13 June 2019 | 12 Comments
James Mathe, one of the most generous people in the tabletop game industry, passed away this weekend.
I’m sad to say that I’ve never met James or spoken to him, but we’ve interacted quite a bit over the years over e-mail and on social media, where he founded the Tabletop Game Kickstarter Advice Facebook group. James didn’t just start the group–he was an active, daily participant as he counselled thousands of complete strangers over the years.
That’s the thing about James: He was incredibly generous with his time. Astoundingly so. I’ve seen people mention James and me in the same sentence when talking about Kickstarter advice, and it’s a flattering comparison for me, because my blog posts pale in comparison to James’ level of activity on that Facebook group and others. Not to mention the extensive, detailed articles he posted on his website.
From my perspective, the game industry was one of James’ greatest loves, and he wanted to make a positive impact on it every day. He was a consummate entrepreneur, yet he still gave so much of his time to make the game industry better as a whole. Check out his bio–there are only a handful of people in the world who are both as generous and as driven as James.
On top of all this, one of the interesting things about James is that he was very blunt. If you’re a creator, it’s quite possible you’ve had an interaction with James that made you bristle. But his goal wasn’t to hurt anyone; rather, as he didn’t want any creator to waste their time, energy, or resources.
I am crushed by this loss. I’m grateful for the legacy James leaves behind, but he was only 52–I wish that legacy could have continued to grow for another 30+ years. I wish that James was still with us.
I hope we all learn something from James, as he was the embodiment of the “help them first” philosophy. So much of what I’ve built at Stonemaier Games is based on what I learned from him–his articles, his Kickstarter campaigns, and his daily generosity.
Thank you, James. Rest in peace.