Announcing Tabletop Season Two!

Finally! I can announce that Season Two of Tabletop will premiere on April fourth! I’ve wanted to talk about this for months, but I couldn’t, because of reasons.

But now we can talk about it, so…

We have some amazing guests this season, including Jeri Ryan, Seth Green, Bobak Ferdowsi, Ashley Clements, Patrick Rothfuss, and my son, Ryan Wheaton.

We have some amazing games this season, including Smash Up, Star Trek Catan, Shadows Over Camelot, Lords of Waterdeep, and The Resistance!

Back in January, I wrote a post called Thinking About Tabletop. It turns out that everything I want to say today, I already said then. So, take it away, me from a few months ago:

About a year ago, I finished shooting the first season of my show Tabletop, and had a few weeks off before we began editing the games we played into hopefully entertaining television.

I don’t remember what I did during those weeks — probably slept a whole lot — but when we got into editing, I clearly remember how terrified I was that the show wouldn’t work. The first cut of the first episode was (following my direction) too long, tough to follow, and just not as interesting as I wanted it to be. Luckily, Felicia Day was in the edit bay with me, and she knew exactly how to fix it. She gave notes and advice to the editor (who was amazing), and when we came back two days later to watch the second cut, it was an entirely different show. It was funny, it was entertaining, it captured how much fun it was to play the game. It was what I had always hoped Tabletop would be.

For the next few weeks, we cut the entire season, three episodes at a time, with three amazing and talented editors. By the time we got to the end of everything, we almost knew what we were doing!

As we got closer and closer to the premiere, I kept looking for the familiar nervous anxiety about how people would react, but it wasn’t ever there. I believed in the show in a way I’d never really been able to believe in myself, and I just wanted to share it with the world.

Tabletop’s premiere was a huge success that exceeded my wildest dreams. I think we got close to half a million views almost immediately, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. My friend John Rogers says that you should expect comments to be weighted 3:1 in favor of people hating on a thing, because someone who loves a thing goes “I loved that! I guess I’ll go back to my life now!” instead of going “I loved that! NOW I WILL ENGAGE ALL CAPS TO TELL THE PERSON WHO MADE IT HOW MUCH I LOVED IT.” Even with that adjustment, we were at like 10:1 positives to negatives.

As the season unfolded, I began to hear from game shop owners. When we played a game on Tabletop, it sold out. I heard from designers that when we played their games, they sold thousands and thousands of them. I heard from a distributor that one of the games we played sold out and had to go into a new printing — they thought 30,000 copies of the game would be enough, and they were wrong.

But the most amazing thing, that I didn’t even expect or think about even a little bit, were the personal stories from people who had been inspired to start up their own game nights with their friends and families because of Tabletop. One father told me that his tween kids spent every evening in front of their own computers or televisions, and after dinner he pretty much didn’t see his family until breakfast. But after watching Tabletop together, the kids were inspired to start a family game night. Tabletop, he told me, literally brought his family closer together.

There are dozens of parents of special needs children who have emailed me or talked to me at conventions, thanking me for giving them something that helps their children.

I even heard from a guy who felt like his marriage was drifting apart until he watched Tabletop with his wife and they started playing games together.

My ulterior motive with this show has always been to make more gamers by showing how much fun it is to play games, and I’m pretty confident that I can declare that effort an unqualified success.

Tabletop means more to me than I ever thought it would, and the community that has grown around it makes me incredibly proud, but I didn’t do Tabletop alone. We had an incredible crew who could film people playing games in a visually interesting way. We had an incredible director who kept us together and focused on what was important. We had friends who came to play with me just because I asked, and game publishers who took a chance on our show without knowing exactly what it would end up being. I had an incredible creative partner in Felicia Day. I had a tremendously talented team of producers who pulled together an equally talented team of editors, who are the true unsung heroes of this entire effort.

