Publishing lessons

Board games & crowdfunding

Innovation through exploration

15th August 2023 0

As humans, we often surround ourselves with like-minded individuals, increasing the odds of being liked and fostering enduring friendships. This practice is normal, but knowing people beyond our usual circles holds significant value.

Interacting with diverse individuals enhances learning and empathy. In business, connecting solely within our industry leads to stagnation; looking further inspires innovation. There are always companies trying to innovate that you can learn from, but by looking further afield, you can become the innovator.

A while ago, I was searching for a product photographer for Race to the Raft. I wanted a great photo of the box and browsed all my usual circles, focusing on people who specialise in photographing board games. Many great photographers are out there, but this time I wanted to try something a little different.

Race to the Raft and The Isle of Cats are both cat-themed games, so I decided to research cat photography. I searched for local photographers who specialised in pet photography and started browsing their portfolios. Matt Elliott’s work stood out to me, as not only were the photographs well-framed, but they were all taken in the real world rather than in a studio.

I gave him a ring, and we had an interesting conversation. Cats aren’t the easiest animals to photograph, and unlike dogs, you can’t easily take cats into a forest for a photoshoot. He liked the idea of the project and went off to do some thinking.

A while later, he came back to me with a plan. We would advertise in a local cat community that we were searching for two or more cats that were friendly, comfortable outdoors, and where the owner had a garden that met certain criteria. We offered to compensate them and give them prints of the photos, and it worked out well.

I recently received the final photographs just in time for the retail release of Race to the Raft on 17th August, and I’m very happy with the results.

In this instance I don’t think these photographs will revolutionise the industry, but I do think reaching out to someone from another circle worked out really well, and we created something I wouldn’t have been able to using my typical methods.

I recommend that when you are next thinking about your own games and ways you can do things differently, you think about what crossovers there may be with other industries and how you can use those to try something new.

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!

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