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. 2 words. Awe Some!
    I have been buying a few board games lately, it will be awesome to see the test played before I look at buying them. Is there a way to get a list of games that will be played?

  2. It’s completely unnecessary to use the show as an excuse to set interns on fire. I mean, really. If your interns don’t end up looking like Wiley Coyote at the end of a Roadrunner cartoon, you’re coddling them.
    Srsly, can’t wait to see the show! Great trailer!

  3. There are a few problems with making Arkham Horror good for television: it takes a minimum of three hours to play (and our shows don't run longer than 31 minutes), the board is HUGE, so it's hard for a camera crew to translate it to television effectively, and it's a fairly complex game to explain. I love the Arkham universe so much, though, we played Elder Sign! I don't know when that show is airing, but it's a good one.

  4. This is simply awesome. I will be following this show very closely. I can only hope that your influence will spread, and more will get involved in the hobby!
    Also, how’s the homebrewing coming along? You inspired me to take it up, just tried my second batch a few days ago.

  5. 3 hours? I know I played it recently and it didn’t take quite so long, but I suppose it all really boils down to HOW you play. Also, having played “Last Night On Earth” multiple times through Die Zombies, Die, my friends and I have gathered that some of the rules are either very vague or non-existent. Did you ever have that problem, or should I just watch to see you guys sort it out? 😉

  6. You must play SPANC. 😀
    It’s quick and dirty (and dirty!), and loads of fun!
    We just had 16 people over for St. Pat’s and it was games and games and more games til about 3am. x_x Also some Super Mario Bros on the 8ft projection screen, which is also fun.

  7. This is one of those awesome ideas that almost doesn’t seem as awesome as it is because it seems so freaking obvious after somebody has done it that you can’t believe somebody hasn’t done this awesome thing before.* Looking forward to watching this.
    * If there’s an asshole-way to read that sentence, please don’t. I mean the opposite.

  8. I’ll make you a deal, Wil. If I don’t watch it, you can set fire to Sasha. If I do, you can set fire to Neil. If he goes off like a Roman Candle, I’ll finance the entire second, third and fourth seasons myself. 😛
    And thank god it’s on YouTube! That means I can see it in the UK!

  9. I am CRAZY about Ascension, Dominion, and Seven Wonders. Deck building games are some of my favorites.
    I wanted to play them, but they don't work for television the way we wanted them to, because most of what makes those games great is what happens in your head while you're strategizing.

  10. Wil,
    Want to thank you personally on behalf of my colleagues and fellow gamer geeks involved in the adventure game hobby and industry. This is an amazing thing, and you may rest assured I will be completely supporting this and making sure my readers are “all up in it.”
    So… what would it take to get on the show and play something with y’all?
    Knock it out of the park, my friend!
    Sean Patrick Fannon
    AKA Big Irish of the DriveThruRPG RPG
    Author, The Fantasy Roleplaying Gamer’s Bible
    Lots of Other Gaming Stuff…

  11. Need an intern? J/K, I live too far away. You going to be premiering any games, or will this just be games that already exist? I am looking forward to catching these episodes. It will be nice to get a preview of gameplay from fellow geeks. Excellent idea.

  12. We're playing established games this year, but some of them are indie games I love that you may not have heard of.

  13. Exceedingly awesome on many levels –
    For season 2, how about a charity auction to be on an episode? (I’ll start banking air miles now in case I win)

  14. PLEASE show me how to play Arkham Horror! Oh Em Gee, it makes me want to tear my hair out when I realize, after playing for two hours, that I have no idea what I’m doing!!!!

  15. This is awesome! I can’t wait to see you play Last Night On Earth. My boyfriend introduced me to the world of tabletop gaming last year and it’s been the best bonding experience. We have a lot of nerdy things in common, but it’s a really great feeling to come home and see Agricola or Catan set up for me, or to have my mindless Internet browsing interrupted by his silent arrival, home planets for Race for the Galaxy in hand. (He got major points when I realized that you & he both own copies of Revolution.) If you haven’t already thought of it, Cash & Guns is an awesome, quick party game that might work well for your show.
    I know this will be a huge success. Thank you for continuing to be my favorite geek ambassador, Wil.

  16. I’m an autist who has a hard time remembering the social rule of Must Look In The Eye (I actually do it because of the non-optional nature but it’s a trick I taught myself – I’m faking it).
    My other handicap is that I play Warhammer. I get so tired of other gamers, especially RPG types who always will tell you that it’s ‘boring because there’s no narrative’ – a) that’s bs, b) that’s bs.
    However, table-top wargamers are much more easy-going than other gamers, and autists are more relaxed about social rules (like the Look Me In The Eye dogma) so yeah, I’ll watch.
    This cleverly hidden rant is brought to you by an aspergian Wil Wheaton fan who is slightly exhausted from a day of adapting to normal people 😀

  17. I cannot wait to watch this show! It’s my mission as well to de-stigmatize gaming and gamers. Really, we are cool, smart, engaging and fun people who shower on a regular basis and hold down steady jobs. What’s so weird about that?!?!?!?!

  18. The only reason people say there's no narrative in 40K is because they don't know a damn thing about the universe or all the amazing stories within it.
    I haven't played 40K in at least 20 years, but I still have my rule books, because the stories in them are so amazing.

  19. Very cool idea! I co-own a comics and games shop in Houston, and I’m sure this will interest many of our customers, and I imagine it will be a pretty good marketing tool for us. So: thanks!

  20. I can’t wait for this! I haven’t made any new gaming friends in the area I moved to, so this will be a great opportunity to have that same kind of fun. Like surrogate fun!

  21. Awesome! I saw some Dixit in there (the most disturbing art paired with the cutest score-markers ever), and I hear Get Bit will be one too.
    Can’t wait! Between Felicia’s channel, the Nerdist’s channel, and SciShow/Crash Course, I’ll be doing a LOT of YouTube watching this year…

  22. I _love_ board games…and card games…and dice games…and medieval games…and… Yeah, I suspect I’ll be hooked. My friends and I used to play this game called “The Great Dalmuti” (I think). There were hats involved. 😉

  23. What a great idea! I’ve always been a lover of board games of all kinds. I’m 45 and me and my brothers STILL look forward to the game Santa brings the family to play on Christmas day. A lovely tradition that has only changed a little in that now there is drinking of alcohol and Santa may be getting help from us in picking out the game.

  24. Awesome idea for a show, Wil!
    And I second the question: How is the homebrewing coming along?
    How is your mead doing? Did my Irish Stout recipe work for you?

  25. So clearly what you need for next season is a TV-poker-style hand-display camera, plus expert commentators who can comment out of earshot and speculate on what each of the players is thinking as they play their hands:
    “Wil has drawn eight gold on turn 5. What do you do here, Stephen?”
    “Good question, Dave. Normally, I say if you have eight gold, you buy a Province, no question. But that would make his deck more than 25% victory points at this point in the game.”

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