News, reviews, business articles and site updates for a board games store in Canada

New Board Games: April 14, 2014

April 14th, 2015 Posted in new releases | No Comments »

Star Realms: Gambit Set
Atilla
Doomtown Reloaded: Faith & Fear Expansion 4
Dark Seas
Crab Stack
tremulus RPG (Hardcover Edition)
Merchants and Marauders: Seas of Glory

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New Board Games: April 8th, 2015

April 8th, 2015 Posted in general, new releases | No Comments »

A Game of Thrones LCG: A Time for Wolves Chapter Pack
Android: Netrunner LCG – The Valley Data Pack
Castle Panic : The Dark Titan Expansion
Chutes and Ladders
Clusterfight
The Lord of the Rings: The Lost Realm Deluxe Expansion Pack
Monopoly
Mastermind
Scrabble Deluxe (Refresh)
Snakes and Ladders
Spielbox Magazine: Issue #7 (2014)
ZoxSo

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Kickstarter Fulfillment at Starlit Citadel

April 8th, 2015 Posted in business | No Comments »

We’ve recently been inundated with a slew of Kickstater Fulfillment quote requests, both for the US and Canada due to a post by Jamey Stegmaier.   It’s kind of fun doing these posts, talking to creators and providing what information  and help we can, though I sometimes wonder about the actual profitability of doing so.  It’s one of the reasons why I always disliked doing consulting – the sheer number of times I used to do proposals to actual hiring was on a ratio of 1 to 7. 

It also reflects the cost that has to be built into each quote. If we value our time as say $25 per hour, then each successful quote has to reflect at least $175 of cost that has nothing to do with the actual shipment of the product.  Otherwise, you’re just losing money even offering this business (at least, if you, like us have something more valuable you could be doing with your time).

On the other hand, if you glance at the Kickstarter Price List, the chances of including $175 of actual cost in any single quote is nearly non-existent.  We charge CAD$2.50 for each shipment generally.  In that, we have to take out box cost (on average about $1 we’ll assume), so we actually make $1.50 per shipment.  Most Kickstarters are in the 30 – 50 Canadian backer range, so we’d expect to make…. $75 at most.  In that, we’d have to pay for the time taken to ship these orders out too.

You can see why we’ve never really pushed the entire Kickstarter Fulfillment Service.  It’s great if the Kickstarter’s were in the 100 – 300 backer range, but being Canada, most of the one’s we’ve done have been in the 30 – 50 range at best.

The loss time effect is also a great example of why people like plumbers and consultants all have prices higher than what you’d expect – the extra quotes, the loss / wasted time all have to paid for somehow.  Of course, there’s the other side of the equation – if you increase your quotes too high due to potential lost time, then you will lose out more quotes than you would at ‘rock-bottom’ pricing.  There is always a balance that has to be struck, the question of course, is where.

To help short-circuit the process and reduce the number of quotes, we’ve attached our Policy Pricing List and a little Excel Pricing Estimate Document here:

Kickstarter Fulfillment Policy Price List

Kickstarter Pricing Estimate

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Bestsellers for March 2015

April 2nd, 2015 Posted in bestsellers | No Comments »

Star Realms Deck Building Game
Sushi Go!
Sheriff of Nottingham
Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
Coup
One Night: Ultimate Werewolf
Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Han Solo Ally Pack
Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Chewbacca Ally Pack
Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Royal Guard Champion Villain Pack
Pretty, Pretty Smash Up Expansion

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On Consistency

March 31st, 2015 Posted in business | No Comments »

I recall reading from a sales book very early on in my career that one of the most important aspects of running a business is consistency.  I sadly can’t recall the book name itself anymore, but the basic idea was that customers want / need a consistency of experience to feel ‘comfortable’ and thus become repeat customers.

It’s something I know for myself, as a consumer, it definitely helps.  If you know what you can expect, it makes life a lot easier. It holds very true for our distributors as well – I have a few distributors who, if I place an order today, I know it will ship the same-day.  Another couple I know will ship the order the next day.  Unfortunately, I also have distributors who are all over the map – some orders will be shipped immediately, others might take up to a week to ship. I might have to call them to get the order dealt with, or just send an e-mail and expect it to happen.  Some orders get an invoice sent within 24 hours, other won’t have any invoices sent till I ask them.

As a business, inconsistent suppliers make our ability to be consistent for our customers difficult. If we tell a customer ‘it should arrive within a week’ on a back-ordered item, it’s based on a best guess estimate on when a product will arrive.  Being unable to meet that ‘promise’ can cause trouble for us.

It also translates to our website – we want to keep the functions of the website generally consistent across devices. Of course, this is much more difficult with the numerous devices out there, and it’s what probably drives our development cost up.

As an example, over the weekend Canada Post stopped working. It wasn’t our site but Canada post. What it meant was that we were no longer receiving rates directly from Canada Post and were thus using our ‘failover’ rate.  It unfortunately meant that no one was getting a ‘free shipping’ option either, which almost immediately resulted in complaints.   A quick ‘hodgepodge’ fix was thrown into place till Canada Post came back online, but it’s a great example of inconsistency causing problems.  I’ll never know how many customers who built up a $175 cart on the weekend just left and never came back because of the outage…

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New Board Games: March 27 2015

March 27th, 2015 Posted in general, new releases | No Comments »

