Publishing lessons

Board games & crowdfunding

The calm before the storm

15th June 2023 0

Running a business can be hard work. You’ll often be working long hours or tasked with difficult decisions that weigh heavily on you for many days. There are ways of mitigating some of the challenges of running a business, but at the end of the day, there will always be times that push you to your limits.

Because of this, it’s also important to learn to identify when those moments are coming and to do what you can to relax and stay calm in the buildup. Two events that demand considerable amounts of time and energy are running a crowdfunding campaign and releasing a game. These events can last for several months.

A crowdfunding campaign typically has the pre-launch buildup that, for me, lasts 3 weeks. The campaign itself can then last 4 weeks, and finally, the after-campaign wrap-up takes another 2 weeks or more. That’s 9 weeks of intense, 7-day-a-week work that requires constant focus and smart decisions.

Releasing a game follows a similar route. For me, it starts about 1 week before the fulfilment of a Kickstarter begins with the buildup of anticipation. Then comes 3-4 weeks of sending out games and support, followed by a 2-week retail release campaign, and finally, 3-4 weeks of marketing and additional support. That’s another 11 weeks of 7-day-a-week work that requires me to be alert and working my best.

After all, I consider these 2 events to be 95% of the success of any games I release. If they both go perfectly, then the game has a great chance. If they go poorly, then the game may suffer considerably.

While the events themselves are non-stop, they also require months of preparation beforehand, and this is where I try my best to find my calm spot. Rather than leaving things to the last minute and giving myself impossible deadlines, I make sure there’s enough of a cushion that I’m not going to be working flat out in the buildup to the event.

The fulfilment for Race to the Raft is just a few weeks away, which will start my next big event. This time, however, I’ve worked hard to get everything in place and ready to go well ahead of schedule.

The games are arriving in warehouses now, some are even pre-packing everything in advance. All the backer data has been prepared, processed, and deposits have been paid. The packaging approaches for each centre are being worked on, and the replacement parts are already on route to their destination so any requests can be dealt with as soon as they come in.

Things are in such a good place that this coming week, there is nothing I need to do to make sure the fulfilment and release process start on time. Tomorrow, I’ll be getting in a car, driving to Wales, and spending a few days in a cabin on a lake with my partner. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still have my laptop and be doing work, but thanks to preparing everything well in advance, it’s an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate before the rush occurs.

As you start your own journey, I highly recommend building in enough buffer to allow yourself to rest before the big moments. It’s hard to do, but you’ll thank yourself when you’re 2 weeks into a big event and still feeling fresh!

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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