How King Steven’s Games Almost Died Part 2

Ever have one of those things you needed to do, but everytime you finally had a moment to do it, you were like “I’ll do it tomorrow”…apparently that is my philosophy about my blog posts…

I taunted last week about my story around how I almost quit my company! And when I say “quit my company”, I really mean, quit my dreams. Then a miracle happened…

This video came out (I encourage you to watch the whole video, but I fast forwarded to my point)

That’s right! Markiplier mentioned me inside one of his videos! 😀
So let me rewind a little bit: I’ve been a fan of Markiplier for years now – he’s funny, he’s caring, he genuinely tries to put himself behind other’s, and ironically we are the same age, in fact our birthdays are one day apart. I was drawn to him for perhaps the same reason many people were – each video was like hanging out with a friend. Well…a friend that likes to curse alot, not always been a fan of that, but hey, his actions have spoken louder than his words more times than I can count.

So around the time I felt like quitting, he came out with a video about buying a new van, and in the same video he talked about going to Cracker Barrel (one of – if not the – favorite restaurants since I was young (get the Rib-Eye with Sweet Baby Carrots, Country Green Beans, and Dumplings plus a Shake if yours still sells them <3 <3)) He asked people what he should call it, but instead kept getting flamed by his fans. I was going to make a tweet about it too, at first I thought of a crude joke which I thought the fans would like and when I tag him, they'll see it and like it too, but then I thought, "I wouldn't like it though, that's not the image I want of me or my company" So I posted what I wanted to say thinking, "He probably won't see it anyway..." A few days later I'm watching his video like I always do (laying on the couch with my TV off), when he says that line, "But there was one of you...King Steven Games" and I saw my tweet slide onto the screen! I kid you not, all sense of feeling left me. Once my mind caught up with my body I started freaking out! I couldn't believe it! He gave ME a shout out! And not because of some crude joke, but because I posted as how I wanted to post. It was my idea he was showing. This taught me a lesson - In the business world, we are taught to always appeal to the customer base to gain the most market advantage, but that is not how the best ideas are made. You have an idea, but think the mob wouldn't like it, that shouldn't stop you from trying. Not everyone can be successful, but if you don't try, then you guarantee that you won't be either. This gave me a needed confidence boost, Markiplier doesn't know who I am, nor will he probably ever read/see this blog post; however, that only makes him giving me a shout out more special. It was purely based on the quality of my idea. That meant a lot to me (even if it was just naming a van, lol). This is what gave my company a second life. I decided to start making my own "Lets Plays" (where I never curse). I became much more active on social media. Best of all, I have faith that my ideas might be truly great afterall. Hope this sharing of my story helps inspire at least one of you out there too. Thanks for reading everyone, and keep on playing!

How King Steven’s Games Almost Died Part 1

Hello blog, my old friend!

I haven’t updated this website in almost a year. I think it’s time I posted something, right?

A LOT has happened over the year. I’m in my last semester of school, started a You Tube Channel, my novel is almost done being edited, and I have been coming up with a ton of new game ideas. But it hasn’t been all sun-shine and rainbows. In fact, I also on the edge of closing down this whole “King Steven’s Games” idea. I have been teasing my mind with self-publishing my games for 3 years now, and what do I have to show for it? Nothing.

But that has been my own doing. I haven’t tried a kickstarter, I have only been sending out a game for evaluation about twice a year, and I have been slacking on the social media aspect. I began to blame myself for it. I would say, “I see all these new companies come in after me, and they already have a successful kickstarter! I’m so lazy…” And then sit in self-loathing for a weekend. I think this is what many of us ambitious people do – we push ourselves to the break and if we fail we wonder what we did wrong? How many times have you said to yourself, “If I only had done this…” or “Why did I do this instead of that??” Then welcome to the family of Over-Thinkers.

It wasn’t until I began following Kickstarter-advice facebook pages that I began to notice a pattern. Most kickstarters have a team of people (at least 2 or more). So I eventually posted my issue by asking the question: how much time does everyone spend in getting a kickstarter ready before launching?

Come to find out, some people spend years. When I talked about my schedule: 40 hour per week job, school part time getting a masters… people responded back saying that those two things alone is enough to make it too hard to ever give a good kickstarter campaign. You see, most people split up the workload among teammates, and the really good campaigns are usually done by people without jobs. They then encourage that I continue making games but seek out publishers to partner with.

That made me feel TONS better. I thought I was being lazy, but nope, just like I posted in the last blog post about too many ideas and keeping the plates spinning – that is exactly what was happening to me. This was a great relief.