And then there’s the community, which is as much a part of the success of Tabletop as anything. Whether you’re posting in the Geek and Sundry forums, sharing your stories and pictures on the Seen on Tabletop Tumblr I made, talking about games we played at Board Game Geek, or actually playing games with people who are important to you, you’re part of something wonderful.

And speaking of wonderful things, we’re working really hard to make International Tabletop Day the best celebration possible of the tabletop gaming culture we love. At the moment, there are 2,250 events in 55 countries, and more people are joining and adding their own every day. I want to point out that a few hundred events would be considered an epic success by any measurement, and a thousand events was something we never dreamed would happen — in a year or two, sure, but right away? No way. The point is, you, the Tabletop audience, my fellow gamers, my fellow geekdads and gamerdads and geekmoms and gamermoms … your enthusiasm and joy of gaming has built a truly global community. We are all part of something amazing, now, and I hope you feel as good about it as I do.

I really excited for you to see Season Two, and I hope we live up to your expectations.

Trust me when I say that this wouldn’t have happened without you … so thank you for watching, and until next time, play more games.

117 thoughts on “Announcing Tabletop Season Two!”

  1. I’m looking forward to Season 2 as well. I know it’ll be enjoyable.

    *quietly reserved demeanor, all the while mind is running around going SQUEE and doing the Kermit flail*

    1. Thank you so much for Tabletop. It helped me change a bit from a die hard video gamer to a die hard boardgamer as well. It has done nothing but improve my life and relationships with my friends and family. My wife would like to thank you as well she was always disappointed that I didn’t play that many games now she loves how much I want to play.

    2. It is wonderful that you are still in touch with the amazing STNG part of your life! I suppose I am somewhat of a closet fan… I’m 42 but watched the original series as it released and I have recently rediscovered the full series on Hulu so in true fan form… I watch it every night in chrono order of course (just finished season 2, when you wanted to stay on the Enterprise). I feel so good while I am watching- like getting together with old friends… the time has passed, but the connection is just like yesterday. I am thrilled that you have taken the high road and realized that true fans admired your character and loved you just as much as in Stand By Me! Keep pressing on and thanks for sharing your blog… I think I want some homemade coffee… Just the way I like it;-)

  2. Congrats! If you are still filming and getting guests I would like to recommend this guy by the name of Nathan Fillion and also Joss Whedon. I doubt very much they have anything else on the go, I would also recommend Jewel Staite, those two guys should know how to contact her. Thanks. :)

  3. AHHH YES!!! I’m so happy to hear that Tabletop will be returning. I’ve been so missing my every 2nd Thursday evening with Wil and the gang.

    BTW, if Jeri Ryan is joining for an evening of games, may I suggest “Lingerie Pillow Fight”, it would be a great game to play with her :) (Sorry, my fantasies have spilled over into real life again, haven’t they…)

  4. So AWESOME!!! Now I can’t wait until April 4th. My daughter (7yrs. old) LOVES Ticket to Ride. I got it because of your show, and evey time we play it, at the end of the game she goes “I’m gonna pull an Anne Wheaton!” Acts like she’s going to hit the table, then she starts to crack herself up & wants to play another game. Makes me laugh everytime.
    Thank you so much for this show! And YEAAA for season 2!!! WHOOOHOO :)

  5. We just played Small World on Saturday night, with my 7-year-old asking me to play Say Anything! multiple times. My 13-year-old LOVES Gloom. I’m always sure to let my FLGS know that “Wil Wheaton made me buy this!”

  6. Wil, I am ALL CAPS EXCITED about a second season of Table Top. You always say, that we most people are more likely to rant about things they hate and quickly go by things they love. So let me take the time to tell you: You are awesome! I love your acting jobs a lot, but I feel like this show is kind of your legacy. No matter what Sir Bald-guy will do, he’ll always be Captain Picard – but you will always be the one who brought back ‘analog gaming’. Thank you for that. And on a side note: Star Trek Catan with Jeri Ryan? PLEASE tell me, there were Borg jokes involved…

    (P.S.: If it would be somehow possible to get Terry Farrell on the show, I’d give my right leg for this. I know, she doesn’t do much at the moment, because of her family, and of course I respect that. But maybe you understand my heart’s desire, if I say: Jadzia Dax was my Diana Troi ;) Except I didn’t work with her, that is…)

  7. Wil, I heard that you may be having Matt Sloan, Aaron Yonda and some of the guys at Beer & Board Games as guests in Season 2 and that you may in turn be appearing on their show. Can you talk about that at all?

