Edit: After nearly 12 hours, I'm calling it quits. Thanks for all the questions. G'night.

My name is Kevin 'qxc' Riley and I can answer faster than you can ask.

About me: I'm 27 years old and grew up on the north shore of Chicago and attended Harvey Mudd College where I got a degree in CS. So far, I haven't used that degree at all. While at university, I began playing Starcraft 2 pretty heavily. Not long after its release, I was competing in, and winning various online tournaments.

Upon graduation, I moved into the Complexity gaming house and played Starcraft 2 full-time. About 8 months later, I moved in with my girlfriend who's almost done with her PhD in mathematics. After that, I continued playing full-time for another few years.

While playing Starcraft, I eventually ran out of pages in my passport. I remember almost melting while playing in a non-AC convention in China, and getting caught outside during some sort of tropical storm in Korea while jogging. I played numerous events in Germany and even made it out to Dreamhack once. Sweden was like something out of a fantasy book. While in Korea, I all-killed one of the top Korean teams in a team competition. Not the best thing I ever did in Starcraft, but perhaps the most memorable.

In 2015, I took a few months off to let my mind clear. You may also know me as the keyboard smasher. I've always grappled with stress and anger issues as they relate to Starcraft. During my break, I began dabbling in board game design with my girlfriend. I returned to Starcraft later that year and performed well, for a time but eventually retired for good. Once I retired, I pursued my board game fervently. What began as a slight variation of a game we had played many times before, eventually became a coherent 1vs1 competitive game that stood on its own. After a number of cold pitches, I succeeded in finding a publisher, Action Phase, that was interested in what was then, a 1vs1 competitive game, but would eventually become the fully cooperative game, Aeon's End.

Last December, Aeon's End was finally released in retail. We were all incredibly excited to see our passion project hit shelves but had little time to celebrate as we had begun work on a new expand-alone for Aeon's End last June. I spent last summer living in Tokyo (benefits of being "unemployed") while my GF took a research position at a university there. We began designing what would eventually become War Eternal (newest expand-alone) there and hit the ground running with actual playtesting when I returned state-side in September.

About Aeon's End: It is a cooperative deck builder for 1-4 players set in a unique fantasy world. You won't find any elves, dwarves or dragons here. In each game you'll play as a different breach mage which has a different starting setup and ability. Many have likened Aeon's End to a 'boss battle' from RPG games. In each game you play, you and your allies will be working together to defeat a big bad nemesis that's threatening the last stronghold of humanity, Gravehold. War Eternal, which is the new set of content we just finished expands on the original by adding more of everything. I committed the same level of care to all of the gameplay in War Eternal as I did with the initial Aeon's End: spending ~40 hours a week working on the game for months and months. When everything was polished enough, we recruited dozens of blind playtesters and received feedback on over 400 games played externally. Last year, Aeon's End raised ~190k in our month-long KS campaign. A week into this campaign and we've already surpassed 200k.

FAQ: I played Starcraft 2, not 1. I will not likely be playing Starcraft: remastered

You can find out more about Aeon's End: War Eternal here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2012515236/aeons-end-war-eternal/description

Random other things I've been doing: Trying to figure out how to not overheat while doing sports

Trying to figure out if I'm addicted to sugar

Learning Squash/Tennis


Designing other small games


I cook ~90% of my meals

I'm really introverted. Like. a lot.

Spent a semester in Madrid. My Spanish is not terrible.

Spent a summer in Tokyo. My Japanese is terrible

Spent a month in Taiwan. My chinese is most terrible.

My Proof: Picture of me today: https://twitter.com/coL_qxc/status/846700020598521856

Proof that I am who I am: http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft2/Qxc

Comments: 2040 • Responses: 137  • Date: 

snarshmallow1126 karma

If you didn't use your degree, why did you major in Counter Strike in the first place?

qxc00577 karma

I had high hopes for my work as an undercover bomb defuser. My hands were so fast that I got too busy with my other work.

weareschizo21 karma

Hey Kevin,

I'm glad you majored in Counter Strike. You were a big help to me several times in Counter Strike 70. Thanks man.


qxc0048 karma

Once I mastered the no look 360 diving no scope slam dunk it was easy

mkramer4939 karma

Im not asking to be a dick, but no one is asking this and Im actually really interested to know. Do you actually have any money to live on?

You are 5 years out from a degree that is completely reliant on experience, you are currently making stuff in a notoriously terrible and saturated industry (board games), and your only other real skill is from a game you admit you are no longer very good at (and whose prize pools are plummeted anyway).

qxc00891 karma

Surprisingly, yes. I have always lived very frugally. While in the team house, I didn't pay rent. Largely my expenses are food as I have no car. Currently I share an apartment with my girlfriend in Pittsburgh where we pay about $450 (edit - I split this. the apt is $900) a month. Basically, I saved a bunch of money the whole time I was playing and continue to live on a cheap budget. That said, if Aeon's End hadn't done well, I'd probably have needed to get a job ~soon or last year sometime.

Wilsonnn03255 karma

As I am sure you already know, there is a gaming cafe Victory Pointe in the southside that seems to have a decent following with board games/console games etc. I'm sure that'd be an easy sell for your board game if you were interested, I don't know a whole lot about board games but I've witnessed a ton of people in there just on a Thursday night.

qxc00216 karma

That'd be neat. Maybe I'll make it out there sometime. Haven't been yet.


