Weekly Store Update: 25 April
It's been a surprisingly cool Spring around here this year, but that hasn't dampened our shop ops! First, make sure to sign up for our Board Game Giveaway, it won't be open much longer! Then, there were a few nice adds to the store, including several restocks and preorders last week. For news, we share our thoughts on Kickstarter, and why the difference between contiguous and continental really does matter.
Hello there! I'm Eric, your scribe and tour guide through our weekly store update. For those new to our newsletter this top portion contains our shop news. If you're not interested in that and want to see what's new in the shop you can jump down to the bottom of the post to see the restocks, new items, and preorders we laid in last week. Let's get to it, shall we?
BOARD GAME GIVEAWAY
If you haven't had the chance yet, make sure you check out our Board Game Giveaway! Solosaurus has joined forces with us to bring you the chance to win a free review copy of Viscounts of the West Kingdom! Viscounts scores in the 8's on Board Game Geek and has an exceptional solo player mode for a 1 - 4 player game. CLICK HERE to go to the sign in page and find out more about it! You only have a few days left, we're closing it down on the 28th.
TO KICKSTARTER...OR NOT
You probably noticed that we carry crowdfunded games, mostly from either Kickstarter or Gamefound, in our Limited or Rare category. While I'm not about to tell you what to do with your money, I can tell you about our experience and how we've learned to temper our crowdfunding engagement. When we first started backing, the only criteria we had was that the game we backed had a solo mode. So, we supported dozens and dozens of games - kind of blindly, really. We did check out some gameplay videos, but one thing I've learned as a retailer is what I personally like or dislike does not translate well to the customer base holistically, so it was really a hit or miss. Well, after several months and into years of backing games we noticed three specific trends. First, the majority of those crowdfunded games, especially from established publishers, were almost identical to the retail game and released at about the same time or maybe only a few weeks earlier. Worst part...the retail version was MUCH more inexpensive. Second, we also noticed that, in the majority of cases, the exclusives were...really not that good. So we were dropping a lot of extra cash into something that was not giving us a similar return. Third, the hottest new trend seems to be "big box" or blinged-out remakes of established games. I believe that folks will jump at the games they love (which is the point of these Kickstarters) but from a retailer perspective it's literally a lottery that may or may not hit...so we continue to steer away. Funny thing is, we generally carry the "regular" versions of those games, and... they're still fantastic, just as they have always been.
Now, if something changes gameplay (like the solo mode in the Kickstarted Fossilis that isn't in the retail version) we'll take a second look. Also, if there are a significant amount of exclusives that really stand out (looking at you CMON) we'll ponder those for a time before deciding to pull the trigger or not. However, our new primary focus is on those smaller, yet no less amazing foreign game publishers that don't have US distribution channels. I don't know if you've noticed, but THOSE kinds of game are generally very, very interesting and wouldn't make it without the campaign. In my humble opinion, that's what Kickstarter is all about.
So, this new focus both helps limit our number of crowdfunded games, and ensures the games we do pull in are special. I'm not sure where you stand on crowdfunding, but maybe a similar strategy might help you sort it all out too.
We do our best to keep our ear to the track, listening for game changes or updates. While we catch a lot, I can safely say we don't catch everything. Such was the case last week when we heard from a customer that our product page didn't match the copy of Circadians: First Light they received. We checked and sure enough, the publisher had been switched from Garphill Games to Renegade Game Studios. Well, that'd be something you'd think the distributor would tell retailers, since they are dealing directly with the publishers and in this case there was a product change involved, but that didn't happen. Even though it's disappointing, it's really not too surprising. Our distributors are extremely busy too, so sometimes these things will happen. In any case, we updated our product page to match the new version of the game and if you notice something like that just let us know. We may just slip you some Stones into your SVG account for your assistance!
CONTINENTAL VS. CONTIGUOUS
When we first opened up the webstore we had free shipping set for all US addresses. Well, it didn't take us very long to realize that we ended up losing money when customers in Alaska or Hawaii used their free shipping option. Hard to stay in business long that way! So, I set up the webstore to not allow free shipping to contiguous addresses, which includes Hawaii and Alaska, as well as Guam and other US territories. Then, when I went to update the wording everywhere else in the website I used Continental US wording instead - which includes Alaska. My fault! Well, I've gone back and cleaned that up, so everything should properly read Contiguous US throughout the site. If you happen to see one I missed I wouldn't mind if you pointed it out to me!
THE WRAP UP
Enough news, let's get to the games! 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!