My show, Tabletop, was included in Giga Om’s The Best Of Web Video 2012, one of only four program(me)s singled out by Liz Shannon Miller:
Part of the Geek and Sundry YouTube network (along with Felicia Day’s Flog and the whimsicalWritten by a Kid), Tabletop was one of this year’s case models for the concept that web video audiences are ready for longer content.
The Wil Wheaton-hosted series sat geek celebs like Alex Albrecht, Morgan Webb, Jane Espenson, Amber Benson and Ryan Higa to play a wide range of dice, card and board games, consistently reaching six-figure viewcounts (impressive for a half-hour long show). But what I find especially cool abut Tabletop is the gaming community that’s come out of it, showcased primarily via the Tumblr blog Seen on Tabletop, where viewers are encouraged to submit their experiences playing the games featured on the show.
The last new episode of Tabletop was posted November 1st, but “Seen on Tabletop” is still updating regularly: Right now, it’s flooded with posts featuring the post-Christmas gaming adventures of its fans.
I’m so proud of Tabletop, and so grateful to everyone who has helped make it a success. As a rule, I don’t care about being included in lists or winning awards — I believe the work is what’s important and that the work should just speak for itself — but this is different, because we’re on a very short list with My Drunk Kitchen and Daily Grace, two of the funniest and most entertaining shows I’ve ever seen anywhere.
And I really love that she singled out the Tumblr community I created, which is only awesome because my fellow gamers keep submitting their pictures and stories to it.
The most important thing for us at Geek and Sundry is to make Tabletop an entertaining show that’s worth your time to watch, so we work very, very hard to hit that goal. But my ulterior motives are twofold:
1) Make more gamers by showing anyone who watches the show how much fun it is to play tabletop games, thus inspiring them to get together with friends and family to play.
2) Give gamers something to show their non-gaming partners, friends, or family to help them understand why we love games as much as we do, hopefully leading those partners/friends/family to number 1).
The community that’s been built at As Seen On Tabletop has ended up being a very big part of serving my ulterior motives, and I’m very grateful to everyone who’s submitted pictures and stories to it.
Tabletop comes back with new episodes starting on January 3, and we should know for sure if we get a season two very shortly after. Fingers crossed!
Last week, I had a meeting at Geek and Sundry to discuss several geek and sundry things, some of them related to my show Tabletop. We all thought it would be fun and awesome to do a live Google Hangout Q&A thingy for all the people who love the show and are sadface that there won’t be new episodes until January. We were pretty excited to have a whole hell of a lot of fun tonight.
In light of Friday’s mass murder in Connecticut, though, it just felt wrong to me, and I thought we should postpone it for a week or more. I discussed it with some of my cow orkers at G&S, and we decided that we’d do whatever I decided. Unable to make a decision I felt good about on my own, I went for a walk with Anne, and asked her opinion and advice.
“Gaming is a family activity, and people watch Tabletop with their kids,” she said, echoing something Tabz at G&S had said to me earlier in the day, “it seems like giving anyone who wants a break from the sadness and horror we’re all feeling an hour to talk and think about things we love and the people we love is a good thing.”
I’ve said before that Anne is the brains in our relationship. She’s also the heart and soul.
After 9/11, we canceled our shows at ACME because none of us felt like we could be funny. I’m feeling similar emotions now… but I don’t have to be funny or perform. I just have to not suck, and I can do that. I can still provide an hour for us to talk about games, about the production of the show, and maybe share some stories about how gaming is important to my family.
So that’s what I’m going to do. For an hour tonight, from 6pm Pacific time, I’ll be taking your questions about Tabletop and gaming. @GeekAndSundry will have all the details you need to know so you can watch and submit your questions.
Pretty much everything you need to know is in the title of this post, so here’s a picture of my nephew facepalming in his sleep:
Because project Get The Garage Organized was such a success, I was inspired to spend a little time on a related project, called Get My Office Organized.
In the process of cleaning up, going through stacks of papers and a considerable number of boxes, I found the dungeon map I drew for the title sequence of Tabletop. You only see it for a moment, and even then it’s just a small part of it, but I still drew a whole map like I would have in 1982. I’m confident that I don’t have to explain why.
I hereby release this into the world under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License for anyone who wants to use it (I suggest the original D&D red box rules), on the additional condition that you share with me how you populated it.
Tabletop returns with all new episodes in January!