Still, I wondered to myself if all of this was worth it? I already have a job, and soon a promotion (Lord willing!), so why struggle with this whole concept of King Steven’s Games? The answer is simple, I have ideas I want to share so that others can enjoy them too. But up until now, my ideas produced zero results. No revenue, no publications, no recognition. But then a miracle happened…

But this has gone on long enough, I’ll publish it in the next post. Until then, Keep on playing!

Idea Overload!!

So over the past couple of months, I’ve had to face a growing problem with me: I have too many ideas!

Like, this is getting ridiculous. Within 1 week I came up with two new games and short while later I came up with a mini-film I would like to make. At the same time, my work load from my 40hr/week job increased dramatically in late January and school semester started in full swing…makes me tired just thinking about it all. So that is why the blog hasn’t been getting the attention it needs.

I bet I’m not the only one with this issue, right? There are thousands of people in school, working, while having an ambitions that they would like to improve; so how do you deal with the overload? Well, from my experience as being a professional overload-er, the first thing I learned is to not get overloaded…

Sounds obvious right? But in fact it is very hard to do. In an age of technology we find so many things we want to do, and believe we can take on more than we really can. This forces us to have lists long enough to drive some insane. That is why it is important to cut down on that list and prioritize what is really the most important to you? A technique I’m trying right now is keep my list to a top-4. So I have at all times 4 high priorities that I hold myself responsible to. Anything else is just extra. This way every week I can look back and ask, “How well did I help these 4 priorities?”

For now, my 4 priorities is, my 40hr/week job, my education, my KSG company, and my home.

Now I did kindof cheat there…my KSG company can mean a lot of things, it could be making a game, or working with my artists, or even posting a blog post. So just saying “focus on my game company” is probably something not specific enough. If I just keep working blindly, I’ll never get anything put up on Kickstarter, or my social media will never grow, etc. This means I need to focus in on just a few projects/responsibilities if I want something to succeed.

What will those things be? Not sure yet. There is a key game I really would like to get on kickstarter soon, and I would like our social media to remain active. And as I mentioned, there is a mini-film I would like to make ~ completely unrelated to gaming, but when I get inspired about an idea, it is hard for me to focus on much else. No matter what happens, I’ll be sure to keep all of you in the loop, and continue to share some of the lessons I learn along the way.

Keep on gaming!

GEN CON!!! + Kickstarter Update

Gen Con 2016 is coming up next week. I hope everyone got a ticket and is going cause I am!
I have been going to Gen Con every year since 2014. I only started going after forcing myself to spend the money. It was the best decision I ever made, and one that I wish I had made years before then.

At Gen Con you meet with fellow board gamers and video gamers. It is a gathering of similar minded individuals with similar passions. There is a lot to do at every Gen Con ~ something for everyone. My friend who went with me for the past 2 years would go to try out many of the games he helped kickstart. He is a great supporter of the arts and a good man. But we wouldn’t get to hang out much since I would go there for networking reasons.

My first year I spent all 4 days going to every seminar related to business I could find. I would then talk to the speaker afterwards (if possible) and suck up all the knowledge I could get. I met many inspiring characters and got lucky enough to make long lasting connections. Many of which I am hoping to see again this year. So if you do go, don’t be shy, make some new friends or business partners. Again there is everything for everyone at Gen Con!

Kickstarter update: Got my quotes back, and got some volunteer help reviewing my tiers. Once we think it is ready, I’ll be sure to post about it again!

Keep on playing!

World of Anastroc is coming to Kickstarter

Today I decided to announce that King Steven’s Games will be attempting its first ever Kickstarter: World of Anastroc!

I asked many of my game testers which idea should be kickstarted first? Originally, World of Anastroc was off the table. It is a trading card game, and trading card games are a unique beast. They require more artwork than any other game, they are a lot harder to balance and make rules for, plus you have an expectation to make expansions on a regular bases.
However, everyone was wishy-washy with the other concepts. They admitted to loving the other games, and I believe them, but what they really wanted to see made was Anastroc.

With much thinking (and crunching financials) it seems like a tall order to fill, but I say give people what they want! If everyone is ready to buy a box, then better get those boxes to the shelves! Another nice thing is that right now the trading card game industry is made up of three titans (whom do not need mentioning). Each of them have very strong attributes about them, and it makes them fun in their own way. At the same time, they all share some common flaws which my game addresses. In addition, we will be going for a different marketing strategy with how our boxes will be sold which I think will make players very pleased~ more details to come.

It is going to be a large goal. But if successful I know we will have a beautiful game that is a fresh game style that will bring hours of fun! Featured as the icon for this blog post is the artwork for the back of the cards made by a talented artist who has worked very hard for me. I hope all of you are as excited to see more of her works as I am (and if you can’t wait for spoilers then go ahead and check out her profile site here)

This is all for now, check back often for updates!
Keep on playing!