      1. This is mostly unrelated, but I just have to say that I envy your ability to keep your secrets. I’m sure it helps being the poker guy you are, but I don’t think I could keep quiet about all the awesome things you can’t say anything about until the reasons are ready.

  8. Excellent news! One of, if not, the best series on YouTube. My wife and I always look forward to when an episode is released so we can learn about a new game. Unfortunately, where we are in Korea, it’s difficult to get many of them, but that doesn’t stop us from putting them on our list to pick up when we can.

    Congratulations on season two.

    1. If you’re in the Gwangju area, we participate in a semi regular “foreigner” gaming group, and host a monthly grad school science geek gaming club on GIST campus. Info can be found on mygaminggroup.com. We use games from Table Top, and encourage our students to watch the vids before our events. Because our grad students are not native speakers, we have had to cut out a few games, but we order them from companies online, and have them sent from the States.

  9. Ahh.. my month is pretty much taken care of there.. What a relief.

    Good Felicia Day story in there too. Felicia Day is “Force Multiplier” @WilWheaton

  10. Sweet! This past weekend there was about 15 of us staying in a cabin on Lake Huron – all friends so good times were had. We pulled out “Say Anything” late Saturday night and played a couple rounds. I am not sure photos (if drunk us remembered to take any) would be appropriate because at least one of the 8 answers to literally every single question was “anal.” So…. that happened. : )

    So glad for season two!

  11. Oh thank the gods! I didn’t realize Season 1 was over when it was…and waited anxiously on that Thursday…waiting…waiting…what would the next game be? And it was….NOTHING! So I rewatched. And rewatched. And stayed up late at night, playing Elder Signs and Ticket to Ride on my iPhone while listening to Settlers of Catan. (….beer was involved in many of these rewatchings, I’ll admit).

    But even better…the five and six man game nights at my friends’ houses now. The getting legitimately upset that someone can’t make it to a Game of Thrones: The Board Game game night. Having my jock friend send me a text with the picture of Dungeon Lords saying, “You in?”

    Huzzah!

  12. Looking forward to this next season and hoping it will be one of many seasons to come.

    On a side note, please make a shoot off of Table Top in which you play role playing games. I enjoyed the dragon age episode immensely and found videos of you playing D&D at PAX. Those sessions were great to watch and I found myself wishing there was more. After watching other recorded D&D sessions I realized it wasn’t just the game that was fun to watch but the way you and your friends interacted with each other.

    Keep up the good work.

  13. Dammit, Wil Wheaton … you put stuff in my eyes!!! Now I’m having trouble seeing … and thinking …

    Congratulations on SEASON TWO of TABLETOP!!! That is beyond way cool!!

    I remember as a kid, Dad would frequently make us sit down and play games. Then I would see him playing other games with his friends, and make him teach me how to play. I’m not sure he believed that 10yr old me could actually understand Risk, but I really liked it. At 14, he introduced me to D&D. I think he finally understood when I told him about the gaming group I joined in college; one of the locals developed his own game (Darkus Thel), and I *loved* it. My fav of all RPGs.

    So I guess what I’m saying is this: your efforts – especially Tabletop – has inspired people of all ages to start/re-start playing games, and connecting/re-connecting with others. Thanks for all you, Wil. :)

  14. I have an illness that is quite unpredictable and often leaves me couch-bound. I also have a four year old who doesn’t appreciate it when we have to stay home because I’m not well. It’s boring, and I don’t blame her. Already being a board gamer, it didn’t occur to me that she was old enough to join in, until I started watching Tabletop and realised Tsuro would be perfect for her. Over Christmas last year we also bought Catan Jr. and Sleeping Queens, and now often when I’m on the couch she’ll bring over a table and start setting up a game. I might not be the mum who can take her to the park or out on her bike when she wants to go, but we’ll have memories all the same. I can’t wait until she’s old enough for the rest of the games in my cupboard.

