going behind the scenes at tabletop, and embracing your inner nerd

My friend Amy came to Tabletop to shoot a behind the scenes vlog for Geek and Sundry. You can see a little bit more of our set, and meet some of our crew. I can’t embed it, so go watch it and then come back to read something awesome.

Okay, here’s something awesome: I got this lovely note on tumblr, and wanted to share it with as many people as possible. I asked reader RM if I could have permission to reprint this note that she sent me, and she said yes. I hope it makes you feel as happy as it made me feel.

So the last thing I thought I’d do was send fan mail to Wil Wheaton. Yet, here I am doing this happily against the wishes of my past self who constantly told my dad I would never like the ‘stupid nerdy things’ he enjoys.

He always told me one day I would. I didn’t believe him. Then I discovered everything you’ve ever done and made and I realised a lot. I do enjoy ‘stupid nerdy stuff’ but I learnt that what I thought of as stupid nerdy stuff isn’t stupid or in fact how I viewed something being nerdy.

Because looking back I noticed that I always really loved science and super Heros or vampire slayers but I thought in order to like that I had to be a certain way. I was wrong. And I’ve learnt to leave the part of me that stereotyped behind. So thanks to you and my dad I’m not ashamed to share my love for astronomy, Mythbusters, and discoveries.

I will never say to myself ‘I’m not supposed to like that’ anymore because no one is in charge of what I’m supposed to like. And if I like it then that’s what I am supposed to like because I do. I’ve never been supposed to like anything either so why should I not be allowed to like something. Plus, what fifteen year old doesn’t like super Heroes anyway. We all secretly want to be one anyway. No shame in that.

Thank you,

RM

RM’s note to me delights me, because she’s learning to feel comfortable with who she is, and what she loves. One of the many things I just adore about Amy and her vlogs for G&S is how unabashedly enthusiastic she is about the things she loves, and how infectious her love for those things is. I don’t know if RM will grow up to become as enthusiastic as Amy, but hope that RM’s note inspires other young people — especially young women — who are struggling to embrace their inner nerd so they can share her with the world.

7 thoughts on “going behind the scenes at tabletop, and embracing your inner nerd”

  1. I also just wanted to thank you for being so awesome and nerdy. I have long been a nerd and loved board games. I had a bunch of friends back home that were enthusiastic about trying new games and we had a local store that actually demo-ed new board games when they came out. When I moved to where I am now which is a small(very small) city in oklahoma all of that went away. My (now) husband started watching you on tabletop and was getting a lot more interested in playing board games. He enjoys magic and mmo’s, video games and the sort. He would watch your show and say hey! there is the game I want to try and for a while since it’s just us i would say no let’s not buy that .. when are we going to get to play it?I had kind of lost my spirit for board games due to a lack of people to play with. So finally for his birthday i suggested to his mom that she get him castle panic. He LOVES it! He also then bought small world, forbidden island and cthulu fluxx. We have both been enjoying them all and it’s thanks to your show that made us both realize (me again)how much we love board games. I enjoyed just playing with him but we had some friends over and played tsuro , munchkin and all the ones i listed above. It’s really awesome to see other people enjoy learning a new game especially since some of them are more strategic. You have brought gaming here to Enid and slowly but surely we’re trying to spread it around! I cannot thank you enough for inspiring my husband who is now designing some of his own games and has found what he wants to be when he grows up! That alone is worth everything to me. You have inspired him to be better and me as well. Thank you for being the most decent human that I have never met!

    1. I don’t know you, I mean personally, so this is a bit weird, but I wanted to tell you my 11-year-old son thinks you’re the coolest! He likes seeing you on Big Bang Theory, but he loves watching Tabletop even more.

      He spent 7 hours today with a new-ish friend playing Smallworld, talking about their new D&D sets, Minecraft, Comic-Con (here in Albuquerque) and Doctor Who. I thought you might enjoy knowing there’s a whole new generation of geeks and nerds out there that are embracing it.

      What you all are doing over at Geek & Sundry is a great thing. Thanks!

  2. I had a slightly different version of this going through the years of my life. I’ve sort of “woken up” in the last few years to see the world around me has come to accept the things that I used to have to hide to avoid scorn or teasing.