What's the best board game shop I'm the Pittsburgh area? Any good gaming bars for people to hang out and play?

qxc0046 karma

Games Unlimited on Murray is the best board game store in Pittsburgh. Good selection, great staff, very accommodating.

As for gaming bars, you could try game nights at crazy mocha or ham bones

SSJ5Gogetenks576 karma

Right as you were getting some great results in Korea in 2011, you unfortunately left to resume your studies for a year. Do you ever wonder "What if I had stayed?"

Obviously your real life education should come first, but it seemed like a shame that you had finally found your groove and then had to give it up.

qxc00589 karma

All the time. I wonder why I even went to school. By the end of high school I was so upset at 'school' in general, that I did not get the most out of university that I could have. My initial foray into Starcraft was borne out of a disillusionment with my classes in the first year there.

I learned a lot since retiring, more than I did while playing I think. The biggest thing was I didn't really know how to take care of myself - what foods to eat, how to sleep, etc... and I needed to be 'on my own' in order to figure a lot of that out.

dharmaticate323 karma

what foods to eat

"I don't eat for taste, I eat for sustenance." -you, ~2007

Did that change drastically in college?

qxc00339 karma

No, that never changed. What changed was understanding what 'sustenance' actually is. The last ~1-2 years, I finally discovered how to eat consistently. I'm very sensitive to not eating. After just a few hours it affects me, I get moody/headaches/migraines, but now I know which foods help actually fix that.

HRP47 karma

The biggest thing was I didn't really know how to take care of myself

Most popular streamers I watch eat like total fucking garbage.

qxc0056 karma

most people don't seem to learn essential skills like cooking. I certainly didn't until I was forced to and already an adult.

nobodynose45 karma

Do you consider your Mudd degree pointless since it doesn't sound like you're interested in pursuing a CS career.

What was disillusioning about your first year?

qxc00144 karma

I would like to eventually move into video game development, at which point I will be very thankful for that degree. While I don't actively use the degree now, I still learned a lot about the process of learning that's useful. I also met a lot of people that were like me (weird). In the real world, I don't meet many people I can relate to.

As for disillusioned. I went to a private high school that felt like a college factory. Many of the decisions I made in high school were just 'to get into that school' which goes so far against what education should be. It was less about learning and more about beating the test. I really hated it.

I actually like learning a lot more now that I can focus on the learning part.

GeronimoJak67 karma

EPIC Games is currently looking for competitive design analyst for their new MOBA if you're interested :3

qxc0031 karma

Neat, link?

GeronimoJak33 karma

https://www.epicgames.com/paragon/en-US/home https://epicgames.avature.net/careers/JobDetail/Cary-North-Carolina-United-States-Competitive-Design-Analyst-Contract-/2324

I help run the largest tournament/fb group in the community right now with an average of 1,500 viewers every weekend and over 6,000 members. If you're interested in the game or have any questions just let me know!

qxc0035 karma

cool I'll look into it after the AMA. really have no time atm to do anything besides answer questions

GeronimoJak36 karma

Yeah I think you're the first person who actually responded to me in an AMA. I imagine it gets really busy haha. I'm gonna look into your board game it sounds pretty interesting. Chat with you in a bit GG.

qxc0029 karma


jjirsa46 karma

From a fellow Mudd alum in tech: your HMC degree is worth more than you think if you ever find another Mudd alum hiring manager. I've hired 3 HMC alums and the only test I ever gave them was taking them out to food/drinks with the team to make sure they could fit in socially - your HMC degree proves you can do the hard work, and hiring managers throughout the industry already know that.

qxc0035 karma

Nice. That's good to know.

potjemetvet355 karma

How much did you earn in esports?

qxc00689 karma

Salary was ~$500 a month for 2 or 3 years I think. Plus a thousand or two per year in coaching plus a few thousand per year in tournament winnings. Something like that, you can do the math. r/frugal was my life and still is.

meta_stable401 karma

No wonder you all lived in one house. That's seriously little money for the amount of effort you guys put in. Sounds like these board games are bringing in some decent money but I'm not sure what the over head is like. All the best!

qxc00312 karma

They're at least bringing in money. The first year after retirement was basically 0 income.

AgentOrange6640 karma

Still live in the chicago area?

qxc0084 karma

Pittsburgh now

yeticurry19 karma

Hey! Any chance we can try your game? I live here as well!

qxc0042 karma

Send me an email. k.riley08 at gmail.com

shadelz6 karma

How is it possible to live on such little money? 500 dollars in Los Angeles is nothing and even if you had 4 or 5 roommates it wouldn't work.

qxc0016 karma

Pittsburgh is super cheap. I don't have a car and I cook most of my own food. I also made extra money on the side from tournaments and coaching, that was just the base amount.

lawwson259 karma

Have you ever ruined idra so hard he rage quit ?

qxc00431 karma

Doubt there's a pro-gamer who was a contemporary of Idra that would answer no to this statement.

lawwson130 karma

Heh. Loved watching you work when Husky casted. Wish you the absolute best with the new venture !

qxc0095 karma


dharmaticate224 karma

On a scale of rural Illinois to Lake Forest, how lucrative is board game design?

qxc00351 karma

is there a place I can live that's cheaper than rural illinois?

