The summer continues to bring light and life, and these games sure do help with a little escapism from the day-to-day lately! We've added some new items, restocks, and loaded several highly anticipated preorders. The future is bright! More good things are afoot for the shop as well, so stop in and check out our latest news too!
Welcome to our Newsletter! I'm Eric, and Wendy and I run Stone Valley Games. We may be tiny, but we punch well above our weight! For those new to our newsletter this top portion is our news section. However, if you want to skip the words you can jump down to the bottom of the post and see the restocks, new items, and preorders we laid in last week. Let's get to the latest!
SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN
Some exciting shop news to lead us off this week! Our long-time readers, and listeners of the Solosaurus podcast know that we've been working on expanding our store to a larger facility. We have been patiently waiting in a long six month que to have our plans drawn up.
So, a little background on that. In a small but significantly growing city like Huntsville, finding the "right' folks is the key. We need professional architects who not only draw up the plans, but also have the legalities understood in order to have those plans approved by the city so there's no re-planning or anything required afterward. That's why such the long wait.
In any case, we received the call! We have an appointment with them next week to go over the initial design and sketch and start turning our dream into a realty. We're on our way! I will continue to post updates as they occur. I am almost giddy with excitement... and if you know me, that's a rarity indeed!
There are a lot of board gaming 'norms', like with any hobby. Tabletop gaming has its own unwritten terminology, etiquette, all of that. A popular one I've heard bandied around lately is Gatekeeping. Basically, Gatekeeping is limiting or controlling the access to something in the gaming hobby, generally by badmouthing it, and usually with new players - but can hit anyone. Like, if someone says, "Hey, Kingdom Rush looks really fun, how does it play at 3 players?" and the reply is, "Kingdom Rush is okay, but if you want a really fun 3 player game you should try Mysterium." See, not helpful at all! Now, there is a big difference between having preferences, and then pushing those preferences on others. There are a ton of other examples, but that gives you the idea in case you hadn't heard of it before.
So, off the top I can tell you Gatekeeping bothers me. I am always trying to provide a MORE inclusive experience, especially for new players. I think a lot of Gatekeeping is either an elitist attitude, or just someone not understanding that what they are doing is not helpful. So, I don't go on the offensive when I see it happening, I try to turn it into a teachable moment and get folks to talk it out. Usually very enlightening. I can also tell you it works with folks in the shop, but do not try to 'help' anyone out in the interwebs...it's not going to go well. But...that's not the focus of this story.
I'm going to pivot into something that probably only I think about. Retail Gatekeeping. Have you ever been in a shop when the owner is dead set against something and refuses to carry that title, or all of the games from a certain publisher based on their likes and dislikes? I have a personal example. A game shop I used to visit in South Carolina didn't carry Warhammer because the owner had an altercation with one of the sales reps in 1989, like over three decades prior. That's Retail Gatekeeping.
Now, this is different than a 'niche' or 'theme' to a shop. Like, we at SVG focus heavily on board games with fun solo modes, but that's our niche. Even with our solo focus though, we still carry some multiplayer-only games...not to mention Magic the Gathering and roleplaying games. So, when it comes to the Gatekeeping phenomenon I thought I was different. However, I recently realized I was doing the very same thing...with Dungeons and Dragons.
Oh, trust me, it's a wonderful story about how I was wronged back in the day, and blah, blah, blah. You know what though, why should I use my personal experience to limit someone else's joy? It's a wonderful roleplaying system, literally decades of product under its belt, with a legion of loyal fans. Well, eureka, and I dutifully pivoted the spotlight on myself. So, you'll see an influx of D&D roleplaying game titles and some of the D&D board games this week.
I want what we carry to be limited by things like financial sunk costs, physical space limitations, and customer desires... not what happened to some old jaded 'get off my lawn' shopkeeper fifteen years ago. Lesson learned.
SECRETS OF THE WHALES
We do what we can for the gaming community. We help local schools, the Redstone Morale, Welfare and Recreation office, we ship games to overseas military and embassy folks for free. It's not much, but it's our way of giving back. Our long-time readers know the most distant school district we help is up in Alaska. So, we've built a relationship with them over time, and trust me - we always like it when Doug checks in with something a bit off the beaten path. This one was so neat we had to share it with you.
That's a photo Doug sent me from Prince William Sound. He went on to say
-Not sure how much of a documentary watcher you are but if you check out a show called the Secrets of the Whales on Disney and watch the Humpback episode you can see whales bubble net feeding for herring which is a rare and amazing spectacle that only occurs in the waters of Southeast and Southcentral Alaska. This is something we just got to see out near our rural villages in Prince William Sound and my wife was once luck enough to see it from a small plane headed out to one of our communities. Just sharing to keep providing you stories of where you are sending your games 🙂 Getting to see 60,000 lb animals herd huge balls of fish and then explode out of the water filling their huge mouths full of fish is unbelievable.
So, while it may not be directly board game related, it's still super neat. I would like to say it is always interesting to see what they've got going on - and we're going to get to that documentary as soon as we have the chance! Thanks Doug!
THE WRAP UP
Okay, enough news for this week! Below are the Restocks, New Items, and Preorders added to the shop last week. You can click on the item to learn more, and many of the products have review and gameplay videos so you can see the game in action. If you're visiting our page and you'd like to keep up with our giveaways, sales, new products, and articles like this one just create an account here. Once created you will be subscribed to our newsletter and become enrolled in our loyalty system, instantly earning 50 Stones that you can use on your very first order. A Stone? One Stone is equivalent to One Cent. That doesn't sound like much, but you earn 2 Stones for every dollar spent and 5 for each product review, so though it may seem small, those savings add up fast! Redeem your Stones upon checkout, and they can save you up to 10% off your cart total. Loyalty Matters!