shows in 2020 and 2021 due to covid I feel I may have let the return of shows in 2022 excite me too much. In 2023 I’m planning to attend fewer shows while I look for the right balance.

Make the most of now

The last few years have been very challenging for publishers due to covid, the shipping crisis, and financial challenges of various countries.

If I had waited 6-months longer to ship The Isle of Cats: Don’t forget the Kittens! I would have saved over $100,000 in shipping costs.

If I had finalised the prices of the Race to the Raft Kickstarter today rather than in September, American backers would have paid an additional $8 for the basic tier (15% more) due to the changes in the value of the currency – I wouldn’t have received any extra money.

It’s easy to look back and be frustrated or happy about these gains and losses but at the end of the day I have no control over them. I’ve learned to pay attention to the goings on around me but to make the most of now.

Do what makes you happy

As a business owner I constantly have to pay attention to my finances, it’s important to understand what is working, what isn’t working, and where I can afford to try new things.

As a person, I want to enjoy my time at work and I consider myself very lucky to be able to create games for a living.

As The City of Games has grown, I’ve had more and more offers of partnerships with a variety of things. This year more than ever I’ve learned to not only assess the financial impact of those opportunities, but how much they will impact me and my day-to-day life.

You don’t need to say yes to everything and personally I’d rather make a little less money and enjoy the journey.

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!


  • Sam Francis

    15th December 2022 at 1:58 pm

    Wow, $100k! But no one has a crystal ball… You’re right not to dwell on these things. I hope your reflections carry you well into 2023!


    • Frank West

      15th December 2022 at 2:49 pm

      Thank you Sam, I’m looking forward to seeing what I learn next!


  • Wonmin

    15th December 2022 at 6:24 pm

    The manufacturer I used for my first game had some changes in staff to the point where I feel like I barely know the person I was assigned from their company. At this point I feel like I might as well just start fresh and shop around for other companies since I don’t particularly feel any connection with this person. Not to mention it’ll probably be upwards of half a year until I even need manufacturing anyway…

    Ever have something like this happen? Did you just stick with the same company anyway?

    Also unrelated, but how come the “Save my name for the next time I comment” checkbox never works on this blog?? Is it just me or are other people getting the same issue?


    • Frank West

      16th December 2022 at 11:28 am

      I’ve had this happen a couple of times this year, which has been the first time it has really happened. In one instance I kept with the company and had a really good handover experience with the new person. In the second instance, I revisited my options and moved to another company where I’m now very happy. I think it will always be situational, but why it is important to maintain relationships with as many companies as possible, even if you aren’t using them yet.

      Regarding the save my name, I’ve no idea why it isn’t working for you! It’s very much a default piece of functionality, but I will add it to my list to look into. I’d like to enhance a few things around the comments system on this blog next year.


      • Sam Francis

        23rd March 2023 at 2:34 pm

        On that last note it’d be nice to get email notifications about replies!


        • Frank West

          23rd March 2023 at 2:35 pm

          I agree, I need to find out a way to make that happen!


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