    I remember attending a conference for the business I was doing at the time that a vendor was running. It was meant to be a developer’s conference since the company was founded by hacker types (actually phreakers…and it was a voice/telco type of company which is hilarious if you think about it). We were one of their biggest clients so I was given a bit more attention than most (which embarrasses me…I’ve built up this sort of humility filter over the years and getting that sort of attention is nice but also, as I said, embarrassing). Anyway, I remember someone from that company pointing out how much I did NOT seem like a developer (though they knew I was…and I am). That’s when it hit me.

    Since high school, I’d spent a lot of time trying to become someone else. It’s sort of the classic high school movie thing where the nerdy kid gets a make over and all the cool kids suddenly want to be with them…except there was no instant make over and people didn’t really want to be with me…they just let me join them. I also made some changes of my own to fix problems I needed to address (read: extreme shyness). Put together, a lot of people I knew never really knew me as a “nerd”. Sure, they knew I liked science fiction and all but I didn’t fit the stereotype.

    Even so, I still lived that dual life. In a way, I still do. In the last few years, with PAX (my favorite event every year) and other aspects of gaming and nerdome becoming more mainstream and acceptable (let’s not even talk about games and game development back in ye olden days), I’ve noticed how much more comfortable I’ve been with that “other” side of me. It’s nice that I can enjoy gaming and not feel like I’m treated like one of “those types” any more. Sure, there’s still a sliver of America and the world that thinks games are for kids and are stupid. But, as I’ve matured and observed and gained wisdom (experience wisdom, by the way; experience + observation + cognition = wisdom), I’ve managed to convince myself that what I thought was fringe and something to suppress and secret away was really just another lifestyle that, like any other, when mixed with the right mix of social interaction and a small dose of reality, can be rewarding and enjoyable.

    At this point, I think my only restriction is finding more like-minded people near me. I feel like I’m living in the boonies (San Fernando Valley – North). Game stores around here are teeny Magic temples more than anything else. :)

  3. I spent most of my childhood and adolescent wedged firmly in other worlds because I was too afraid of this one to climb out of my thick-walled shell of silent shyness. Fantasy, sci-fi, comics, superheroes, Buffy — all of that is what got me through, taught me about who I could be, and grew my confidence levels. It wasn’t until adulthood that I got a chance to engage with others who’d had similar experiences, and I can honestly say that learning to allow the in-shell me to merge with out-shell me was the best thing I ever could have done. Now I take karate, run a geek website, write superhero novels, and tell anyone who will listen about the Things I Love, because that’s how I find other people who love them.

    My husband teaches band camps in the summer for kid rockers (not THAT Kid Rock), and we were talking about shyness and female superheroes and role models, and yesterday he goes, “Two eleven-year-old girls showed up today dressed as Batman and Superman. And they rocked out like that.” His last camp of fourteen-year-old girls were obsessed (OBSESSED) with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural. And I got teary because Buffy is still my all-time favorite show. It changed my life, and to know that a new generation is finding it, loving it, learning from it — well. It makes the heart do feels-y things. I love that message you got. I love seeing young women embracing an enthusiasm for awesome things.

    Thanks for writing this and sharing. You’ve gone and made my day.

  4. I love this “finding your inner nerd” story. For me it was the usual “awkward and slightly crazy” growing up to find a middle ground between being a total nerd and learning to talk normally to normal people :D

    Anyway… to be honest I mainly came here for one reason and one reason alone:
    Fate + Tabletop.
    A fellow Tabletop + Fate fan met you on the Wizard World Comic Con and you might have slipped that you backed the kickstarter of Fate Core. Well.. we had been wondering before but now?
    Is there any chance you might make a Fate Accelerated Edition Tabletop Edition?
    Let’s go at this from different angles:
    1. It is an awesome game and I think it would work even better than dragon age on Tabletop.
    2. The guys from Evil Hat are awesome as well. Not only as persons but as a company to. They are incredible customer friendly, have released their games on a creative commons license and answer every question lightningly fast
    3. Due to 1 and 2 there has a very big fanbase evolved around FATE. Soo… the game itself would bring you a whole bunch of viewers (I mean.. over 10.000 people backed the kickstarter alone!). So it seems like a valid choice.

    Please carefully note any orthography mistakes I made. Together they spell a secret message!!

    Just kidding. Not a native English Speaker so bear with me.

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