NOTE: We had an issue with our newsletter feed last week - so this is releasing very, very late. We should be back on track after this though!
What a dizzying week here at SVG! We had an incredible amount of restock land, we set up a new retail partnership, tweaked the webstore, and drew the winner of our September board game giveaway, and a local customer put me in a contemplative mood. Hear about that and more, just click on in to check out this week's newsletter!
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. All in all it's not too difficult to navigate, so let's get to it!
BOARD GAME GIVEAWAY DRAWING
For the month of September, we went with a working theme. After all, it aligns well with the spirit of Labor Day. So, we decided to give away the entire Fantastic Factories set.
In Fantastic Factories, you race to manufacture the most goods or build the most prestigious buildings. There are elements of dice rolling, worker placement, engine building, resource management, tableau building, simultaneous play, and some card drafting.
We drew the winner on Saturday, 17 September and after the standard drumroll it was Anthony from Lynbrook, New York! Congratulations Anthony!!
Hey, if you didn't win this time around, don't fret as we'll be kicking off another giveaway quite soon for the month of October. You know it's going to be something appropriately themed for Halloween. Keep checking out our newsletters for the latest!
LATEST RETAIL PARTNERSHIP
We have officially aligned with Renegade and are now part of their Verified Renegade Retailer Program.
Unlike many of our other partnerships, Renegade does not supply their games already in standard distribution. They expect retailers to continue working with their regular distributors for that. However, what they do provide are unique, helpful, and downright fantastic promos for some of their board and card games.
You can see the Promo Mania impact immediately in our preorders below for My Little Pony, Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Power Rangers deck building games. There's now a Promo included with our Wayfarers of the South Tigris preorder as well.
We've gone ahead and set everything up since partnering up. So, not only will there be promos for the preorders shown below, once we've restocked the titles currently out of stock, we'll be providing promos for those too! We expect those to arrive in the next week or two, so if you've been waiting to jump into those fun and frantic Renegade deck builders, that might be a good time to do it!
MORE WEBSTORE TWEAKS
We cleaned up the webstore a little bit last week. First was connecting a proper SMTP service for our different email processes. This makes things both more secure and helps ensure emails coming from us here at SVG make it through those email filters.
Naturally everything worked well for a few days and then it "burped" which threw the email processes off. A helpful customer notified us that the 'contact us' process didn't seem to be working. Thanks to them it was easy to get everything back on track and things have been running smoother than ever since that event.
Second was with the PayPal payment method. You might have noticed those PayPal banners have been removed from the cart and product pages - it's relegated to the payment screen along with our Stripe system. Yeah, there was actually two competing software suites with PayPal, and we cleaned all of that up too. While we never really had any problems with it, things - as with the SMTP, are just smoother now.
The last tweak was reimplementing the Menu options for All Board Games, All Card Games, etc. We had removed those several weeks ago thinking no one used those - but soon came to find out that several people enjoy just scrolling through to make sure they didn't miss something since the last time they checked in. Works for us. I can say it's much easier to get things working a second time if you'd done it before 😉
GATEKEEPING - VOL II
Our longtime readers might recall my gatekeeping story from back in the August 2021 newsletter when I wrote about how retailers can be gatekeepers too, even without realizing it.
Off the top I have to say we here at SVG are all about inclusion. We believe the joy of gaming doesn't have boundaries and there's room at the table for everyone. However, just as I discovered last August, I was inadvertently gatekeeping once again and didn't even realize it.
So, the story. First, a bit of a preamble. As you know, we are a board game shop. What I have become blind to, because I've been in the modern board game scene since the early 2000's, is that folks who have not been introduced to modern board games don't know anything about the fairness, creativity, and depth of gaming today. They know Monopoly, and Risk, and Clue. Classic games like that. It's not that these games cannot be fun, it's just that game tech has come quite a long way since the 50's and there are generally better options available today.
Then I receive a phone call asking if we carried Monopoly. I paused, and what was running through my mind was all of the games that were 'like' Monopoly, but were simply better - didn't have the player elimination or randomness or long playtimes, had better movement rules, etc. I started to explain, but quickly realized they did not understand any of those concepts. So, I simply said we didn't carry it. The caller paused and incredulously said, "Aren't you a board game store? And you don't carry Monopoly?"
After that phone call I thought about it. Here I was gatekeeping folks who only knew classic board games simply by not carrying them. Wendy and I huddled, and then ordered several classic games: Risk, The Game of Life, Clue, Battleship, Boggle, Operation, Sorry, Monopoly, Candy Land, Guess Who, and even Jenga.
After all, it's much easier to discuss 'other' games after they've stopped in to grab a copy of Monopoly. Once they are in the shop, I can build that trust by sharing our knowledge of the games we carry. Isn't that what a small-town board game shop is all about?
You'll see those games pop up in the next few weeks. When you do, you'll know the story on why they made the list. I may sprinkle a few more classics in there over time. The end result is when local folks Google search for a copy of Risk our store will pop right up. It is all about inclusion after all, right?
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!