We're back from our vacation and are buried up to our armpits in restock and new games. True story! We'd have it no other way though...nothing quite like getting back in the swing of things! Check out what's new on the shelves and since you're here why not stick around for a few store stories? Just a few, we promise!
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!
GUESS WHO'S BACK
Wendy and I returned in the middle of the week and had a lot of work waiting. There were lots of shipping boxes full of restocks and new games. However, it wasn't nearly as hectic as usual since we had folks covering the websales while we were gone this time. So, in no time at all we had everything prepped and ready to go, right back to business as usual. I'll tell you what, this went even better than I had hoped, and I think we'll do it like this again - if we can line everything up just right.
While on vacation we remained extremely busy travelling around the Great Northwoods visiting family and friends. Not much time to stop and catch our breath - but we did get a few opportunities to do just that, and snapped some photos, a few of which are in a gallery below. Nothing too exciting...but that's the point. Tranquil and relaxing is good once in a while too!
The trip was really nice, even though we had to drive up and back this year as it was too costly to fly. The weather was fantastic, and everyone was doing well. All in all, the break from day-to-day was nice, but it's always great to get back into the swing of things. Sleep in our own beds and strap the daily routine back on, you know - things like that. Vacation over, let's get to work!
Did you notice that we updated our Facebook page? We've changed out our store logo to the Big-Eyed Dragon and our Banner Page to some recent art you might have seen in previous editions of this newsletter. It wasn't as easy as you'd think though.
Modern digital media is very fickle when it comes to sizing. Much like physical art can be paint on canvas, those canvas sizes vary greatly. In digital art, everything is still on a canvas, and still has a size. These sizes generally laid out in either inches or pixels, though pixels remain the industry standard.
Every time you take a photo the size of your photo is set by your device. You might see things set as a 1:1 or 16:9, but exactly "what" is that 1:1? Is it 154 x 154 pixels? If so, then it's the Facebook standard for a square photo. And that's how specific these digital photos need to be in order to appear properly.
We've noticed over the years that squares and circles are not that much of a problem though. As long as the photos are at least that minimum pixel size they do well. The problem we run into is...rectangles. With Facebook alone, there are four distinctly different sizes for rectangles depending on what you're trying to do.
That photo of our new games at the top of this newsletter is 1200 x 628 pixels, which is the recommended Upload Size for Facebook. Therefore, to make things easier on us, we've developed a native 1200 x 628 size in Photoshop and use that for most of our landscape-type photos and art. We use it a lot; all of our photos in the store Facebook page are this size.
The other primary rectangle we wrestle with is our Facebook banner photo. That's the photo at the top of our store's Facebook page, and it is 820 x 312 pixels. What an odd size! However, anything too small or large stands out, as you can see if you view that photo on a phone. It's close...but.
Then there's 470 x 246 pixels for Facebook feeds and 484 x 252 for the Facebook page itself. We don't mess with these two sizes too much, but for completeness I'll list them here.
So, for things like art, what digital canvas size the artist uses really matters. For our art pieces things were not done in these native sizes, so the artist is doing the best they can to modify things to make them fit. Going forward they will use these native sizes. Worst part is Facebook is only one social media site, and every social media platform has its own size restrictions! Even more troubling, Facebook will occasionally tweak their own sizing...so it's a very fluid issue.
Our artist told us that all these sizes made their head hurt...and we could only agree! The lesson is very clear though. In order to provide professional looking photos and art - make sure you know what sizes are required, because size really does matter!
A LITTLE HELP FROM OUR FRIENDS
We believe we are more than just a board game shop, but a solid member of our local community and thru this newsletter and our social media sites, the larger community abroad. While we do our very best for our community, we're very happy when the community helps us too!
Let me tell you, we don't mind the help! I put a lot of time and energy into making things just right. However, there are just so many things to keep tabs on. Here are some recent examples. The first is our game photos. Every time a game is reprinted there's a chance it could retain all of its original form, or it could change. It might change content, box art, or even change publishers. With the constant rotation of games, we might miss one of those changes.
Then, every time our website background software plugins go thru an update there's a chance they may reset or modify something in the software that affects something on the website or webstore. As we're working the backend more than the front end, we may miss some of these changes.
However, our customers are quick to hit that 'contact us' button and let us know if they see something off. For example, somehow our gift cards were adding tax. A quick message from a concerned customer and 'whack' it was fixed. Then another with questions about the photo we were showing for a game. A double-check later and we see it's a new publisher. Click-click and the new photo is on the site.
We'd like to think our transparency and helpful attitude combined with your willingness to help make us a collaborative community. I'll tell you, with everything going on in the world, this community of like-minded folks really helps. It feels kind of like our island of normalcy in a turbulent ocean!
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!