KJC Games

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Games and former games

Notable company personalities former and present

Additional Information

Beyond the Stellar Empire

In July 1992 KJC games launched its replacement to the sci-fi wargame Capital. This game, Beyond the Stellar Empire, or BSE for short, had been running for some years in America as a hand-moderated postal game. This version however had been programmed in qbasic by Adventures By Mail and while vaguely based on the events in the American version was sufficiently unique to be considered a brand new game.


Members of the KJC company spent a short working holiday at the ABM offices learning how to input the game and came back to the UK complete with floppy discs and rule books. Within a few short weeks the game was up and running.

As the two companies went their separate ways over the next few years it became clear that KJC was on its own. The Americans sold their license on and the version across the waters drifted through a successive number of owners before finally floundering. Others may know more about its fate but that's another story.

The KJC version of BSE went through a quick succession of moderators until it was taken on by Mica Goldstone back in 1994. From there the game became relatively stable (there will always be ups and downs in an open ended game) and the fan base now having a dedicated GM could look forward to a long and relatively untroubled future.

As technology in the outside world progressed so too did the game. First, back around the beginning of 1998 the game was upgraded to send email turn reports. This was a big change in how the game was played. Suddenly the American and the European players were on a level with the British players.


The Shape of things to come.

Just over a year and a half later the beginning of a remarkable relationship started.


David Bethel, then a professional programmer and power behind one of the in-game factions offered his services in re-programming the planetary battle module of the game. These being grounds for occasional grumblings amongst the players, the offer was readily accepted.

Within a month the new program was integrated, though in effect as this new program was written in a different language (c++) it quickly started to reveal the ever widening cracks in the rest of the code. Maybe it was the beer, maybe seeing his colleagues going insane under the pressure of highly demanding jobs, or more likely the frustration of continually putting right other peoples' dubious quality work, but David decided it was time for a career change. This project had also whet Dr Bethel's appetite for the sheer 'joy' of coding professional games - the long nights shouting at monitors, stamping on bugs, explaining to players that their worst fears would only come true if the programmer was a complete moron, then having to explain that no, this was not an admission of being a complete moron - you get the picture.

So, with the unmitigated success of the new battle program, talks (largely beer induced) were undertaken to write a replacement to Beyond the Stellar Empire. To accomplish this Skeletal Software was founded by David Bethel in order to tackle the prospect of re-writing Beyond the Stellar Empire. Phoenix: Beyond the Stellar Empire was envisioned. Phoenix: Beyond the Stellar Empire

This is a game in which rival factions known as affiliations compete for supremacy within the collection of star systems known simply as the Peripheries. This is achieved through roleplaying and strategic control of starbases, spaceships and politicians.

The game while technically brilliant is merely a simulator for a futuristic setting. It is actually the affiliations that make the game interesting and their constant rivalry, skulduggery, narrow-mindedness and power grabbing politics breathe life into the bare bones of the programs. These affiliations are controlled by groups of players.

Beyond the Stellar Empire, the game from which Phoenix arose, started in 1992 and has been played continually up until the launch of Phoenix.

This decade witnessed a lot of action, culminating in the current political set-up. This natural progression has meant that the game is unrivalled for sheer depth of history and dedicated players.

Phoenix: The Game

Phoenix: At a Glance

Intergalactic News: Monthly Articles Mica Goldstone has been employed by KJC Games as game moderator for Phoenix since 1994. In 1999 he was made a director and in 2014 became sole owner of the company. Stuff he’s done that’s vaguely relevant to moderating a sci-fi game and running a games company: Astrophysics MSc by Research Physics and Astronomy BSc Various programming and management qualifications, nearly two decades of writing special actions for Phoenix: Beyond the Stellar Empire and more recently short stories set in the Phoenix universe (as published in the Intergalactic News on the Phoenix website).