Interview – Kicked in the Dicebags

Kicked in the Dicebags is a podcast hosted by Chris Mais, Adam Gottfried, Jim Bowers, and Travis Griner.

1. Starting off with a more personal question, Kicked in the Dicebags was started in 2009. What keeps you going? What keeps you enthusiastic about working in the RPG industry?

Chris Mais – What keeps us going Tony is the energy of new blood in a cast of new hosts, the committment of our audience to listen and that we are afraid to be controversial and try new things in the realm of podcasting. We aren’t journalists more like late night entertainers in the geek world we aspire to be David Letterman, Steven Colbert or Conan in the circle of gamers. I said to Jon Landreth former co-host of the show Kicked In The DiceBags would go on without us if I had my way and it has done so.

Adam Gottfried – At times, sheer force of indomitable will. Others, the need to wank to 500 of my best strangers about an industry I know virtually nothing about, but a hobby that I love. But really, I think it’s a love of hearing myself talk. To quote Adam Sandler: “I have a microphone, and you don’t… so you will listen to EVERY DAMN WORD I HAVE TO SAY!”

Jim Bowers – What keeps me personally going, beyond what Chris already said, is a love of gaming and camaraderie with my fellow hosts. I wish I could say it was the fans, or the community, but I’ve personally heard very little feedback from listeners. Hopefully this will change now that we are part of Fear the Boot Media, as I originally started doing the cast as a means of engaging with the gaming community.

Travis Griner – I listened to KitD from its introduction, and to be honest I didn’t always agree with the direction or the quality of the conversation. If one thing could be said to drive me in podcasting, it would be to have an honest and interesting conversation that the listener wishes he could be part of. My enthusiasm for Roleplaying comes from the idea that, as a group, the players and GM are creating their own fun. Within the framework in the rules and setting they form a gestalt authorship and when they succeed they have created an experience with memories that can be shared and relived for years. Plus, two words; Gamer Chicks!

2. Earlier this year, you received an Honorable Mention for Best Podcast. What did you think of the ENnies when you found out?

CM – To be honest I didn’t think much of them at all in the beginning. The first I was even aware of the Ennies existence was when Fear The Boot had to withdraw its entry and all the uproar that caused because I followed that podcast along with the Sons of Kryos, All Games Considered and the Godzilla Gaming Podcast among others. Jonathan and I laughed about that our show would be the bane of the Ennies and that we would have as much chance finding a nomination as a duck looking for pond water in Satan’s ass. But I decided on a lark to submit the cast and take our chances.

AG – I was grateful for a nod. It’s always nice to have others recognize the hard work you’ve been doing.

JB – I was aware of the ENnies before I found out about the honorable mention, but they were at best a peripheral aspect of my perception of the hobby. It’s not as though I have an issue with the ENnies, it’s just that what a group of faceless people on the internet think about a given product is secondary to my personal opinions on a product, and the opinions of the people I’m sitting down at the game table with.

TG – I thought “That’s great. Those guys really deserve some recognition.”, but when my meds kicked in, I thought “I AM one of those guys!!”

My opinion of the Ennies is generally the same as my opinion of any industrial award like the Oscars or Grammies; Being recognized for your performance is edifying, but you can’t take it and sit back. We should try to do more to earn this recognition in the future. I think we should just continue the conversation and hopefully people think it’s good.

3. Did your HM affect site traffic?

CM – The Honorable Mention did not affect our site traffic to my knowledge. If we put out utter shite or don’t regularly put out shows that affects our site traffic.

AG – When a podcast is fueled by pure unadulterated awesome, it’s hard to top that. Honestly, if it did, I didn’t notice. I podcast therefore I am. I’m glad people listen, but I’d probably podcast anyway.

JB – I have no answer to this beyond Chris’.

TG – I really couldn’t say. Well, I could say, but I’d be talking out of the wrong orifice.

