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. No incredible stories on my part, unfortunately. But fear not, TableTop’s helped me find a lot of games I might not have run into on my own (or tried because the box just doesn’t sell it). When I first heard you were putting TableTop on, I was very happy. I knew it was going to be exactly what the world needed. I remember talking (in the comments of a review on Amazon of all places) with someone who’d discovered TableTop (and tabletop!) and was finding games to get her family to play together (her husband was an old school D&D gamer but the kids weren’t).

    I just hope you keep it up (don’t forget Kickstarter’s out there if you need more funds!!). Gaming in general has gone from that thing that the nerdy kids do to a mainstream industry that the not-so-nerdy kids try to pretend they do. Even so, I think there are still a lot of hurdles and barriers to break down so that people who think games are just for kids and serve no purpose in adult life learn that games are a necessity. There’s a reason chess still exists and various games that are centuries if not millenia old are still known in places. You’ve got to have a little fun at least or else what’s the point? :)

  2. I have to echo Brandon’s sentiments above. Tabletop didn’t make a huge difference in my life, as my life didn’t suck to start with. But it has made a good life even better. With kids 17 and 14, a game after dinner extends our time together as a family, and getting to see games played on TableTop is like Consumer Reports for board gamers, only much more entertaining!

    I do have to ask, why haven’t you done Carcassonne yet?

  3. I don’t have any wildly amazing stories inspired by TableTop (yet), but in line with this post, I do have a request. If it’s possible, and the parties amenable, I would love to see some reaction clips or something similar from the crew. You have ALL worked hard to make an absolutely fantastic show that rivals just about anything put out by the giant corporate machines. I would take an episode of TableTop by an almost tangibly excited Wil over any other show, hands down. And that accomplishment is something to be proud of.

  4. TableTop has impacted our house tremendously. We’re a board game family but the addition of Settlers evened the playing field for my 8 yr old. Suddenly he could win something and had control of all the sheep. The peals of laughter were worth the epic loss I endured with my wee little settlement and road stuck in the middle all by itself. Tsuro gave us a game that is perfect for the wind down towards bedtime and is a winner with the Grandparents too. Grandpa became a player at the table versus a passerby with Tsuro. Gloom entertained our teenage cousins on a recent trip to our house. The outrageous tales and unfortunate endings made the afternoon pass in fits of gasps and morbid amusement. In the past I talked about why we picked up a few of our games and lo our friends started watching TableTop. The rounds of “Your a Spy!” being crowed at our most recent game day are courtesy of the Resistance and the TableTop episode our friends had seen. We <3 TableTop around here!

  5. My wife and I introduced some of our friends to one of the games that was played on the first season of Tabletop.

    I got a message from her the other day. She was in her local game store, and wanted to know what the name was of “that gloomy card game we played”. I was super tempted to tell her I couldn’t remember…

  6. I have friends who own the greatest game store in the Phoenix Metro area. They have to stock extra of every game that appears on Tabletop, because their customers demand it.

  7. I never even knew about these types of board games, until you started talking about them on your blog and making Tabletop. Then, I was introduced to a game called Cosmic Encounter (you get to have Alien Powers! and conquer planets!) and I was hooked. And then, I was introduced to Settlers, Munchkin, and just this week, Pandemic. I like to call them “nerd board games” because it makes me happy, and we call it “nerd board game night” and celebrate it because it makes us all so happy. I never even knew. I wish I’d known sooner, so that I had more years to play these awesome games and play them with awesome people that I may not have gotten to know. You know?

    Aside: My nephew loves trains (and is on the autism spectrum, high-functioning), and I can’t WAIT to introduce him to Age of Steam because 1) he’s a self-professed geek, 2) he loves reading instructions and rules and to explain them to people, and 3) his love of trains and of playing games with yours truly :) Thanks, man and crew, for introducing me to a whole new world (one that also allows me to happily celebrate my not-so-inner nerd).

  8. My husband, 2 step kids (14 & 16 year old boys) and I have always played board games. Last year, we started a tradition of playing Scrabble and eating tacos every Sunday night. Then Tabletop entered our lives. We watched the Munchkin episode and all were eager to play. Now we can’t stop. Our Sunday Scrabble and taco night has morphed into an everyday Munchkin and dinner night. We have a blast every time. The smack talk and backstabbery is relentless and we love every minute of it. We are interested in and want to try many of the other games as well, but for now, the whole family is addicted to Munchkin. Even though they’re teens, they truly look forward to being together as a family every night. That is priceless. Please keep up the great work on Tabletop! Side note: If you and Anne ever find yourself in the West Palm Beach area, come on over for some gaming and nerdery…based on your posts, tweets, blogs, likes, dislikes, etc…you have a couple of kindred spirits in my husband and I. (Um…I hope that doesn’t sound creepy. We aren’t creepy)

  9. As evidenced by my username, I’m Deaf (with a capital “D” because I’m profoundly deaf and grew up in the Deaf community), but I have a sense of humor about it. However, many of our friends are hearing and do not know American Sign Language. As such, social gatherings become extremely difficult when there’s a big group. I can speak for myself and lipread well enough to talk to anyone. However, have you ever tried lipreading 10+ people at the dinner table with mouths full of food? It ain’t pretty and usually makes me feel isolated because I end up not wanting to talk to anyone until dinner is over, at which point most of us are ready to take our kids home and put them to bed and I’ve missed out on most of the night.

