Beginning production on Tabletop Season 2.5

Last year, we shot the entire season of Tabletop in 10 straight days. I think we maybe took two days off in there somewhere, but my memory is a haze of rolling dice (badly), having all kinds of fun with awesome people, and losing games. Oh, the losing games.

This season, we had to split production into two different weeks, and in three hours, we’ll start production on the back half of season two. To prepare, I’ve spent tons of time in the last month or so playing the games we’re featuring, so I not only know them well enough to guide players who are new to them, but maybe have a chance at just winning one fucking game on my show. Just one, Gaming Gods, that’s all I’m asking for.  IS THAT SO WRONG?!

Um. Sorry. Lots of coffee at the moment.

So last night I set my alarm for 7am, managed to fall asleep around midnight even though I felt like a little kid on Christmas Eve … and then woke up at 5:45 because I’m so damn excited to get into production. It’s going to hurt my brain around the time we wrap tonight, I’m sure, but the excitement and joy of playing games I love with awesome people is going to keep me going all day, like it does during every day of production.

I’m sure I’ll be posting pictures and maybe a few stupid cell phone videos from the set on Twitter, so if you want to see them, I’m @wilw.

I have this idea, and I need your help to make it happen: I’ve heard amazing stories from thousands of people over the last year about how Tabletop has touched their lives in a positive way. I would love to share some of those stories with my crew, so they know how much the show they’re working on matters to people they don’t even know. If you have one of those stories, would you please post it in a comment here? Every morning, I’ll print one or two out and read them to the crew before we start shooting.


123 thoughts on “Beginning production on Tabletop Season 2.5”

  1. I never expected to be impacted so strongly by Table Top. When I started watching the show it was just a guilty pleasure along with my other internet shows. On a whim, I decided to share Table Top with my cousin and she loved it so much we now have weekly, two player game nights. About a month into last season (after spending quite a bit of money on games), we decided we needed to share our love of games with as many people as possible. Being a summer camp director I knew we had the perfect outlet!

    Our summer camp is broken into two programs; the youth camp and the teen program. Every year our teens compete against each other for honor, glory, and a small reward in a friendly competition. Four teams compete against each other throughout the week playing games that demonstrate both the physical and mental abilities of our teens. What better way to test our teen camper’s abilities than to make them trade wood for sheep!

    This year, we will include a “Table Top Night” event to our teen competition. A representative from each team will play against me in a five player game to earn points for their team! The games I selected for game night are Fluxx, Zombie Dice, Settlers of Catan (with expansion pack), and Ticket to Ride. We will also have a tournament style Pictionary game which will include a final round to defeat a team of my most artistic staff members! It won’t be easy, but it will be a lot of fun! Hopefully this will inspire our teens to: PLAY MORE GAMES!

  2. Tabletop did very little to change my life…OK…I lied. On the International Tabletop Day I was pretty much glued to my PC. Then at about 7PM my time, I said ‘hey! I should open a tabletop store.” I was thinking about my days of D&D back in the 80s. I got excited about bringing people together to play a game in person. Pretty much dumped my PC gaming. Talked to a friend. Three days later. We were planning the store and what we wanted to do with.

    So fast forward about 2 months later got a place, gathering stock. Spending lots of money…lol…To sum it up nicely…Tabletop has inspired me to follow the American Dream…the pursuit of happiness while playing games.

    Kudos to you guys.

  3. I haven’t played board games in years, but I recently met up with the Austin Vaginal Fantasy group to play some games at the local comic book shop, and I LOVED Munchkin! Everyone asked why I hadn’t been watching Tabletop, and I told them that it didn’t seem like it would be fun to watch other people (even my favorite nerdy celebrity types) play board games. I went home and watched the Munchkin episode and loved it SO MUCH, that I watched every other episode in record time! Now I’ve bought two of the games and I’ve been recruiting my husband and friends into playing with me…it’s SO much fun! Thanks, WW for reminding me how much fun this was as a kid! “How much fun this was as a kid” is my Michael Jackson cover band. 😉

  4. I first discovered Table Top last year while on the Geek and Sundry Channel watching The Flog. When I started watching it I didn’t really understand what was so interesting about watching people play board games, but after watching a few episodes I was hooked. I watched every episode, all the interviews, bloopers etc. and waited eagerly each week for a new episode to come out.

    This was a show that made me realise why I liked Geek and Sundry so much more than TV. Never on TV would they risk having a game where geeks sat down and played Table Top Games hosted by Wil Wheaton. After watching all the episodes to date I am definitely wanting to get into some more Table Top gaming. Once Upon A Time still has to be my favorite episode, there is something about a group of writers and actors telling stories.

    Thanks Wil and the Geek and Sundry team for the awesome show.

