Game Tile Warehouse – Australian business Interview

This week we’re looking at the Game Tile Warehouse (or GTW), an Australian startup that – unsurprisingly – makes and sells gaming tiles. We were pretty impressed with how beautiful these game tiles were and could certainly see how they could add scope and up the atmosphere of any tabletop RPG, but that’s not all Game Tile Warehouse does. As well as floor tiles, GTW also do equipment tiles, trap tiles, carpet tiles, nature tiles and stand up tiles like doors, cupboards, pillars etc. It’s really neat stuff and as an Australian tabletop games accessory company, we want to support it and get it some coverage.

We contacted Kris – the one-man show behind the tiles – and requested an interview, to which he graciously accepted. Kris is based in Melbourne and runs Game Tile Warehouse himself as a print-on-demand webstore with thousands of different designs. His aim is to grow his business so that he’s got ready to ship tiles / maps / chits on hand and eventually in stores. Needless to say, that’s no easy task, but with some support from the Aussie gaming community, Kris hopes he’ll get there.

Well I guess I’m kind of in a weird basket as far as my table-top credentials go but games have been a huge part of my life.

I lived in New Zealand and in the country and there was very little to do and shops were a long way away so I had to entertain myself a lot. I remember setting up my entire room with blocks and coloured clothing to create an entire Jurassic Park and taping boxes together to illustrate them as ‘bases’ for my toys. I think I have always had and still have an intense passion for creating miniature scenes.

The Game Tile Warehouse Australia Check out the neato shop front tile and dungeon banquet.

I had and played the standard fare of monopoly, scrabble, guess-who, battle-ships and later on, Risk which is probably my second favourite board game of all time.

At primary school I created a giant boardgame as part of a project which took players around a circuit similar to snakes & ladders but with a variety of themes

I took a shine to ‘The Ancestral Trail’ which was a beautifully illustrated series of books released every fortnight and from which you could assemble the pieces for a playable card game. And I was a huge fan of reading the ‘Fighting Fantasy’ series of pick-paths which slowly got me into D&D. I greatly enjoyed my lego and building sets as well.

The Game Tile Warehouse Australian made tabletop game tiles bookshelfThe detail in these tabletop game tiles is really great, check out this bookshelf for example.

I was fascinated by the genre and when I got hold of some game-making software I began to learn how to make my own games by changing the scenery and sprites and even by writing basic code.

When Heroquest was released I was completely enamoured by it. My wonderful mum bought me a set for Christmas and it wasn’t long before I had completed all the quests and was making more maps, more quests, dozens of new spells, using props, painting figures and organizing epic length odysseys for my friends to play.

The Game Tile Warehouse Australian made tabletop game tiles HeroQuest Spell cardsHeroQuest Spell Pack from the Game Tile Warehouse – Sweet!

Over the years I dreamed up and drew dozens of highly detailed world, thousands of tiles (some of which I still have here on my desk in a stored box of HQ pieces that I passed to my son), developed books with spells, items, hundreds of random characters and expanded my players options and experiences broadly to keep up with my imagination.

Being exposed to and exploring each of these different facets of gaming gave me a rich love of table-top games and some of the best moments of my childhood and teen years. I think it was the weaving of detailed stories for others that was so enjoyable – it was like making interactive movies.

The Game Tile Warehouse tabletop game tiles and chits for tabletop games Table tilesTabletop … err… tabletop tiles. See what we did there? Looks good enough to eat.

I kept up the drawing and writing putting the energy into new projects. Flash-forward twenty years and it’s been a considerable time since I’ve played Heroquest or D&D. Yet I still make games and although my gaming has largely been replaced with xbox RPG’s, on my desk sits a multi-tiered Alchemical Star Chess set. Every time a piece moves it changes into a more powerful piece making for a very challenging game that can be played against one self or others. I saw the idea suggested somewhere and developed it into a playable game.

The Game Tile Warehouse tabletop game tiles and chits for tabletop games cupboard tilesSome of the ’tiles’ stand up, making great visual props for your tabletop games or RPG sessions

I’ve long since discovered the joy of Photoshop and electronic art and it was upon chancing upon some of my old D&D quest items and maps last year that a spark began to re-ignite. When I was creating a deck of cards online I started visiting Heroquest and D&D forums to see how the genre had been developing in my long absence. Needless to say I was blown away and delighted by the sheer intensity, dexterity, and artistic talent of all the sets, tiles, figurines and expansions that had been made – there is such majesty in seeing what people can do with their hands and I find it very pleasing. The 3D brick and customizable figurine programs that have become hot property were breath-taking and it was about there where my artistic spark began to rekindle for RPG boardgames. After doing research I saw the opportunity to carve a new niche supplying inexpensive tiles that could do the job of 3D pieces without the cost and consolidate all of my wealth of experience and imagination in supplying printed tiles to the RPG community.

My first love will always be Heroquest though and so it is within that genre that I have begun my journey.

The Game Tile Warehouse tabletop game tiles and chits for tabletop games fireplace propThe adventurers enter a room, a fire rages in a large stone fireplace…

At this present time I have created a 580 piece set of tiles to expand the options and allow others to relive some of the excitement of setting up their board with a huge variety of new pieces. But I am branching out from just tiles to creating spell cards, dice, quests & quest maps and much more. By the time I am done I estimate about 10,000 new pieces will be available from my webstore with about 2000 already created.

Games, and in particular creating the miniatures that go with them, is something that has given me great pleasure and satisfaction the majority of my life. With all of the skills and knowledge I now have to create art, and my intense passion rekindled, I am trying to create a small business doing what I love doing and hoping to make a living supplying quality, affordable, beautiful game tiles, chits and props to people who still play them.

The Game Tile Warehouse tabletop game tiles and chits for tabletop games choicesADVENTURERS! MAKE YOUR CHOICE! Vertical game tiles.

We’d like to thank Kris and we wish him the best in his entrepreneurial venture. We Australia tabletop gamers need to support one another to help our community grow and thrive, so if you’re thinking of getting some tabletop game tiles, be sure and check out Melbourne based Game Tile Warehouse.