Our Summer Sale is behind us, and what a fantastic sale it was! We hope you enjoyed it! If you missed it, I'm fairly sure we'll have another big one in the fall; not to mention a flash sale or two between now and then - and being plugged in to our newsletters will keep you informed on all that. Also, we switch up our donations a bit, plus we gush on a new product line that's finally about to hit too. Check us out!
Welcome to our weekly newsletter! For our new readers I'm Eric, and Wendy and I run Stone Valley Games. This newsletter is our way to share both local and world-wide gaming news of interest that popped up last week. It also provides our subscribers, both local and remote, some information on the going's on around here so everyone feels like part of the action. At the bottom of this newsletter we show you the restocks, new items, and preorders added to the store last week. It's not too difficult to navigate, so let's get to it!
THE 2023 SUMMER SALE - AFTER ACTION REPORT
What a wonderful sale! We had so many happy local and remote customers, lots of new faces, plus many of whom had shopped with us before. We always appreciate those return customers! Means we're doing something right 😉 We were also able to get all the packages out within 24 hours of the order, which is something we remain very proud of.
We just drew the winner of our board game giveaway too! For those who may not know, this particular giveaway is for our local customers who had ordered for curbside pickup during the sale. Well, the winner of Masters of the Universe: The Board Game - Clash for Eternia was Thomas A. Congratulations Thomas!!!
Even though the sale was a success, those who were on the website early probably noticed a lag right at the beginning, and I have a little story to tell regarding that.
Our website is hosted on the cloud, and for those that visit during 'normal times' you'll note there are no issues with lag or anything. We are very confident in our normal hosting plan for day-to-day operations. However, there was a significant slowdown on the site during the sale launch...which was quite unexpected. I had planned for an increase in website traffic, but the load was far greater than I anticipated!
When it comes to website load planning, I've been doing the same thing for years. What I do is during each sale is note what our peak load is. I then calculate a staticstical increase on that load based on historical trends and build that growth capability into our hosting plan. So, the system can slowly ramp from the base level to the selected ceiling as the load increases. Normally easy - peasy. Let's just say I grossly miscalculated the popularity of this sale! This time as I was rolling the sale changes to the backend I noticed the lag, so I jumped to the server side and saw the ceiling was already significantly broached before the sale even began - which demonstrated an incredible increase in visitors over what I had planned. I was ultimately able to fix it, but it took about 40 minutes. During which time I'm sure frustrated customers were wondering what the heck was going on.
I don't see an issue going forward though. I threw my standard statistical growth plan out the window and went with 'worse case' right off the top instead. Bottom line is I'm confident the next sale launch will go much smoother, and we hope to see you there!
CHANGING UP OUR CHARITABLE DONATIONS A BIT
One of our favorite parts of this business is seeing all the happy and excited folks discussing, buying, and playing their games. However, not everyone has the means to purchase much outside of mortgage, food, and gas to go to work. Especially lately. We do our best to help them too!
Up until now we've been donating to the Redstone Arsenal USO office, but that has become quite difficult since their last coordinator left. So, we decided to switch it up this time and donate to the Madison County library system. Let me tell you, all of those excited faces as we rolled in with two large carts of games is something I'll remember for some time! It was like we rolled two large barrels of water into an arid desert - there were folks converging from all over to check us out. It was fantastic! The board game section at the library is tiny, and our donation basically doubled what they had. How cool is that!? I have to tell you though, we're just a conduit. It's support from our wonderful customers that allow us to continue helping out like this. So, thank you for your patronage! We (and that's far more than just Wendy and I) really appreciate it!
THANK YOU, UPS!
We are over the moon happy that the eminent UPS strike has been adverted! Good for everyone involved, at least for now. Hopefully all those changes don't ultimately jack prices up too much, but for now things are looking good.
Just in case there was a strike, we had signed up with Fed Ex last week. However, we are happy to report that we should never have to use them. Hey, we may have never met you, but we respect you enough to not ship anything to you via Fed Ex. I'll just leave it at that as I'm sure tons of people love Fed Ex... I have stories, but I'll just keep them to myself. No, UPS isn't perfect either, but they have been good to us. More importantly, the number of damaged items in transit remains quite small considering all the packages we push thru them. Of the choices in the USA, it's just the better one for a business like ours where handling matters.
Jason Montgomery has been busy! Busy procratinating that is! As the mind and voice behind Meeple, Myself, and I, he has recently published a new episode. You can check out that link or find it wherever you normally listen to podcasts. In this episode he discusses Ginkgoplis, Gugong, and Coffee Roaster.
If you listen to a lot of gaming podcasts, you tend to note groups of folks - and Jason is just a one-person show. Also, he's relatively focused and there isn't that rambling you get with some other podcasts. Well, he does talk about some of his personal struggles, which are very relatable, but we'll let him slide on that 😀 Finally, it's a professional product. There is a slew of podcasts I just cannot listen too as it's like chaotic bees fighting for the queen or something. I don't mind a little chaos, after all I'm a statistician at heart, but even I have a limit. Jason runs on a script, and that quality shows thru. Finally, one last kudos, is that his podcasts are almost all solo gaming focused, which is the rarest breed of gaming podcast to begin with. So, if any of that sounds interesting to you, I encourage you to try him out. I know he'll be thankful for it!
THE OLD ONES ULTIMATELY RISE
Even though it was a busy week, we were also able to prep for eventual intake of our latest product line - Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game. Originally printed back in 1981, they are now on the very popular 7th Edition.
Our longtime readers might have noted a similar story from back in the 9 October 2022 newsletter. Well, we're not kidding this time 🙂 We should have the first batch on the shelves and in the 'New Items' section next week. Our initial swath of twelve books will be those most sought after by newer players. We will slowly fill in the blanks, especially if requested, and start adding upcoming titles to our Preorder section.
The question is...why so long between the announcement and pulling the trigger, right? Well, we realized right after announcing that we still did not have the appropriate space. You see, it was about the same time we planned on rearranging the store to provide a play space, so where it was supposed to go just evaporated. However, over the months we've been juggling things around and now have a nice section for the books once again.
As an added bonus, Chaosium also just started releasing the latest version of their Pendragon Roleplaying Game. Pendragon is set in King Arthur's Britain where players take on the role of knights and overcome mythical monsters, rival knights, and other challenges. The Starter Set should be with us next week as well. We'll start rolling in new Pendragon books and gauge popularity over time. Let me tell you, we're happy to get these new books in and hope you're happy to see the add!
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!