    Anyway, I’ve always loved playing games (board or video, I love them both) and one night you mentioned TableTop via Twitter. So, I went on the Geek & Sundry website to check it out and imagine my excitement when I start watching this show and realize: IT’S IN CLOSED CAPTION!!! IT’S FLIPPING CLOSED CAPTIONED, SO I CAN WATCH IT!!! I sat down and started watching my first episode of TableTop (you were playing “Dixit” alongside Beth Riesgraf, Leo Chu, and Casey McKinnon). I finished that episode and immediately went back to start from the beginning and watched them all straight through. Since then, I’ve watched every episode religiously, I have expanded my collection of board games with what I could find at my local Target (started with the common games: Monopoly, Sorry!, Scrabble, etc as they weren’t selling the games you were showing up yet at my store locations). I ended up also buying “Cards Against Humanity” online because I heard many great things. However, I couldn’t find any of those games locally until recently (a small comic shop down here opened up a second store just two doors down from their shop devoted to selling TONS of great games of all kinds). In any case, you’ve inspired me to start gaming again as I did when I was a little kid. It took very little convincing and I got my friends to sit down and start playing games. Now, every time our friends come over, we sit down for at least two rounds of whatever games we vote for (we almost always go for CAH because we’re sick, twisted people). I’m finally able to enjoy the company of my friends and family more and feel more involved instead of just feeling like the odd man out because I’m Deaf. Most of the time we only talk on our turns, so it makes conversation flow much easier on me. Thank you for giving us a way to not only stay young at heart, but also for giving this Deaf guy a way of uniting both Deaf & Hearing worlds together.

  10. Sorry for being off topic, but have you seen the new Star Trek movie, Into Darkness? Please see it and give us your opinion. Thanks so much. Live long and prosper \\ // _

  11. I see all these stories and I sort of see them as the kind of thing that never happens to me…

    And then I remembered on TableTop Day, some grandparents came with their grandson, who had some special needs. I gathered he’d seen the show and inferred that he didn’t have people to play with…but for over two hours we had a great time playing Smallworld with a crowd of people.

    So yeah, TableTop.

  12. My brothers and I are heading out to Gen-Con for the first time ever and we’ve all been taking time to watch Tabletop in hopes of finding more games we’d like to play there. We had played several already (Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, Forbidden Island to name a few) but still found those episodes very fun to watch.
    We’ve already signed up for Formula D & plan to play Tsuro & Alhambra at the games library. It’s been great for us to be able to “preview” games before we go and give us a chance to play for our exciting weekend. Looking forward to Season 2.5 and good luck!

  13. I also don’t have anything totally cutely heartwarming – although the faces of my niece and nephew planning some games we got from Tabletop certainly were – I do have to say thank you for giving my inner geek a little direction. I’ve felt pushed away from many of my likes, whether it be disillusionment with the state of the Big 2 in comics, or just not enjoying the reboot of Star Trek, or Star Wars, where the fan hate for the prequels can be so much worse than the prequels themselves. But while our gaming group formed before we discovered Tabletop, it was in our search for more games that we found the show, and it has not only brought my wife and me many laughs and much enjoyment, it has gone on to introduce many, many awesome games to the aforementioned gaming group. And it’s something pure, and fun, and I feel I can love it without it being tarnished. You all seem to be having a wonderful time, and I like that, a lot. Thank you Wil, and Felicia, and all of you who work so very hard to give me this wonderful positive in the geek world.

  14. Gloom is my favorite game and episode! I love playing because of the wild stories we tell about our characters! I just bought Forbidden Island and can’t wait to play it!!

  15. I grew up with table top gaming, mainly RPGs, but spent less time in the hobby as I transitioned into college. I still enjoyed playing games and game design, but didn’t make much time for it. 10+ years later, I am juggling a stressful career in law enforcement along with a wonderful wife and three awesome youngsters. In the midst of proffesional disappointment and some health problems within the family, I stumble across Table Top, and I see these people having so much fun doing something I forgot I loved.

    Less than a year later I am getting together with a gaming group about once a month. My seven year-old and his friends are avid gamers now and enjoy our growing collection of hobby card and board games. He and I are working to transform his favorite make-believe game from early childhood into an action packed hobby card game complete with art contributed from various children ages 3 to 13. The play-test process is teaching him about the effort and reward of creating art, and I am thrilled with the time we spend working together.

    I had forgotten the value of gaming, and lost sight of the hobby as a valuable stress relief and creative outlet. Watching the people on your show having so much fun with all those games woke that part of me up. Sincerely, thank you. Keep up the good work and, please, play more games.

  16. Tabletop inspired me to join a local gaming group. After years of depression, which had impacted my life to the point where I had become totally reclusive and didn’t see or talk to anyone other than my partner, it was a hugely scary step for me to go out to play games with a bunch of strangers. On that first night I played Munchkin and Cards Against Humanity, laughed so hard that I cried, and I came home feeling like I’d found my tribe.

    Almost a year later and I’m out playing board games two or three times a week. I’ve made new friends, played dozens of different games, and my own collection is gradually growing. I still get depressed, but tabletop games, and the people who play them, have brought so much fun and laughter into my life.

