About Me

My name is Alex Shvartsman and I will be writing this blog to let anyone who is interested know what’s happening at Kings Games (I sure hope both of you appreciate this!).

I’ve always been a gamer but in 1996 I got a truly lucky break when some college buddies taught me how to play Magic The Gathering trading card game.  It quickly became an obsession, but over the course of the next few years it became a job and even a career.  I learned how to play the game well enough to win some tournaments. I traded, bought and sold single cards.  I helped run tournaments, becoming a level 3 judge at one point.   Then I took the real plunge quitting my exciting day job as Assistant Network Administrator to concentrate on Magic and on my writing full time.  

The next few years were perhaps the most exciting time of my life.  I traveled the world playing tournaments – visiting over 30 countries including some really exotic places like South Africa, Japan, Malaysia and Brazil.  My passport actually ran out of space for entry stamps and I had to get pages added to it at a U.S. consulate in Singapore.   I got to write monthly columns for iconic gaming magazines such as InQuest, The Duelist and Sideboard.   I worked as Editor In Chief for the short-lived Mage magazine.  And best of all, I got to compete in huge exciting tournaments and even win some of them.

By the time I quit playing professionally, I won over $100,000 playing Magic.  This helped me start my own game store. A combination of Internet Cafe and a traditional hobby store proved to be a successful mix and Kings Games slowly grew from a neighborhood game store capable of accomodating about 40 players to the largest hobby game store in New York City with a game room comfortably seating up to 150 people.

Every trading card game player dreams of designing their own game.   I got a chance to actually participate in such a project as part of the design team that created the game engine for Vs System TCG.  Since then I occasionally gave up on my other hobbies such as sleep in order to do some playtesting for games – including the recently released World of Warcraft Miniatures Game and Epic TCG which is due out in early 2009.

I was always interested in running larger tournaments (the excitement of attending Magic Grand Prix never quite got out of my system) – but there already was an organizer running Magic events in the North East and he was (and is) doing an excellent job.   I got my big chance when Upper Deck launched a Premier Events program for their games and worked hard to run quality events for companies big and small ever since.   Kings Games hosted premier events for such companies as Microsoft (a big Halo 3 tournament sponsored by xbox.com), Wizards of the Coast, WizKids, Nintendo and many others.  We mostly run tournaments in the North East and occasionally venture out to the big gaming conventions. 

While there is no way for me to keep up with competitive Magic these days (I’d have to train almost as much as Michael Phelps to have a serious shot), I feed the need for competitive play by playing in variety of other games over the last few years.  I won major championships in Vs System, Spoils and World of Warcraft TCGs. 

As I launch this blog in the economic uncertainty of late 2008 I remain very optimistic about the future of gaming in general and organized play in particular.  Whatever the state of the economy, exciting new games will be released and there will always be demand for tournaments.  Kings Games will gladly work with publishers big and small to bring you great tournament experiences in 2009 and beyond.

And if I am really lucky I will get to play in some great tournaments as well.

Alex Shvartsman
Kings Games


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