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. Cant wait to see it, even tho I dont play such games (locales,commutes, schedules etc it just never works out). Since this isnt a review show perse did you have to gain permissions from the publishers/creators of the games?

  2. It was so the camera crew knew where certain players were active. That board is REALLY confusing if you don't play the game, and we needed to give them markers.
    I explain it to the audience in the show, so it isn't confusing to the viewers.

  3. We did, yeah. We also got some of the companies to give us copies of the games for our players to take home, which as it turned out was a great thing, because EVERYONE who played on the show wanted to go home and immediately play again.

  4. Thanks – and I’ll make a hearty recommendation for Discworld: Ankh Morpork in season two. Plays in about 45 minutes and is a FUN game even if you haven’t read any of the Discworld books.

  5. Nicely done, and so that Sasha does not get set on fire I and my wife and whoever else I can get will watch the show. :) This is a great idea, well put together. I am looking forward to the shows and seeing the games, I need some good board games in the house.

  6. 1. The Roman Candle comment had me in tears laughing. Too much?
    2. How does one end up working for a show like Tabletop?
    3. Never play Risk. It is the friendship ruiner.

  7. Then, you should certainly play “Star Trek: The Deck Building Game”. Not only is it more fun than all of those you’ve mentioned, but also you get to play a card with a picture of yourself. Few of us can say that!

  8. Really looking forward to that!
    You mention Geek & Sundry is a “premium” channel, is that premium in the super duper awesome sense or is there actually a fee involved (not aware of youtube doing that)?

  9. SUPER EXCITED! Totally awesome idea AND totally great to promote the amazing fun times that table tops game provide!
    I’m also really excited to see some games in action that I haven’t had a chance to play yet and have been too broke-student to be able to afford without knowing if they’re awesome or not. :D

  10. THIS++
    I have been very disappointed when going to by games for my kids and discovering they have MESSED with many classic games in lame attempts to make them flashier and make sounds etc… in many cases they have dumbed them down to the point they are not nearly as much fun as the originals as well.
    So, this is a very good idea for some episodes.

  11. This is a great idea! I’ve always thought that werewolf would make an awesome television show if it had real actors. Did you consider doing mafia/werewolf? Space Hulk would be great too. Playing it is practically like watching an action movie.
    Also, I would love to see you guys do Wits & Wagers Party. It will be released in August and we’d be happy to send you as many free pre-release copies as you want. We’ll even throw in a couple cases of Say Anything and boxes Lego. :-)

  12. Wil, Mary Couzin runs ChiTAG, the Chicago Toy and Game Fair. If you are really trying to promote boardgames and tabletop gaming in general you should try to talk with her. She promotes games as a great -family- activity…. which can really expand it’s reach beyond geek dens (getting the whole family involved). I’m in the game business, but unaffiliated with Mary and ChiTAG. Just a suggestion.

  13. …already subscribed to Geek and Sundry, but I made sure to shout about Tabletop as well.
    If this takes off, I would love to follow along with an entire season of Risk: Legacy. The play session length is about right, so it is really just the continuity from game-to-game that seems to make it challenging.
    Red Dragon Inn seems like a perfect one to get a group together for, too.
    The Resistance seems like it would make for great watching, play length should be pretty ideal as well.
    It is too easy to think of games in my massive gothic chest-o-games. Maybe I should just take a picture and link it or something.

  14. Celebrity Poker + Dinner For Five is exactly what I thought when I saw the trailer. I don’t even play table top games anymore (barring one game afternoon we spent with another couple last month), and I’m super excited about this show.

  15. Buh! Dixit! YAYYYYY!
    I’m still new to board games. I’m the one at board game night saying “Um, I know how to play Uno…and Scrabble?” and I love that this show is going to exist because it looks like, in addition to just being fun to watch, I’ll be able to learn more about games before I have/get to sit down and play them. My friends are awesome and heroically patient but they never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever EVER just let me watch them play through something–they always make me play too and while I know this is a good thing, I worry a lot that my “wait, what does this card do?” brings down their level of fun. It has to be annoying to have to stop every round and explain things over and over (I have a slow and odd learning mechanism). Now I can watch this and then at board game night say “Hey, let’s play that one they just played on Tabletop!”
    Thanks, man!

  16. This sounds awesome. Toronto has a really fun (busy, boisterous, social) board game cafe (Snakes and Lattes) and I’ve only been a half dozen times, so I never know what I should try playing. Now I’ll know lots of games!

  17. This sounds great! If this really takes off, and people seem to enjoy it, you should take a day and live-stream a game of Diplomacy… Only because it’s an amazing game, and that’s probably the only way you could show it off to the world.

