Our Little Operation - Family Run
Little Known Facts
A little history from the creator, Japji Khalsa
In 1994, at a coffee shop in the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco called the Coffee Zone, local gamers would meet nearly every evening to play this amazing new game called Magic: the Gathering ...
This was well before any of us understood how much the game would eventually become a part of the culture in so many ways. We would readily trade Black Lotuses for two-headed giants to make our red deck just that much more awesome. We would also place our cards directly on coffee shop sticky tables... gasp! No one really even knew of sleeve protectors - if there were any.
And it was more important to play the game than to worry about some unknowable day in the future where we might be selling our ‘near mint’ condition cards on eBay. But for my part, I didn’t like having sticky cards. So I bought a piece of cool fabric from a nearby (now closed) fabric store and placed it on the table before playing games. This worked remarkably well at protecting my cards. One of my gaming friends, Jeff Brain, remarked that he could do some art for the mat, which seemed like a cool idea. So began the partnership of Khalsa and Brain, and the beginnings or Khalsa-Brain Games. For our first run of mats we printed 100 SpellGrounds and packaged them in plastic bags.
In February of 1995, we brought them to one of our favorite conventions, DundraCon, to see if they might sell. We were a little worried about our prospects, so to sweeten the deal for each buyer of a mat, we included a booster pack of Arabian Knights that had just been released from Wizards of the Coast. We sold out by the end of the weekend. Jeff and I had lots of adventures as we entered the Hobby Game market as manufacturers. We’d attend game manufacturer trade shows, visit game conventions and work with CCG publishers to create custom mats for the hot-off-the-presses new games. The SpellGround BattleLords, SpellGround Tatami, and the Official Magic The Gathering Play Mat, are examples of our themed mats.
Also, from 1996 to 2001 we produced the World’s Play Mat that was given to the competitors in the MTG World Championships by Wizards of the Coast. Another offshoot of our entry into the gaming market was to produce a local CCG convention called ManaFest. This lasted until 2000, after which, we changed the name to KublaCon and changed the focus to include all types of gaming. KublaCon is now the largest gaming convention on the West Coast, occurring annually on Memorial Day Weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The demands of a growing family drew Jeff away from the company, and parting ways as friends, I retained the company’s name with a small change: Khalsa Brain Games. (Collectors should know that the earliest versions of our mats had the dash, while later ones did not!) The art that we created in those first few weeks has sustained the test of time, and the mats we now make are only slightly refined versions of the original concept created in 1995.
Today, Khalsa Brain Games is still a family run business focusing on short runs of our high quality mats. Every mat is folded and packaged by my wife or myself - or sometimes friends if we can recruit them! We handle the day to day order taking and fulfillment. Both of us have other jobs that demand our time, and we often travel. When this happens, we try to let our customers know that we won’t be able to ship their mats until such-and-such date. Sometimes, you’ll find us selling our mats on eBay. It’s good marketing for the mats and it allows us to sell a specific quantity of mats with the ‘buy now’ section. This is very helpful when we’re down to the last couple dozen mats of the current line, or when we produce an extremely limited print run. Thank you for visiting our site! We hope you like our mats!
Meet the folks at Khalsa Brain Games...
While we love for our fans to think of us as a 'big' play mat company, the truth is that it's really just 'us' that bring it all together and deliver our mats around the globe.