October 27th 2016 marks the one year anniversary of Shiny Games as a company. This first year has both gone quickly and seemed to last forever; the Shiny Games Dream has certainly evolved a great deal over that time. The first anniversary therefore seems like a great opportunity to stop for a moment, take stock of where we are and think about where we want to be in the future – welcome to the State of the Shininess Address 2016.
The Past Year
It’s somewhat amazing to see where we’ve come from a year ago to where we are now.
What’s Worked Best?
We started out with the central aim of supporting smaller, less well known games; the mission statement was to make sure that UK gamers had a place to buy these games online if their Friendly Local Games Store (FLGS) didn’t stock them. We also stocked some bigger games like X-Wing which were thought to be a ‘safer bet’ sales-wise.
In actual fact, the more specialist, niche games and products are the ones that have sold the best by far. In hindsight, this is easy to understand; the games that we focus on, add value to and clearly love, are the ones that gamers come to us for. The ‘bigger’ games, where there’s more competition, most gamers already have a preferred supplier. We’re more than happy to focus our business around the products we love the most, and leave other retailers to specialise in bigger games.
From the outset, the wonderful skirmish game Relic Knights has been a central product line for us; when we started Shiny Games there were models that had been released months prior that still weren’t available to gamers in the UK – not without getting them from the United States and paying customs charges, in any case. Those models, and all the great resin sculpts that have since followed from Ninja Division, are still not available from any UK retailers — except for Shiny Games, of course!
The other big seller has been Knights of Dice buildings. Manufactured in Australia, these have been expensive to get delivered to Europe, yet gamers love them for the great look of their buildings on the tabletop. The 3-dimensional nature of their building walls done by using two layers of 3mm MDF is much better from the ‘boxes made of four flat walls‘ you see from some other scenery-makers. As the only UK seller of these brilliant kits, there’s been a great demand – not just from Britain but from overseas too.
The Most Common Question: “Do You Really Have That In Stock?”
It initially came as a surprise when people asked that question because we put a lot of effort into keeping accurate stock levels. When you have a lot of products in stock that other retailers don’t carry, it’s understandable that people can be cynical about it. Still, if you see something marked as ‘In Stock on our webstore‘, then barring a catastrophic maths fail we have it in our possession and can send it straight out.
We started out by focusing our business in the United Kingdom; that wasn’t because we didn’t want to serve gamers elsewhere, but it seemed like the simplest way to begin. There was also an assumption that gamers in other countries would have cheeper or simpler methods of getting what they wanted than buying from us in the UK.
Pretty soon we realised that trading internationally wasn’t as admin-heavy as we’d thought, and that there was a genuine demand from Europe and beyond for what we were selling. As far away as Finland, gamers were struggling to get the miniatures they wanted and we were their best choice.
Currently we will deliver to any country you need, but we’re still in the process of upgrading the webstore to automate it all outside the UK. If you need something the webstore isn’t helping you with, then drop us an email or contact us via the website and we’ll do our best to sort it out quickly and painlessly.
Our aim has always been to support and grow the community around our games – not something typically associated with online stores. This year we’ve sponsored one game’s community group on Facebook and helped start up another. We’ve listed the best community resources we’ve found on our website’s Community pages. We’ve also been involved in running a tournament for Relic Knights and supporting the event with prizes. This is something we’re looking to do a lot more of in the future…
The Coming Year
In light of our experiences over the first year then, what plans does Shiny Games have for the next year? These are just a few of our plans.
More Giant Robots
I’m not sure how we can put that more plainly. The Shiny Games we envisaged had shelves upon shelves of giant robots, with game upon game where you could play/pilot/fight/rip-apart giant robots. Sure, we have some models that fit in the giant robot category, such as the excellent Castellan and Rust Bucket for Relic Knights, but that’s just not enough.
BattleTech is one obvious product expansion that we’ll be making in the next few months but we’ll also be looking for other giant robots and giant robot games. If robots are your thing, then watch this space!
We are proud to be one of only a couple of retailers in the northern hemisphere to stock Knights of Dice scenery. However, scenery is such an important part of miniature gaming that this is definitely something we want to improve and expand upon. You’ll be seeing new scenery lines from different manufacturers appearing in the webstore very soon.
Improve Supply Chain
While our ability to get the products you want has improved immensely over the last year, some lines are still taking too long to arrive in the UK. We have some big plans on how to resolve this, but they deserve their own fifteen minutes at a more appropriate time.
We’re always improving and updating the webstore, but some games and product categories are in need of some further love and attention. Infinity has been a game we’ve stocked from Day 1, but we know it’s not always easy to find the models you’re looking for at the moment. We’ll be reviewing these areas and given them a full overhaul in the near future.
The Community section of the website also needs updating and altering to fit in with community resources out there on the web. Community pages also need more closely linked to the products they relate to – at present they’re easily missed.
Overall we’ve really enjoyed uniting gamers with the games and miniatures they wanted over the past year and we’re really excited what the next year is going to bring. We hope that you are too!
If you’ve read this far through the State of the Shininess Address 2016, congratulations! If you have any thoughts or ideas on how we could further improve the webstore or things you’d like to see us do over the next year, please let us know using the Contact form.