Category Archives: Tabletop

a little bit about games, and choosing a tabletop game you’ll enjoy

On Tumblr, t wrote:

My birthday is coming up next week and my brother insists on getting me something. He asked me what I wanted and told him I wanted a board game. He asked which one and I kind of blanked ajd told him I’d get back to him.
Being a fan of Table Top I went through and picked out my favorite ones but can’t decide on which game I want. Currently it is a choice between Munchkin, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Elder Sign and Pandemic. Which one would you pick?

This is a fairly common question, though the games are a little different each time. Here’s what I answered:

Those are all very different games, so it depends on what kind of gaming experience you want to have.
Munchkin is silly, pun-filled, and about messing with your friends. It also has about nine million expansions.
Pandemic is about working together in a game that you’re probably going to have fun losing.
Elder Sign is about working together in a heavily-themed game that is very random because of the dice.
Betrayal is about working together — until you find out that one of you is trying to murder the rest of you with kill death. It’s more of an RPG in a box, and is really fun if you treat it that way.
So I can’t tell you which one is best, but hopefully that information can help you make an informed decision.
Happy Birthday!!

I can’t say “Oh, if you are choosing from these games, this is the one to play,” because they’re all great games in their own way. I would, of course, try to direct t away from a game that wasn’t fun at all, or had a terrible rule book, because I believe that’s a moral imperative when games are being discussed.

I was recently at a game shop to pick up this game called Hive that is insanely fun. While I was there, I watched an employee try very hard to help a young woman pick out a game. They went through all the aisles, and he explained each game in depth long after she’d lost interest in it. This happened because he wasn’t asking the right question: what kind of game do you want to play? because he was asking questions about theme (you like Torchwood? Well, this game is blah blah blah) that didn’t help her at all. I didn’t want to jump in, but it was killing me to watch this happen. He was trying so hard, and it was like they were speaking the same language but weren’t able to exchange anything of substance between them.

I don’t know what, if anything, she decided to get, but I hope she left with something because the world needs more gamers. One way we can help make that happen is to know how to talk to them, so they can find their way into our hobby, and feel at home there.

What’s your favorite Halloween or Horror Tabletop Game?

Today, we’re shooting a Very Special Episode of Not The Flog, where I’m going to share some of my favorite horror-themed tabletop games. I have a pretty big list in my head, but I’m sure there’s something awesome that I’m forgetting, so if you wanted to maybe get onto Not The Flog, tell me the title of the game you love, why you love it, and what your favorite Halloween candy is. I’ll pick some and put them into the show, which is coming out sooooooon.



New Tabletop: Betrayal at House on the Hill

This week, Ashly Burch, Keahu Kahuanui and Michael Swaim join me to play one of my very favorite RPG-in-a-box games: Betrayal at House on the Hill.

I’m a huge fan of Ashly’s work in Borderlands 2, and after I met her at Valve last year, I became a huge fan of her as a human. She’s really awesome and a hell of a lot of fun to play with. If you like things that don’t suck, check out Hey Ash, Watcha Playin’?

Keahu and I have a ton of friends in common, but we’d never met until just before we shot this episode. Since then, we’ve become very good friends, and I even get to be a Bad Idea Bear for him from time to time when giant pizza is involved. Thank you, Tabletop Gaming, for helping me make a new friend. Oh, and Keahu is on some TV show about wolf hunters or something like that. I think it’s animated.

Michael Swaim knows Felicia, and is a lifelong tabletop gamer, just like me. He also writes for Felicia suggested that I invite him to the show, because he’s hilarious and fun to be around, and she was pretty sure we’d like each other. I hate to admit it, but Felicia was right.

This was so much fun to play, and so much incredibly awesome stuff happened, we ended up cutting it into a two-part episode (but fear not! Part two comes out next week, because we love you and don’t want to make you wait two whole weeks for the second part. Did I mention that it was awesome? It’s awesome.)