Star Wars: Armada Core Set
Arboretum
Bohnanza: Ladies & Gangsters (Stand-alone)
Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia (Restock)
Fief: France 1429
Konito?
Lords & Ladies: Not So Polite Society
Lords of War: Elves versus Lizardmen
Lords of War: Orcs Vs Dwarves
Lords of War: Templars vs Undead
Lords of War: Weather & Terrain Pack
Magic the Gathering: Dragons of Tarkir Fat Pack
Magic the Gathering: Dragons of Tarkir Intro Pack – Set of Five (Theme Decks)
Magic the Gathering: Dragons of Tarkir Event Deck – Landslide Charge
March of the Ants
Mille Bornes (Restock)
Musee: Collect and Curate Classic Art
Pathfinder Player Companion: Melee Tactics Toolbox
Savage Worlds: Science Fiction Companion (Second Edition) Hardcover
Steam Torpedo: First Contact
Steam Torpedo: R&D
Spurs: Gambler Expansion

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New Board Games: March 20th 2015

March 20th, 2015 Posted in general, new releases | No Comments »

Dungeons and Gradons Attack Wing: Tyranny of Tiamat Premium Figure
Dungeons and Dragons Attack Wing: Template Set
Mutant: Year Zero Core Rulebook
Evil Baby Orphanage: Fate Deck
Love Letter: Batman (Clamshell Edition)
Smash Monster Rampage! Mega Box
Smash Monster Rampage!
Star Wars: Imperial Assault – General Weiss Villain Pack
Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Royal Guard Champion Villain Pack
Star Wars: Imperial Assault – IG-88 Villain Pack
Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Han Solo Ally Pack
Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Chewbacca Ally Pack
Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Rebel Troopers Ally Pack
Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Rebel Saboteurs Ally Pack
Star Wars LCG: Ready for Takeoff Force Pack
Star Wars X-Wing: Starfield Playmat
Star Wars X-Wing: Death Star Assault Playmat

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New Board Games: March 17th 2015

March 17th, 2015 Posted in general, new releases | No Comments »

Battle Foam: Star Wars X-Wing Scum & Villiany Foam Tray (Large)
Battle Foam: Star Wars X-Wing Scum & Villiany Foam Tray (Medium)
Battle Foam: Star Wars X-Wing Large Ship Foam Tray
Clue: Firefly Collectors Edition
Dominion (French Edition)
Dungeons and Dragons Dice Masters: Battle for Faerun Starter Set
Dungeons and Dragons Dice Masters: Battle for Faerun Foil Pack
Eight Minute Empire: Lost Lands
Hordes: Skorne – All in One Army Box
Love Letter: The Hobbit
Nintendo Monopoly Collector’s Edition
Pretty, Pretty Smash Up Expansion
R, The Original Braverats Card Game
Star Wars X-Wing: Millennium Falcon (Restock)
Star Wars X-Wing: TIE Interceptor (Restock)
Star Wars X-Wing: A-Wing (Restock)
Star Wars X-Wing: Slave 1 (Restock)
Supernatural Ouija Board
Tons of New Dice Sets!

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Deep thoughts and infrequent posting

March 17th, 2015 Posted in business | 2 Comments »

I’ve not done a lot of posting recently. Between the various conventions and the lack of staff, it’s been pretty hectic at the store.  At the same time, there are a few things that I have been thinking about that I want to post; but each time I start writing them I hesitate.

Not Enough Data

There’s a post about warehouse shelving and design that I’m working on, which discusses various warehousing methods that I know of. Problem is, writing that post properly requires a lot of time. It’s a data driven post, and one that really I can’t justify dedicating time to when things are so busy.

Too Much Information

For various reasons, we don’t discuss a lot of the minutia of running an online store. It’s either too boring or just information that we don’t necessarily want to share with our competitors.  While each store is unique in its own sense, sometimes giving away data (like our total inventory cost) would give people more information about our total business than I’d like.

Too Sensitive

Then there are the rants / industry issues. I could go on and on about industry (or distributor / publisher / etc) specific problems.  It doesn’t matter really, any of those things are ‘bad’ topics to handle in many ways. I have and do on occasion write about things like that, but it requires time to word posts like that properly.

I’ve covered it already

Yeah, after writing for nearly 7 years about the business and the last 3 years almost every week; there’s only so many topics to cover. I sometimes start a post and then do some research and realise I’ve covered that topic already.

In Conclusion

I’m still writing posts, but with so many posts already written, I expect the frequency to reduce significantly. If there are topics you’d like me to tackle, shoot a comment on here.

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Now Hiring – Logistics Assistant

March 11th, 2015 Posted in business | 5 Comments »

Starlit Citadel / Fortress Geek is hiring again in Vancouver, BC!

This is a year-round part-time position that works in our warehouse and conventions as needed. We are an e-commerce business that sells directly to consumers and offers both shipping and in-person pickup of customer orders.

The Logistics Assistant’s main role will be shipping and receiving, and they will also be expected to assist with basic warehouse organization and customer service. In their primary role, they will be responsible for processing and invoicing customer orders, and picking and packing them in preparation for shipping. We receive new stock weekly, and they will be expected to assist with the restock process, unpacking, inspecting and shelving all new items, as well as confirming the accuracy of the received shipment and updating store inventory as needed.

In addition to these regular duties, the Logistics Assistant will undertake general administrative tasks in the warehouse including cleaning, sorting and inventory counts. They will also be required to provide basic customer service to Local Pickup customers. Additional projects and one-off tasks will also be assigned from time to time, according to the needs of the company.

The Logistics Assistant will be provided hands-on training and written procedure guides for all of the above tasks, and will be expected to follow them in order to reduce errors and ensure consistency of service in the company.

Requirements:

  • Part-time availability on Weekdays
  • Occasionally on weekends
  • Familiarity and comfort with computers and data entry
  • Valid class 5 driver’s license

Nice to Haves:

  • Gaming knowledge (specifically board games) and general geek culture knowledge
  • Previous pick-and-pack and/or warehouse experience
  • Knowledge of Magento backend

If you are interested, please send your resume to trwong@starlitcitadel.com with your hours of availability.

 

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