Wampawacka218 karma

Rural Wyoming

qxc00478 karma


soda_party_euw20 karma

Is That the new This?

qxc0070 karma


Frostworm57 karma

Rural north dakota

qxc00115 karma

Also this

Zygorian176 karma

Will non-Koreans every be as good as Koreans at Starcraft and if not, why not?

qxc00361 karma

It would take a serious concerted effort by upper management to make non-Koreans able to compete with Koreans. The basic issue comes down to lack of infrastructure and decentralized areas of competition. The more people around you doing a thing, the more likely you are to do that thing. The more people doing a thing together/in competition, the more likely they are to improve, build tournaments, team houses, all the infrastructure that makes further improvement easier. The western world just lacks the widespread interest in many games, and also the cultural acceptance that makes being a pro-gamer more easily accepted.

moal09135 karma

This is the same reason why the Fighting Game Community in the west will never catch up to the Japanese (or the Koreans in Tekken).

You can take a train for 20-50 minutes and go to any top arcade in Japan and play the best players. In North America, all the top players are spread out from SoCal all the way to New York, so if you live in a region with low levels of competition, you're sort of shit out of luck unless you're willing to drive hours every week. Netcode isn't good enough to facilitate proper cross region or cross coast play either.

qxc00194 karma

sounds about right.

Time to make my reality game show about hundreds of pro-gamers that live in a gated off community.

willowthe1st64 karma

Shoot, that's a great idea!

qxc0046 karma

Thanks =)

reveur81115 karma

There is two types of card selections in deck buiding : tableau (Dominion, Train) or river (Ascension, Tyrants of the Underdark).

Gameplay-wise, why did you choose the tableau type ?

qxc00139 karma

I find that tableau style lends itself to a deeper level of strategy. I'm not a fan of the majority of trade-row style deck builders because they are far more opportunistic in their strategy rather than allowing for more in-depth/long-term planning.

phantomdentist27 karma

One thing that's great about trade-row style though is that it keeps the game fresh on repeat playthroughs.

I find after only a few games of, say, dominion with friends, we quickly identify 2 or 3 powerful strategies that you can go for pretty much every game, so cards that don't fit in there go by the wayside.

How do you mitigate that in your game?

qxc0053 karma

One thing is that there are more modular components in Aeon's End. In dominion, you have 10 market cards, and that's the only thing that changes from game to game. In my game, you have 1-4 mages in each game, a different nemesis, a market setup and the composition of the nemesis deck. All together, these can come together in far more ways and creates a more consistently varied experience.

Ripfu83 karma

Hey QXC, glad to see you around again! Been a fan of your SC2 play from the very early days and was a semi regular stream viewer for a long time (bigbangsc and other aliases). Which leads to my question. Do you have any thoughts or future plans regarding streaming? SC2 or even Aeons End related stuff?

I believe there are many who would like to watch you play games, even games that aren't Starcraft. Take it easy dude. n_n

qxc00121 karma

I probably won't stream. I tried streaming full-time shortly after retirement and found that I didn't really enjoy it. The amount of time I'm willing to stream consistently is far lower than the amount of time I would need to stream to make a 'thing' I could persist off.

I'm really introverted and find the high level of social interaction needed while streaming to be too draining.

Ripfu31 karma

That's a shame, but understandable. I learnt a lot from your SC2 play, wish you all the best.

qxc0077 karma

I'm pretty bad right now. Doing a lot of flailing on ladder. Although, I guess I'm still good. it's weird because I'm much worse than I used to be, but it's not like I've lost a ton of skill. It's just that the top is so competitive.

Ripfu35 karma

I watched the replay of you vs Snute I think? Was pretty shocked you've managed to keep that much ability. Was pretty cool to see you play after such a long time too. Sorry to hear about the stress prior to retirement, I think you were too hard on yourself. I'm glad to see Aeons End is going awesome though, you deserve it.

qxc0057 karma

There was no question this paragraph, but thanks =)

Capt-Cuddles60 karma

<3 board games, <3 terran, <3 qxc

Have you gotten a new mouse yet? :P

qxc0050 karma

Currently using a razer deathadder. Bought it a few weeks ago.

newmemeforyou11 karma

Are razer products really worth the price?

I'm not THAT much into PC gaming but I dabble a good bit. I have a few razer things when I find them on sale/at a good price. I noticed you mentioned living by /r/frugal earlier.

qxc0021 karma

My razer mouse will probably last 3 or 4 years if I treat it nicely. I got an old model for about $35 so seems good to me.

newmemeforyou8 karma

Oh wow, thanks for the quick response.

Would you say there's any significant difference between brands like razer, logitech, and corsair? Or is it really just a matter of taste and preference?

qxc0018 karma

Not really. Find a mouse that suits you.

Toganas56 karma

So many comments/questions about StarCraft and so few about Aeon's End! :(. I get why and I loved following your Starcraft career, but I'm excited about your game. I have plenty of questions, but am unable to put them in words. You doing an AMA is awesome and I love reading your insight. Have you considered trying to make an expansion that allows 5 or 6 players? I know it's hard to balance 2 vs 4, so adding in another player would make it that much more difficult.

qxc0048 karma

I'm not as concerned about balance as I would be about promoting a game in a variant that I don't think would be fun. Aeon's End is relatively long at 4p and 5/6p would only make it longer.

That said, I did briefly think about how 5 players might work: https://boardgamegeek.com/article/25210029#25210029

BlaKingPrime44 karma

As a terran player do you think Zerg is op?. Lol

qxc00214 karma

OP doesn't exist. Skill is all that matter. Even if OP does exist, there's no sense considering it. That mindset will only make you weaker.

