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GenCon 2012 Interview: Gaming Paper


This is another interview that I wanted very much to do at GenCon. Erik Bauer of Gaming Paper seems to me to be a guy who saw a place to make his mark on the RPG hobby, and did that in spades. On top of that, he is one of the only guys I follow who makes comments when I mention his company on Twitter. There are nights when I’m sitting around the gaming table and gaming with friends and I snap a pic of the map to tweet it. Why? Who really knows honestly, but I like to share my hobbies with my followers from time to time. Whenever I’m using Gaming Paper I tend to toss an @GamingPaper onto the tweet, and Erik almost always sends a comment my way in return. It might not be immediately, but eventually he will say something. In all my interactions with him online, he has always come off as a very genuine person. Besides, he’s friends with Ed Healy so he can’t be all bad.

Erik Bauer of Gaming Paper
Picture courtesy of Mike Richards

As with some other interviews I wanted to talk about Kickstarter. Some of the companies I spoke to had done one, maybe two projects on Kickstarter and had them successfully funded. As of this writing, they have had six fully funded and successful projects. They started out with their original project of GamingPaper Singles way back in July of 2010. Before Kickstarter was as mainstream as it is today. In that project they received slightly over the amount they asked for, and as a result GamingPaper Singles are a new product that you can still buy to this day on their website. Seeing as how they started with Kickstarter so early, I was curious what took them in that direction. Basically, they feel that it helps them actually get a project off the ground. In such a small company, I can imagine that would be important. Secondly, as mentioned before by other companies, it also helps them to gauge interest in a particular product or product line. If a product gets Kickstarted and it does well, they now know that there is interest in doing more in that direction.

As a company, it seems that their core product is the actual map products. You have the paper itself that comes in rolls and sheets with either squares or hexes, as well as items like the Mega Dungeon. Lately however, their Kickstarters have moved more into the realm of adventures, and even a Pathfinder compatible sourcebook. Seeing as how that was taking the focus down a different path I was curious what spurred them in that direction. Basically the answer is that it was something that they wanted to do, they are fans of Pathfinder and good adventures, and it was an area where they felt there was something missing and that they could help fill that gap. That’s definitely something I can understand and sympathize with as well.

Now, Happy Jacks is more of a non-d20 podcast. Most of the games that they talk about and feature through the articles on DoucheyDM and on the show are not standard d20 style games. GURPS, HERO, Savage Worlds, Call of Cthulhu… just to name a few. GamingPaper does offer hex based map products as well as the square, and they even offer the hexes in multiple sizes for use in different games. My next question then, was in that direction. Do they plan to offer any further support for non-d20 games? They are intending to create more paper products oriented to being system generic, as well as a Mega Dungeon type product that is actually a city instead of a dungeon.

Now I’ve mentioned the Mega Dungeon a few times already, and I do have to say that it is my favorite Gaming Paper product to date. I participated in the Kickstarter for it and have used it multiple times. Basically its 100 sheets of paper with a dungeon pre-printed on the sheets. One side of each sheet has a dungeon section with furnishings drawn in, the other side has the same section completely devoid of any furnishings whatsoever. Its very versatile on its own, and they even have companion adventures for the product written by some industry notables including Ed Greenwood and Lou Agresta. I used the Mega Dungeon to great effect in an event that I put on at my local game store that we called a GM challenge. A GM signed up for a two and a half hour slot, we handed them the Mega Dungeon pack and gave them thirty minutes to put together a dungeon. They then had two hours to run it, and at the end the players voted on it. It worked out very well for us. I think we will do it again in the future. If you want to learn more about it I did a review of it over on my YouTube channel. Along those lines though, I asked when we could expect to see the new “mega city” product he mentioned previously. He said it is slated to be out by GenCon 2013, and is planned to be on Kickstarter again as well.

To get a little away from all the business talk, and to lighten things up a bit I asked Erik what he likes to do when he finds himself with a free Friday night. Obviously he’s a gamer so he tends to play a little Pathfinder or he’ll head on down to his local game store GrandLAN Gaming Center to play some computer games.

Lastly, I of course had to ask the standard question. What makes you a Douchey DM? “I think I tend to under treasure my party, you know what I mean?” “My dragons they refer to as food stamp dragons.” Well Erik it sounds like you need to go a little Monte Hall on your players for a bit!

Ok, that’s it for this interview. If you want to learn more about Gaming Paper don’t forget to check them out at GamingPaper.com and buy some Gaming Paper for your next game. Thanks again to Erik Bauer for taking a few minutes out of his schedule to talk to me.

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SirGuido has been a Happy Jack's RPG fan since the first moment he heard Stu on Kicked in the Dicebags. He hopes one day that he will get to meet all of these great people and play lots of games with them.

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