    So a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who played a part in making Tabletop. You guys have changed my life for the better. :-)

  17. I’m from Australia, and initially had some trouble getting a copy of Tsuro to add to my growing collection of Tabletop games (Ticket to Ride, Munchkin and Catan among them). When I travelled to Hawaii in 2012 to catch up with friends, they gave me a copy of Tsuro.
    That night in the hotel room, I opened the box, and played it for the first time with my friends 8yo daughter, who understood the game immediately and promptly kicked my backside.
    I have played Tsuro with so many different friends since then, and everyone loves it, and wants to play it again and again. I think I might have to start giving it as gifts.

  18. About a year ago, my wife and I separated, and, as a result, I have full-time custody of my two kids, a 13-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl. It was a rough time for all three of us as we started life without their mother. Tabletop had been airing for a couple of months at that point, and I thought that some of the games from the show would be a fun way for us to spend time together. That idea was more successful that I could have imagined. The three of us have played hours of Munchkin and Fluxx, and my kids been spreading the games to their friends as well. When the 13-year-old has friends over, they’re likely to pull me into a game of Catan, Pandemic, or Castle Panic (not that much pulling is required). I don’t want to sound melodramatic, but Tabletop and the games I was introduced to by the really helped my kids and I form new bonds and get through a tough period.

  19. I started playing tabletop games because of TableTop and I’m SO glad I did, because other than Monopoly I han’t really played any board games before I watched the Munchkin episode on Geek & Sundry. It started my collection that has been growing ever since, and prompted me to join a group of friends who play D&D weekly. Now I get to play tabletop games almost every week, and I even convinced some my family to play them on TableTop Day. This show has drained my wallet but improved my social life haha, so thank you all so much!

  20. I found your show by accident, a youtube-generated suggestion after watching an episode of The Guild (I was new to WoW and watching it through a friend’s rec). The episode was Gloom and I recognized Tara from Buffy, so I checked it out.

    I was blown away.

    Until I watched your show I had no idea there were these amazing, smart. interactive, storytelling, co-operative games. I was a board game hater, having only the drug-store-toy-section idea of boardgames and associating them with horrible traps at friends dinner parties. But Gloom? GLOOM! This was snarky, hilarious, imagination trippin’ on cat tranqs. This was dark, and sneaky, and involved backstabbing and killing twins in wells for FUN! I ordered the game online (along with Catan, Tsuro, an Zombie Dice) and thus, Cold Antler Farm’s game night was born!

    I’m an author and farmer in upstate New York. All of my friends are farmers and work-at-home creative types and getting together is hard. But once we started hosting potlucks/game events we all made time to get together, regardless of what the weather, fields, or livestock have to say about it. Here at my homestead there is now a weekly game night and a bi-monthly Pathfinder game I GM. We have a blast. And we do it sitting around, in-person, cell phones off with good food and copious microbrews. If it wasn’t for you and your amazing show I would see friends less, have less fun, and still think a D20 was some sort of aberration of WD-40.

    You, Mr. Wheaton have brought a rural community together. You turned an cynic into a board game evangelist. You have opened up a world to a dozen folks who now find Small World tokens in their pockets along with .22 longshells and fence pliers. Your show has made us closer, happier, and given us adventures in dungeons and late nights fighting over train routes to Duluth. You, Mr. Wheaton, you and your fine crew of magic makers have turned Jackson New York a place where we can live like fiction.

    Thank you, all of you. Really.

    -Jenna Woginrich

  21. I have been playing games for a long while before TableTop. I attend the weekly gaming night in my university and get to play a lot. The only game I first saw on TableTop and then played there is Castle Panic. And it was awesome. And I’m still waiting for Small World and some others.
    Which makes me think, if you want to lose but do it spectacularly and to the delight of your fellow players, try running cooperative-competitive games like Descent or Fury of Dracula. Those are always fun for me.

  22. I wouldn’t call it an amazing story but I do have this:

    I live in Singapore; my parents live in the Netherlands. Last week they flew over to visit (they’re still here right now) and, thanks to Tabletop, I managed to play Dixit with my parents, my 17-year-old stepdaughter and my 6-year-old daughter. It was pretty cool!

    1. Just to add to this: when we played Dixit the first time, my 6-year-old came in last. We just played it again just now (after playing Tsuro), and my six-year-old won by a landslide.

  23. When my uncle went on disability due to his heart problems, he had a lot more time to spend around the house, and absolutely nothing to do. Because he liked trains so much as a kid, and because he used to put model trains together in his spare time, my brother and I showed him the Ticket to Ride episode of Tabletop on May 23 of last year, with other episodes soon to follow. A quick visit to Amazon, and by June 12, we had the game.

    It seemed to ignite something within him. We began playing board games every afternoon. In the beginning, it was just Ticket to Ride, but it soon expanded to Yahtzee (an old favorite), and various incarnations of Fluxx. Only once did we miss playing Ticket to Ride, but we made it up with an extra round of the game the following day. Tabletop and tabletop gaming became a tradition in our house, one that we had largely abandoned since growing up some years ago, but it had, thankfully returned. My uncle would even keep track of who won Ticket to Ride and which version we played. He bought Nordic Countries himself, and Asia and Europe became Birthday and Christmas presents for him. Due to his love of Christmas, Nordic was always his favorite, because of the Santa Gnome on the box and Rovaniemi being the city he always had to visit during the game because of its connection to Santa Claus.

