What's the best way to learn about new and different games? A web series watching people play and having the rules explained helps. So do celebrities -- including Wil Wheaton as host -- and a loser's couch and reusable trophy for the winner. This is the setting for TableTop, a web series that is a pretty good guide to and review of many good geek games (quite a few of which were also reviewed here).
TableTop begins with Wil Wheaton introducing a board or card game, then sitting down to play with three other people. Players include actors (like Felicia Day and Colin Ferguson), reality hosts (Grant Imahara from Mythbusters), internet stars, gaming professionals (Steve Jackson, who created Munchkin, joins them to play Munchkin), and even Wil's wife Anne. During the game various rules and strategies are explained, sometimes play fast-forwards, and within 22-25 minutes there is a victor. The losers sit on the Loser's Couch, while Wil interviews the victor (if he wins, a cardboard cutout of himself; if the game wins, a copy of the game), and (temporarily) gives them the trophy of victory.
TableTop is a terrific way to introduce people to some terrific games. The folks gathered together get very competitive, very profane (lots of curses bleeped out), and often very silly. My only complaint is that sometimes get the rules wrong (though I suspect Steve Jackson did that because he knew no one would question the man who made the game they were playing); while it's possible this happens to streamline ganeplay for the introduction, it's still a little misleading. Except for that, though, TableTop is a terrific way to show not just how to play games, but how much fun the games are to play.
Reviewed by James Lynch
(And be sure to check out 23:05 in the clip below for every gamer's worst nightmare)