  5. As of next fall, my mom (who’s the librarian at a local school) will be teaching a tabletop gaming elective to her seventh- and eighth-graders. I suggested the idea to her, and have been willingly drafted as her ‘gaming assistant’ for the class. I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t actually watched any of Tabletop yet, but I will certainly be rectifying that over the summer, in the name of research.
    Sadly, given the age group and the educational setting, it’s unlikely that the original formulation of Wheaton’s Law will make it into the curriculum; I suppose “Don’t be a jerk” will have to do as a substitute. :-)

  6. My husband and I like to play games (mostly board games for me, all sorts for him). We don’t play as often as we’d like between busy schedules and two young kids.

    We’ve really enjoyed watching TableTop and seeing what different games are out there. Several ended up on our Christmas list this past year.

    We also introduced my parents to the show, selecting episodes with games we think they’d enjoy. Growing up we frequently had a family game night, but my parents really hadn’t played games much since the kids grew up and moved out.

    All of this comes together at Christmas when my parents gave us Settlers of Catan. And we of course had to play it that evening. Since then, whenever we spend the night at their house we bring a game and play after the kids are in bed. Plus, they joined us and a few friends for International TableTop Day.

    To add yet more to the story, after our visit to my parents in March, my niece was disappointed when she heard we were playing games after she had to go home. One of the games we played on International TableTop Day was Zombie Dice. My mom really liked the simplicity and that any number of players could play. So she made her first trek to her friendly local game store to buy it. (I’ll note that she impressed the folks there when the grey haired 62 year old lady knew what game she wanted and had seen TableTop.)

    Along comes May and Mother’s Day, when my parents host the whole family including my in-laws and my sister’s in-laws. Much to my niece and nephew’s delight, Zombie Dice came out. Three generations played, laughing and having a good time together. Then we ate cupcakes.

  7. I sent this in an email to TableTop and got a wonderful reply from someone named Jackie, but I thought I’d post it here as well.

    I have always loved gaming in some form or another, but my family
    never played board games much. We’re kind of splintered up anyway, you
    know how things happen sometimes. We don’t spend enough time together.
    Anyway, I love Tabletop and have been addicted since the first
    episode. I had to buy Munchkin after watching you guys play it,
    because I thought it would be a great way to kind of slip the really
    geeky games that I like into a board game everyone can enjoy. I got
    Munchkin and had only played a couple of times with friends by the
    time I asked my mom and stepdad to play. I was so excited when they
    agreed. Hubby and I went over and I explained the game as we spread a
    blanket on the floor and set up the board and picked colors. My
    stepdad picked blue. We laughed and made fun of ourselves and each
    other as we gradually built (and destroyed) our munchkins. They really
    liked it, and even though my stepdad said he still didn’t get some
    things, he won the game. He hadn’t played any board game in forever,
    and he won the damn game. It was great. I was starting to get a cold,
    so we called it a night after only one game and agreed to play again

    Six days later, I got a call from my mom. My stepdad, whom I had
    always had a good relationship with (more than with my mom at times),
    had died from heart failure. Playing Munchkin was the last thing I
    would ever get to do with him. It was the last memory we would have.
    If not for that game, I know I would not have gone to visit that day,
    and if not for Tabletop, I never would have bought that game. So I
    wanted to say thank you. Thanks for making the show, thanks for G&S
    bringing so many good things together, and thanks for reading this.
    Playing Munchkin is still bittersweet for me and maybe it always will
    be, but it’s that special, final memory of my stepdad. More than a
    coffin, more than the funeral and the tears, I remember him picking
    the blue munchkin and winning his first game.

    Never stop doing what you are doing. It’s much more than just playing games.

  8. I’ve been a gamer since I was a little kid. My family always had a deck of cards or something lying around for pickup games when there weren’t things to do. Now that I have a family of my own, I’m trying to keep that going. My wife has never liked games. Her family only really ever played monopoly, and who could blame her? A year and a half ago, we had twin sons enter our lives. We already had a 6 year old at that point. Unfortunately, he started feeling like he was being left out a lot. So, I started a new family tradition: family game night. Every Wednesday we play a game (provided he’s not in trouble, of course). Catan, Munchkin, Castle Panic, Small World, Tsuro, and Ticket to Ride (nordic) have all been well used in our house now. My wife, who didn’t like games, now holds the record for being the Master Slayer in Castle Panic the most times and has won more games of Small World than anyone else. I recently was gifted Pandemic as well and love it. I bought Forbidden Island just last week after the episode so that I could play a Pandemic like game with my 7 year old and he loves it!