4g0t72 karma

I've watched you for years dude. You were literally the reason I started playing sc2. I want you to know that I haven't played a board game since snakes and ladders but I'm gonna buy this one because your name is attached. I'm very introvert also, I don't have anyone I hang out with on the weekends, only my wife and daughter. I'm gonna buy this as something we can play together.

Thanks for literally years of entertainment. You got me through some rough periods in life. I know I'll never be more than a stranger to you, but I owe a lot to you and huk and Idra.

qxc0046 karma

I appreciate that. Many have found Aeon's End to be a great cooperative experience, especially with their spouses.

azura262 karma

What an interesting perspective from a game designer. You don't think there would be a serious problem if Blizzard, for example, increased the health and damage of every Zerg unit by 200%?

qxc0014 karma

Yea, sure there'd be a serious problem. But I'm confident that Blizzard hasn't made any balance issues so egregious as that. Basically, the game is complicated enough and balanced enough that there is a solution to any problem if you can just play better than your opponent. Given perfect play, there is probably a 'best' strategy and a 'best' race, but no one can achieve that so it doesn't matter.

lawlessSyntax31 karma

Day[9] went to Harvey Mudd too. Have you guys ever met and/or discussed that?

qxc0041 karma

Yea, we have.

Handafaith30 karma

How has your anger issues changed since retiring from hard core gaming? Do you believe that gaming was the root for most of these issues?

qxc0087 karma

The root of the issue is my failure to handle stress which was borne out of an insistence of 'doing things until I broke'. I've had zero problems in this area since retiring as I've found a much healthier schedule that allows for a better life-work balance.

arunner21330 karma

As someone who has never play any fantasy board game (Sorry if my terminology is incorrect), how would you recommend getting started?

qxc0045 karma

With aeon's end or just in general? Aeon's End isn't the easiest game to start with, although many have commented that the rules are easy to learn. Gateway games for board games are more typically things like settlers of catan, carcassone or ticket to ride.

arunner21320 karma

In general. I'm retired and looking for other things to fill my time.

qxc0032 karma

Playing solo or with others? How many? Do you prefer more strategic games or more random/light experiences?

arunner21323 karma

I prefer games like Chess where you start off evenly matched but I would enjoy if the playing field were to change and never be the same from game to game.

qxc0048 karma

Do you prefer competitive games or cooperative ones? We're basically going to play 20 questions and then I'm going to tell you the perfect board game to play.

arunner21327 karma

Haha, I'll try to be more straight forward. i prefer competitive over cooperative. 1 vs 1

qxc0052 karma

As you mentioned Chess, I would start with The Duke. It's a chess-like game. When the game starts you only have your 'king' (the duke) and two ~pawns on the field. On your turn, instead of moving a piece, you can draw a random piece from your bag and put it into play next to your duke.

When a piece moves, you flip it over. Each piece is a wooden tile with a different moveset on each side.

arunner21327 karma

Already starting to looking youtube clips now. Thanks and all the best!

qxc0098 karma

No problem. If you decide it's not for you, come back and we'll find something better. We're only about 1/4 of the way to 20 questions.

d_GAMEMASTER29 karma

Any interesting stories from playing StarCraft?

qxc00164 karma

When we were in Korea in the team house, we spent a fair amount of time watching each other practice. It just so happened this day, I was watching teammate, Moonan finish up a ladder game. We were all waiting on him in order to go grab food together and his game turned out to be a long one. Him and his opponent were down to just a few buildings and it looked like it would be a draw. In Starcraft, you lose if you have no buildings left - it's rarely relevant, but it was in this game.

Moonan only had one building left, a bunker. Bunkers can be salvaged for resources, which destroys them. Of course, a silly thing to do when it's the only thing keeping you in the game. We were chatting about what he should do, figuring out if it was possible for him to win. When I had a good chunk of his attention I yelled, "Salvage that bunker". Without thinking, he salvaged it and lost the game immediately.

I even wrote a little story about it: http://www.teamliquid.net/blogs/244513-salvage-that-bunker

reveur8128 karma

Hi ! How did you worked with Indie Boards and Cards Cards & Action Phase Games ? Have they modified the gameplay of your game ?

qxc0030 karma

Indie B&C takes more of an upper management role in Aeon's End. They help with more high level decisions like "what content goes where" and "what should the KS offer". I work closely with Action Phase on Aeon's End. During development we meet for a few hours almost every week going over changes we want to make. I fight tooth and nail against any gameplay decision that I don't agree with and we mostly get along.

ZenCannon27 karma

Hi, any advice for wannabe board game designers? What unexpected challenges did you face going from board game idea to retail product?

qxc0055 karma

The last 1% takes as long as the first 50%. Or more. Going from a game that is mostly done to a game that is actually done is... more work than expected. The biggest advice for making a game is just that you need to test it often. Make changes. Test it some more. Repeat. Don't expect it to be good for a long time. Don't expect it to be even really playable or a 'game' for a while. Making something good is a long process.

beastlymanz21 karma

You said you have issues with anger, so I gotta ask. When you played, what was the most rage inducing unit to play against in starcraft?

qxc0062 karma

broodlords. Especially broodlord infestor. That was cancer and they took forever to fix it.

