Publishing lessons

Board games & crowdfunding

Love what you do

7th February 2023 2

I have been running The City of Games for over 5 years and I am grateful to be able to say that I love what I do. I still get excited about new ideas, feel nervous when I’m about to make an announcement, and feel sad when something goes wrong.

I frequently go through the full range of emotions as I go about my daily tasks and dream about all the things that may one day happen.

I believe a big part of this is how I approach things and the goals I have set myself.

Design games you want to play

It’s not uncommon for people to want to grow their companies and increase their revenue, whether that’s so they can achieve more, make more, or eventually sell their company for more, revenue is an important metric.

For me however, I have no desires to grow The City of Games. I am happy with where the company is at and my biggest goal is to design games that I want to play.

Every 12 – 18 months I pick the next game I plan to release and I frequently choose the game I enjoy the most, rather than the game that I think will sell the most.

If there is a game I really want to work on but it has a very small target audience then I wont let that put me off if I’m passionate about the design.

Work with partners who share your values

I frequently get approached by potential partners, this might be for translations, accessories, merchandise, or other things.

Rather than deciding to move forward based on the financial benefits, I make decisions based on the companies and people I’ll be working with. I like to surround myself with likeminded people and enjoy the process.

A big part of this is identifying my own ways of working and making sure I let potential partners know how I work ahead of time. If they find my processes don’t match their own, then it’s best we part ways before signing any contracts.

Go to events that you enjoy

The board gaming hobby is filled with passionate people and hundreds of events, it’s rare that a week goes by without someone asking me if I’ll be at some specific show.

I’ve found it very important to only attend shows that I want to go to, and rather than focus on getting more value out of each of those shows, I try to focus on enjoying the experience.

This is one of the reasons I go to Essen each year but don’t exhibit. I love the experience of walking the halls and playing the latest games at Essen and don’t want to make the show all about work.

Community, not customer

Whenever I am promoting a game I try to share as much information as possible so potential customers can make an informed decision.

I don’t want to encourage someone to buy a game because they will get a free item or a once in a lifetime saving, I want them to buy the game because they think it is something they will enjoy.

By providing information upfront and being honest about what to expect from a game, I’ve grown a community of people who support me even when a new game might not be for them.

It’s fantastic to see longterm community members actively saying they don’t want to buy my next game because it’s not for them, while still answering questions about the game and encouraging others to check it out.

I wrote more about moderating buying habits here.

To conclude

There are many reasons I love what I do but perhaps the most important one is rather than chasing money, I know what I want to be doing and make decisions that allow me to move in that direction.

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 Barton

    7th February 2023 at 6:41 pm

    Really great read and it came at a time when I’m making decisions about my small game so found it very useful, thanks Frank.


    • Frank West

      8th February 2023 at 9:51 am

      I’m glad it was helpful and good luck with your decision making!


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