Anime STL 2016 = Amazing!

Just got done resting from Anime St. Louis 2016. It was 3 days of non-stop laughter and excitement meeting new people while playing super fun new games! It was so much fun I got sick at the end of the last day from exhaustion. There was just too many interesting people I wanted to talk to. Some of my highlights were:

*I played Rocket League for the first time, and I can’t believe how much fun that game is, especially when the screen is the same size as a wall! My friends Thalen and Nick played it as well and we got crushed by the computer players. It was great XD Best part was right after we got done with a game, there was a power surge. The DJ pumping the heavy bass cheered with the crowd and I told my friends, “We could handle the bass but the Convention’s circuit breaker couldn’t.”

*I got to meet some talented artist. Some I remember from last year, some I have never seen before. I have hired one artist to do a piece for me and I am very pleased with how it came out. I hope to have him make a full version of it and add it to my card game, World of Anastroc.

*Almost got onto a game show “Anime Password”. Myself and 3 others ended up being back up in case there was time for a 2nd game. Turned out there wasn’t, but would have been fun and nerve wracking if there had been. I still don’t know if I could have really gone through with it! I was good at looking good, but my knowledge turned out to be terrible. Where’s the “Business Professional Password” game show at? (Oh, right, cancelled, got it)

It was also nice visiting old friends from out of town. One of which showed me some cool animes. I wish she was on that game show – should would have killed it! Out of the ones shown, I really begun to like “World is Still Beautiful”. It is a romantic, ‘chick-flick’ anime, but honestly, I think it is better than Sword Art Online. Don’t get me wrong, SAO has a very cool concept and does well to live up to it, but that main character though. ><

Hope all of you get to go to an Anime Con someday. There are a lot of skilled cos-players and popular names that attend. More importantly, it is great to network with others and meet nice people.
Till next time, keep on playing!

Clash of Standard Formats

Magic the Gathering has turned into my favorite games (even though I seem to complain about it all the time). It can be frustrating at times, but I love it because of the flavor, the economics, and because it is so customizable.  Games are always amazing out of the box, but it is more fun when you add your own spices to the recipe. Magic the Gathering is great for that, there are so many different formats people have invented over the years. Just to name a few: Commander, Popper, Legacy, Modern, Extended, Standard, Draft, Sealed, Tiny Leaders, etc.

I have an idea for one as well: Clash of Standard Formats.

The idea is that you can use any deck that at one point was standard legal and all the cards in your deck must also be Modern legal.
What this does is allow players who enjoyed their once expensive standard decks in a unique, but competitive tournament setting. It would be interesting to see if the meta of Theros can beat the meta from Kamigawa. The biggest problem is that it is hard to remember what all the Standard formats were in the past. So below I typed up a list: This is as of February 2016.
1. 8th Edition – Mirrodin Block – Kamigawa Block – 9th Edition
2. Kamigawa Block – 9th Eidition – Ravnica Block – Cold Snap
3. Ravnica Block – ColdSnap – Time Spiral Block – 10th Edition
4. Time Spiral Block – 10th Edition – Lorwyn-Shadowmoor block
5. Lorwyn-Shadowmoor Block – Shards of Alara – 2010 Core Set
6. Shards of Alara – 2010 Core Set – Zendikar Block – 2011 Core Set
7. Zendikar Block – 2011 Core Set – Scars of Mirrodin Block – 2012 Core Set
8. Scars of Mirrodin Block – 2012 Core Set – Innistrad Block – 2013 Core Set
9. Innistrad Block – 2013 Core Set – Return to Ravnica Bloc – 2014 Core Set
10. Return to Ravnica Block – 2014 Core Set – Theros Block – 2015 Core Set
11. Theros Block – 2015 Core Set – Khans of Tarkir Block – Magic Origins
12. Khans of Tarkir Block – Magic Origins – Battle For Zendikar Block

So there are 12 options, suddenly it doesn’t seem so complex. To explain it again, this means if you want to play with a card printed in Mirrodin Block, you cannot play any cards from Ravnica Block and forward.


Why Modern Only?

