Category Archives: Tabletop

chewin’ gum for something to do

Chapter 3 of Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana is online, like, RIGHT NOW.

The Beer Baron and Keg-E bid farewell to the party after considerable celebration and revelry. In an attempt to learn more about their mysterious orb, the group heads to Nestora in search of Farkiah the Antiquarian. Excited for an opportunity to bargain, barter, and more importantly, shop, the heroes quickly head to the market district, but they soon find that it holds more than goods. What does the city-state have in store for our heroes? Tune in to find out.

Looking for sweet Titansgrave loot? Check out the store here!

This is a reminder, because we think this seminar will fill up quickly, and if you care about that sort of thing, I want you to be able to join us:

TitansgraveAtGencon

And if you do care about that sort of thing, you probably want to be reading Chris Pramas’s blogs about the game design. for Titansgrave.

This happened last night:

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 20.46.50

I was checking my network speed, because Netflix was trying to stop me from watching the end of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and nothing would stream off my media server in the house. I couldn’t figure out exactly what was wrong (I even tried turning it off and back on again), and the whole troubleshooting experience felt like trying to get the Babel Fish. But, eventually, things sorted themselves out and I got that insanely fast network speed, so I could finish the show.

In general, I liked it. The first few episodes were fantastic, and some of the middle ones were real stinkers, but I kept watching all the way to the end because Ellie Kemper is just so fantastic and such a joy. The show has a lot of problems that have been discussed to death elsewhere, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Finally, this is a show I’m doing for Playstation Network:CwCWithWilWheaton

We’ll release new episodes, every Tuesday in the US and Canada, on PlayStation Store. You’ll get them for the low, low price of FREE on your PS3, PS4, and PS Vita. What’s that? You loaned your device to your cousin and she went out of town, locked it in her house, and didn’t give you the key? Don’t worry. If you don’t want to try out those lock-picking skills just yet, we’re also going to make our episodes available on PlayStation’s YouTube channel.

So, I hope you’ll join me and some really interesting people as we talk about games like Destiny, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Uncharted, The Last of Us, God of War and more. I’ve already taped a couple of episodes, and I’ve had some really fascinating conversations about the similarities and differences between videogames and movies, the origins of Destiny, and exactly how The Last Of Us scared the hell out of us all, while simultaneously making us care about Joel and Ellie more than we care for actual people we work with in our real lives. Yes, Mark, I’m looking at you. You are never going to get a spot in my zombie survival compound, Mark.

I’m actually on my way to the studio in about ten minutes to do interviews with the team that brought us Black Ops, and the Santa Monica Studio team, who brought us God of War and Journey, among others.

Let me tell you this: I am profoundly late to the party on Journey, but it’s maybe the most beautiful and emotional experience I’ve ever had playing a game. If you have the means, I highly recommend it.

critical failure

For months, whenever I visit gaming sites I care about, someone is laying into me about Tabletop. Things like, “He doesn’t care about the fans” and “He took everyone’s money and didn’t spend it on the show” and “Nobody who is a real gamer takes this show seriously” or “I hate Tabletop because [thing someone decided I did, whether I actually did it or not.]”

I’m pretty good at not having a fuck to give about things, especially from power gamers who aren’t in my target audience, and who will probably never be happy with what I do. For the first two seasons of Tabletop, “Thank you for your comment. Please direct any further comments to that brick wall, and remember that we made this for free,” was my standard response. The people who loved what we did vastly outnumbered the people who complained about the show and about me and about all the delightful things people complain about. And that’s fine. Not everyone likes everything. My goal was to make more gamers in the world, and we’ve certainly succeeded in that. If we never make any more Tabletop, I’ll always feel very good about that.

There’s this thing that we talk about in production, in acting classes, and on the set. It’s this idea that if you feel good about something you made or worked on, and someone shits on it, who cares? You’re happy with it, you made the thing you wanted to make, and they made comments. You can stand by your choices. But there’s another side of it, and it’s why so many of my fellow creative people are as selective as they can be about the projects they do: when you do something that you don’t feel good about, whatever the reason was that you did it, and someone shits on it, it strikes a nerve. When you should have known better, and you didn’t trust your instincts, it strikes a nerve. When you count on someone to do the thing they were supposed to do, and they didn’t, it strikes a nerve.

So when I am accused, over and over and over again of not caring about Tabletop, not caring enough to get the rules right, not caring about the audience, or feeling complacent because of reasons — it strikes a nerve, because I work incredibly hard to be good to our audience. It strikes a nerve because I care a lot, especially this season, because for over twenty thousand people, it wasn’t free, and the only brick wall I care about has all their names on it. Written by hand, by amazing production assistants.

