Another good week in the books, with plenty new items and restocks filling in those gaps on our shelves too. This week we take a look at some recent crowdfunded games, flash forward to 2024's Magic the Gathering products, and discuss a troubling trend we've noticed this year. I can easily say though, at the end of the day there's nothing else we'd rather be doing! Jump on in and check it all 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!
We are excited to announce the arrival of a few new Crowdfunded items! First is a single copy of Kingdom Death: Monster - Gambler's Chest Expansion. This is a highly anticipated release that adds a ton of new content, including new monsters, gear, and mechanics. It's just so dang cool, we couldn't help but try to land a copy and are so very glad it arrived.
In a much more approachable title, there's also Sanctuary: The Keepers Era that landed as well. This is a fast-paced card game with a ton of tactical depth. It's perfect for gamers of all skill levels, and this Kickstarter version has a ton of extras.
In the 'almost here' category, we just received shipping notice for the Kickstarter version of Volfyirion Guilds. This is a cooperative deckbuilding game set in a fantasy world. Players work together to build their guilds and defeat the forces of evil. We will have a few copies of our 'everything' bundle with the Dragon Miniature, custom sleeves, coaster, and more. However, we will be providing quite a few individual copies of the base game as well. All of that should be on shelves before the next newsletter releases.
That leaves 22 outstanding crowdfunded titles that will eventually heading our way. These games are still in various levels of development, but they look very promising. To check them out, be sure to visit our Crowdfunded tab on our website.
LOOKING AHEAD - MAGIC THE GATHERING IN 2024
Magic: The Gathering is gearing up for a big year in 2024, with a number of exciting new releases planned. Here's a look at what's to come:
- Ravnica Remastered: This set will bring back some of the most popular cards from the original Ravnica block, as well as some new twists. It's scheduled to release in January 2024.
- Murders at Karlov Manor: This set will take players to the gothic city of Karlov Manor, where they'll investigate a series of murders. It's scheduled to release in February 2024.
- Ravnica: Clue Edition: This set is a crossover with the popular board game Clue. Players will use cards to solve a murder mystery on Ravnica. It's scheduled to release in February 2024.
- Fallout: This set is a crossover with the popular video game series Fallout. Players will travel to the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Fallout, where they'll battle mutated creatures and collect powerful artifacts. It's scheduled to release in March 2024.
- Outlaws of Thunder Junction: This set will take players to the wild west, where they'll battle outlaws and collect bounties. It's scheduled to release in Q2 2024.
- Modern Horizons Three: This set is a sequel to the popular Modern Horizons set. It will feature powerful new cards that are legal in the Modern format. It's scheduled to release in Q2 2024.
- Assassin's Creed: This set is a crossover with the popular video game series Assassin's Creed. Players will travel to historical settings from the Assassin's Creed games, where they'll battle Templars and collect powerful artifacts. It's scheduled to release in July 2024.
- Bloomburrow: This set will take players to the city of Bloomburrow, where they'll battle elementals and collect powerful artifacts. It's scheduled to release in Q3 2024.
- Duskmourn: House of Horror: This set will take players to the House of Horror, where they'll battle demons and collect powerful artifacts. It's scheduled to release in Q3 2024.
- Tournament-Ready Pioneer: This set will be a curated collection of cards that are legal in the Pioneer format. It's scheduled to release in the end of 2024.
As you can see, there's a ton of new Magic: The Gathering projected 2024. It's sure to be a great year for fans of the game!
RECOGNIZABLE TREND IN 2023
Now that we're halfway through 2023, we've taken a look at some numbers. Most telling, and not to freak anyone out or anything, but we have noticed a fairly significant downward trend in overall sales. Not wanting to feel isolated here, we conducted a quick survey of other businesses in the area, along with some general research and realized it is indeed not just us. As a matter of fact, 155 small businesses have closed in Huntsville, AL thus far this year. By comparison, 2022 had 100 small businesses close for the entire year.
Here are a few factors we believe are contributing to the decline in sales:
- The rising cost of living: The cost of everything is going up. With food and gas so expensive, it is making it more difficult for people to afford games. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 8.6% in May 2022, the highest rate of inflation in 40 years. This means that people are paying more for everything they buy.
- Increased competition from online retailers: While nothing new, online-only retailers like Amazon are able to sell board games at incredibly low prices. They more than make up the difference in subscriptions. This is putting a strain on board game stores like ours, which are already struggling with rising costs.
- The global supply chain crisis: The global supply chain crisis, while becoming slightly better, has made it more difficult to get board games. This has led to both increased prices and shortages of popular games, which has further frustrated consumers.
As a result of these factors, sales are declining not just with us, but across the industry. When it comes to our viability though, I can tell you we're good for now, and for the near-term at least. We're hoping for a nice economic recovery beginning in the first half of 2024. We assess that once we've reached that milestone people will be able to get their budgets back under control. After that, we should see a good resurgence to numbers more aligned with the last few years. If we can continue to control costs and make sure not to branch into too many new ventures, we'll definitely still be here to help them out on the other side of this! I'd also like to mention that it is only through your continued support that we can remain afloat as we are, and we greatly appreciate it!
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!