When I get home from Texas, we’re shooting a Very Special Episode of Not The Flog, where I’m going to share some of my favorite horror-themed tabletop games. I have a pretty big list in my head, but I’m sure there’s something awesome that I’m forgetting, so if you wanted to maybe get onto Not The Flog, tell me the title of the game you love, why you love it, and what your favorite Halloween candy is. I’ll pick some and put them into the show, which is coming out sooooooon.



Anyway, turn down your lights (where applicable) and enjoy the show!

Congratulations to Tabletop!

Last night, Tabletop won the most meaningful and genuinely prestigious award in the gaming industry, The Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming.

I don’t care about awards, and prefer to just let the work speak for itself, but it’s not hyperbole to say that it’s the Stanley Cup of gaming awards, and it is given by a group of people who I deeply respect and admire.

This show would not and could not exist without some very wonderful people, and all the work they put in from the very beginning of the first season. I owe them an incredible debt of gratitude for the work they’ve done and continue to do, and for making it possible for me to share my love of gaming with the world. We’re making something that’s more than just an entertaining show; we’re bringing families together, helping kids with learning disabilities, and this weekend in Chicago, a lady told me that Tabletop made it possible for her to communicate with her autistic son for the first time in his life. So it is my great honour to share this with

Our Director, Jennifer Arnold
Our First AD and Associate Producer, Adam Lawson
Our Executive Producer, Sheri Bryant
Our Associate Producer and Games Guru, Boyan Radakovich
Our amazing editing team, lead by Steve Grubel
Everyone on our fantastic crew
My dear friend and partner in crime, Felicia Day

I also want to thank everyone who watches Tabletop, plays Tabletop games with their friends and family, and creates the games we love to play. We will keep making this show as long as people will watch it, and as long as we can somehow pull together the funding to make it possible.

Congratulations, Team Tabletop! I’m so proud of us!




Chicago comicon wrap-up

I had a truly wonderful time at Wizard Comicon in Chicago this weekend. I met thousands of people who love the things I love, and spent a whole lot of time geeking out about the games we love to play and the universes we love to visit.

Here’s some of the really awesome cosplay I saw:

Rick Grimes and Darryl Dixon Cosplay Captain Planet Cosplay

I love love love that these young women decided to cosplay as the characters they love, even though those characters are male. I’ve seen tons of Doctor Who cosplay from women, and I think it’s extremely awesome that these ladies are not letting gatekeeper dipshits tell them that they can’t cosplay as the characters they love because of their gender. Kick ass!

I also got to see some really great examples of people getting excited and making things:

LEGO Tabletop painting!
LEGO Tabletop painting. Please enjoy the photobombing.
LEGO Tabletop painting!
Closer view of the LEGO Tabletop painting.


Wooden Gordie
This guy made this with a wood burning thing.
Watercolour Wesley
This young woman (I think her name is Amanda) painted this Wesley in (I think) Watercolour. I wish I’d taken a closer shot of it, because it’s beautiful work.

I also made some custom Cards Against Humanity cards, that you shouldn’t look at, because they’re kind of NSFW.


They don’t all have to make sense, you guys.
The is the underlying premise of my script "Doctor Screw".
The is the underlying premise of my script for “Doctor Screw”.


I got to see some really neat stuff that I didn’t know existed, like Cosmic Boy action figures (I was excited because I played Cosmic Boy on Legion of Superheroes).

Cosmic Boy

I also got to sign a bunch of Robin stuff, because I play the Tim Drake Robin in DC Universe Online, as well as a bunch of cool Blue Beetle stuff (I played Ted Kord on Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and so far I’m the only actor to play that particular role!) that I wanted to just keep for myself.

Finally, some of you may remember Wesley Crusher’s Sweet-Ass Motherfucking Bouffant. If you do not remember Wesley Crusher’s Sweet-Ass Motherfucking Bouffant, I suggest you go look at Wesley Crusher’s Sweet-Ass Motherfucking Bouffant right now. GO NOW I WILL WAIT.

At the con, I met a delightful young woman called Marty. Marty’s friend Hannah is the creative genius who made sure the world knew about Wesley Crusher’s Sweet-Ass Motherfucking Bouffant. I was so excited to meet her, I had to sign special pictures for the two of them:

Wil Wheaton's Bad Ass Motherfucking Fez

To Hannah: Look at this fucking sweet bad ass motherfucking fez. And what the fuck?! That’s right, it’s a false fucking moustache on top of a real motherfucking hot shit panty-dropping real moustache!