    My brother got Pandemic for Christmas, and we added that to the lineup. But Pandemic got the better of us, in more ways than one. My uncle died on January 7, 2013, at the age of 54. We were playing our games that afternoon, the same as we had for almost a year. I had won Ticket to Ride that day, for the first time in almost a month. We were on our second game of the day, Pandemic. It was the last turn of the game, and the last turn of my uncle’s life. The game, as it had always done since we had gotten it, was going to beat us. My uncle was holding his last two cards in his hand, and he just sort of went to sleep and never woke up.

    Despite the game defeating us, his last memories on Earth and our last memories of being with him were happy ones, spent gaming together as a family. I don’t know how long your Tabletop show will last (though I hope it’s a long time!), but our memories of being together will last for the rest of our lives and I can never thank you enough for making his last months such an enjoyable time for him and for us.

  24. I was really grateful I got to thank you for this in person at the Ottawa Comic Con. I’m both a professor of theatre and a drama teacher to wee kidlets. Tabletop has put me back in touch with a sense of play that I had forgotten. It has inspired me to create new ways of teaching theory. It has encouraged me to adapt some of my usual drama games. Most of all, it has reminded me of the sheer joy in cooperation, problem solving, and team work.

  25. TableTop has inspired our family (3 kids – 11, 5, 2.5) to go out and get some games and play! We started when my son was 4, and I have been amazed at how quickly he figures out the games even when they are too old for him. The kids are always begging us to play, and its a rare day when someone doesn’t break out Munchkin, Tsuro, Chess, Small World, or something to play.

    Other kids come over, and the game closet is quickly opened up and a day is made. I’ve spread the love by taking games as gifts to family gatherings, and then find out later that grandparents/uncles/kids continue to play and get more games even after we’ve been long gone.

    I can honestly say that without your show, this probably wouldn’t have happened. In addition to introducing and explaining games (which is huge), it also makes it a “very good thing”(tm) to get together and play games. Its fun, its a treat, and its something we can all look forward to doing together.

    Great work, and please keep it up!

  26. I don’t have any amazing stories YET. But hopefully, after this weekend, I will.

    The only reason I hadn’t started playing tabletop games before was I didn’t have anybody to play with. I live in a town of about 8,000 or so. We’re deprived of a Friendly Local Game Store (There is a local used-game retailer that also hosts Magic: the Gathering tournaments, which I frequent often) so there wasn’t much of a way for me to find a group.

    BUT! That’s what the Internet is for, right? Over time, on this forum or that one, I’ve gathered a core group of six or so friends, and we’ve used Internet tools such as the fantastic (which I highly recommend to anyone looking to run an RPG online) to run D&D and Shadowrun, AND we’ve lucked into the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire beta! Just like that, I’ve got two or three sessions a WEEK! And it’s all thanks to TableTop, for getting me interested and making me Google those forums in the first place.

    PS: Finally bought Fiasco the other night ($20 bundle of core book and Companion PDFs from the Bully Pulpit Games website, also highly recommended) and I can’t wait to try it with my new friends!

  27. Wil,

    I’ve got a pair of geek kids (7 & 5) that love table top. We all came to have our photo taken with you at Phoenix ComicCon. One of my coolest dad moments is thanks to TableTop. I bought a copy of Ticket To Ride and hid it in my office. That afternoon, we watched the Ticket To Ride episode. Afterwards, I went and fetched the game out of my office. The kids were so excited that we could play the game “just like Mr. Wil.” My youngest was four, and he lost focus a bit, but my seven year old scored 90 points! She would have broken 100 if she didn’t take that fifth ticket and as it was, she only lost by one point.

    That one experience has pretty much bought me enough gaming cred with my kids to get them to try any board game. TableTop is a great way for me as a parent to get an idea how my kids will be able to handle a game, and you guys make it fun to watch.

    So, as I said at PHX ComicCon, Thanks for TableTop. It makes getting my kids exited about games easy, and helps folks like me who let their gaming fall by the wayside when life got in the way, get back into it by exposing us to these excellent games.

    Thanks again Mr. Wil and TableTop crew!

  28. We’ve always been a gaming family; our collection of board games was decent before we even heard of TableTop. I’ve always been part of a gaming community in some way. But TableTop did something nothing else ever had. It introduced new games to my house by showing me the player interaction.

    Let’s face it, games are about interacting with our friends and family within certain constraints. They let us laugh and joke, they let us bond in a way that “how was your day” chatter over dinner will never accomplish. When I play a game, I’m more concerned with how much fun I can have with the people I’m playing with. It’s hard to determine what those interactions will be based on game mechanics, and I bought some games that FLOPPED even though the mechanics sounded pretty promising.

    TableTop brought Small World into my house – which also gave my then 7-year-old his first all-around stomping, smashing WIN. Yeah, he beat everyone by about 50 points, but he tromped all over me by more than doubling my score. The light in his eyes when he realized he won was awesome. When he realized by how much, the giggles just couldn’t stop!

    But TableTop has also encouraged us to look at games we might have otherwise passed on. We never would have picked up Tsuro based on the box, and we’ve picked up more card games (Poo! and Nuts! are played often in my house).

