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. Which is why you NEED to do The Resistance (which is Werewolf done right) and Skulls and Roses. They are both games where all the strategizing takes place verbally instead of internally, play very quickly with only a few rules and will be great fun to watch celebs playing because they really bring out the evil in people without being mean.
    Of course, I haven’t seen what you done so far, so maybe you’ve already got them. I also totally agree that Betrayal at House on the Hill and Pandemic should be in there, and if you want a coop game that some younger players will enjoy, try Shadows Over Camelot.
    Great idea. Well done all around!

  2. Well I would be willing to watch a full game play out. It’ll be interesting to see how other people play this game.
    Looks like my other idea “A Touch of Evil” will run long too though.
    So my third choice is would you guys play Tanto Cuore?

  3. Double-W…thanks for your efforts to bring the boardgame hobby into the mainstream, and to showcase the fantastic social element of gaming. I’m sure plenty of viewers will simply be amazed that the world of boardgaming is much, much more than Monopoly, Life, or Battleship.
    If you should ever need consultants for additional titles, you should utilize the local resources that are the numerous game collectors in the L.A. area. You can reach many of them through boardgamegeek.com, as well as the local game conventions that you’ve attended in the past.
    Good luck with Tabletop. It looks like it will be very entertaining.

  4. Might I suggest an episode featuring “I’m the Boss!” ?
    http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/115/im-the-boss
    The purest negotiation type game, each round has a pot of money that certain players must negotiate how to split. If one of these players is not okay with how the money is split, then no one gets it.
    Wil might think he’s in a deal for $5 million, then Scott Kurtz lays down one card and says “I’ll do what Wil does, but I’ll only take $4 million. Forget about Wil, he’s a famous actor and already has enough money. Make the deal with me!”
    Then Wil swears Oath of Enmity against Scott, plays an I’m the Boss card, and kills the deal. Because if Wil doesn’t get money, no one gets money.
    EDIT: You could even buy the Spanish version and get a half hour of footage of Felicia yelling “YO SOY EL JEFE!”

  5. Hello Wheaton,
    I hate boardgames and people, so I’m really looking forward to this.
    I assume since this is about boardgames, Fiasco or Hollowpoint are off the table? I’d be tickled to see you guys play an RPG.
    Also, Cards Against Humanity would be a splendiferously good time… with much bleeping. So much bleeping.
    Junta: Viva El Presidente is awesome with sombreros and big mustaches. It comes with sunglasses, but you can’t see the table.
    Nevertheless, this is a terrible idea worth exploring.
    I’ll be watching you Wheaton.
    Granny Out

  6. What a great premise!
    I know the idea is to showcase games that people then go and get, but how about an episode of some of those great games that have died and gone to table top heaven?
    Steve Jackson Games — some of the ‘classics’ like Hacker or Illuminati! or Ogre… Car Wars! Ah, sweet nostalgia.
    Credo — nothing like rewriting the Nicene Creed in the context of a card game! Full of win, sir!
    Creatures & Cultists — it’s fuggly fun!

  7. Not gonna lie, when I saw the show I did a little happy geek dance. In my cubicle. At work. Which was hard to explain since I was on the clock and *technically speaking* youtube is banned. Since then not only have I told everyone who would listen (and some people who wouldn’t) but I made my husband watch the trailer 72 times.
    So excited for the show to start.

  8. I regularly run demos of Steve Jackson Games (Munchkin, Frag, etc) at conventions – and I am really looking forward to watching TableTop. It’s great that you want to show the interwebs just how much fun it can be to unplug for a while and just play games.
    Wil, if you are able to attend PAX East this year, stop by the board gaming area. I will personally give you my copy of Munchkin Axecop, if you don’t have it already.

  9. Look forward to the show, Hey I am now using Kickstarter as my way of finding out about all the new cool games. I know a bunch of game designers and if they like it I usually try it. Start with Keeno SW writer Mike Stackpole he can steer you wrong.

  10. Really looking forward to the show! My wife and I have been gaming for a while now, but we just played our first game of Talisman last night. Here’s hoping we see some Talisman on Tabletop!

