James Mathe (pronounced MATH + long E) – DOB: August 27, 1966

SUMMARY: I have pioneered 2 new industries, own 5 companies and 3 game stores, completed over a dozen successful Kickstarter campaigns, and host regular game designer events/conventions.
I am a programmer (C, PHP, and Unix), designer, analyst, database admin (Oracle, Mysql, etc) and more … but when I can, I try to make my living doing things a bit more interesting than consulting or cubical work. This site is more about those other things I have done that are gaming related.

I am owner and president of Minion Development Corporation (Game Universe retail stores), owner of Minion Games, and co-founder of OneBookShelf, Inc (RPG Now, Drive Thru Cards, War Game Vault, Drive Thru Comics) which has been responsible for many projects and stores over the years.

I’ve been an entrepreneur and developer all my life, from my early childhood days of modifying the board game Pathfinder to include weapons and monsters, to programming my own Adventure style game on the Apple ][, to making my own dungeon tiles/corridors/doors out of wood in the mid 80’s, to developing my own BBS with text graphic city map (City of Aldimar) you could wander and sewers to attack monsters on my Apple //e computer in the late 80’s.

During the BBS chat board era I developed an AI for intelligent NPCs in a completely original MUD written from scratch in Unix and using Oracle database in the 90’s. These were the days of GemStone on Genie where it cost $6 per minute (yes minute) to play. I also owned for a few years before the Internet took off – rats should have kept that one eh?

I started one of the World’s first LAN Gaming Centers in early 1994 (called the Virtual Gaming Center – first-ever license for playing network Shareware Doom). I have always enjoyed the process of creating things original and released several popular deathmatch levels: DMCath24Tourney3.wad,Tourney2.wad, and more for the VGC tournaments.

iTopLogoI own the RPGHost Network of sites (created in 1999) which includes some great sites like, RPGSheets,, and more…

I was the operator of one of, one of the first online virtual table gaming software programs (written in Java). In 2001 and 2002 I hosted totally online gaming conventions at CyberCon with our own custom scheduling software and use of many virtual table tops. With hosts as grand as Gary Gygax, Tracy Hickman, Sean Reynolds, Steve Jackson and more. I created to help players find players as well as a new site called PlayTesters.Net to help designers find play testers.

DriveThruRPG.comAround 2001 I created (pdf download store for gaming) which pioneered the paper and pen RPG download industry. Years later I merged with our first serious competitor DriveThruRPG – now we are the largest reseller of the most role-playing games in the world (in print and out of print). In 2011 we introduced print on demand services and we are now the exclusive site to purchase out of print books for many large publishers such as White Wolf.

I published a series of ePublisher Guides to help new startup companies. Also created and published a quick action sci-fi game system called Hyper-Killer.

Cheap dice and roleplaying gamesIn 2002 I started for online sales and clearance items at GameOverstock and RPGOverstock. It grew enough that in late in 2003 I opened our first brick and mortar game store: Game Universe in the Milwaukee, WI area. A large store of board games, role-playing games, dice, CCGs, and miniatures. In 2009 we opened our second store location in Brookfield, Wisconsin! In 2012 we opened a 3rd store. These stores are still open today.

Minion Games

In 2009 I started a Board Game publishing company: Minion Games and later that year I completed my first full-scale board game called “Those Pesky Humans” which was released at Origins 2010 with 3 other new games. In 2011 we published 7 great new games, a couple of which are very high on several best of 2011 lists. Our biggest “hit” to date is The Manhattan Project which is ranked under 300 of all board games on BGG and the #1 seller from our fulfillment company.

2011 also saw the opening of our new Board Game index/database/review/trade mega site. With exclusive content from Scott Nichleson, Sandy Appelcline, Matt Thrower and even our own Web Comic – Trog’s Portal which I helped create. The site has a goal to provide pro-retailer friendly ads and tools. A place retailers can send people to find out more about the games not to steal their customers away from them.

We have now published 10 games/products on Kickstarter and plan to do more this year. I have left some of my knowledge in some posts to this site’s KICKSTARTER category.

This year looks to be another busy year with Minion Games as we’ll be hosting a prototype game convention: Protospiel – Milwaukee and attending conventions.



If you’re looking to contact me use the CONTACT ME page.

Happy gaming!

~ James