    For me, though, TableTop provides me with more than just a list of new games to buy for the family. TableTop gives me some time every 2 weeks where I’m shown that other adults enjoy games, too. My gaming community is spread all over the country; I’m trying to establish a small one locally, but it’s been a struggle. Watching TableTop, listening to the hilarity and the laughter and the grown-up game play, gives me a sense that I’m not alone in my joy of gameplay. It gives me hope that I can establish an adult board game group. (That’s adult as in not-children, not adult as in bow-chicka-bow-bow. Yeah, I know where your mind went.)

    So, thank you, TableTop. For new games for the family, yes. But thank you for hope.

  29. I’m a single dad raising two boys, 9 and 11. Both are mildly autistic, the elder more so than the younger, enough so that they both love detail and complex sets of rules.

    I grew up with tabletop gaming. I played more RPGs and wargames than you can shake a +1 Stick of Shaking at. As an adult (I’m 40), however, I found that I had far fewer opportunities to play than I’d have liked. I didn’t really get into hobby board games when I was younger, as GMing RPGs and painting hordes of miniatures for wargames was a big time sink. I’ve tried off and on over the past few years to get an RPG campaign going with people I know, but getting a group of adults with jobs, kids, and relationships together for a big block of time is a challenging thing.

    As my kids got older, I realized that I’d been raising my own personal gaming group, who would be subject to my whims for another decade or so. I’d already thoroughly nerdified them. The can compare and contrast Star Wars and Star Trek, prefer DC to Marvel, and read math books for fun. RPGs usually take longer than kids have the patience for, and trying to teach a 9-year-old 200 pages of wargaming rules isn’t going to entertain anyone.

    Then I heard about Tabletop (on WWdn In Exile, I believe) and checked it out. By the time the first episode was over, I was already packing my Amazon wish list. It was ideal. I was able to find the kind of complexity that the kids and I love, the speculative settings, the sense of fun and adventure that drew me to RPGs, and the kind of interaction with the kids that I was hoping for. We’ve been going strong ever since. We started out with cooperative games, as young siblings backstabbing each other is a recipe for disaster, but as they’ve gotten older we’ve been able to move on to competitive games.

    The boys and I watch the show together. We discuss the games, and whether they’re the kind we want to play, then add them to the list. I’m on disability, so I don’t have a great deal of free money, but every few months we’ll order a game. When it arrives I’ll learn the rules, then we’ll re-watch the episode it was featured in as an entertaining semi-tutorial for the kids.

    We’ve had so much fun. I’ve been able to recapture one of my favorite hobbies and have found another way to connect with my kids, to spend time talking, joking, and interacting with one another. They’ve developed a new passion and have learned problem solving, teamwork, sportsmanship – the list goes on and on.

    tldr: Games are fun. Weee!

  30. Wil, I’m so glad I’ve found your show. It’s my absolute favorite. I really wish I had a few friends to play with, but watching your show makes me feel like I’m right there with you guys and like I’m one on your friends. I haven’t laughed so much in a really long time.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Chris Jordan
    Dallas TX

  31. While I was already a bit of a gamer and a perennial PAX East attendee, Tabletop convinced me to schedule a game night with some friends, which would go on to be a weekly event. When I fell into a deep depression this spring, game night was one of the things I could actually look forward to.

    But that’s not the real story I want to tell. I want to thank you and the Tabletop crew for influencing a whole generation of young gamers. Just a couple years ago, you were lucky to find a toy store that carried anything more than a few variations on UNO, Apples to Apples, Yahtzee, and 400 themed Monopolys. Now every Target carries an incredible array of games (most with a big, green “As Seen on Geek & Sundry” sticker on the front) and even Barnes & Noble has a few good games. If this trend continues, there will be a whole generation who grows up on Settlers of Catan and Munchkin and Ticket to Ride and a whole array of other fun games. And because they’re playing games that require decisions, we will see a generation who believes the future lies in the decisions they make, not left to a roll of the dice. On behalf of the next generation of gamers, thank you!

  32. In third grade, my daughter Rebecca, started having anxiety issues at school. She has always been very smart with a side of perfectionism and this accumulated into fear which resulted in a series of heartbreaking meltdowns and shut downs at school and at home. Cue therapy at age eight. As we struggled with understanding and ways to help her cope with what were some overwhelming feelings at the time, Tabletop became a way that we could come together as a family and play. As it became less about winning for her and getting it right, it became more fun for all of us. Something she learned by the example you led in show. Ticket to Ride was a instant favorite (She fell in love with Anne) and we discovered Forbidden Island on our own and loved working together to come up with strategies to defeat the island. I can’t thank you and the crew enough for Tabletop and creating a show that is fun and inspiring at the same time. This, along with you speech finding what you love and loving it the most you can -something I played for her and plan on playing for her every year as she approaches her teens- have been valuable tools as we help her and our son navigate growing up.

    Now I am going to hit send before I chicken out! And once again – Thank You!!

  33. I’m not a big boardgame player, because I’m too slow to learn the rules, and I feel like people get annoyed when I keep asking basic things all the time, so I don’t really play any. Also I’m not at all competitive, I enjoy playing with friends (like pen-and-paper RPG’s) and not against them. The boardgames people play around here are always player-versus-player, nobody plays any co-operative games, so I thought there really weren’t any.

