Publishing lessons

Board games & crowdfunding

How I am selecting content creators moving forward

4th July 2023 2

On 6th January 2019, I decided it was time to consider my approach to review copies for The City of Games. Until then, I had simply been sending games to creators I enjoyed or individuals who happened to reach out at the opportune moment.

I wanted to establish a new system that would provide everyone with an equal opportunity, regardless of their size, to promote lesser-known creators, and eliminate the need for individuals to continually reach out for each new game launch.

To accomplish this, I created an online form using Google Forms. Whenever someone emailed me, I requested them to complete the form. Additionally, I reached out to individuals whose content I believed would align well with my games and asked if they would like to be included. This system worked well, as every time I intended to send out new games, I would refer back to the form and select people accordingly.

Four years have now passed, and the list contains over 700 entries. Some entries are duplicates with updated information, while others are from creators who no longer create. There are even some creators who mention their recently established channels, which are now 4 years old and have gained over 50,000 subscribers.

It is time for a new approach.

Last week, I emailed everyone who had ever completed the form, irrespective of whether or not they had previously received a game, and asked if they were still interested in covering my games. For those still interested, I requested their most up-to-date details using a new form, which can be accessed here.

This gave me a starting point of those who were interested and still active.

I also revised the questions to better assist me in searching for and filtering through various types of creators. I asked about the type of content they create, the platform they use, their audience size, and the kind of games they enjoy.

This is a great starting point for me to better identify the right person for the job, do I want a playthrough or a review? A video or a written post? Do they prefer a 30 minute game or a 2 hour game?

Additionally, I created a number of hidden fields which allows me to keep track of things behind the scene. The most important of these are notes covering my thoughts on their content, when the information was last updated, and which games have been sent to them.

I spent the weekend going through the first 200 entries, allocating 5 minutes per person. I read their submissions, checked their channels and looked at what they were making. I then wrote private notes on what I liked or didn’t like about their content, highlighting anything important, and scored them.

Here are the rankings I used:

  • Personal choice. Typically, someone who’s content I really enjoy and think matches my audiences well.
  • Recommended. Someone who is often recommended to me by my community.
  • Shows potential. Regardless of their size, someone who looks to be putting in the effort and trying to produce good regular content.
  • Standard. Creators whose content looks fine, but nothing stood out enough to lift them above anyone else.
  • Not for me. Someone who’s content didn’t seem right for my audience for some reason or another.

Of the first 200 entries, this is how many fell into each category:

  • Personal choice: 24
  • Recommended: 24
  • Shows potential: 38
  • Standard: 64
  • Not for me: 50

Moving forward:

  • Whenever someone fills in the form I will spend time looking over their content and ranking them in the same way.
  • Every 6 months I will re-review the people marked as standard and not for me, seeing if their channels have changed.
  • For every 2 games I send to people in the personal choice group, I will also send 1 game to someone in the recommended group and another 1 game to someone in the shows potential group.
  • To combat my tendency of only working with the same people every time, for every 8 games I send out I will ensure at least 3 of them go to people who have not received my games before.
  • I will take ownership of the data, keeping it up-to-date so I don’t need to ask people to fill in a form again. The only updating creators will need to do is providing their latest address when I look to send them a game.

I have learned a lot over the past few years about how creators change over time and how I need to make sure I am changing with them. I am looking forward to watching people grow and having the opportunity to work with many new people in the years to come.

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!


  • Jamey Stegmaier

    4th July 2023 at 6:16 pm

    I love this, Frank! I may update a few parts of our form based on your form. 🙂


    • Frank West

      4th July 2023 at 8:56 pm

      I’m glad it gave you some food for thought!

      I’ve really appreciated you sharing your reviewer list over the years, helping myself and others discover more people.


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