  18. Forwarded to husband to put on watch together playlist:) Sounds awesome!
    Carcassone and The Stone Age are amazing fun, I want to say they are by the same company that does Settlers.
    Also, Fluxx! It’s a card game so not sure how it would translate, but hilarious- especially if you connect it to a drinking game

  19. Hey Wil! Thanks a lot! This is an awesome contribution to the gaming community. Last Saturday we held the first tabletop game, miniatures and RPG convention in MedellĂ­n, Colombia. We called it NutaCON. You (and Felicia of course) are more than invited for next year’s edition, you can find more info ’bout us on http://www.nutacon.com.co as well as pics of the event at http://www.facebook.com/groups/nutacon. I strongly suggest you to play Space Dealer for the show, it fits just perfectly since well… it lasts exactly 30 minutes!

  20. My husband and I taught our son when he was 6 how to play SmallWorld. He picks his guys by how cool they look (and with a little couching) has preceded to kick out butts several times. I love games that aren’t too heavy on reading or math, we use them for family time with him. He’s in 1st Grade and for game day he brought in Zombie Dice to school (only because we wouldn’t let him bring Kill Doctor Lucky). Gaming is really good for family time :-)

  21. I just wanted to chime in and say thank you for doing this. My wife and I host weekly game nights for our friends, and we use these game nights as a form of socialization so that we can involve our kids as well.
    We’re huge fans of both gaming and of you as well, so it would be an understatement to say that we are massively excited to see your show. We love the fact that one of your goals is to show how much fun gaming can be with friends and family.
    So, thanks, and I hope to see you get to play some of our other favorites such as Shadows Over Camelot, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Cosmic Encounter, RoboRally, and Ticket to Ride!

  22. I realized you’ve already taped shows, but.. maybe in the future, you could get your guests to sign their own Apples to Apples noun cards. Maybe tack them up on the wall, or auction them off for charity at the end of each season?
    Great, wonderful, smashing idea btw – can’t wait to watch it!

  23. Wil,
    This show looks like so much fun to watch, as did the other Geek & Sundry shows. I watched the trailer thinking: finally, tv for someone like me.
    I wish so much I could find other people to play games with. Will there be a social networking component to your show, like BoingBoing did last year, where they held a Meet-Up and invited their blog followers to get together in different cities? I could see that happening with this show.
    I’ve loved how you’ve emphasized the social benefits of gaming over the years. It’s changed my attitude towards games completely around. Thanks!!!

  24. Table Top will be my top pick for watching of the Geek & Sundry offerings. Hope to get some insight as to what all these games are I’ve been reading about you all having fun with – especially looking forward to Munchkin!
    Really enjoyed the Geek & Sundry trailers. By far the BEST promotion of one of the new YouTube channels. I have subsribed to several but all the others have left me vaguely confused as to what “programming” they will actually be doing. I was so impressed I even tweeted my own endorsement to my followers – woo hoo all 49 of them!

  25. Subscribed! Now to find time to watch it. And also to play games. Someone seriously needs to put more hours in the day. Or make it so humans don’t need sleep anymore or something. I don’t care, I just need more time!

  26. Hi Wil, this show looks awesome, and some really good choices of games.
    If you get to do another season, I’d love to have someone bring over a pinball machine and a top-down camera to film the action.
    (See papa.org/blog for some examples of what top-down pinball competition looks like.)
    I guess it’s only sort-of a “tabletop” game but they do call ‘em “pinball tables”.
    Thanks for making weird stuff cool.

  27. Oh man! This show would be awesome if you were to play Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre. It’s a perfectly silly game that requires people to act funny and overplay everything. That wouls be cool on camera.

  28. Dear Wil Wheaton: You are now officially the coolest person in the universe. If you ever come to NJ, you can always game with us; we play all these & more. Might I suggest Ultimate Werewolf for your show (if you haven’t done it yet; I just saw this and need to check out the episodes.)

  29. Wil, This is awesome- I really think that games are the tools needed to change the world. No not to make Hollywood realize there is a gender and ethnic bias, in what roles are made and who their target demographic is. Rather games help in removing socially awkward from the stereotyping of intelligent people. I think evidence points that when select people do not understand something they tend to make urban rumors that taint the water of people wanting to turn to the geek side. Thanks again for spreading the love.

  30. Terrific idea. Suggestion and comment:
    Suggestion: Illuminati. A very witty game, which can reach a real pitch of frenzied paranoia that could be *quite* entertaining to watch if the right people are involved.
    Comment: I’m really not part of gaming culture myself, but this show reminds me of what I conclude whenever I wander into a comics or hobby shop with a gaming area and a game in progress: that anyone paying any attention at all to these people and what they’re doing has to realize that the one thing gamers *aren’t* is “antisocial.” This show could really help destroy that ridiculous stereotype. Again — great concept for a show.

  31. Wil, the idea of this show and the others on the network have me excited, but are there any plans or talk of possibly doing some kind of RPG based content or show?
    I would love to see something along the lines of celebrity/nerd culture guests paired up with unknown GMs to run one shot games or talk about systems that are not in the D&D dominated norm.
    Just an idea.

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