weekly store update 220116

Weekly Store Update: 16 January

Our distributors are starting to warm up after the holidays, and we're seeing things starting to break out of the log jam they were in. We're loving the action! You need to check out all the restocks and new items we laid in the shop last week. While you're doing that, you can see who won our January board game giveaway, and we have other interesting things to share too!

INTRO

Hello there, and welcome to our weekly newsletter! For our new readers, I'm Eric, and Wendy and I run Stone Valley Games. We use this newsletter to discuss both local and world-wide gaming news of interest that popped up last week. At the bottom of the newsletter, we show you our restock, new items, and preorders added to the store last week. The idea is our way to give our customers, either local or remote, some inside information so everyone feels like part of it all! Anyway, enough of an intro, let's get to the news!

BOARD GAME GIVEAWAY WINNER

We wanted to start the year off with a bang, so we went with Merchants of the Dark Road and the Patron's Provisions expansion for our January giveaway. Some fantastic, freshly released fun there! Folks seemed to agree as this was one of our most popular giveaways yet. 

Well, we have drawn the winner and it is Jeff H. from New Freedom, PA. Congratulations Jeff! We will have that game heading out on Monday, and you'll have to tell us how it plays!

merchants giveaway 2

PAUSE IN THE PODCASTS

We sponsor two podcasts specifically designed for solo board game players: Solosaurus and Meeple, Myself and I. In both of the podcasts the hosts discuss games and provide reviews. I'd say that's about the only similarity between the shows, both are very different in scope and tone. So, first, if you haven't heard of them and are interested in the solo side of board games you should really check them out. You can find them wherever you normally get your podcasts from. We like to listen to them on Spotify, and I have no idea why I just plugged Spotify... 

Solosaurus has a fairly deep catalog and switched hosts a few years ago to give you an even wider breadth of how different folks approach gaming. While Meeple, Myself and I is fairly new, and manned by one person, it is not like any other gaming podcast you've heard...in a good way.

So, how does that work...a retailer sponsoring a podcast? Well, what we do is provide the games the hosts request and the hosts do what they do. So, no, this isn't some sneaky way for us to sell games. After all, if you've listened to them, you know some of the games are poorly reviewed and even on a good day the hosts aren't pulling any punches.  

It all stemmed from my inability to do reviews anymore. You see, initially I wanted to provide reviews because there are so many games out there it's hard to figure out what should occupy your time and money. The problem was I just kept running out of day juggling all the store requirements. When we first opened, I did gameplay videos and unboxing and such. I provided a fairly in-depth written game review on a weekly, then bi-weekly, then monthly basis...then sporadically. So, still wanting to get reviews out there, I came up with the crazy idea to reach out to different podcasts to see if we could sponsor them to do what we just didn't have the time to do anymore...and the rest is history. 

However, life events greater than games have struck hosts in both shows and the shows are on hiatus. I don't know about you, but I miss listening to Martin from Solosaurus beat up rulebooks and Jason from Meeple, Myself and I invent new ways to add characters to his one man show. I can only hope it won't be too long until we get our 2022 properly on the way again. At least there's a back catalog to revisit when I have the itch to scratch!

svg security

SECURITY PRECAUTIONS

I was just going over our security protocols and figured it'd be a good time to share with you what we're doing. I'll try not to bore you to tears, I promise!

Off the top, we recently incorporated more stringent password rules for all accounts. When you change your password, forget your password, your account is placed in idle status, or after 12 months, a new password is required. That password has to be 8 digits and meet several other rules including it cannot be the last few passwords you used. These password rules are the same for everyone, even me.

Stronger passwords are vital for overall site security, but even if someone were to get into your account there's really not a lot they can do. Credit card information is not stored in your account or on the website. You know, when you are interacting with your payment method...actually, whenever you are in our webstore doing anything at all, the 'https' at the beginning of our web address means anything you are doing is being transferred over a secure connection. It's the industry-standard level of security and I would never run a webstore without it.

There is also a layer of protection between where our webstore is housed in the server and the internet itself that provides yet another protective buffer between cyberthreats and us.

Back to your account though. While there is some personal information about you in your account area if you've completed your entire profile, it's not a lot for a nefarious agent to work with. Not to make too light of it, but I don't think anyone can do much with your Stones other than you either. Also, your account is not connected to the backend of our webpage, and there is no way to burrow anywhere from a subscriber or customer account. That is the primary reason subscriber / customer accounts don't also have two-factor authentication (also known as 2FA). 

Now, 99.99% of all the users on our site are in the subscriber or customer role. Very, very few folks have access to the backend of the website in any capacity. Any accounts above subscriber / customer also have 2FA enabled for yet another layer of security. It's at this level where real damage could be done, so the security has been increased as well. 

And that's a basic, quick tour around our webstore security. I know, a real snooze fest, but it's important to us that you feel secure digitally browsing through the store. 

SMALLER BUT BETTER

One more real quick update for the week. Yeah, I normally provide a few more items of interest, but this is crunch time for bookkeeping as our accountants are like sled dogs just ready to pull...but need our information first.

So, longtime customers who ordered recently might have noticed, but we've included little photos on the invoice next to the product name. It's just one more example of stumbling on an answer while looking for something else. A tiny bit of code, and presto-bango the photo appears. Neat! In any case, I'm going to get back to the books so we can get the 2021 taxes put to bed. I will leave you to check out the restocks and new items a little sooner. Take care, and we'll catch up again next week!

THE WRAP UP

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! 

Restocks

New Items

Preorders

2 Comments

  1. Jeff C. on January 16, 2022 at 9:47 pm

    Eric, thanks for the bit insight into how you keep the site and your customer’s info safe. I found that informative and I appreciate the effort, bud! FYI, I actually read the entire update every week, even if I’m not buying or planning on buying anything. I just wanted to let you know that your efforts with these updates are appreciated, since I’m not sure how much feedback you get about stuff like that. Keep up the good work!



    • Stone Valley on January 16, 2022 at 10:27 pm

      Jeff, thanks for the feedback! Yeah, I always try to make the newsletters informative or interesting at the very least. I appreciate you checking it out every week, and even if you buy anything or not, I appreciate the kind words! –Eric