  11. Wil, we’re excited about the new Geek & Sundry launch and especially pumped about TableTop! Hopefully you won’t mind our sharing the latest episodes, when they hit, with our audience.
    I’m sure you have plenty on your plate but we’d love to put together an interview at some point to chat about TableTop, gaming, podcasting, or pretty much anything Wil Wheaton! Not sure what con appearances you have on the horizon (we have our press access for Phoenix CC, C2E2, GenCon, Origins, and should be hitting San Diego CC as well) and we’re always up for interviews by phone or through Skype at our guest’s convenience.
    Feel free to check us out at http://www.thegaminggang.com and contact me if you’d be interested in sharing your thoughts with our visitors. BTW… I hate looking all spammy by putting a link in the comments but I understand it’s the best way to contact you.
    Can’t wait for the new show and we’re behind you 110%!
    ~Jeff

  12. aside from dominion and 7 wonders, what about shadows over camelot? i feel like that could be a quick game. also…how about some mahjong? averages to what…about 15 minutes a game? choose your style & rules. just a chance to show the ‘merrrricans that mahjong is not just a computer tile game.

  13. Filled with win, for sure!
    This sets up the commentary episodes as well. With the poker shows sometimes they do a show just with the players playing, then they do a follow-up episode where the players explain what they were thinking as you watch the episode again – like a DVD “director/actor’s commentary.”
    Like so:
    Sean: “See, in a normal game I probably wouldn’t have made that trade, but Wil was driving me crazy, so…”
    or
    Beth: “I wanted to say something about cha0s, but I couldn’t remember the character’s name, so I gave Wil the evil eye instead!”
    Be great to see both!

  14. I really like Elder Sign.
    From what I could tell from the snippets of games played in the TableTop trailer, it looks like you were going for games that have lots of what me groups like to call stand up moments. They are those points in games when everyone gets on the edge of their seat when everything is on the line. When you lose… rage face, but when you win, you leap into the air with a mighty yawp! Elder Sign fits that for me, as does Pandemic, as does Small World, well, you get the idea…

  15. Seconded (or thirded, or… whatever).
    I think this show is going to Donald Trump Y-UGE! Thanks for helping to expand the hobby, Wil.
    You are doing the Internet proud.
    *tear*

  16. Yay, Sean!
    And I concur. This is a big thing for those of us that love these games.
    Mixing world series of poker stylings with Dinner for five. Brilliant!
    Can’t wait.

  17. I see what you did there, Wil.
    The first tast is free. Amiright?
    Annndddd, its a great way to spread the word and get more guests. Just think, those celebs are going to go home and play those games with friends and colleagues who in turn are going to ask where they came from. To which the reply will be, “Oh, I got this game for playing on Wil Wheaton’s show about board gaming.”
    Evil Wil Wheaton just sits back and waits for the calls to start coming in.
    Clever, my boy.

  18. Fiasco’s in there. At one point they are rolling black and white dice and there seem to be a number of index cards. Tale tale signs of Fiasco afoot.

  19. Some game suggestions for you, Wil.
    Cosmic Encounters: I can just imagine the rage faces.
    Wits and Wagers: This game goes over well with everyone… and it’s got betting!
    The Resistance: I would KILL to see a bunch of your funny friends going all paranoid psycho on each other over this one.
    Battlestar Galactica: SAME!

  20. Absolutely can’t wait to watch these. Brilliant!
    Any chance you’d be able to give us working down in the Gaming area at Emerald City Comicon a sneak peak at the first episode? It’d only be a day early :)
    Or, better yet, if your schedule allows it, come down to the Gaming area after the ECCC Show Floor closes (the Gaming area will be open until midnight on Friday and Saturday), and recreate the show live!
    We’ll have a good amount of freeplay space, and I’m lugging scores of games to the show for our lending library. Just look for our game checkout room on the bottom floor, run by us friendly Enforcers masquerading as Minions.