    All I really want to say, Mr. Wheaton, is that you have helped me bring something I loved from my childhood and share it with my family. I only hope that one day my sons will be just as proud to be geeks/nerds/etc. as I am.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    P.S. My 7 year old beats me regularly at Small World when just he and I play. He’s now making his own board games in his room with Legos and construction paper… I’m eager to see what he comes up with.

  9. We love the show, and have been following since day one. My son is 26, his mom and I are stay at home artists, and for some reason the whole idea of board games clicked with us… We think it has to do with the obvious fun you’re having filming. Alas I have no great stories, but as a transplanted New Yorker living in Canada, with family across the US. When I asked my 19 year old niece what she wanted for Christmas this year, she said, ” Settlers of Catan “. Turns out someone in her dorm had an old copy but was leaving, and her group of friends were already addicted to it. So thanks to, she got a new box, and I got voted best uncle of the year. I hope your shows goes on for years, much continued success to you, your crew and the players…

  10. My sister and I grew up tabletop gaming with our Dutch mother and always loved to play when we could. Last year my Dad and I relocated to Calgary from Ontario so we could live close to my sister who was starting to raise a family. Her husband is also a huge fan of tabletop gaming (he introduced us to Dominion and Puerto Rico), but we were having a hard time finding games to introduce to his six year old daughter Hannah so we could transition her away from Candyland and the likes to more European style games. And we wanted to find games that my father, who has never played tabletop games before and unfortunately didn’t enjoy Catan, would want to play.

    After watching Tabletop, we picked up Zombie Dice. Hannah loved it. Then we picked up Ticket to Ride. It was an even bigger success! My Dad loves it. We were playing it a lot and Hannah started asking if she could play “the train game”. After some thought, we came up with a simplified version of the game to introduce the concept of collecting train cards, exchanging them to lay down tracks, and completing simple routes that we picked prior to play. She now asks to play all the time.

    We also managed to get my Dad playing Alhambra (which he always seems to win), Ticket to Ride Europe, Carcasonne and Dutch Blitz. And for Hannah we picked up Junior Catan, Get Bit and Family Fluxx. Our family dinner nights have become family game nights with food. My nephew is almost a year and half now and we are already going to our local gaming shop and looking for toddler games for him. My sister and I love that we are getting to enjoy something from our childhood, while discovering new games and introducing the next generation to the joy of tabletop games.

    Thanks to everyone who works on Tabletop for how you’ve changed how our family spends our time together.

  11. Thank you so much for TableTop! The show helped keep me sane as I became a new mom last year. While I was on maternity leave, I was in charge of the overnight feedings and it would take a long time to get my daughter back to sleep. Having TableTop episodes to watch and rewatch made those nights bearable. Now, my husband watches too and we are both hooked. We’ve bought a lot of the games featured and we are looking forward to the day when our daughter is old enough to start playing with us. Thank you again, and keep up the awesome work. We can’t wait for more episodes!

  12. A few friends and I love the show and would love to play all those games. Sadly is quite difficult to get most of them here ( Argentina). And even harder as some of them don’t speak english (almost none has spanish translation).
    One of the first episodes we watched was the munchkin one. So we had to think a little outside the box. One of the guys has access to a laser cutter, so he built the board and player markers.

    Here are some pictures:

    And we found some print & play version of the cards.

    Now we play it every other weekend.

    Perhaps some day we get to play other games. Thanks for the show and keep the hard work!

  13. Simply put, Playing the games which you (the crew) film Wil playing has reinforced the bond I had with my parents from when I was a kid. Every Christmas, I’d look forward to opening that one box which was the game they found….which we’d all play together that night after dinner, and sometimes. for weeks to come.

    Coming from a military background during the Sixties, we lived on a shoe string budget and with the economy having gone through what it has, it seems that gaming is more important than ever so all you fine gaffers, PAs, lighting and sound peeps, camera monkeys and shot/script directors, (sorry if I fogot anyone), you are much more appreciated than you think…hell, If I had an address to send you brownies, you’d get them via FedEx.

    Best to you all,

    Lewis N.
    Vallejo, CA

  14. I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed watching the first season of Tabletop,but didn’t think we could play board games like that at our house.With a 5 yo wild child, a 14 yo autistic daughter, and a 16 yo son with Asperger’s,I just wasn’t sure how to capture everyone’s attention long enough to play a game that didn’t involve a computer, xbox, or wii.
    Then I saw Fluxx at the store and thought, “Ah what the hell” before throwing it into my basket.I pulled it out the other day to play with the older kids and the 5 yo wanted to play too.After a lively and intense battle,I won the first and only game of the many hands of Fluxx we have played over the past two days.Since then,I have been schooled by all of my children including the 5 yo who needs help reading(apparently you don’t need to read to match pictures).
    The 16 yo saw that there is a Monty Python Fluxx and asked me to buy it.The 14 yo has started watching episodes of Tabletop and told me,”I think we need Forbidden Island.”And the 5 yo? He’s happy that his brother and sister are playing with him.
    Thanks Wil (and everyone who does the show).This is going to be a great summer-especially if I can win another hand of Fluxx.