For the next seven days, shirt.woot is offering some awesome designs — including mine — as part of their Tabletop-tastic sale:
Roll +1 for fashion! This week we’re
featuring some of our favorite board game- and tabletop RPG-themed designs on hoodies, totes, and tees! Because how else is everyone going to know you’re more civilized than they are?
If you need a new How We Roll T-shirt, always wanted a How We Roll hoodie, or your very own How We Roll tote bag (I’m in for thee, because they are amazing and perfect for carrying my games to gameday), you have about 160 hours to make it happen.
Oh! Oh! Oh! And I just noticed when I was making those links that they’re also offering How We Roll Remixed, which is the same design but on a black shirt. So, you know, now Neil Gaiman can wear one.
Today and tomorrow, I'm narrating the audio version of Zach Weinersmith's The Trial of the Clone. I'm up nice and early because I'm apparently on the same schedule as my puppy.
In place of a proper post about GenCon (which was exhausting but lots of fun), here are a few pictures of awesome things I saw while I was there, starting with epic cosplay:
My favourite part of signing is meeting people who love the same things I love, and geeking out about those things. It's genuinely wonderful to talk with hundreds of people who are from The Tribe, you know? Signing for hours and hours at a time can get tiring, though, and one of the ways I restore HP and Mana during the day is by amusing myself when it's appropriate. Here are a few examples of me doing that at GenCon:
People make me amazing things, and give me wonderful gifts at cons. Here are a few of the things I got to bring home:
I was so busy signing, I only got to play two games: Fiasco with my friends, using a playset they wrote me for my birthday, and True Dungeon with many of the same friends, where we sent the Draco Lich (Formerly known as the dragon Smoak, who I kind of one-shotted in 2010) to the void. You're welcome, people-who-no-longer-live-in-fear-of-the-Draco-Lich.
I can't even count the number of people who told me wonderful, personal stories about how Tabletop has touched their lives. When I have some more time, I'll share a few of them.
Casual party games are a great infection vector for introducing tabletop gaming to our non-gaming friends. For experienced players, they're also fantastic palate cleansers between games of Puerto Rico and Power Grid.
If you like Say Anything, you'll probably like other casual tabletop games, like Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, and the three quick casual games we've already played (Tsuro, Zombie Dice, and Get Bit!).
These games are easy to learn, play very quickly, and can be found just about anywhere, from your Friendly Local Game Shop to big chain bookstores.
Every day, I get emails, messages on Twitter, and Ravens from people who have played a game because we played it on Tabletop. The stories and pictures are super awesome, and I want to share them with the world.
So I set up a Tumblr called As Seen On Tabletop for viewers to share your stories and pictures from your game nights, game days, and game shops.
You can either use the SUBMIT function there, or you can send email to tabletop (at symbol) wil wheaton (dot goes here) net.
The newest episode of Tabletop is Fiasco, my absolute favorite storytelling RPG of all time.
Fiasco is "a game about ordinary people with powerful ambition and poor impulse control. There will be big dreams and flawed execution. It won’t go well for them, to put it mildly, and in the end it will probably all go south in a glorious heap of jealousy, murder, and recrimination. It’s designed to be played in a single session, usually around two and a half hours, with no prep."
When you have a Fiasco, you use a playset to establish the things the players are going to ruin their lives trying to get, who they are to each other, and where everything is going to get all fucked up. Some of my favourite playsets are Los Angeles 1936, Dallas 1963, and Flyover.
The playset we used for Tabletop was written by me and Will Hindmarch, and Fiasco's creator Jason Morningstar. It's called Saturday Night 78. It is described thusly:
New York City, 1978. Last year, the city endured the chaos of the blackout of ‘77 and the terror of the Son of Sam killings. This year, Studio 54 makes millions by giving beautiful plebs and dazzling celebrities a place to party at $20 a head. Condensed sweat rains from Studio 54’s mirrored-laminate ceiling—sweat evaporated from the brows of celebrities, maybe—and falls back on the dancers below.
This is a time of rock and disco, of reckless hedonism and casual sex, a time before consequences. Debauchees high on blow, poppers, or Quaaludes dance and laugh and lust and cry in swank clubs and dirty dives all over the city. Whoever your characters are in the daylight, come dark they transform into sordid stars or disco royalty, beautiful disasters or pitiable victors, ricocheting off each other into the glittering wreckage of imploded parties. Every Saturday night the city’s alight with spectacular fiascos.
What's that you say? It sounds like an awesome setting that you'd like to use yourself? We've got you covered! You can download Saturday Night 78 for free right here, and use it in your very own Fiasco. And if you do, you know that I want to hear all about it in the comments.