Back Right the Fuck Up And Look At This Motherfucking Picture

To Marty

Back right the fuck up and look at this sweet-ass motherfucking non-bouffant.



In gold, Wil fucking Wheaton

We laughed really hard while I was writing these things down, which made me very happy, on account of me being easily amused.

I had a great weekend, and I though I have a few more stories to recount, I’m in the airport waiting to go to Indianapolis for GenCon, and it’s time for me to get on my plane and go PLAY MORE GAMES!

next time on tabletop: star wars x-wing

My editors at Geek & Sundry are amazing, and work very hard to turn hours of footage from several cameras into an awesome episode of Tabletop.

This is what the timeline looks like for next week’s episode, Star Wars X-Wing.

Star Wars X-Wing edit timeline

You can click that to embiggen and get a closer look. For those of you who do editing, you are probably going O.o right now. For those of you who don’t, each one of those boxes and lines represents a cut or a graphic or some other thing my editor, Steve, had to do to create this episode. I think he spent about 40 hours on this one episode.

All creative work for television and movies is a collaboration, and everyone is working together in service of something that’s bigger than all of us individually. Everyone works hard on their specific part of the process, and if we’re lucky, it all comes together to be something awesome.

Not the Flog 3

We are having entirely too much fun making Not The Flog.

This week, I’ll discuss some smartphone and tablet app versions of games we’ve played on Tabletop, forgetting to mention one of the very best, Forbidden Island.

Oh, and the intro that Sean Becker made is maybe the best thing on the Internet today.


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’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.

The new Tabletop is a real Smash Up.

We wrapped production on season two of Tabletop on Tuesday night. When I got home from the set, Anne asked me how I was feeling.

“Do you feel sad that it’s over, or relieved that you get to catch your breath?”

I grabbed a glass out of the kitchen and walked across our living room.

“I’m tired, so I’m looking forward to a couple days of being a fat piece of shit on the couch, but I’m going to miss playing games all day for my job.”

I poured an Arrogant Bastard Ale out of my kegerator — a gift to myself — that’s been in the living room since it arrived a little over a month ago.

“That makes sense,” Anne said.

“Yeah, and I’m really proud of what we did this season, so I feel sort of sad to say goodbye to my crew for another year.”

I filled my glass and took a sip. “Ahhh that’s good beer.”

“This thing is the Leg Lamp,” she said, pointing to my kegerator.

“You mean it’s a thing of indescribable beauty that should be in the front window?”

“No, I mean that it’s a thing that really needs to be in your office and not the living room.”

I took a drink of my beer. “But if it was in my office, we’d have to walk all the way down the hall to get beer.”

She hesitated and I pounced. “See? That’s science. I win.”

I sat on the couch and she looked at me. “I’m going to move it as soon as I clean up the disaster that is where my office used to be*. Thank you for being patient.” I hoped she would not use up all the glue on purpose, as we settled down to watch the season finale of Game of Thrones.

Today, I’m starting to get back to normal. I’ve slept a lot the last two nights, so I only feel a little fuzzy in my brain. Also today, the newest episode of Tabletop was released! It’s Smash Up, with Rich Sommer, Cara Santa Maria, and Jen Timms.

Watching this today, I am once again blown away by the magnificent work of our editors. This game has a lot going on, and they worked very hard to make it understandable and entertaining. Tabletop is a show that is made in editing, and I realized while watching Smash Up today that the last five days of production, while very long and intense, represent only the beginning of the process that makes Tabletop possible. So, Yasu and Steve, if you’re reading this: thank you for your incredible work. I’m grateful to have you on my team.

*During production, my office becomes a huge pile of boxes and games and all kinds of stuff that just gets set aside until production wraps. It’s currently the worst it’s ever been, because in addition to the usual cruft from production, there are several boxes of things I brought home from conventions last month, as well as a whole lot of homebrew that’s bottle conditioning. It’s a hot mess.

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.