Publishing lessons

Board games & crowdfunding

Sometimes things happen and you just have to adapt

8th August 2023 8

A few weeks ago, I received the keys to my new home. It was an exciting time, and with my flights to the US for Gen Con just a few days away, I wanted to make the most of it. Having grown up in the countryside, I’ve spent the last 15 years living in a city without any outdoor space, so I was excited to finally have a garden.

Sara and I spent the first night in the house, sitting in the garden and looking up at the sky. We had a BBQ, and things were great. We were aware that the garden was very overgrown and would need some work, so we spent the night making plans.

With Gen Con being one of the busiest weeks of the year for me, and Race to the Raft recently fulfilled, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to spend a couple of days away from the screen. I put on my gardening hat for the first time in many years and entered the jungle that would eventually become our garden.

The days were well-spent, and we were pleased with the results, but now we had to put down our tools and pack. What I didn’t realize at the time is that Sara and I weren’t the only ones in the garden during those few days. What I can only imagine to be an army of tiny insects also had a plan.

A bite mark on my left wrist had appeared, and my arm was quickly swelling up. I could see dark lines traveling along my arm and use of my hand was limited. My right ankle had another mark and was no longer able to fit a shoe, and the back of my left leg had more marks that were growing. In fact, there were 9 bite marks spread across my arms and legs, of which 3 had caused reactions.

At this point, I remembered that twice in my lifetime I’ve ended up in the hospital on medication due to serious reactions from insect bites, albeit many years ago, and this time I had multiple bites showing early signs.

It was an extremely unpleasant week of discomfort, but most frustratingly, I didn’t dare get on a plane to the US just hours after the initial reactions started. I had no idea how bad they might get and did not want to end up having problems on a plane or spending a week in a US hospital.

Missing Gen Con was disappointing. I was excited to see how things would go with the release of Race to the Raft and always enjoy meeting people. However, sometimes things happen that you can never predict, and this time around, my health had to come first.

Other than never stepping outside my house again, I’m not sure what I could have done to avoid this situation, but it was a lesson for the future. Perhaps I should be more cautious in the days leading up to a big event and not put myself in unusual situations.

I apologize to those who were looking forward to seeing Race to the Raft at the show, but hopefully, you will be able to find the game at your local retail store from August 17th.

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!


  • Wonmin

    8th August 2023 at 7:10 pm

    That sucks to hear Frank, hope you feel better!! (Have you tried seeing if you can shoot webs out of your wrists?)


    • Frank West

      10th August 2023 at 10:17 am

      I’ve not been able to so far but hopefully soon!


  • Jen and Pete Lohs

    8th August 2023 at 11:26 pm

    Oh gosh Frank! What a hard week for you… especially as being your first exciting week in your new home combined with missing Gen Con, that’s really rough. We are glad you are feeling better. All the best and thank you for sharing.


    • Frank West

      10th August 2023 at 10:19 am

      Thanks both – Luckily I at least got to enjoy sitting in the new garden a little whilst I recovered so it wasn’t all bad!


  • Mihaela

    9th August 2023 at 7:23 am

    That must have been one tough week, Frank. So sorry you had to get through those health issues. Wish you all the best and take care!


    • Frank West

      10th August 2023 at 10:21 am

      Thank you Mihaela, luckily things are much better now!


  • Ted Maycroft

    14th August 2023 at 7:43 pm

    I will admit, I was pretty bummed that you weren’t at The Show! Having read this post (finally) I’m beyond happy that you took the necessary precautions for your health, and the future of gaming! I couldn’t tear open my copy of Race To The Raft fast enough when I got it, and really enjoyed my first few scenarios my wife and I were able to play through. Hopefully I can meet you next year in Indianapolis! Stay safe.


    • Frank West

      15th August 2023 at 11:22 am

      Thank you Ted, I am really glad to hear you and your wife have been enjoying the game! It was a real shame to miss the show and not have an opportunity to say hello, but hopefully next year we’ll have more luck.


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