USA! USA! We love cheering on Team USA in the Olympics! While our team continues to represent, we're reminded that there hasn't been a great Olympics themed board game released. At least not yet. Anyone willing to make that a reality? Another gold medal week in the books here, and you should check out our game giveaway! We also have restocks, new items, and preorders too - and news!
While I dabbled in sports most of my life, I never had the desire to hone myself into Olympic material. Well, except for maybe curling... Hello! I'm Eric, and I run Stone Valley Games with my wife Wendy, and we hope this week's update finds you well. For those new to our newsletter this top portion holds our various news segments. However, if you want to skip all that you can jump down to the bottom of the post and see the restocks, new items, and preorders we laid in last week. Though...you may want to hang on for the next piece to find out about the Game Giveaway!
CLICK HERE to enter. It’s time to shake things up! We’re not just giving away a game this time. No, we’re giving away a copy of The Lord of the Rings card game, and the entire first cycle – known as the Shadows of Mirkwood, which contains six Adventure Packs. We’ve also opened and sleeved everything and provided a storage solution too! All told, MSRP is over $170, and TLotR remains in the Top 5 customizable card games on BGG. If you’ve been wanting to guide your fellowship as it embarks on unique adventures in Tolkien’s Middle Earth, or if you already have everything...what better gift could there be to a friend or loved one? Entry closes on 14 August. Reminder that if you're interested you need to sign up again. Previous giveaway and newsletter registrations do not carry over from giveaway to giveaway. Make sure to spread the word!
There are quite a few fantastic games that are a little long in the tooth. Now, just like old news you didn't know about, these are the kinds of games that are just as good today as they've always been. One game in this category is Shadowrun Crossfire: Prime Runner, which itself is an update of the original. While the core game is still generally available, the expansions just seem to be fading away, with the most popular one - High Caliber Ops, not available at all for over a year.
We reached out to Catalyst Game Labs to see if there were any plans for a reprint. Though it took some time, Jason from the Catalyst team finally responded and told us that they do not plan on reprinting the High Caliber Ops, or any of the other expansions - at least not anytime soon. However, he did tease that there is a new Crossfire expansion in the works! Due to the current issues with production and worldwide shipping it most likely won't appear until 2022.
What amazingly positive news! This new expansion will not only breath new life into the game for long-time fans, but hopefully will shine a light on the game for a whole new audience.
GLOBAL NEWS HITS HOME
If you've been following our newsletter we've laid out several articles about the impacts of the global pandemic on our favorite hobby - from shipping to paper. Well, it's come home to roost. The publisher Lautapelit.fi reached out to tell us that there is going to be a few month delay on the latest printing of producer Panda Game's wildly popular Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy which we have up for preorder right now.
Then they dropped the other shoe... they are having to raise the MSRP on the game as well. Shipping container prices were quoted as four times what they were during the last print run. After a slow breath we looked at the impact to our own operation. First off, we did not raise the price for anyone who had already ordered. However, we did raise the price for new customers to the preorder now and will carry that same price later when we have it in stock. Toni from Lautapelit.fi was very apologetic, and voiced all of their frustration at the whole situation, hoping the customers would understand and be willing to pay a bit more for an already expensive game.
My take is this. Yes, it's an expensive game. However, it's also an amazing experience, and has rightfully earned that high 8 score on BGG. Even though they did raise the price, it was really measured, only going up ten Euro. When I flowed the price increase into our store I rounded it down, and we're still offering free shipping. So, if someone has the means, that extra 10 isn't going to be the deciding factor. Hopefully other publishers continue the trend of 'death by a thousand papercuts.' While painful, it's better than 'an arm and a leg.'
THE WEBSITE TANGO
I have our website developers hopping. While there are quite a few things I can do, once it gets into pure programming I toss it over the fence to them. First, folks have noticed and reported the website had been slower than normal for about two...maybe three weeks now. It's back up to speed again (or should be...hit me up if it is still lagging) as we've worked out the last of the bugs from that /feed issue. Basically we have the cache settings working both locally and with remote servers, which is really what makes things hum.
An easy one that I was able to fix this week was the menu hamburger icon that appears on mobile devices. We found out that customers who had been using a dark motif on their phone didn't even know the hamburger was there - it just blended in. So, presto chango and it's a bit lighter now. That was from Kenneth, who had a few more tweaks to add too. His other fix request was when a customer drills down into the product view, if they click the link above the picture it goes to some strange layout, not the grid that the customer just came from. Well, that was one I had been working on too, and now that fix is in the works. It turned out to be beyond my limited skills, but the devs have approved the task and told me they will fix it so when that link is pressed it takes folks back to the grid view that they came from.
There are two other minor tweaks that the Devs have accepted. One is the preorder date, which will appear both in the grid view and in the product view for an item in preorder status. No more having to hunt around to find it!
The other is to modify the 'add to cart' buttons that appear in the search results to match the button colors in the other parts of the webstore. Again, so strange that I could modify everything else in that search results page...except for that button.
There is one nagging problem they cannot find the root cause for. It's an 'Unending Circle' that appears seemingly randomly for a very small percentage of customers. It pops up during checkout not allowing the transaction to complete, and I've had it where one person has that circle and simultaneously a few other folks' orders come on through with no issues whatsoever. It seems to be regardless of geographical location, browser, or phone/computer/tablet use. Just the strangest thing. With this recent push, the devs reported that one thing it might be is an issue on the PayPal side. It appears PayPal was down at the approximate time the latest report came in. So, if you see the spinning circle maybe you can change your payment method from PayPal to Stripe to see if that helps. At this point I have to lean on the community to assist as the devs continue to come up empty. This is a tricky one as it always works for them, every time, just as it does for me. We'll get it worked out!
Until they fix it, if you happen to run into that problem and it won't go away we do have a workaround where you can tell us what you'd like in an email or by phone and we can build you a PayPal or Stripe invoice - same payment methods as in the webstore. We can even add Stones to your SVG Account. Easy Peasy.
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!