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.