TableTop (2012– )
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But, beyond the "Fiasco" episode, subsequent session weren't quite as funny but still highly entertaining, including when I got to see Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson Games give us a rousing round of the very hilarious (in a D&D Role Playing kind of way) "Chez Geek".
I guess the reason "Fiasco" was so entertaining is because back in the day, when I was part of a writers' pow wow, the ideas flew fast and furious amidst much laughter and serious tones alike; i.e. "Good idea, laughs, serious tone as we all make notes, another idea, everyone applauds, more note taking, then the next idea which will look like a deep dramatic moment on the big screen." It was kind of like that if you've ever been part of a writer's group. Great stuff, because that's essentially what happens in a writers' session when you're trying to come up with ideas.
Otherwise "Table Top", at times, comes close to something like watching that late night poker show that used to be in a few years back. The running commentary as we get to hear the participants' thoughts have moments of laughter, and educate us as to what's going on in terms of rules and player strategy. Wheaton (or his writers) definitely have their finger on he pulse of gamer / tech-geek / movie-geek society; the male who keeps tabs on science, trends, and pop-culture alike, whose pop/science data-base is brimming with knowledge to laugh at zingers referencing those very things.
Well, where you might see a derivative of Monopoly or its unauthorized but perfectly legal knockoff played on this show, you won't see D&D nor "War in the Pacific" (a behemoth SPI WW2 Pacific Theatre sim), but you'll see games that take a little work to play, but are more user friendly to a more mainstream audience set who are more inclined to go to cocktail parties or a wine and cheese, as opposed to a weekend gaming session at your friend's living room with other die hard gamers.
A great watch, which, if the game is right and participants are right, can be a real delight (Fiasco Saturday Night 78 battle-set was absolutely brilliant), otherwise it's a bit more run in the mill, but can definitely educate the avid gamer on more mainstream games that have a bit of punch and pizazz for their friends.
*EDIT* Sept 5th, 2014 Okay, I'm coming out retirement here to modify my review. I just saw the episode where Wheaton plays "Gloom" with three lady card gamers who are also Youtube media types, and I haven't laughed so hard since I saw "Used Cars" or the "Saturday Night 78" Fiasco episode. The deadpan deliveries with just outrageous stories had me slapping my desk and roaring with laughter.
The episode after that was the Dragonage board game, where Wil Wheaton just blatantly used his Wesley Crusher status to mock-bribe one of the players to support his forces in the game. Again, my eyes were watering as I slammed my hands on the desk.
If you have any ounce of a Gamer in you or your family, then you must see this show.
Contact me with Questions, Comments or Suggestions ryitfork @ bitmail.ch