    Anyway, I watched the Resistance episode, because Scags was on it, and found out that I really enjoyed watching it all unfold. Now I’m going thru all the episodes, and can’t get enough. I’m also surprised to see how many great co-operative games there are that I didn’t know existed.
    At the moment the show is a great way to take my mind off things, as there are stuff going on I’d rather not think about.

    So a big thanks for the show. It might not make me into a boardgame player, but at least I’m having a helluva fun time watching others play them. (Ps. Please make extended cuts out of all of the episodes)

  34. I kept meaning to submit this to the Tabletop tumblr but never got around to it.

    My husband and I have troubles getting along with his parents. He’s from Europe and they are, well, very European. They don’t understand our interests (gaming, computers, animation, science fiction and fantasy) and his mother often comments on when we’re going to “grow out of it.” We’ve basically accepted that there are just some things we won’t agree about and try to ignore it when we visit.

    This past Easter though, I decided to bring some of our games to see if we could do something constructive without our time instead of get lectures about how we live our life. I took Tsuro and Ticket to Ride because I thought they would be the most interesting in a small group setting. Ticket to Ride was a bit long and more complicated so we didn’t get to that one but we convinced the mother-in-law to play Tsuro with us. My husband’s father was dismissive at first when I tried to explain it. Both of them thought it was just a “silly game” but I tried to explain that even though it was simple, it required thought and strategy.

    So we played a game with our MIL and she liked it. So we played another since she had gotten a handle on the rules. And then my husband managed to convince his father to play to prove that he could win such a “simple game.” We played 5 games total with the pair because they thought it was interesting and were having fun. (My Father-in-Law was determined to keep playing until he won. This was difficult because my husband was trying very hard to take him out on purpose.)

    We still have problems getting along with them but I think the game helped us to connect in a more positive way. I hope that playing a game with my husband and I helped my in-laws to see what we enjoy in our hobbies and to understand us a little bit better. At the very least, it made a day at their house a lot less stressful than it normally is and I think that’s really amazing.

    Next time, Ticket to Ride!

    1. Hey musicchan,

      I’m happy that tapletopping helped you connect with your inlaws! Just a heads up though: Europe is a big and very varied place. There are huge cultural differences between all the different countries. (And even within the countries.)

      To imply that Europeans in general don’t get geeky stuff is both incorrect and honestly, a little hurtful. As I said, the people here are as varied as they are everywere! So yes, we do have our fair share of nerds and geeks and we watch the exact same shows and play the exact same games you do!

      Best, RJ

  35. I’d like to thank Wil Wheaton and Tabletop for doing there shows!

    I’ve got a good selection of games played on the show and I play them with both of my brothers, my younger cousin and a friend and it’s just a great way to catch up with them – I don’t tend to spend much time with my younger brother or cousin otherwise so it’s nice!

    Thank you!

  36. Tabletop opened my eyes as to what really makes board game night so much fun, enjoying good company. No matter which game is being played, it seems that tabletop games are enjoyed when you have a group of fun people together, encouraging each other to have fun. I always kind of had this assumption that what makes game night fun is the game itself, and Tabletop helped me realize that the game is only a small part of what makes game night so great.

    There’s a very specific kind of happiness I get from playing a tabletop game with good company, and it seems that its captured in every episode of Tabletop I’ve ever seen. Even though I can’t say tabletop has generated any really meaningful stories for me tell, it always brings me back to good game nights and puts a smile on my face.

    If you guys like tabletop games, I’d really appreciate it if you checked out this Kickstarter page:

  37. I don’t know if I’d say “life-changing,” but I have been struggling a lot with depression since my son was diagnosed with with a serious illness last year. I know that one of the best ways to fight it is to get out and maintain a healthy social life, but there’s a lot of time I just don’t have the motivation to leave the house and interact with other people.

    Some of the games on Tabletop looked so fascinating that it made me want to look for a chance to play them, even though my wife’s not really into much geeky stuff. It turns out, there’s a fairly large board game club in my small town (much bigger than I would have guessed). I’ve started going and taking a teenage son of a family friend, and it’s become a regular weekly man-date. The first night we went, they played Formula De. It was amazing.

  38. Went to a game store to find one of the games that was on the show and ended up buying another game that my wife, who isn’t a gamer, actually played!

  39. TableTop has had a major impact on my life, both personally and professionally. My husband and I co-own a comic book and game store in Houston with one of my husband’s longtime gaming buddies. I never gamed much myself; I was much more of a comic book girl. We opened the store two years ago and business was going well, but then the first episode of TableTop hit. POW! We started selling more games than ever before, and we love referring customers to the Geek & Sundry channel to check out all the episodes. It’s such a fun, positive show, and it’s easy to get into for hardcore gamers and newbies alike.
    We now have a whole showcase devoted to games featured on TableTop, and they move fast! I know we’re not the only ones experiencing this, so TableTop is contributing a great deal to the success of a lot of mom-and-pop small businesses like ours. Best of all, we’ve been able to create a great community of gamers who meet in our store’s gaming room. Lots of new friendships have started in there, which is wonderful.

