This is my new show, Tabletop

Last summer, Felicia Day asked me if I wanted to develop a show together for her new premium YouTube channel, Geek and Sundry.

Spoiler alert: I said yes.

She asked me if I wanted to do a show about gaming, maybe a review show or something like that. 

"I think it would be more fun do something where we play games," I said. Then, the light bulb went off.

"Oh my god," I said, "What if we did something that was like Celebrity Poker meets Dinner for Five, where we got interesting people we know together for tabletop games?!"

Felicia thought it sounded awesome, I was really excited about the idea, and we got to work. It took a few months to develop, and in December we finally shot our first block of episodes. In February, we got the band back together and shot another block of episodes, and just last week, I finished locking down the final edits for all the shows (that's why I couldn't come to Wondercon on Friday.)

In season one of the show, we play games like Settlers of Catan, The Last Night on Earth, Munchkin, Small World, and Alhambra. Some of the players include Grant Imahara, Sean Plott (better known as Day[9]), Dodger Leigh, Ryan Higa, Beth Riesgraf, Phil Lamarr, Morgan Webb, Garfunkle and Oats, Veronica Belmont, and Colin Ferguson.

My ulterior motive with Tabletop is to show by example how much fun it is to play boardgames. I want to show that Gamers aren't all a bunch of weirdoes who can't make eye contact when they talk to you, and that getting together for a game night is just as social and awesome as getting together to watch Sportsball, or to play poker, or for a LAN party, or whatever non-gamers do with their friends. I want to inspire people to try hobby games, and I want to remove the stigma associated with gaming and gamers.

I'm pretty sure we succeeded. By the second day of production, our crew was grabbing games out of our games library to play at lunch. All of our interns and production assistants have become complete game fanatics, and whenever I edit a show, all I want to do is go home and play that game until my face falls off.

I hope you'll subscribe to our channel, and please tell your friends about Tabletop.

170 thoughts on “This is my new show, Tabletop”

  1. Hiya Wil. You won’t probably remember me, but we met a few years ago at Rincon in Tucson. You bought some minis and such from the store I manage – Game Daze.
    Anyway, I’m REALLY looking forward to Tabletop and the other shows on Geek and Sundry. I’ve been a big fan of your work for several years now.
    I hope to not overstep boundaries, but not knowing how else to contact you, I thought here would be best. I wanted to draw your attention to a show I am associated with that you might have missed – Mayfair Games official web series, produced in conjunction with Pulp Gamer – The Bob and Angus show. Our latest episode is here. – http://www.pulpgamer.com/thebobandangusshow/
    I’m script editor for the show and the operator/voice of Angus. Alex over at Mayfair is our head writer and he mentioned that Mayfair has been in contact with some of you guys over at Geek and Sundry. I wanted to put a bug in your ear about maybe trying to get some cross-promotion going at some point. I’ll leave actual contact to the company guys, but it would be fun if Bob and Angus could “interview” you at some point about Tabletop. And check out some of the other game designer “interviews” we’ve done to see what I mean. :)
    Anyway, I look forward to the show and wish it and the whole Geek and Sundry crew all the best. You guys are doing what most of us geeks hope to do someday; making your playtime your job. :)

  2. An ooooo!!!! The voice of Angus from the Bob and Angus show just posted before me. I was JUST about to say I kinda wished your show was a bit more g-rated because then I could share it with my boys, who love the Bob & Angus show (and Glover), but who are only 7&9 and still shocked when things get bleeped (bless ‘em). I think your approach would mesh really well with Bob & Angus’s. And i’d get to watch Angus sass you….
    For the record: My 9yo was playing Smallworld today (and teaching it to his friends on the iPad at the weekend).

  3. So great! I subscribed to Geek and Sundry before anything actually showed up, and I don’t regret it at all. Heck, I’m actually toying around with the idea of linking up with a local D&D group thanks to your advocacy. A great show! Can’t wait for the next installment.

  4. I watched the episode yesterday- it’s great! I loved the animated graphics. That’s a nice table, by the way, with the play area recessed and felt top. Can you say where it’s from? No more dice rolling off the table!