Chaggi26 karma

You mean you weren't fan of the 1 timing that Terran had to hit before insta-cast fungals destroyed the Terran death ball and medivacs had no boost and it was so hard to try and pick a Zerg apart!?!?

qxc0017 karma

I know, what a surprise.

reveur8115 karma

Are you the author of the Aeon's end univers too ? What was your inspirations ?

qxc0021 karma

I am not. I did virtually no work on the theme or art of the game.

reveur8112 karma

What was your initial theme then :) ?

qxc0043 karma

Pirates. You were prepping cannons to slots in your ship and launching things at your opponent's ship. Also it was competitive then.

cj12213 karma

Hey! I want to give sc2 a shot and terran looks like oodles of fun. Any tips on what a new player should focus on to start improving?

qxc0034 karma

Just build units. Always be building a worker. Keep your money low, doesn't matter much what you do with it. The hardest part for new players is 1) building enough workers 2) spending money fast enough. As you get better at the first, you'll need to improve the 2nd.

reveur8113 karma

Did you already thought about a campaign system for Aeon's end ?

qxc0016 karma

I have done some preliminary consideration. I also asked the community for BGG for suggestions. https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1711896/how-would-you-imagine-campaign-mode-working

It's possible that the next Aeon's End will be more campaign centered. Not sure yet though, there's one other big idea I kind of want to explore first.

4llen5hort12 karma

Are you excited about Starcraft Remastered?

qxc0022 karma

Glad for the scene, but I doubt I'll play sc personally. I much prefer sc2

iLove_Pho11 karma

At what age do you think you were performing your best in SC2? Did you skills plateau or drop? If so, why do you think this happened? Did you find yourself aging an impact to your SC2 performance? Did you lose interest in SC2 at any point? If so, why?

qxc0016 karma

I never felt that my age impacted my ability to play Starcraft. The only age related issue was that I didn't have as much experience because I started playing so late compared to many others.

I'm not sure exactly when I played best, but it had far more to do with managing myself, being well rested, not stressed etc than anything else.

I only ever really lost interest in Starcraft when I was super stressed or right after retiring. I was so distraught that I just didn't want to even think about it for a while.

anon010811 karma

how much did you make as a pro gamer?

qxc0048 karma

Not much. Maybe 7-15k a year when I was full time.

AzureDragon11 karma

Hey qxc, I'm a huge fan of deck-building games and have been Aeon's End for months as the next game on my list of games to try when I hit up a board game cafe.

What do you think is your favorite deckbuilder (other than AE I guess), and what do you think it is that draws you to it? I've been struggling to find my perfect deck-builder but haven't managed to find it yet. The closest I've gotten was Legendary, except I wasn't a fan of the Marvel theming.

Also, any idea if kickstarter will get cheaper for Canadians? I was super tempted to back AE:WE and got all the way to checkout when I realized that conversion + shipping made the purchase way too much for my monthly allowance of expendable income :(

qxc0013 karma

Favorite deck builder besides AE is dominion or valley of kings. I only really like Dominion now digitally where you can play with cards from all sets. Usually playing within just one set gets old after not too many plays. Valley of Kings is just neat. It's light, but interesting strategy and plays really differently from others.

Unfortunately, the prices are not set by me and unlikely to change. Sorry =(

DDSombre10 karma

Do you ever miss being a progamer? What did you like about it?

qxc0025 karma

Yea, I do miss it. I think about it often. Maybe even most days. I just really like competing. More than basically anything else. I liked the freedom it offered and the ability to travel and go to different places to compete. I especially liked being on stage, having fans. If I had done better, I'd still be doing it.

gdalam10 karma

Is anyone a bigger noob than Oresama?

qxc0016 karma

False. No one is a bigger noob than Oresama.

VerbatumTurtle9 karma

Oi! Hello fellow Chicagoan! Western Suburbs here! Also 27! Born October 22,1989.

I have a two-parter. Why did you decide to retire from reports, was it just not conventional for you to pursue anymore? And, why board games? That seems like a pretty big leap from computer entertainment to paperboard and imagination? Thanks!

qxc0020 karma

I retired because I was doing really badly. I had been doing badly for about a year on/off and finally had enough. I placed third in a big tournament pre-legacy of the void and it shattered my mind. I tried playing after and just couldn't focus. I couldn't make decisions, my mind was so broken.

Let that be the prelude to this: I chose board games because I was reaching in the dark for something, anything to distract me from how distraught I was over being terrible at a thing that I spent years doing full-time. Terrible is of course subjective, I was top ~200 players in the world or better most of the time, but unless you're ~top10 or top20 you might as well not be playing at all is what it felt like sometimes.

BowlOfStruggles9 karma

Hey 3 questions here. 1st what was it like to compete on that level? 2nd how are you able to keep track of so many things going on in game at once and be able to effectively micro in so many places at once? 3rd and final is what board games are you working on?

qxc0017 karma

I'm not sure what you mean by your first question. 2nd question is just practice. practice. And more practice.

I'm working on Aeon's End. you can find more info here: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/191189/aeons-end and here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2012515236/aeons-end-war-eternal/comments

BowlOfStruggles10 karma

1st question was a little vague sorry. What I meant was it really fun and enjoyable to compete and play on that kind of a stage. Or did it feel like more of a chore, and like work.

qxc0013 karma

It was fun most of the time. Even when it was work, it was fun work. There were definitely times where it was worse than that. It felt like I was shackled to a life that hated me. The feeling of spending months, years even working for something and not achieving it coupled with pretty poor habits eventually led to me retiring.

garglemyload9 karma

What was your apm?

Whats that special thing that starcraft 1 and bw had that sc2 lacks?

qxc0037 karma

200+ Not sure exactly.

The biggest thing that BW has over SC2 is that the competition wasnt nearly the same. SC2 was killed by other games that were better able to monetize and take advantage of the market.