    International TableTop Day back in March was a HUGE hit for us. Around 100 people total came to play during the day, and even those of us on the staff had a blast. We had a 12-hour day that started with a lot of family-friendly games and grew more mature as the evening progressed, culminating in a gigantic Fiasco game where four groups (a total of 22 players!) each played a scenario set at a Renaissance Festival that my husband wrote just for the event. We can’t wait for next year!

    For me personally, TableTop has taught me a lot about games I probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise. I especally love Munchkin, Castle Panic, and Fluxx. When you actually look forward to bringing your work home with you, you’ve won at life, so I feel like a winner. Huge thanks to you, Wil, and the whole TableTop crew! You’re doing a good thing there.

    P.S. We’re really looking forward to seeing the episode you just shot with The Doubleclicks! They’re playing a concert in our store tomorrow night with Marian Call, and that’s a direct result of the fun we and our customers had had on TableTop Day.

  40. I played Magic a lot when I was younger, but never did much of any other kind of gaming, except for the occasional bout of one classic or another. As I got older, there were fewer and fewer people in my social circle who were tabletop gamers, so I just kind of stopped gaming.

    One day I was trying to find a gift for my girlfriend, who happens to be a big horror geek, and decided to look at zombie games. Went to Youtube to get a sense of how the games played and instantly came across the LNOE episode of TableTop.

    I got it for her, and we loved it. And I’ve since gone on to amass a small collection of games.

    I find that, instead of staying in and “relaxing” on my days off, I’m going out for game nights more and more. Both the quantity and quality of my social interactions has improved.

    I’ve been inspired to open a board game cafe like is popular in Korea, and ever since the announcement, I’ve had more and more people in my social circle coming out as board game geeks. The support has been tremendous.

    I hope it works out, because I want to bring as many people into gaming as possible.

  41. After I discovered the awesomeness of TableTop, it was sort of a well guarded secret. I have lots of nerdy friends, but none were ever the board game kind of nerd. So it was my own little slice of heaven. Fast-forward into getting a new roommate at college and dealing with a lot of relationship crap in the past few months. I saw the Once Upon a Time episode, realize my new best friend/roommate/fellow English major/creative writing nerd would love the game. So we watched it together. We both instantly fell in love with the game, but couldn’t get our hands on it, being poor college students. I went on a trip to Japan over spring break, and came back to being amazed at winning a paper competition held by my school. After dealing with a douche-y ex boyfriend who wouldn’t leave me alone and a lot of problems with a majority of my friend group, it was a ray of sunshine filled with a small cash prize! And the moment I got my hands on the check, I’d ordered Once Upon a Time.

    When the game finally arrived in the mail, my roommate and I were deep in the depressing bowls of finals week. With more than three papers left to write and several finals to prepare for, we were slaving away at all hours of the night. Finally, my roommate turned to me and said “Erin, if we don’t play that game right now, I’m going to throw my laptop across the room in frustration.” So we set aside all the stuff that was basically making life miserable and we played our first round of Once Upon a Time. I can’t remember who won. But when we finished the first round, we started a second, then a third, then a fourth. We set a time limit on ourselves, and eventually went back to work. But for the rest of finals week, we would spend 30 minutes to an hour playing Once Upon a Time and distressing. Thank you, Wil and everyone at Tabletop, for introducing me and my best friend to an awesome game and helping us get through one of the most stressful parts of our semester! YOU GUYS ROCK!

  42. I’ve been in treatment for a severe kidney infection for over a year, and will be for at least a year more as well. So I don’t get out much.

    Before TableTop I only knew of board games that I didn’t find particularly interesting. Monopoly and the like, games we used to play when I was a kid. The game that immediately got my attention was Pandemic. I’m a total sucker for coop games and I loved the strategy and high difficulty level.

    As it turned out, a friend of a friend owned the game so after the idea of TableTop Day (even if it wasn’t on the same date) I organised a table top night with roommates and friends, which was very well received by all.

    Some time after this night, I got to talking with my roommate about extending Pandemic. I have now bought my own copy (had it sent in from Belgium, because it’s all sold out in the Netherlands!) and I’m developing a team vs team rule set where the good guys are playing against the bio-terrorists. I’m hoping to develop this further as an online team vs team game, f.e. on the Ouya.

    Without TableTop, I wouldn’t have known such interesting games even existed and it’s giving me a great project to work on and keep my mind busy at times!

  43. Alright so, here’s my story about Tabletop. I began watching episodes of TableTop not long after it came out. It has definitely kept my Amazon cart busy. In fact I have several games in there waiting for the next time I have some spare cash. Some of the games were purchased before I finished the episodes. I’ve had some awesome games nights with friends thanks to TableTop, including one amazing night of Fiasco with old high school friends and several game weekends with my best friend when we can spare time to see each other. I’ve even used Dixit as a part of the Youth group I lead at my church to talk about communication. In fact, my preacher and I often ask each other if we’ve seen the most recent episodes of TableTop on Sundays before the church ceremony.

    The real story though is about my brother. I grew up with a younger brother. He’s three and a half years younger than me and in a lot of ways we’re very different. I’m a nerdy geek and he’s a down-home redneck. (That’s not a put down, it’s just who he is.) He’s very social and I’m a bit introverted. Since we’ve grown up we’ve found some common ground in movies and TV shows to an extent but our interests tend to be different. We both are a bit competitive though so we like to play games. We grew up playing Clue and Trivia Pursuit as well as card games.