Yesterday, after being beaten up on r/boardgames yet again, I wanted to address that, and explain how things happened this season that are not up to my standards. It wasn’t my intention to do any of the things I’ve been accused of doing, but enough people I trust and respect have all said the same thing to me, so I clearly didn’t communicate my feelings clearly.  I counted on someone who had never let me down, and they profoundly let me down, when it mattered the most. I feel that the backers of the show deserve to know what happened, why it happened, and how it made me feel. What I wanted to say was: this is what happened. This is why that happened. This is how it made me feel. I am angry, and embarrassed, and I kind of don’t even want to do another season of the show.

I didn’t do that well. I stand by telling the truth about what happened, but I wish I’d done it in a better way. I hope you’ll continue to enjoy Tabletop, because a lot of people worked very hard to make it the best show we could make it. In a lot of ways, I believe we have succeeded. In some other ways, we’ve clearly fallen short. I want you to know that I care. I cared during production, and I care now. I realize that this will continue to not be good enough for some people, unnecessary for others, and is unlikely to do anything other than prolong the Internet hatefest I’m presently receiving. But this is one of those things that I need to write for me.

I accept responsibility for my tone, and my words. I don’t apologize for being angry, embarrassed, and disappointed.

I feel like I managed to alienate myself from a community that I love and care about, and I may never be let back in. That hurts a lot, but if it’s a self-inflicted wound, I have nobody to blame but myself. I can’t even blame the dice.

Titansgrave: Chapter Two

Here’s the second episode of Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana.

Join Aankia (Hank Green), Kiliel (Alison Haislip), Lemley (Laura Bailey), and S’Lethkk (Yuri Lowenthal) in the second installment of Titansgrave: Ashes of Valkana. When we last saw our heroes, the beer had been saved and celebrations had ensued. The Beer Baron, having made the last stop in his yearly delivery trip, asks the party to escort his caravan to his estate. Aankia, Kiliel, Lemley, and S’Lethkk find themselves surrounded not only by the rarest of beers, but also by a threat so ancient that it hasn’t been seen since the days of the Chaos Wars. How will our heroes handle themselves?

You should be able to embed, screencast, share, and all that stuff. I hope you like it!

Tabletop, Kingdom Builder, and Screwing Up the Rules

There’s a new Tabletop today, with Paul Scheer, me, Yuri Lowenthal, and Tara Platt. We played a game called Kingdom Builder, and we had a lot of fun when we did it.

We also completely screwed up the rules. For I think the 10th time this season.

I am furious, I am embarrassed, and I need to put there here so I can just refer to it when this almost certainly happens again this season:

We had a producer whose primary job was to make sure we knew the rules to the games, and played correctly. I trusted this producer to be on top of these things, and I trusted this producer to ensure that we played the games properly.

For the first two seasons, this producer did a fantastic job. A couple mistakes got through, but it wasn’t a big deal. Everyone makes a mistake now and then, and the show has always been more about the fun of playing the games than anything else. But something happened in the third season. I don’t know if this producer was careless, overwhelmed, didn’t care as deeply as previous seasons, or just didn’t do the same amount of preparation that was done for the first two seasons. I don’t know why this producer failed to do the most important part of the job so many times this season, but I’m pretty fucking pissed off that the person I trusted to make sure we played the games correctly let me down. I trusted this producer so completely, I spent my time and my energy on other aspects of production, instead of diligently reviewing the rules before every game like I’d done the first two seasons. I feel really, really awful about this. I feel embarrassed by this.

We have a very ambitious production schedule. It’s grueling for all of us, but this season wasn’t any different than the previous two seasons. There is just no excuse for something so fundamental to the show to have been so completely screwed up almost half of the time this season. My trust and reliance was misplaced, I guess, and for that I am embarrassed, I am angry, and I am sorry.

Tabletop is more than just a show where we play games. Tabletop is where millions of people from all over the world go to see how games are played, and to discover new games. We have a responsibility to our audience, and we have let a lot of you down. This is even more infuriating to me this season, because this season was literally made possible by people reaching into their own pockets and trusting us with their money. We had a responsibility to take good care of that, and we didn’t.

Ultimately, I am the host and the face and the identity of Tabletop, so ultimately this falls on me. I take responsibility for these mistakes. I am the executive producer and creator, and it’s my responsibility to ensure that everyone is doing their job. It’s my responsibility to deliver the best show I can, and too many times this season I failed to do that.

To the developers whose games we’ve messed up: I am profoundly sorry. I sincerely hope that your sales aren’t hurt by our mistakes, and I sincerely hope you will accept my apologies.