  21. I’ve already told Felicia that you stole my idea, so now it’s your turn. You stole my idea.
    Not that I care at all because I’m super excited about Tabletop. I’m part of a gaming group that gets together twice a month to play through my friend’s several hundred games that he has. (He’s what you might call “active” on BoardGameGeek.com) I can’t wait to see the show.
    And I’ll throw a suggestion out too. It’s long but I’d love to see a good game of Battlestar Gallactica. Maybe you can talk Tricia Helfer and Katee Sackhoff to join. :-)

  22. I am so excited for this show to start, I have it on my calendar. One game that my friends and I play a LOT of is called Cards Against Humanity http://cardsagainsthumanity.com/
    Its alot of fun, kind of dirty. But a general blast. I think that an ideal show (Like I would pay $ for the dvd) would be Paul and Storm involved in playing Cards Against Humanity… Hilarity!

  23. So amazingly cool, so much so that I will personally be plugging this show like there is no tomorrow! Being a long-time tabletop geek myself (but having no real friends to play it with), I am absolutely THRILLED that there’s a tabletop gaming show, in the year 2012. That makes me very happy, I’ll have you know.

  24. Betrayal at House on the Hill is a great game. You start off work as a team, then one of you becomes the traitor. The game almost becomes role playing at this point.
    “How dare you attack my pets?! you will PAY for such insolence.”
    Really a great game, I give it +1 to seeing it played.

  25. Dear Mr Wheaton,
    I am very excited to see your new YouTube thing and the whole YouTube channel thing in general looks to be one of the most promising internet things on the internet and is in the very center of my venn diagram of internet things / awesome things / awesome people things. But, my reason for this comment/never ending sentence is two fold.
    On the 10th of February I got very excited after being replied via twitter by one of my other geek heroes and in the rush of adrenaline tweeted the following :
    “@wilw I just got a reply from @othergeekhero (who I’ll not name because I don’t want this to look self promotional in any way). He’s making you look like a total dick by comparison”
    This was meant to be an ironic breach of Wheatons law and was intended in no way to be taken seriously by you or anybody else. But I realise it was ironically a total fail of irony. In fact @othergeekhero even pointed out how much of a failure it was by replying again to it with a very justified “Not cool.” I said I had obviously gotten carried away by the moment and a little embarrassed I left it at that.
    Mr.Wheaton, I realise you have thousands of geeks vying for your internettenion and honestly didn’t even think you would ever see my comment -let alone be offended by it in any way. However, I think you maybe you did see it and maybe it did offend (or at least annoy) you as I have noticed my twitter feed is @wilw-less. I presume my flaunting of Wheatons law has resulted in my account being blocked seeing as my attempts to re-follow you have been fruitless. This is understandable, you don’t have time to investigate random internet strangers to see if their dickish comments could be a failed attempt at humour or intentional dickishness.
    I’d just like to apologise and let you know that one of those people who call you a dick online really don’t think you’re a dick at all. In fact they are pretty certain you’re totally awesome.
    TL:DR I am apologicically dickish.

  26. I don’t have any Photoshop foo, but what if you put that table in the “Dogs Playing Poker” picture? And then gave the big dog a “Sparks McGee” hat? And put the picture in the background of the BBT set?
    (Did I hit enough memes?)

  27. I’m very excited about this! I want to get into board gaming, maybe with my daughter (9).
    Question: are the shows safe for kids, or is there cussing and such? Can I watch them with her?

  28. Hey Wil,
    Awesome idea. We’re big fans of Grant (and his MB cohorts) at our house, so that’ll be a double treat.
    If you like space themed war games, check out StelCon: Infinity for next season. We’re just entering the last week of our Kickstarter campaign, so we’ll definitely be retail by then.
    Really looking forward to the show!

  29. I’m wondering about this comment. What would it take for there to be a next season? Is it subscriptions or just viewings, or something else?
    I’m very eager to see this show. My friends and I get together (not nearly often enough) to play Munchkin, Talisman, or whatever we happen to have nearby. Will love to see some other games actually played!

  30. I had a dream last night that I was on this show with Wil Wheaton as Sparks McGee and President Obama who was in a mech suit that was rolling perfect 20s all night. I finally accused him of cheating and pulled a gun on him, Sparks McGee had a pimp cane and was about to smack me with it, and a secret service agent got confused and had it pointed Sparks, in this trippy Mexican Standoff with Obama laughing his butt off. Then it got weird. Coz in the background, Romney was on the television giving a speech in which he managed to not put his foot in mouth. THAT’S when I knew it was just a dream. True Story.

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