Three Reasons:

  1. There is something about 8th edition and up that Wizards of the Coast really started watching how they combined power levels inside their sets from one block to the next. It was no longer “How do we make this block work well?” it became, “How do we make this block and the one before it and the one after it work well?” In addition, when you look at the Onslaught block they have some extremely powerful stand-alone cards compared to the rest of the cards in modern. It wouldn’t be fun or fair to allow that block let alone Urza’s Saga in the mix!
  2. Not all Standard Formats are like the others. For example, Mirrodin Block is known to be the most powerful block out of all the Modern sets. Hence many popular cards from that time are on the ban list (see ban list below). If the card is too powerful for Modern then perhaps that block is abnormally too good even if we restrict it to its own corner of the world. This brings a fair balance to all the Standard Formats for more interesting comparisons. One idea I have been entertaining is allowing 1 copy of any 1 card that is on the ban list, but it still has to match the Standard Format you are playing in
  3. Simplicity. I could come up with my own ban list, but I might be bias and that gets complex (“Great, ANOTHER ban list to memorize”). And I could ban complete blocks (“Urza’s Saga: banned, Onlaught: Banned, Fallen Empires: Legal”) but again that gets complex, and I don’t know the sets back then that well. Knowing my pro-friends, they will do me an honor and remind me of how broken some old set is. That would ruin the fun for me and I’m sure many other newer players.


Some additional details:

The side board must still match the same format, play with 60 card decks, play by most recent Magic the Gathering rules.

Modern Ban List: Revised: January 18, 2016

This format lets you dive deeper into Magic‘s history, allowing cards from Eighth edition to today.

The following cards are banned:

Have fun!

10 Reasons Why You Should Like Mark Rosewater

6 months since my last post! So much to catch the world up on with my adventures! I got a new job, signed up for 9 credit hours for my Masters…now that I have caught all of you up to speed, lets just jump into things!
I still listen to Mark Rosewater’s pod casts (click here to check them out, highly recommended!)(and if you don’t know who Mark is click here to learn more about him).
In a recent pod cast he discusses being a minor celebrity and what that is like personally. One thing that really struck home with me is when he talked about the hate on the internet about him. Someone even wrote an article “10 Reasons Why You Should Hate Mark Rosewater”. I’ve had a taste of that medicine too. When I was Head Judge of YuGiOh Regionals I tried extremely hard to have all the rules and policies memorized and while I can count on one hand the number of wrong rulings I gave out, I had a poor reputation as a judge. Mostly people made up stories about me, or gripped about one of those bad rulings from years ago. Eventually you learn to deal with it, but it requires thick skin.

Out of empathy then, and simply because he has earned it, I came up with writing my own blog about “10 Reasons Why You Should Like Mark Rosewater”.

1) He Answers Emails: People take this for granted way too much. On the old Magic The Gathering website he used to have his actual email posted for everyone to see! A couple years ago I emailed him asking him how to get a job at Wizards of the Coast. He emailed back and forth with me for a good while. A few months later I emailed him again asking for advice and he answered! Eventually the emails stopped however. I probably emailed him too many times and he needed to move on to other fans. This guy probably gets thousands of emails every month and to actually respond back several times is incredible! I wish I hadn’t over taxed him, but live and learn, personally I understand.

2) He Loves Magic: One thing Mark is for sure – he is passionate for Magic. I don’t even know if he likes playing that much or not, but he loves the art, the flavor, the stories, the fans. He appreciates its roots, because of that he would never do anything irresponsible to the health of the game. There are many stories about leaders of companies who get spoiled with success and just squeeze it for all they can get out of it (cough* YGO *cough). But no one at Wizards has done that, and Mark continues that trend.

3) He Understands Magic: It is one thing to love, another to truly take the time to understand it. He has studied Magic to its roots and more. He created the color wheel which brilliantly gave ever-lasting flavor to the game. He broke down its psychology, even down to the key words.

4) He has a grasp of the business: Anyone can answer emails or know Magic, but to also keep in mind the market and business side of things is a real feat. Does Mark have a degree in marketing? No, that is why Wizards hired a marketing department; however, he does have a self-observant mind set about it. He also understands what it takes to make an idea of a card go onto the shelves, like the actual logistics of card making (he has done several pod casts about it). To be a fan and have working knowledge of the industry is amazing.

5) He makes Pod Casts: He could just drive to work listening to the radio every day enjoying himself, but instead he shares his knowledge with everyone by making several pod casts every week. If you ever have tired to do something consistent before (such as managing a blog on a personal business website *shifting eyes*) it is very hard to do. But he does it in stride. Not only that, but they are clear, cleaver, interesting, and honest. Very inspiring, hopefully one day I will be able to do that too.

6) He goes to events: Being more than just the man behind the curtain, he actually goes to events. In a pod cast he says that he will pop into local card shops from time to time, or go to Comic Con (lucky). In the past he Head Judge tournaments at Gen Con (even dressed as animals to add flavor to the event!). I personally have never met him, but I’m out in Missouri.