    1. She might already be. These kids do grow up fast these days ;-)

      In all seriousness, you can probably take a much more complicated game and strip it out to make something else. I’ve heard of one family playing Ticket To Ride but only trying to make the longest train with their youngest. Maybe something similar will work as well.

  15. I started watching Tabletop a bit before Christmas, and it made me want to play boardgames.
    When I went back to my parents’ house for the break, I suggested that we could buy a couple games and play together. Now, you have to know that my relationship with my parents has never really been great. It’s only recently that it got better, and I believe that playing some boardgames with them helped reinforce that. For once, we didn’t spend every evening with me on the computer and them watching tv. For once, every once in a while, we spent an evening together, having fun. We spent New Year’s Eve together playing games when I usually would try and go anywhere to escape the family reunion.
    If someone’d told me that a year ago, I would not have believed them. So yeah, thanks, Wil.

    On the 30th, I’ll be going to a pub and playing boardgames with complete strangers, from a group I found via the Tabletop Day website. It’s exciting.
    I can’t wait for season 2!

  16. You don’t know how much this made my crappy day so much better!
    So 2 great things in the coming months: Game of Thrones and TABLETOP! Yeahoooo!!!!

  17. Congrats on Season 2! We’re very excited about it! (Mostly of course since it gives us -awesome- fodder for getting the kids around the table for a family activity without any whining or complaining. ;) )

    We’ve always been geeky around here, but the “classic” board games just gathered dust in our game closet and our dice rolling ways were always met with a lack-luster response. Thank you so much for exposing us to amazing games like Munchkin and Ticket to Ride. Since we bought them, we’ve had so much fun that our three kids insisted on teaching my own parents how to play as well and now our oldest daughter who hits the big 13 tomorrow has been asking for her own D&D Players Handbook so she can actually join in full time.

    Gateway games indeed…thanks for being our ‘dealer’, Wil. It’s most appreciated and, to pay it forward, we’ll be sucking other families into this way of life on Saturday. Muahahahah.

  18. Congratulations on your second season. TableTop has been great and exposed a lot of people to how fun gaming can be when you step away from the electronics. The tabletop area at PAX was twice what it was last year, and I’m pretty sure it has a lot to do with you. I’m sure your Season 2 games are all picked out, but I would love to see a demo on Mice and Mystics. The demo booth was full constantly at PAX and all of the copies sold out before I left.

  19. Thanks to you, Wil, I had the stellar opportunity to explain to my parents the meaning of the word “Queef”.

    After you mentioned Cards Against Humanity on one of your tumblr posts, I had to go out and order it – because it is crude, rude and socially unacceptable (just like me). My husband and I went to visit my parents over Christmas this year and took the game with us. It started out with just us and my brother, but within an hour, we were laughing (and crying) so hard that my parents insisted on getting in on the game.

    There is just something about my conservative, 67-year-old mother triumphantly taking credit for playing the “Pac Man Uncontrollably Guzzling Cum” card that makes it all worthwhile.

    Thanks to you and to Tabletop, my family has had a fantastic opportunity to rediscover the joy of playing games together that involve something more than just a deck of playing cards. I love it, and I’m going to celebrate Tabletop Day this Saturday, which also happens to be my birthday… so thanks for the awesome birthday present, and looking forward to Season 2!

  20. Will,

    Congratulations on Table Top getting the second season! I hope your show will stay with us for many years. I for one can’t wait to see new episodes.

    Also I would like to thank you for introducing me, by Table Top, to Dragon Age RPG. I love this game and I’m going to play it with my friends this saturday to celebrate International Tabletop Day. I hope you will show more role playing games in season 2.

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