Welcome to the New Game Box Monthly!
BY Brian Finifter
When I started Game Box Monthly, I did not have the money to build a website from scratch or to hire someone to do it for me. Or even enough money to buy the plugins it would take to make an existing e-commerce platform (like Shopify) capable. Fortunately, I was very lucky to be able to get into what, at the time, was still a closed beta of a new e-commerce platform; one designed specifically for subscription box businesses. Without that, I don’t know how I would’ve gotten Game Box Monthly off the ground with the half a shoe string I had at the time.
But with it, I was able to get started. And over time, we were able to adapt and modify some things along the way. With the help of some talented programmer friends, I added a system to avoid sending people games they already owned. And later, to add the first version of what I believe sets us apart from our competition – personalization based on your preferences. It was a crude start to what I wanted ultimately imagined, but it was a start. I longed to improve it until it was what I imagined it could be. But things like that cost money, and finding money for big picture stuff can be hard in the day to day.
But after six months of diligent work, I am so excited to present to you our brand new website. You’ll notice immediately a more polished experience when navigating around. But this is more than a new coat of paint. It is a complete, from the ground up rebuild. Our new site is built on a WordPress platform, which offers unlimited potential for extensibility and customization. And with it, we’ve completely overhauled the personalization system, bringing it so much closer to what I had in my head when I first dreamed it up. We are no longer limited to a collection of loosely defined and basic categories. Now you can specify by what genres, game mechanics, player count, age range, and playing time you want.
You now have an almost unlimited amount of fine tuned control over your ability to say what you want in a game. Technology will no longer limit the quality of service that we can provide; the only limit will be our ability to find the best games and bring them to you. And we have exciting plans to get even better at that as well, but I’ll leave that news for another time.
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And if you’re new to the hobby and don’t yet know what you like, or are worried about being overwhelmed with options, don’t be. Our new personalization tools include prebuilt “recipes” that will deliver a nice variety based on a simple self-identification, whether you’re looking for games to play with your friends, family, or significant other.
Building the new site has also spurred me to finally add something that we’ve been batting around since the beginning and that many have asked for. Since day one, we’ve had a question in our FAQ:
“Do you offer an option for larger games?”
and the answer:
“Not yet! But if you’d be interested, email and tell us! If there’s enough interest, we’ll make it!”
Well, we’ve had no small amount of people email us their interest over the years. But I just never took the time to get it off the ground. Until now. With the launch of this new site, we’re also introducing a new subscription size. What exists now will become known as the “Classic” subscription and that will stay as it is now: a $25 price point with a value somewhere in the $30-$40 range.
And our new “Bold” subscription will give you the opportunity to receive games at a $60-$70 value for $50 per month. You’ll still be able to pay for multiple months at a time if you want. And we’re adding the ability to set the frequency of your shipments. So you can now not only receive games every month, but you can set it to receive them every other month or every three months. Don’t worry, you won’t be charged for three months if you’re only receiving a game every third month.
This is more than a new coat of paint. It is a complete, from the ground up rebuild.
We’ve got some other ideas cooking as well, but they’re not quite ready to share. But they will be soon and I can’t wait to bring them to you.
There’s so much more I want to tell you about; what a crazy roller coaster this last year has been and all the new partnerships we’re forging. But I’ll leave those for another day. Before I say goodnight, I want to thank a few people who have been instrumental in bringing us to this new high point and acknowledge their talent, help, and hard work.
First, the fine people at Cratejoy who made a product without which we would not have gotten off the ground. We may be moving onto a new and custom platform, but we could not have made it this far without their work, which gave me the chance to try a crazy idea without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars up front. If you’ve thought about starting your own subscription box and want a way to explore the idea without a large upfront cost, I recommend starting with Cratejoy. Additionally, I want to thank Alex and MonthlyBoxer, who has been our fulfillment partner since day one and also without whom we would not have made it three days, let alone three years. If you have a business – of any kind, not just a subscription box – that requires you to ship lots of products, you can’t go wrong with MonthlyBoxer (especially if you’re a board game publisher, email me for more details).
Next, I want to thank the talented people at Innovation Protocol – a branding and market research firm here in Los Angeles. They took our sometimes scattershot ideas and hunches and separated the wheat from the chaff, as well as put together a cohesive road map on what to do to give you, the subscriber, the best possible experience. Though it may not be apparent, you’ll see the fruits of their labor all over this new site and every other way we communicate with you in the months to come.
I want to thank everyone who has become part of the Game Box Monthly team. This time last year, Game Box was almost entirely me; Jake made anything and everything related to Game Box’s visual presentation – ads, logos, branding, etc. While I…well, did everything else. Operations, finance, customer service, you name it. But now there’s a true team of people, one I want to recognize with its own post, so for now I’ll leave it as a simple thanks and list of names: Jake, Samantha, Analisa, Katie, and Paul.
And finally, I want to thank the man who is most directly responsible for this new website and everything it makes possible – Justin Waggle, who is both a talented web developer and game designer in his own right. The website you see is the product of his sweat. And as dramatic as the change is on the surface, it’s even more so under the hood. Without him and his hard work, we would not be standing on this new foundation that opens up so many new possibilities. If you haven’t already, you should go order his new game (but if you don’t, you might just end up getting it in your subscription anyway).
Thank you all. I hope you’re as excited as I am about this new site and what it makes possible.