Publishing lessons

Board games & crowdfunding

Getting my hands dirty

11th May 2023 5

I love designing games. I get to spend most of my day behind a computer or sitting at a table playing with ideas. It certainly gets busy at times, and I may have to make some difficult decisions, but it rarely leaves me exhausted. However, today was not like that, as sometimes I just have to get my hands dirty.

For the past five years, I have been shipping games around the world, and I have a variety of different games, expansions, accessories, and versions within each of those. Over the years, some items have been damaged, others have been misplaced, and some have seemingly appeared from nowhere without anyone really knowing how – There have been some curious stories, to say the least!

It’s the unfortunate nature of working with hundreds of thousands of products across multiple warehouses, as human error can occur. For a while now, I’ve been wondering how to correct this, as I didn’t want to just discard these items. However, as they were spread across multiple locations and the staff at those locations aren’t familiar with all my products, it was tricky.

I decided that the solution was to send everything to my house…

With the UK Games Expo, a local convention, being just a couple of weeks away, I thought this would be a great opportunity. I requested the stock I needed for the show to be sent to my home, so I could take it to the show in a van (usually I get it delivered to the show) and arranged deliveries of all the damaged and unknown items at the same time.

At 5 minutes past 8 this morning, the doorbell rang for the first time, and I’ve spent the last 8 hours unloading pallets, sorting through stock, and carrying boxes into my home. Several thousand boxes later, my home is looking more like a warehouse, but everything is sorted, and I had the nice surprise of finding stock of some items I thought were no longer available.

I’m sure there were other ways to manage this problem, but sometimes it is just easier to get your hands dirty and do it yourself. I’m glad for the exercise, and it was a lot of fun going through boxes and wondering what was inside!

It’s also a thankful reminder that labeling boxes and providing detailed information about the contents in terms of quantities and versions is very important. These days, all my shipping boxes have printed markings on them that include:

  • The item name
  • The quantity in the box
  • The SKU
  • The barcode of the item
  • A barcode for the shipping box

These are printed in large on the side of each box with the game logo to help with identification.

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!


  • robin duncan-baum

    11th May 2023 at 11:48 pm

    Sounds like me in my studio with sketchbooks , waaay too many !
    I am seriously impressed that you were able to deal with all of that in one day 🙂
    Love reading your posts , learning a ton , seriously !
    Thank You ,


    • Frank West

      12th May 2023 at 11:14 am

      Thank you Robin, I’m really glad to hear it!

      I bet those sketchbooks are fun to look through once in a while, I love going back over some of my older drawings. I was lucky enough to have a good friend over for the day who helped, I imagine without him I would have been still sorting through everything now.


  • Alberto

    14th May 2023 at 5:23 pm

    Oooh, nice to know that. Will the “surprise” stock be made available in the webstore? I am short of the Dexterity expansion, and the second character pack!


    • Frank West

      15th May 2023 at 11:53 am

      Hi Alberto, I’m afraid they wont be added to the store as they are now packed with my stock for UKGE and will be sold there. I can confirm I am in the process of reprinting both the Dexterity Expansion and Character Pack 2 for The City of Kings and if you haven’t already, you can sign up for notifications on the store: https://shop.thecityofkings.com/collections/the-city-of-kings-expansions


      • Alberto

        15th May 2023 at 9:02 pm

        That’s great to know, thank you!


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