If we do another season of Tabletop, I will ensure that this never happens again. If we do another season of Tabletop, I’m going to very carefully vet a couple of experts and producers to take on the responsibility of ensuring we’re playing games correctly, and I’ll spend even more of my own time getting up to speed on the rules for each game.

So all of that said, please know that Kingdom Builder is a really great game. We had a lot of fun when we played it,  even though we completely butchered the rules.

TITANSGRAVE: The Old Chaotic Neutral

So I really loved that Leonard Balsera came up with some cool beer names for the Beer Baron in episode one of Titansgrave.

It appears that the Internet agrees with me, and a lot of folks have asked me if we’re going to release a homebrew recipe for The Old Chaotic Neutral.

I would love to do that, but I’m not sure what style it will be … so maybe you can help me out?

What type of beer is Old Chaotic Neutral?

View Results

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I’ll leave this poll open for a few days, and get to work when a clear consensus emerges. If you have further ideas or thoughts, please let me know in comments.

Titansgrave is now on YouTube

Our release schedule for Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana is

We’re doing this for a bunch of business reasons that aren’t interesting enough to go into, and because we’re working on making Geek and Sundry dot Com a destination for videos, sort of the way a TV channel works. Like, you go to ESPN for sports, you go to literally any other cable channel for bullshit reality TV, you go to MTV when you never, ever, ever want to see a music video, or you go to Comedy Central to see comedy.

Based on the feedback I’m reading all over the Internets, the video player Geek and Sundry is using sucks for a lot of you (and I hate it). I just wanted all of you who have expressed frustration with the player to know that I hear you, and I’ve conveyed your feelings and concerns to the business people at the Mothership who can hopefully do something to address it, and make it better for everyone.

I’m not sure that I can do anything about it, but I want you all to know that I’m doing my best.

And now, here’s episode zero and episode one of Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana on YouTube, for your embedding and TV streaming and sharing needs.

Also, we’re partnering with DFTBA Records to make some cool Titansgrave merchandise, if you wanted to get in on that action.

 

#SaveTheBeer!

For weeks, I’ve been a wreck. The stress dreams were relentless, my appetite was unpredictable, and I got massively sick for the first time in years.

My depression and anxiety have been as bad as they’ve been in months, and it’s been a challenge to get to the end of every day.

This is pretty normal for me when I care deeply about something, and I know that all of this has been anticipation about the release of Titansgrave, which is something I’ve been actively working on for about a year, and something I’ve wanted to produce since Tabletop first began.

I feel a responsibility to the cast and crew, to the editors, to the director, to our partners at Green Ronin, and to the thousands of backers who made it possible for us to create the show.

I’ve been making creative decisions every day, watching edits and rewatching edits and giving notes on edits and watching the edits with those notes applies so much, I started to lose perspective on the story. When I’m spending all of my energy focusing on what I can cut and what I need to change, that’s all I can see, and it’s easy for me to forget that there’s all this stuff there that’s genuinely cool.

My deepest fear has been that we wouldn’t be able to share with the audience how we felt while we played, that we couldn’t be able to communicate the fun, the tension, the camaraderie, the anticipation and excitement. I was worried that everything I thought was awesome, because I was there, wouldn’t translate.

By the way, I felt exactly this way before Tabletop was released, so this is nothing new for me.

As I told Ivan yesterday on Twitch: all I could hear was Carrie’s mom in my head, hysterically screaming that they were all going to laugh at me.

Well, it’s about 24 hours later, and contrary to everything I’ve been taught, I’ve been reading the comments. It looks like the hard work of our team from the first few ideas I wrote down in a notebook to the first few steps our party took together to the final edit I signed off on last week was worth it.

So far, everyone seems to love the characters, the players, and the story as much as I do … and that makes me so incredibly excited because I know what the future holds for all of us, and now I wish it was next week as much as you do.

Thanks for watching, everyone, and thank you for your feedback. A very, very special thank you to our backers, and to everyone involved in the creation and production.

Oh, and whoever decided that #SaveTheBeer was going to be a thing? You get +3 to awesome today.

 

Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana is here

Titansgrave Wallpaper
This could be a neat wallpaper, if you were interested in that sort of thing…

We’ve been working on it for a very long time, and it’s finally here.

I hope you like Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana as much as I do. I hope we communicate to you, the audience, what we experienced as we played the game.

Here is our prologue, episode zero.

And here it is … Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana – Episode One.

New episodes will premiere every Tuesday on Geek and Sundry, and then they will be released on our YouTube channel on Friday.