Randy Toltz consulted and aided in the startup of 27 successful businesses reaching as far as a shrimp farm in Guatemala. But for his latest venture, …
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Randy Toltz consulted and aided in the startup of 27 successful
businesses reaching as far as a shrimp farm in Guatemala.
But for his latest venture, it was Toltz who needed a
consultant, and from an unlikely source - a group of 7-year-old
A brief mention about a football card game by Toltz's son,
Logan, three years ago led Toltz on a long journey of creating a
collectible card game (CCG) he named Street Proz.
"Why not?" Toltz asked himself that day. "Get it done in 90
days, throw a few thousand dollars in it and be on our merry
After researching the market and talking to a printer who
specializes in CCGs, Toltz soon realized this was more than just a
CCGs first emerged in the gaming world in 1993 with the wildly
popular role playing game, Magic.
Riding on the coattails of the Dungeons and Dragons fan base,
this fantasy wizard game quickly spread among role-playing circles
and by 1995, gamers bought more than one billion cards
Since then, games like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! have sprung up,
catapulting the CCG business into a billion-dollar industry - one
dominated by big names and national brands.
Now, three years after Toltz's original idea surfaced, he and
his wife, Kim, have poured more than $400,000 and countless hours
into the card game while running a real estate company and
distribution service dealing mostly in poker chips.
The once-envisioned side project that transformed into an
ambitious family dream released this month.
The cards feature urban comic-book-style caricatures who play
each other in a football game guided by the roll of dice.
The game also pits these street personas against each other
every Saturday in an online fantasy football game.
"The game is as much luck as it is skill," Toltz said, adding
that the game fills a void he sees in the market for younger
"Both the sports card and gaming card industry have gotten very
sophisticated," Toltz said. "One thing they have kind of left out
is the kids, the little guys."
After spending most of his adult life as an entrepreneur, dating
back to a glass fixtures company he opened with his dad when he was
20, Toltz knew where to start - with the experts.
"If you don't know what you are doing, hire someone who does,"
Beyond enlisting his son's expertise, he hired a prominent
printer in the gaming card industry, Yaquinto, which is one of four
printers worldwide for Pokemon.
The printer had a vested interest in their success and often
offered unsolicited advice about the gaming industry. Initially,
Toltz was going to create 50 cards. But the printer urged the
family to produce at least 270 cards to add variety and longevity
to the distribution.
Toltz found a graphic artist online and flew out to Minneapolis
with Logan to meet the artist.
And then all the players were in place, almost.
Toltz and the now 10-year-old Logan sat down at Ted's Montana
Grill at Aspen Grove three years ago with a yellow tab of paper and
a pen and started coming up with personas, some 300
"In my original business plan, that was something I thought was
going to be easy," Toltz said. "But in reality, it turned out to be
a lot of work."
The two spent hours upon hours creating characters like Ghost
Chopper, named after Logan's grandfather. Logan derived the name
from a story his grandfather used to tell about a ghost that chops
wood at his mountain cabin.
"It's not a true story, though," Logan said.
Logan's sister, Taylor, was quick to sshhh Logan. "Jake still
thinks it's true," she said in a whisper.
Each of Toltz's three younger children have a caricature in
their name as does all of Logan's friends who consulted on the
Five-year-old Jake's card is aptly named Jakester, but his
favorite card is the Clown.
"Kim hated that card, but when Jake opened up a booster pack and
screamed, 'I got the clown! I got the clown!' her mind changed,"
Beyond the caricatures, Toltz also created the game. One night
he spent six hours rolling dice and calculating touchdowns. The
simple game that accompanies the cards took Toltz several hours to
Kim, on the other hand, spent weeks in front of the computer
proofreading cards that the artist designed.
"Sometimes an arm would be reversed, or a hand would have six
fingers," Kim said. "At times I thought my eyes were going to bug
Finally, in January 2005, the Toltz family was ready to release
the product. The family paid close to $10,000 to sponsor the
Snooper Bowl that rap artist Snoop Doggy Dog started to raise money
for inner city youth.
The event, held in conjunction with the Super Bowl, provided
great publicity for the game and their three kids got to meet the
"I had the printer on hold and ready to launch," Toltz said,
"but something didn't feel right."
Toltz felt the drawings were too amateur. The artist used simple
black lines to create muscle definition and no shadowing. So the
family scrapped the launch and decided to a hire a new artist to
perfect the characters with more detail.
"You can't nickel and dime something like this," Toltz
As they neared the final stages of production, Logan and his
sister Taylor went to camp for the summer. In mid-July, as Kim and
Randy were scrambling to finish last minute touch-ups, the most
important decision maker could not be reached.
"We couldn't call them," Kim said.
So Kim Fed Exed the changes and background options to Logan.
Next to each design she placed a like or dislike check box. Logan
circulated the pictures to his friends at camp and sent the results
"The kids had the ultimate and final say," Toltz said. "Each
card needed a kid stamp of approval."
The family finally took the cards to press in November. Kim and
Randy flew out to Dallas to oversee the production. They spent
almost twelve hours a day reviewing prints under bright fluorescent
lights and magnifying glasses, making sure every last detail was
Two weeks ago Kim picked up Logan from school and told him he
would have five minutes to pack his bags when he got home. She
rushed Logan to the airport to catch a flight to Las Vegas to meet
his father for a gaming convention, where they would introduce
their new product together.
"It was so cool," Logan said.
The family plans to attend at least four more trade shows this
year to market the product. And Toltz will travel to about 12
cities and hold Street Proz tournaments, pitting caricatures like
Fang, Psycho and Gravedigger against each other at local hobby
And according to 30-year industry veteran Mark Simmons, who owns
Gaming Quarterly Magazine based in Broomfield, one of the keys to
succeeding in the industry is creating a fan base.
"We have done a great job at creating a product," Toltz said.
"Now we need to create a brand."
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