18 December 2015
The creator of TableTop talks about his love for gaming
Tabletop gaming isn’t necessarily a hobby you would associate with celebrities but over the years a handful of well known celebs have dabbled in our world. Robin Williams was an avid player of Warhammer 40k, Vin Diesel is a big Dungeons & Dragons fan (supposedly he even tried to teach Dame Judi Dench how to play) and Jeremy Paxman plays a mean Magic: The Gathering… ok, we might have made that one up. However, although these stars are loosely associated with tabletop gaming, one Hollywood star has become synonymous with the hobby and that man is Wil Wheaton, the creator and host of the incredibly popular web series: TableTop.
Wil originally rose to fame playing the notorious Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Love or hate Wesley, it’s hard to deny that he’s one of the more memorable characters from the series that, somehow, always managed to save the ship in times of peril. However, after seemingly disappearing from the spotlight for a few years and becoming a star poker player, Wil has re-emerged as a bastion for geek culture thanks to his recurring appearances in The Big Bang Theory and his very public love for board gaming, as demonstrated in TableTop.
Just in case you live in the woods and haven’t seen/heard of TableTop, it’s a very slick internet show that sees Wil and some ‘famous’ (their fame varies wildly from episode to episode) friends gathering round and playing a game. That’s right, just imagine a camera crew turned up to your board game night and filmed the proceedings… that’s pretty much TableTop in a nutshell but with the addition of actors you kind of recognise from episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. On paper it’s a show that shouldn’t really work but is actually compelling viewing – so was Wil ever worried it wouldn’t be a hit?
“You know I wasn’t really sure it was going to work,” he tells us. “I knew that we were going to do the best that we could and I knew that I believed in the idea and I knew that we had hired the very best people that we could to be part of it. I was really hopeful that we would be able to turn out something special and memorable that the audience would enjoy.
“One of the guiding principles behind the creation of TableTop was my idea that the best way to review a game and not just a game but to review the hobby was to play games. I thought that when Felicia [Day] said how about you create a show where you review games and I thought, well what would be more interesting than just talking about how great a game is we should play the game. Then the whole idea for the series just sprang into my head fully formed in literally a matter of seconds.
“I absolutely did not expect that it was going to be this revolutionary fundamental change of the way people think about gaming though and I did not think it was going to be part of this wonderful tabletop gaming renaissance that we’re experiencing.”
FOR THE FULL WIL WHEATON INTERVIEW, MAKE SURE YOU BUY ISSUE THREE OF TABLETOP GAMING MAGAZINE, WHICH IS ON SALE NOW!