Publishing lessons

Board games & crowdfunding

Should I be a promo card?

30th March 2023 5

It’s November 10th 2021 and an email arrives, how would you feel about us featuring The Isle of Cats in our game?

It’s not the first time I’ve received such an email, but this time it was a little different as they wanted to create a standalone product which would feature The Isle of Cats name and be effectively sold as “The Isle of Cats pack” for their game.

It was an interesting proposition, especially as the game was one I already owned and enjoyed, and the publisher was one that I admired.

Here are all the things I considered in making my decision:

Would they respect my brand and have a positive impact on it?

I knew they enjoyed The Isle of Cats and wanted to include it due to their enjoyment of the game, which made me confident they would treat the name with respect.

Would they create a high-quality product?

All of their existing products have been high quality so I believed the answer would be yes.

Do I want to be associated with their company?

I admire this publisher a great deal and view their company in a very positive way, so being associated with them would be a good thing.

Would the final product feel familiar to fans of The Isle of Cats, or were they just going to use the name?

In this case I was able to design the initial concept and capture some key gameplay elements from The Isle of Cats, transferring them into their games system. While they then developed the idea and balanced it accordingly, it left me confident the final product would feel familiar to The Isle of Cats fans and not just be using the name.

How much effort was required from me?

They did a great job in explaining what would be required upfront (very little) and took on all the work.

Would the product conflict with the story I am telling within The City of Kings universe?

The promo would use the games name and some mechanisms, but contains no story elements which would conflict with the world I am building.

Perhaps unexpectedly, the financial side of things such as whether I would make money or how it might impact the sales of The Isle of Cats weren’t a factor. After reaching positive conclusions for the above questions, I was left with just one final thought:

Is this something I would like to do?

When it comes to promotional items like this, I think it is important to enjoy the experience and make a decision based on whether you would enjoy it. In this case the answer to that was yes and I am glad we moved forward with the idea.

The Isle of Cats realm for Rolling Realms from Stonemaier Games has just released on their online store and will be shipping soon (you require a copy of Rolling Realms in order to play it).

It was a pleasure working with Jamey Stegmaier on this and I am excited to be able to add this new realm to my own copy of Rolling Realms.

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

    30th March 2023 at 3:22 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, Frank! I really appreciate the questions you asked while considering the promo idea–it’s a great list. The one that I tend to highlight the most when someone asks me about promos is, “How much effort was required from me?”, as most of those requests involve someone asking me to create a promo for them (for Rolling Realms, we make the promo, not the other publisher). But I really like the idea of going through your checklist of questions the next time I’m asked so that isn’t the first and only question on which I end up making the decision.


    • Frank West

      30th March 2023 at 4:13 pm

      It’s my pleasure as always Jamey, and thank you for making the process smooth and undemanding of my time – It certainly made a change and was much appreciated!


  • Wonmin

    30th March 2023 at 7:52 pm

    It was super cool to see Isle of Cats on Jamey’s latest blog post! I usually get the email notification for Jamey’s before yours Frank and today I did a double take, wait did I open the right email? lol


    • Frank West

      31st March 2023 at 10:52 am

      Ha! I was very excited to see the notifications going out as well, it’s been a great experience overall.

      (Hopefully the new comment response notification system is now working!)


      • Wonmin

        31st March 2023 at 2:49 pm

        Yes it is! Very spiffy. I noticed it the other day!


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