4. What projects do you have on the schedule; anything you can talk about?

CM – Projects. Some actual plays on tap and improv theater are in the back of mind.. some high caliber interviews are in the queue and more things to raise the bar and shake the foundations of podcasting. Everytime I think we get in a rut of familiarity and it becomes flat and boring I feel it is time to push the envelope.You can’t have a show called Kicked In Dice Bags without trying to push it into something new and more in your face.

AG – A few pipe dreams, but we do have a few controversial subjects on tap that should get people riled, for better or for ill.

JB – Beyond those projects that Chris has planned, I have a couple of ideas, but I don’t want to say anything more until A) I’ve produced something more concrete than an idea, and B) I’ve run it by Chris and my fellow hosts. I personally don’t like announcing intentions before they are ready to be presented in a mostly final form so that I don’t promise anything that I find out later I cannot follow through on.

TG – I’m trying to teach myself conversational German and Acoustic Guitar. I also want to grout the tub in my bathroom, and then there’s the toolshed…wait, you mean the podcast? I just kinda do what I do and record it. I’m trying out ‘indy’ games like Don’t Rest Your Head and Fiasco, so I can see talking about that more. Old School heatbreakers are also on my radar right now, as is maybe doing an actual play of some older games like Torg or Rifts.

5. Now that we’ve been around for over a decade, what do the ENnies mean to you both personally and professionally?

CM – Mean to me personally? Someone has got to be out there to help recognize quality at the end of the day. The Ennies are a measuring stick to some degree of what is out there that is new, cool and interesting. They are one among several metrics that determine popularity of the product, the pulse of the medium and what gets people out there to leave their homes to pull out money out a wallet at the FLGS and buy that gaming book or that supplement or listen to x podcast and leave with a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment.

AG – Anything nonprofit that can stick around for a decade has got to be a labor of love. I respect you guys for the work that you do, and recognize with all sincerity and gratitude the work that you do. My hat, such as it is, is off.

JB – They mean only slightly more to me than the Oscars or Grammies, which is to say not that much. It is interesting to see what others are recognizing in the industry, and I respect the effort that is put into the Ennies, but awards don’t speak to what a game product is. The experience groups have at the table is the ultimate judge of games as a hobby, and sales figures are the final determiner of games as an industry.

TG – Personally I like to see the things I like recognized for their quality, and you guys do that, so good on ya. Professionally, the screenprinting world and RPG industry don’t overlap as much as one might think. You guys need some shirts printed?

6. Last question; if someone who had never heard of the ENnie Awards walked up to you today and asked, “So what are these ‘ENnies’ you keep talking about,” how would you answer them?

CM – I would tell him listen son “I talk about the Ennies as much as a Texas Cowboy talks about his ball sack”. He knows that they are hanging and how low they hang and what purpose they serve as a use in the creative spectrum. No need to brag about them.. they speak for themselves in quality and stature. And he knows he needs them primed and ready for the rodeo against the other show ponies. Just Google them once in a while you will be surprise what comes out the search engine just stand a good distance away from it when you do.

AG – They are geeks recognizing other geeks for the geekery that they do.

JB – I’m honestly not sure. I think the hobby, and more importantly the industry of RPGs and table top games does need to find a way to reach out to new gamers. It seems to me that we need a body, whether formal or informal, that can speak to the “outside world” on our behalf. I’m not sure if the ENnies would or could be such a body, but if nothing else a body like the ENnies does show that table top gamers have a larger community and aren’t just that weird guy who smells bad and lives in their parents’ basement. I suppose that’s just my needlessly long winded way of saying that I’d point them in the direction of the ENnies site and encourage them to look into them on their own.

TG – I would first ask them to tell me how they got through security, because we’re in a mechanicaly dangerous zone. That machine over there can rip their arm off. After that I would do as I have before and compare the Ennies to other industry awards and send them to the website, because that explains it better than I could.

To listen to Kicked in the Dicebags, visit their website at kickedinthedicebags.libsyn.com.

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