Game-wise, the units in broodwar were a tad more interesting. Dark swarm, spider mines, arbiters. Also, BW sounds are hands-down better than starcraft 2. I don't know what they did, but whoever the sound engineer(s) of broodwar were, they should've done sc2 as well.

guardsman127553 karma

200 is okay, but, and I don't mean to brag, I was getting a solid 9 APM before I quit SC2. It was just a little too easy, but I could never get to gold because of how unbalanced the game is

qxc0023 karma

Sounds about right

AssaultimateSC29 karma

I loved watching you play at the highest levels of Starcraft. What advice do you have for newbies other than to just practice more?

qxc0039 karma

Practice better. Don't play if you're not feeling well. Don't force it. Pretty decent rule is: Play until you lose 3 times. Or play until you lose 3 times in a row. Once that happens, take a break for a while or for the day.

Rendonsmug29 karma

In other words, play 3 games a day.

qxc004 karma

Depends how you're feeling. When you're new to a game, you're going to eat a lot of losses initially as you find your footing, but at that point the game shouldn't be stressful / rage inducing. Once MMR is even, 3 games isn't so unreasonable considering how busy most people are.

ATGod8 karma

Do you think purple is good where it is? Should it advance? Or do you think purple should get back?

qxc007 karma


Panzerr808 karma

I was a big fan in Wol (I remember watching a very long game against zerg where you were doing bio drop everywhere and ultimately lost and I was like "this is bullshit he played so well!"). Now for an actual question: do you plan on realeasing Aeons end in other language, esp french?

qxc0015 karma

Sounds like maybe a game vs Sheth.

We are looking into releases in other languages. No promises yet though. There's some French player aids on BGG that some players have made: https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/145202/aide-de-jeu-complete

Grindian7 karma

How did you end up getting a degree in Counter-Strike? Also, where do I sign up?

qxc007 karma

Just post your email address here and I'll sign you up to the newsletter. You should expect to hear back soon with an application.

AQ907 karma

How are you liking Gwent? Also, how does it feel knowing you're a top player in a game? Does the community some times look up to you and expect a lot?

qxc0017 karma

Gwent is so good. SO good. So fresh in a world of hearthstone clones. I aggressively dusted my collection so I can only play monster, but I can play almost any monster deck without spending $.

It's really awesome to know you're good at something. When someone says you're not, you just say "1v1 me" and that's the end of that.

The community looked up to me, sure. They also expected the world. Some people want you to stream 24/7 while some people want you to win every tournament. You have to disappoint some.

BrendoverAndTakeIt7 karma

Hey Kevin! I was one of the playtesters. We had a nice chat about game stuff, but I didn't know you had a major in CS! What is your favorite programming language? Also, do you do much coding still?

EDIT: This game could use an app! Randomizer for the market/nemesis/mages as well as a turn order deck.

qxc007 karma

Java was the one I was most comfortable with. More lately, python is easier to work with and do small projects. The only coding I've done lately has been to make the randomizer, turn order assistant and LaTeX which I use to make cards https://www.actionphasegames.com/pages/aerandomizer https://www.actionphasegames.com/pages/aeons-end-turn-order-assistant

korny123457 karma

Did you make good money? I had a buddy that played CS and made a few thousand but he wasn't anywhere near top 200.

qxc00102 karma

When it rains my box gets wet.

Rern7 karma

Hi from the BGG forums! (Different username, though.)

Outside of deck builders, do you have any particular board games you like, or consider to be a favorite?

qxc007 karma

White chapel, village, valley of kings are probably my favorite non-deck builders. To be fair, I don't play a lot of deck builders. Lately, my board game time is basically either 1) play aeon's end 2) Market research for aeon's end

RevivedBear7 karma

What would you say to someone who wants to get into the gaming business in general?

qxc0018 karma

First thing is: don't. It's not that profitable, hard, unpredictable and a ton of work. If that doesn't dissuade you then you at least have a chance of being successful.

The gaming business is a pretty big category. Are you thinking of being a designer, a programmer, a PR person... what?

Toganas6 karma

You say that you've been designing other small games, are you at liberty to discuss any of them? Are any of them remotely close to being released? Or are they just for personal pleasure and not commercial release?

qxc006 karma

They might eventually be released. Nothing is under lock & key, they're just really close to being done.

One game has the players trying to escape the maze while giving clues to each other to figure out how.

The other is a drafting game.

If we continue to test them and they're promising I'd like to release them, but I don't want to release them just to release them.

kaflowsinall6 karma

qxc, I love the story of "I'm qxc, maybe you've heard of me" with Day9. I used to watch you stream all the time. glad you're doing well!

You say that all-killing the Korean team was not the best thing you ever did - what was? What would you say were your greatest achievements/accomplishments?

Why did you settle on Terran?

qxc007 karma

Picked Terran in brood war and never looked back. Too hard to change race.

There isn't really a single proudest moment for me. I never really achieved the big tournament win that I hoped for. Mostly i had a lot of disappointing events.

Meradanis6 karma

Shouldn't this be on r/boardgames to promote the current kickstarter?

I just found out about Aeon's End and I'm considering to back the whole deal (the original game + expansions and the new base set + expansion).

My question is: Do you actually feel like the finished product is still 'your game' with all the changes and different theme chosen by the publisher?

qxc0012 karma

Probably. Ama's have to be scheduled there and I didn't realize it. Was planning to just x-post. Maybe I'll do one there as well.

