In March 2017 I was preparing to launch my first Kickstarter for The City of Kings and I made a decision that would change my life. Until now making board games had been a hobby, but for that to change I decided I needed to quit my job and dedicate every waking moment to the campaign.
Note. All these figures are total revenue and are not representative of profit which is substantially lower.
My total revenue has been £5,648,209.36 which can be broken down into 4 key sources:
- Crowdfunding: £2,280,307.66
- Distribution (English): £1,498,773.88
- Translations: £1,054.067.49
- Direct sales: £815,060.33
Revenue has increased year on year with the exception of the 2021 tax year due to my decision to pause releases because of the pandemic. This has helped accelerate the current tax year (2022) which will make up for the pause.
- 2018: £300,000
- 2019: £650,000 (116% increase)
- 2020: £1,400,000 (115% increase)
- 2021: £1,000,000 (29% decrease)
- 2022 (current year): £2,100,000 (110% increase so far)
To date the total expenditure on advertising has been £53,285.27. This keeps within my goals of spending less than 1% of revenue on advertising as I am not a fan of adverts and prefer organic marketing.
The company has zero debt and has never taken a loan.
I am the only employee of The City of Games and to-date have only published my own designs.
Over the past 5 years I have worked with 3 artists, 1 3d sculptor, and 2 editors who have done a fantastic job helping me bring my games to life.
Additionally, Sara (my partner) has played a critical role in the company’s success and regularly touches on all parts of the business.
While I will continue to work with contracted artists and editors as needed, I am not currently looking to expand the team.
Games and expansions
I have released 4 games and 9 expansions and in total produced 530,786 products which have been released over 15 languages.
The City of Kings launched on Kickstarter in 2017 and released in retail in 2018.
- Games: 14,750
- Expansions: 22,000
Vadoran Gardens launched on Kickstarter in 2018 and released in retail in 2019.
- Games: 5,500
The Isle of Cats launched on Kickstarter in 2019 and released in retail in 2020.
- Games: 189,638
- Expansions: 187,541
Explore & Draw launched on Kickstarter in 2021 and released in retail in 2022 (just 3 weeks ago).
- Games: 30,020
The remaining 90,000 products are made up of accessories such as art books, pins, and big boxes.
All of my games have been manufactured by Whatz Games and I continue to be very happy with them being my partner.
In total I have received 1,167 replacement requests of which 172 were non-valid requests (typically due to a misunderstanding), leaving 995 valid requests.
- 177 were due to lost, damaged, or mispacked shipments.
- 818 were valid replacement parts due to missing or damaged components.
While I continue to work on quality control to reduce replacement part requests I am happy the total number of issues is currently at 0.15% and constantly decreasing.
- Twitter: 2,797 followers
- Facebook: 2,701 followers
- Instagram: 1,691 followers
- YouTube: 1,540 followers
- Newsletter: 4,167 subscribers (68.5% open rate)
- Facebook groups: 2,976 members across all groups
I do not actively look to grow my social media platforms as much as I could, but I am happy with the continued organic growth on all of these platforms.
I think the most important lesson from the years has been how much of a community this industry is. I started as an unknown designer and publisher and over the years I have built up a successful company. I’ve learned by reading freely available content online and chatting with other people in the industry.
This isn’t a competitive industry, everyone wants to grow together, I’ve made hundreds of friends over the years and look forward to every new encounter. If you’re just starting on your own journey then I recommend you reach out to people, start conversations on social media, say hello at conventions, and become an active member of the community.
Alongside this I still learn new things every day and that’s one of the reasons I started this blog so I could share my journey with others.
I don’t plan to change much over the next 5 years:
- I want to continue to optimise my time, focus on my efficiency, and learn more skills to help people get to the fun faster.
- I plan to continue releasing a new game every 12 – 18 months while alternating between larger and smaller games.
- I will be focussing on sharing my experiences and helping upcoming publishers achieve their goals.
I am sure there will be countless small tweaks and adjustments but for the most part these won’t be noticeable.
The last 5 years have only been possible because of you, thank you for being part of my journey and allowing me to create games. I will continue to do my best to bring you great games with a puzzly heart.
If you have any questions or observations feel free to leave them in the comments below.