  15. We’ve always like board games, but had gotten away from it. We played Ticket to Ride and Survive! alot. Occasionally we broke out Pitchcar or Formula De. I followed The Guild to Geek & Sundry and started watching Tabletop. I was already a Wil Wheaton fan. I think he was one of the first people I ever followed on Twitter.

    Fast forward. My family and I now have a monthly “Game Night” and keep inviting new people over. We’ve played Castle Panic, Munchkin, King of Tokyo, Zombie Dice, Settlers, etc all because of Tabletop. It’s great watching the show with my 9 year old. Just the right amount of adult humor for me, without being too much for him.

    The impact? I’ve now got a kid that would rather play a board game with mom & dad than a video game by himself. That’s priceless.

  16. My older brother is my best friend, and he loves video games. So, I grew up watching him play video games and it was fun. I could walk you through every game of Metroid and know every boss by heart. But, I’ve never actually beaten a game. Never. Not a single game. Not once. I like to play them but I just couldn’t love them the way he did. My parents grew up watching Star Trek and original Doctor Who and it took some time for me to realize, but they’re actually total nerds. They get into TV shows and they can just watch them forever. I love TV shows, but there’s only one or two I can dedicate myself to and everything just falls by the way. Then, we found Tabletop. We saw you play in the Big Bang Theory and my parents thought it was just great that you were doing acting work. We looked you up and my dad found Tabletop and thought it was pretty neat. My mom tolerates board games, and she likes em better when she wins. My older brother thinks they’re good fun. My sister likes that we have real ‘family time’ now. Believe me when I say, I LOVE board games. I was always in doubt, am I nerdy enough? Is this enough Nerd to count? I’m not crazy about video games, Comics are just too much to get into (where do you even start?), and TV shows loose their luster after a while. I certainly wasn’t a ‘cool kid’, but I constantly questioned whether or not I was nerdy enough to be in the nerd club. But, then I found Tabletop. That’s who I am now. It’s incredible what you can do when you have a board game. I’ve never been very good at meeting new people. I just sort of let them choose me, then after a few months I’ll do more talking, but with games, that’s not a choice. Fiasco is my favorite, because I can get four strangers around a table and we can pretend to be other people and somehow we all walk away knowing each other better than if we’d been ourselves. I can talk because I have to and because I know exactly when it’s my turn to talk. I can laugh and make dirty jokes and push the limits to find out who people are because I know that I’m safe sitting down at the table, playing a board game. Tabletop games have changed my life and I might never have known what I was missing out on if it hadn’t been for you, Wil. You and your staff and your manager and whoever decided that my parents would be sitting down, watching this funny new show everyone is talking about, and whatever little voice whispered in the back of their minds: hey, doesn’t that name sound familiar? You guys’ keep making incredible videos and I’ll keep spreading the gospel of Tabletop, courtesy of Wil Wheaton.

  17. I’m just a 43 year old guy with two kids, one 17 and one 4. Years and years ago, I started the tradition of family night at our house. Each Friday, one person gets to choose what we do for that night, and we rotate turns each week. Sometimes we play games, sometimes we have a “double-feature” movie, but the one rule is, and nobody can change it, we all have to be together for the evening. Ok two rules, we always, ALWAYS make pizzas.

    Tabletop has enhanced our family nights with games I didn’t really know were out there.

    I grew up as a very small-town geek – not very connected to the rest of geekdom. I hid my nerdishness and was ashamed to be different. So I didn’t have a large circle of friends that gamed. Tabletop has helped show me that there is a much larger world of “us” out there though. It has awakened in me a new sense of wonder in gaming.

    Tabletop has helped our family, and especially my children, learn that gaming is, good, “cool” and even a wise thing to do. For our family nights, we often play Zombie Dice or Settlers of Catan, both new and loved games in our home.

    Thank you for making Tabletop. I can only imagine how tiring it is sometimes, how emotional things must be at times, and like any other job that seems magical from the outside, it probably isn’t day to day.

    But you’re making magic here on this side of the screen. In living rooms and kitchens across the world, you’re introducing people to things they may otherwise have missed. You’re showing them how to play games they might not have learned any other way.

    Thank you for doing it. It’s worth it! Please keep “making”!

  18. I’d love to see you guys do an episode on a programming game like RoboRally or Galaxy Trucker. Hilarious games where you’re carefully planned schemes are shot to pieces in short order.

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