Aeon's End is my game, for sure. The skin put on it, while not mine - doesn't affect the core gameplay and the gameplay is what I really made.

neomixer6 karma

Hey there! I need to say, your game is amazing........................but does it djent? :P

JK, the main question(but the first one is important too :D) is:

Where do you take inspiration?

How do you create new things, select what you want, and perfect what can be perfected?

qxc007 karma

I don't know what this is.

I take inspiration from everything I see. Even incredibly bad games do some things well. I just try to play a lot of different games and reflect on what they did well and how to improve their weaker spots.

Come up with an idea.

Come up with a way to test it.

Test it.


That's basically the mantra I use when designing

Millenicide5 karma

I feel like Aeon's End gameplay system is a few tweaks away from being a VERY interesting competitive PvP game; have you thought of this and do you agree?

qxc0010 karma

Aeon's End started as a competitive game, actually. So, yes I agree. You can read more about how I adapted Aeon's End back into its competitive version in one of the challenges I made here: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1713918/aeons-end-challenge-return-discord

CalvinsStuffedTiger5 karma

How do you feel about StarCraft remastered? Going to dust off the old keyboard?

qxc006 karma

I don't really play sc1, not much interest to either

Umikaloo4 karma

Do you prefer open-ended type games like D&D or warcraft or do you favour things like fluxx or chess?

qxc007 karma

I prefer more focused games like chess or go which offer a lot of strategy and are more gameplay oriented. I'm not really a story person.

green_tea_good4 karma

Did you ever play the original starcraft and have you heard about the remastered(which is free+better graphics) coming soon? Also when I attempted to play sc2 an expansion was out, I payed $30 for the original sc2 and almost all servers completely dead...is the game still dead/empty if one shells out money for each expansion or what? Also have you looked into league of legend? Tremendous money there for pros.

qxc007 karma

Legacy of the Void - the last expansion in SC is where all the life is. I'd be surprised if anyone is playing WoL or HoTS now.

I was B- iccup in SC1. Probably won't go back, that game is haaaaaaaaard.

I played league a bit, but I think that ship has already sailed for my lifetime.

TannaTimbers3 karma

Hi there! How were you best able to support your girlfriend in attaining her PhD?

qxc006 karma

Mathematics PhD is a degree they pay you to get. She supports herself

SuperTable3 karma

Is War Eternal the same as Aeon's end but with a whole new everything (cards/mage/nemesis)? Is there a point in buying it if I haven't played with every Aeon's end mages and nemesis yet?

qxc006 karma

Being able to mix everything together is really fun. So even if you haven't played all the old aeon's end content, you can still mix in the new content as you're playing to get a more varied experience. We've also make some more interesting mages and player cards in War Eternal as we're able to build on our experience with the original.

tracerisabitch3 karma

What race do you prefer to play?

qxc0011 karma

terran for lyfe

Content_Crux3 karma

Do you plan on making any other board games?

qxc005 karma

Yea. Working on some smaller games. Considering how well the KS is doing, probably more aeon's end stuff too.

dharmaticate3 karma

Where do you fall on the political spectrum, if at all? Have you found the industry to be more "liberal" or "conservative" than one may expect?

qxc003 karma

I'm liberal in many ways. I tend to find my peers to be more liberal. I can't speak much to the industry as I don't interact with very much of it. I've only been to a few conventions - most of my time is spent just working on the game with my playtesters and the few people at action phase.

Valcy0n3 karma

Old School Runescape or Runescape 3? (the most current one)

qxc0017 karma

Never played either. Diablo 2 plox

mattreyu3 karma

That looks like a nice game you've developed! I'd back it, but with expecting a baby soon my board game budget dried up. That aside, did your experience with Starcraft guide the designing of your game? I know it's co-op, but were there influences in strategy that you used?

qxc005 karma

The games are too different to have direct influence, most of what Starcraft taught me was a state of mind. Aeon's End required a lot of hard work, consistent playtesting, and a long development period. I learned that in order to make something good, it takes a lot of 'behind the scenes' effort.

Toganas3 karma

Do you have a favorite mage to play? Or do you prefer playing a style over a specific mage? Are there any mages/spells/etc that you are really excited about releasing in this expansion? Not as a generically excited about the game, but any specifics? Like reapers in wol before they got nerfed. :)

qxc006 karma

My favorite from old Aeon's End is either Jian or Kadir. In the new set, there's a yet to be released breach mage, Indira, who supports a play style that is really far out there. Like, we were really on some sort of journey when we came up with that, but it works.

As for cards, we made a new spell, I'm not sure if it's been released or is a stretch goal or what so keep this hush hush between you and me. If your life total is below a certain threshold, it does bonus damage. It's neat because it encourages what is typically a kind of terrible play style in that to maximize its effectiveness you need to sacrifice someone relatively early on and sometimes you actually want damage to happen.

Content_Crux3 karma

how do you feel being compared to john lenon?

qxc003 karma

/#honored #blessed

Valasius2 karma

qxc! Thank you for taking the time to do this AMA. Some of the most hyped moments in SC2 was either watching you in TSL3 or watching FXO play in Korea.

Considering your background in BW, what are your thoughts on the remastered edition, will you play it, and will you stream it?

And one last time, qxc hwaiting!~

qxc004 karma

I remember trying to play broodwar a few times while SC2 was down for beta or updates or whatever. It's like putting on mittens and then trying to make a smoothie with your feet. That game is hard and a big challenge is just 'make this thing do what I say'. I will probably not be returning to BW, although I'm quite excited for the scene as a whole. When broodwar does well, SC2 does well. They are connected like twins through time.

