Have you been playing any scary games lately? Maybe a spooky one-shot of your favorite RPG? Candlelight will definitely help set that mood! Here at Stone Valley Games our prices are always scary...scary good! Oh goodness, I just cannot help myself. In any case, another influx of new games, some hot restocks, and a load of preorders were set up last week, and we're looking forward to our next giveaway - plus other news!
I really enjoy being scared. Not like 'real' scared mind you, more like 'artificially' scared where the theme and story of a game or movie pull you in. Have you noticed just how amazing some of these horror background stories are? Being scared for real though is...not nearly as fun for me. I'll take the kind of scared I can put back on a shelf any day! Hello there, I'm Eric, and Wendy and I run Stone Valley Games. If this is your first newsletter, welcome! This top part of the post contains our shop and gaming news, and at the bottom are the restocks, new items, and preorders we laid in last week. So when you come back you can check out what's going on with us, or just jump on down and see what's new on the shelves. In any case, let's get to it!
BOARD GAME GIVEAWAY
Last week we announced the winner of our October game giveaway, which included four horror-themed games, and we're been brainstorming on what to do for November. There are two very strong themed holidays in November; Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. We haven't decided which way to lean yet, but know that the giveaway will focus on one of those. There won't be long to wait though as we'll be kicking off that giveaway next week - so make sure to tune back in for the details!
HEAD IN THE CLOUDS
Do you feel that? Lighter, fluffier? No? Well, we do. And it wasn't that extra piece of pumpkin pie. We decided to take the leap from a terrestrial-based shared server to our own cloud-based server space for the webstore and website.
In the previous setup we were hovering at the top of server capability and were running dangerously close to being shut down a few times for overstretching server assets. On the new server we've been right in the middle of server assets at peak hours, which gives us room to grow...and best part, we're at the very bottom rung of the cloud server. So, while it may be much more expensive than the terrestrial server, it's going to serve us well for years to come.
It was a bit nerve wracking though. We were quoted a possible 48 hours for the transition. We were warned that while transitioning the webstore and website functionality could be severely impacted. So, I set everything up with the developers and then started to put up an 'excuse our mess as we migrate server' banners...and it wouldn't take. They had immediately started the transition after I opened the ticket, which took me by complete surprise, and I was locked out of my own website!
However, before I could even get into semi-panic mode from not being able to warn visitors that things were going a bit haywire, the transition was over. I mean, it must have taken about thirty minutes. I had to put some things back together... like, you may have noticed the site search didn't work for a day or so. Nothing too crazy though. I have to say it went super smooth and after that transition everything has been humming along better than ever! Oh! By the way, we use SiteGround for our hosting service. Used to use Bluehost, but they were the absolute worst. Switched about two years ago and haven't looked back.
I have written previously about receiving approval to have our product reviews propagated across Google. That took weeks and weeks of work to make it through the vetting process, and after the second week of the onboarding process after we received approval...it looks like everything has finally synched! That's right, the product reviews you provide for our items right here in our webstore have a good chance of propogating across Google. I think that's pretty neat. Here are a few examples from out in the wild:
As that process was taking so very long, I rummaged around Google for some other things to stick our nose into and found Local Product Listings. Paint me surprised to discover it's a completely different process than Free Listings. So, I figured I'd get those going too.
Just like everything else I've done with Google it was a different process working with a different Google team. Let me tell you, Google does not take this stuff lightly. There are several process that have to be accomplished successfully in each of these categories before they even start working with you one on one.
In any case we jumped headlong into that Tough Mudder and ducked, dodged, dove and darted through their maze of processes and checks. After several weeks of that we are at long last looking at the final obstacle - a practical exam.
So, between now and next week's newsletter we will be tested to ensure our digital product inventory matches what we sell in our physical store. If they match we'll have that Local Product Listings section enabled in Google. I'm not concerned about not making the cut, we've got nothing to hide. I do find it really neat though that Google goes through such a comprehensive vetting process. As someone who appreciates authenticity I respect all the processes we've experienced with Google. While I respect the processes...I can tell you after several months of this I just don't like having to go thru them 😀
HACK 'n' SLASH
In the entire time we've been in business, unless we were on vacation and physically not available, we have always turned orders into shipments within 24 hours. Well, it looks like we may actually have to become a "normal" retailer for a bit and take two or even three days to turn them around. And it's all my fault.
My right shoulder has been bothering me for years. I stretched, exercised, used heat and cold therapy and none of it helped. It just kept on slowly getting worse. To the point turning the steering wheel was painful. Well, enough was enough.
So after consults and tests and physical therapy it's come to this. Next week I go under the knife. In the best case it's labrum and in the worst case they also have to move the bicep muscle. Obviously I'm hoping for the first, but the surgeon will be doing a bit of discovery while he's digging around in there as a lot of things don't show up in tests.
In any case, I'll be one-armed for awhile, and I'm not left handed. I've tried to do a few things with just my left hand as practice and...it's not pretty. Now, I have been training some part-time help lately, but I anticipate a considerable dip in our order turnaround time. I just ask for your patience. I'm not sure how long I'll be a one-armed lefty, but I do take physical therapy seriously and will be focusing on my healing, so the process will be as fast as humanly possible.
l will also most likely put a note up on the checkout page for customers who don't read this newsletter. Like I told someone today on the phone... He was was telling me that even though we were over 800 miles away we were like his local game store. I told him we were his local game store... local in this case more of a feeling than a reality. So, as your local game store regardless of the distance between us, we just wanted share our shop journey with you. Do not fret or worry for us. I'm fully confident that I'll be healed up in time to get those Christmas gifts heading your way in our traditionally speedy manner. Of course by then it may not matter as that's when the post office tends to be slow...
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!