    I knew when I saw Small World that he would love it. He’s a very strategic, logical person and it would definitely be something he would like. The only problem. The cover of the box. When I pulled out the box, the look he gave me was clear. I knew if I insisted that he would try it so I insisted. Over that weekend visit, he, my future sister-in-law and I played three rounds. Now every time they come for a visit he tells me to bring out a game. He always lets me pick and he always tries it. We’ve played Small World, Pandemic, Wild West Munchkin and Original Munchkin. (I bought Wild West Munchkin with him in mind.) Now we just need to break out Last Night on Earth.

    Not only has TableTop brought a lot of new games to my attention, it’s given me a great way to have an awesome time with both friends and family. The only down side to TableTop is that it keeps me spending money on games! Sometimes I have to take a break from watching it so that I can save money.

    I just want to say thanks to Will and all of his guests as well as everyone who works behind the scenes. This show is amazing and so much fun. I can’t wait to see what you have coming up.

  44. So once I discovered geek & sundry I almost instantly fell in love with Tabletop. I’ve never played board games other than the average ones (sorry, monopoly etc) and I instantly wanted to buy everything featured on tabletop. Unfortunately as a teenager my money is exceedingly limited. So a few months ago I finally decided which game to buy, which was Gloom (because dark humor is totally my thing and I love killing off my own characters, so twisted) and I absolutely love it! I forced two of my friends to play it with me and we ended up starting a monthly board game night, which has been beyond fun! Without Tabletop I never would have discovered that board games are fun beyond the age of eight, and my friends would be horribly depraved of the memories of my crushing them in everything from risk to monopoly!

  45. We are a family of gamers – mainly video games. We have a long history of playing MMOs, console games, computer games, etc. My husband and I are both big video gamers, and our kids have grown up exposed to games and love them as well.

    We played the usual board games when our kids were small – Chutes & Ladders, Candyland, Sorry, Battleship, etc. But there was a period of about three years (ages 7-10 for our kids) when the kids had mastered all of these board games and weren’t old enough for games with a higher level of strategic thought.

    Along comes Tabletop.

    Most of the games in the first season were games I had never heard of. And the show makes every game look so fun and compelling, I had to go out and get nearly all of them.

    From Season 1 there was Small World, Pandemic, Castle Panic, Star Fluxx, Last Night on Earth, Wits & Wagers, Dixit, Fiasco, Gloom, Munchkin, Ticket to Ride, Zombie Dice, Get Bit, Tsuro and Settlers of Catan (Dragon Age RPG, Chez Geek, Alhambra, Elder Sign, Say Anything are the only ones I haven’t picked up… yet). From Season 2, I’ve gotten Forbidden Island, King of Tokyo, Formula D and Resistance.

    We play games with our kids now. Fairly regularly. The kids ask to play games with us. It’s delightful. My son has taken easily transportable games to school and introduced his friends to the fun of gaming. The gaming goodness is spreading.

    Because we have an embarrassment of gaming riches now, we started hosting a Game Night for our friends every other month, playing various games for several hours and introducing them to all of the wonderful games that Tabletop has introduced to us. Many of our friends have started watching Tabletop as a result. Many of our friends who also have kids have started buying games they’ve enjoyed at our Game Nights to play with their families.

    The sense of spreading community is really profound. Tabletop gaming is bringing families closer, friends closer, and introducing the joy of gaming to people who didn’t know they were gamers inside.

    Thank you for Tabletop.

  46. This maybe not an amazing way it touched my life, but I have to admit that it has changed how my friends and I approach these types of games now. Just these last few days, we played Small World for the first time, and then Zombie Dice, for a quick filler game until we were tired enough to actually sleep.

    I also bought a copy of Qwirkle (even though it wasn’t featured on TableTop, you did tweet about the game, and I found it interesting enough for my friend’s 5 year old to understand and play). She didn’t finish the game due to lack of attention span (it’s a fairly long game to play in one sitting for a 5 year old…) but she did enjoy it, and then watched my friend and I finish.

    In a few weeks, we plan on playing Tsuro, but I just noticed that you mentioned Tsuro of the Seas, which I’m assuming it just a modification to the board from the original game? If this is going to be on TableTop I may wait to purchase the original, cause we may like the new version better, we shall see.


  47. I made friends with a new shy stepbrother I barely knew over hours and hours of tabletop games, especially Ingenious. We were both a little shy, and confused about getting new siblings as grownups — we didn’t know how to relate at first. At least I didn’t. But gaming together helped us open up and become friends.

  48. I have been able to use tabletop to introduce my fiancee and his 4 wonderful children to the world of gaming. It has helped me get closer to them and bond in a way I was afraid couldn’t happen. We only get them on weekends and try to make the most out of our limited time together. My daughter has been around gaming her whole life and it is something she is very excited to do. My ex and daughter just recently moved 4 states away. I haven’t seen her in 4 months. In two weeks, it will be the first time we’ve had to make the official custody exchange for the summer. It was inspiring to hear how you bonded with your stepchildren through gaming. When she gets here, I plan on using gaming to help all of us bond and become the wonderful alternative family I know we can be. Thank you.

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