Alphare2 karma

Hey QXC, what is your opinion on Void Rays and why is it LO(>ik,jmloasewqz12?

qxc002 karma

Puck is a jerk.

patiangthesismo2 karma

What do you believe is a good next step for StarCraft in the future? Viewer numbers aren't as good as they once were. No more expansions to be coming out.

qxc001 karma

From whose perspective? I'd love for Blizzard to add a bunch of new features and hype the game, create revenue streams and build it up. Realistically, I wouldn't be surprised if it was better business to just keep making co-op commanders and let the game mostly stagnate.

patiangthesismo2 karma

When the game first came out all my friends were playing it. When the competitions were happening and eventually became into e-sports, most of us were watching it. Also, with each expansion, I've seen less and less viewers from twitch. Maybe it's just the hours I watch, but still.. People joke around how it's a dead game, but it looks to be slowly going that way. Makes me wonder if there will ever be a StarCraft 3.

What kind of features would you like to see added by blizzard?

qxc003 karma

tough to say. Probably the two big reasons SC got beat out by other games is 1) not a team game 2) no 'stuff' to gain. 2a) too hard

Maybe the market can't support a Starcraft-like game in its prime anymore. Maybe if Starcraft had loot boxes it would've kept doing well. Maybe if Starcraft had a more compelling team mode it would've done better. It's hard to say. At this point, it's probably a 'too little too late' sort of situation. I'm not really sure - but something that brings in casual players is best. Casual players form the base on which the rest of the scene can develop.

patiangthesismo2 karma

As long as they're not in-game loot which would give other players advantages, I think loot boxes would be alright. Maybe custom skins, extra taunt animations, etc. Then again, I'd hate for the franchise to go down the route of micro-transactions. I think I'd rather let the game die, if that's what was to happen. Thanks for answering my questions, man. Also, thanks for the years of entertainment throughout your gaming and casting career. It's pretty crazy to think the, not only the game, but also us, we're all so old now haha

qxc001 karma

Loot boxes for cosmetics, of course. No gameplay enhancements. The thing about micro transactions is that they create a steady source of revenue that the team can use to fund continued development. Like them or not, they are an incredibly important part to having a long term growing scene.

Dr_Downing2 karma

What dorms did you live in at Mudd? I'm in west right now :)

qxc002 karma

West and Atwood. West was my favorite by far.

Intheshadowss1 karma

Are you excited for the original starcraft to come out remastered?

qxc002 karma

Yes for the community and at large, for me personally - not really. I don't anticipate returning to broodwar in any real capacity.

TargetQ21 karma

I remember watching a game between you and Illusion (former Vile/Mouz?). You both were going marine/tanks and he ran a good portion of marines into your tanks before falling back. You must have believed at the moment that you were winning/won because you dropped some mules in mid/on top of him.

A short while later he was able to medivac some marines on top of your tanks and by the time you unseiged, they were mostly dead. He was able to use that to mount a comeback and shortly after, he dropped some mules on you. You conceded soon after.

I watched you guys play a few games and they always seemed close. You were nearing the end of your career and it seemed like he was just starting. After that, I lost track of him. Any idea where he went?

Also, what was the highlight of your SC/SCII career? Any memorable games? I haven't thought about SC in a few years...

qxc003 karma

Maybe to school? I haven't talked to illusion in a long time. Haven't seen him on sc.

The all-kill was the most memorable. Not sure if it was the highlight though. Hard to pick a specific moment as there were a lot of times I came really close to winning the 'thing'.

Walrus3651 karma

Did your anger issues while gaming cause your relationship problems?

qxc001 karma

My gf says she doesn't think so. I guess she's very tolerant. I thought it created problems, particularly when I lived in a team house. It was disruptive to others and brought the whole mood of the house down.

Walrus3652 karma

I'm glad to hear you're in a better situation now. good luck with your game! I might check it out, I've been on a card game binge recently.

qxc001 karma

do it

ColorlessLife1 karma

I'm writing an expository speech about the rising popularity of eSports for my Oral Composition class and I was wondering if you could answer a few questions so I could use it for my speech (or direct it to someone who can answer it please). Thank you in advance and sorry for any inconveniences. 1. What do you do in your free time? 2. What is the drafting process like? 3. What are grounds for dropping a player? 4. Did you feel pressured that you had to win or act a certain way under a team? 5. What different types of jobs are there in the eSports world for people who can't play games? 6. What was your favorite part of being a pro?

qxc002 karma

  1. I like to play other games and exercise.
  2. I didn't play a game with drafting
  3. I didn't play on a team where this was relevant
  4. The only pressure was pressure to uphold the brand and not do dumb things
  5. PR, management, accounting... it's a business that happens to be around promoting a team of people who play video games. So the usual jobs regarding running a business, managing people would apply.
  6. Just being good at something and being acknowledged for it. Having fans, competing... there were a lot of things I liked.

chili011 karma

Do you think SC will eventually die out? Or will it stay like CS?

qxc002 karma

I would guess sc1 has another ~5 years and sc2 maybe another 10, but a lot of that depends on what new games come out. The fastest way to kill sc1/sc2 would be an sc3 or warcraft 4.

CudaQuix1 karma

Zerg, Protoss, or Terran?

Zerg ftw bitches!

qxc001 karma