7) Great Role Model: There are some who make it to the top and let it all go to their head. They act as though that now they are in the dream position all shall revere them forever! This sort of arrogant is common now-a-days. It seems in the game community it is really hit or miss; either you are the coolest, nicest person in the world, or just selfish and cursing up a storm. I’ve been lucky to meet and stay in contact with some of the finest. Real role models that honestly inspire you and give you hope. Mark Rosewater is that way for many people in the Magic community with good reasons. He is polite, helpful, never heard him curse, and thoughtful. It is easy to see why he would make such a great role model.

8) Very Professional: There are some awesome people out there who mange companies, but aren’t very professional about it. While I still appreciate them, I have learned that there is an air about professionalism that is lost on many people. You have to know when to have fun, but you also have to know when to get a job done. This also means knowing how to manage others and not overwhelm new employees, how to handle past mistakes, or how to handle emotions around others. Whether he realizes this or not, he has demonstrated all these things in one story or another.

9) Willing to let loose and entertain!: This is where I personally fail. I am the personality that shows up to a football game wearing a business suit. I like to try to “let loose” but just not me. I’m 26 now and I act more like a 70 year old man than ever! But Mark doesn’t have that issue. He is willing to make fun of himself to make others have a good time, such as wearing a rabbit suit in the office for a party, or a chicken outfit while judging at a tournament. He has done funny videos with Walk the Planes and more. Got to respect that!

10) Respect for the fans: You don’t have to respect him. You don’t even have to believe anything on this list, but I think he has a great deal of respect for the fans. I’m not talking about Magic fans; fans of all games. His pod casts relates mostly to Magic, but he goes into all kinds of game theories that can be applied to anything. More so, he gives personal advice that I have shared with non-gaming individuals to help them through their tough times. The fact that he makes articles, pod casts, visits tournaments, answers twitter, emails, tumbler, etc. is evidence that he really does respect and care for all gamers in a very balanced way that is refreshing.

Well, that’s my top 10 for why you should like Mark Rosewater. I’m sure there are dozens of articles similar to this one, you should find out more by checking those out to. I purposely didn’t look because I wanted to be original to myself. Keep on gaming!

Pixel Pop Success!!

Pixel Pop St. Louis was last weekend and I am still recovering from all the excitement. There are so many creative people in our area!  There were a lot of video games, but that only helped our booth stand out as we were one of the few non-video game companies there.

We demoed our flagship product World of Anastroc, and another brand new board game (which I cannot say what it is atm).

Needless to say World of Anastroc was well received by the public. I got to demo the game to someone who had never played a trading card game before and he understood all the rules within a few minutes and went on to beat me! That was exciting because it showed that my goal of making a simple yet challenge trading card game worked.

What really surprised me was our newest game. I wanted to demo it out and get feedback, this was the perfect place to do it. It attracted many people to play our games, while just making other people laugh that it exists (in a good way). Let me put it like this, I’m a numbers guy, and I kept track of how many played which game, this game got played more than DOUBLE of Anastroc!

We also gave away a bunch of stuff, we gave away food for beating the demoers (which I could have advertised better; live and learn). And a cool T-Shirt of Machine Emperor X! It made my day when several gamers came back to try to win the drawing; particularly one young gentleman who came back several times. Ironically he also won the shirt, which made his day.

I think my biggest success from the event was when I saw people laughing and enjoying the games I created. When I demoed about my umpteenth time, I was getting to the point of saying, “Look…I win…yay…can we be done now?” But then I realized that while the flavor of the game got stale with me, these people were tasting it for the first time, and they were loving it! That was motivational. It also helps when people say they would buy it in a heartbeat if possible.

While I love making profit through sales, it was really just seeing everyone having a good time that made the hard work and investment worth it. That is why I will continue to do what I can to make this company great.

Pixel Pop Time!

Big news! I will be hosting my first vendor booth at Pixel Pop St. Louis this weekend! September 12th-13th!

I have had very little time to focus on this event because of sooooo many life changing events happening recently! I got a new full time job, going back to school for my masters, and still working on games and trying to get this business running into high gear. I had no idea running a business would be so hard. If you really want a well functioning business you have to devote your entire evening to it sometimes for weeks at a time, and then you will have moments where there is nothing to do but wait for weeks at a time.

Lesson: Never start a business without a back up plan, or at least another source of income. If you do so anyway, then you better stay creative!
I hope to see all of you at the Pixel Pop event! I will be demoing some of my games, including a brand new one only a week old! Not to mention giving away a cool T-Shirt! Posted here:

Machine Emperor X T-Shirt

First of our many T-Shirts to come!