  5. Watched it last night. It is as awesome as I hoped it would be. You show the mechanics of the game in a fun way. Kudos.
    You might want to mention number of players, play time, ages, etc, at the start or in the notes of the game. This would be a big help in deciding to purchase. Also it would be nice if you mentioned actual play time of the session so we could get an idea of how long the game play is.
    P.S. Job done. I will be buying Small World. I am getting from my local game shop if possible (like to support him also) However, is there a way I can give your show credit for leading me to the sell?

  6. It looks like I’ll be the only person quibbling over inaccuracies in the comments, but here goes!
    1. Giants are not that good. They only use one less when taking over regions adjacent to mountains they occupy. So Sean got way more regions on his first turn than he should have, considering he tried to occupy the mountain last. It’s a simple mistake to make, granted.
    2. Ghouls can not attack the turn they go into decline. They have to wait until the next turn. During a round in which a race goes into decline, there is no attack phase. This is why Stout Ghouls are so good, because stout means they don’t have to use a whole turn to go into decline.
    Smallworld is one of those games where we had to check clarifications often. So, it’s understandable. I suppose I only bring it up for future reference. We played a lot of games before we no longer had to keep opening the rulebook for the detailed descriptions.
    Anyway, the shows still awesome. I’m not somebody who is actually enraged over mistakes made in a boardgame or anything. Boardgames exist in a world of house rules, so playing a game different from the rules can often be on purpose and perfectly valid. Yet, I still decided to point it out like some pretentious glasses-adjusting nerd. Hmmm.
    Also, strategy tip for Grant. The best way to play Orcs is to just completely abandon all your regions during each readying phase so you can then conquer as many as possible again. Especially if they’re also pillaging. Of course, he might have done this, I know we probably don’t see every minute of the game.

  7. Thoughts before watching:
    looks cool, with the right mix of people and the right game, it would be fun to watch.
    How not to do it:
    one gay guy
    one black guy
    one sexy chick
    etc.
    everyone attractive and smiling
    I’m not sure how to do it, I’d probably video different people playing different games and identify the good elements, perhaps:
    making jokes while playing (making fun of the game, making fun of each other in a nice way, etc.)
    getting typical player types (the bean counter, the rule mayven, the fast and loose player, etc.)
    Wil, I just finished listening to “ready player one” it was a great book and hilarious to have you as the reader mentioning yourself as the future sysop for oasis.

  8. Thanks for your support, Story. It’s a fun show to do and we’ve got some great shows coming up.
    As far as Tabletop and g-rated, the nature of a “live” show is that you can’t control what the people say and you really wouldn’t want to. The fun of a live show is that you don’t know what going to come out of people’s mouths, which can be a pain in the butt sometimes, especially if they’re not being particularly interesting, but can be solid gold if they are. Luckily for Wil, he seems to know enough interesting people to get a show like this to work. I’m looking forward to where it goes next.
    And thanks for watching Bob and Angus.

  9. A couple of quick comments:
    1) Loved the episode, looked like you all had a great time. (YAY!)
    2) Made me miss game-day with my friends. (Boo!)
    3) production value is through the roof. (YAY!)
    4) Actually made “regular” tv look bad in spots. (Boo?)
    Opinion:
    At the end of the episode or maybe in the blurb about the episode have something like “If you liked this game but it seemed hard, try ‘game X’. If it seems too easy, try ‘game Y'”.
    Just my opinion, take it for what it’s worth.

  10. There are levels of viral:
    A video is considered mildly viral if it is on track to receive 10,000 views in 30 days.
    A video is considered somewhat viral if it is on track to receive 50,000 views in 30 days.
    A video is considered moderately viral if it is on track to receive 100,000 views in 30 days.
    A video is considered fully viral if it is on track to receive 500,000 views in 30 days.
    A video is considered epically viral if it is on track to receive 1,000,000 views in 30 days.
    At moderately viral in 3 days and well toward fully viral. Have to wait and see if it makes “epic.”
    Awesome. I bet Days of Wonder are loving Wil right about now.

  11. If I may ask, what is the name of/who performs the music played when the tiles are explained with text? I have it suck in my head and I really like it.

  12. Oh you have to get a next season…and a next…and a next. This needs to go on forever. I have reposted to all of my friends with the Denver Gamers Association.

  13. Having watched two episodes now, I would watch this every single day. This is so fascinating and engaging on so many levels. I’m not sure if I can handle waiting for two weeks between episodes.

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