Thank You Wil Wheaton

This is less a review, but more a thank you letter from one Geek Dad to another. I’m a father of 5 wonderful children ages 10-16, and we used to have a weekly family game night.  We got bored of the same old, bland games…until now.

Thank you Wil Wheaton for giving my family so much joy. The countless hours of father-son and father-daughter time you’ve inspired is priceless. You’ve rescued us from Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley.

For those who don’t know, Felicia Day recently launched a YouTube channel, Geek and Sundry. Geek and Sundry presents “the very best of indie geek culture with shows exploring comedy, gaming, comics, music and literature that are sure to captivate audiences every week“.  Shows by geeks for geeks.

Over the last 7 years, 80% of my media consumption is done online (from SModcast to TWiT), so I was very prepared to enjoy what was about to come.  And I was equally prepared and excited to introduce my kids to it.

I was excited to hear of the new channels launch, even participating in the 12-hour subscribathon. During the launch, I got to speak to Felicia during the <em>show off your pets</em> segment, much to the delight of my 10 year old daughter.  The family admiration of Felicia Day’s work made The Flog an instant success in our house. But of all the announced shows, I never would have guessed that Table Top would be our favorite.

We watched Episode 1 (Small World) merely because of Wil Wheaton & Grant Imahara. Wil set the tone early, and we were hooked almost immediately.  It was a fun episode, and the game seemed interesting. But, we were scared to try new things. We had grown tired of the same old Monopoly and Clue, but still couldn’t take the plunge.

Next, came Settlers of Catan. Jane Espenson, James Kyson, and Neil Grayston were an amazing group.  The kids watched with eagerness and tried to determine if we should play the game.  Well produced, funny and all around entertaining; a fun episode with amazing guests. We enjoyed sitting around the TV as a family and watching. But again, we weren’t sure if we could venture into this new world of gaming…until…..Tsuro.

Episode 3 had three games; Zombie Dice, Get Bit, and Tsuro. The episode was again very entertaining, and this time the games were very approachable. We enjoyed Zombie Dice, and especially Tsuro.  Immediately following the episode, I went to Amazon and ordered Tsuro.

It was easy to learn, easy too play, and lots of fun. The long dead family game night had been reborn anew. And the family’s new favorite TV Show was Table Top. But, what came next would turn family game night into family game nights.

Not only was the fourth episode, Ticket to Ride, the most enjoyable to watch yet (Colin and Anne are awesome), but the game looked amazing. We watched it twice, and again I immediately went to Amazon and ordered the game.

We proceeded to play Ticket to Ride anytime there was a free couple of hours (and even when there weren’t). The kids loved it! Everyday when I got home from work the first thing I’d hear is, “Dad, can we play Ticket to Ride tonight?” The game was such a hit in the house we bought the original German version. Ticket to Ride was the family’s all-time favorite game. But, that didn’t last for long…enter Munchkin.

The next episode introduced us to the world of Munchkin. Even without Colin Ferguson, the episode was extremely entertaining; the edition of Felicia Day made the kids extra excited. Felicia had so much fun playing the game, that before the game ended, my 10 year old daughter said, “Dad, are you going to order Munchkin?”… of course, I did. I must also mention, the inclusion of the game creator, Steve Jackson, made the episode extra special.

Since then, we’ve obtained an expansion, The Guild, and the game gets played nearly every day. Munchkin is a complex game, so we re-watch the episode every few days to get a refresher on the stranger rules. When I finish this post, I’m going to order yet another expansion…we’re hungry for more.

This weeks episode, Castle Panic, was entertaining but the game won’t get us off of Munchkin. We’ll file that one for a possible future; it’s going to take allot to get us to be able to fit another game in our rotation.

There is one huge problem with Table Top; it’s only on ever 2 weeks (#sarcasm). Every Friday the kids ask, “Is there a new Table Top?”. We hunger for new episodes, for new ideas. Table Top has become the must-see-TV in our house.

Thank you Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day for saving us from bored-games. Thank you for inspiring countless hours of quality time with my kids. Thank you…

The Guild and Dr. Horrible Screenings

composite_Horrible_Guild-223x300Added to the list of reasons I wish I still lived in California, The Guild and Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog are screening in LA beginning with the first show on October 16th. Watch The Guild has:

On Friday, October 16 at 8pm at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, 6712 Hollywood Boulevard. Location and more info on the American Cinematheque website (they’re the non-profit org that programs the Egyptian). Tickets are $10 and available online via Fandango.

Both these shows are getting more high profile lately. Some say, “so what. We don’t want them to go mainstream.” What I see is two quality pieces of entertainment that should be seen by everyone. There comes a point where pure evangelism doesn’t work anymore. Not to mention the extremely talented writer/producer/actor Felicia Day getting more exposure. I’d love to see her develop more shows for us to enjoy.

In case you missed Felicia on Jimmy Fallon, here it is below:

Dr. Horrible Rides Again!

Hot off the heals of the Emmy win, Joss Wheadon makes mention of the sequel to the smash hit Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog during an Dollhouse interview. TVGuide Magazine reports:

There will be a second Dr. Horrible Sing-Along Blog, Joss Whedon said in a Thursday conference call with reporters to promote Dollhouse. The main question, he says, is whether he does it “on a shoe string again” or goes bigger budget and “invites other people into the process.” Either way, he promises that it won’t affect the storyline.

We all knew it was coming, but how long do we have to wait? My first reaction was “No! Don’t go bigger!”. But, after thinking about it a minute, that would probably be the best thing to do.

Allowing it to grow would help to bring in a wider audience. More exposure. There are still those who don’t realize that there are great net-only entertainment options out there that surpass the quality of much of the mainstream.

Who will return for the sequel? NPH is very hot right now, but he would, or course, be a necessary component of a Horrible sequel. Nathan Fillion’s new show Castle is keeping him quite busy; but we all want Captain Hammer to return. Does Moist step up and become a super-henchman? Will the Doctor resurrect Penny? Or build a Penny-bot? (come on, you have to get Felicia back).

What are your thoughts?

A Horrible Emmy

via @NathanFillionJoss Wheadon picked up his first Emmy this weekend. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog won the Emmy Award for short-format live-action entertainment programs. I, like most, found out via Twitter. The cast did a great job of building suspense with their constant updates throughout the evening.

Of course, Joss winning an Emmy is a long time coming, but I bet this one is extra sweet for him. Not just for being his first, but Doctor Horrible belongs completely to them, not to any studio. I really hope that he returns to the web again. A crossover talent like him can really legitimize online video, and get the word out that there is real quality on the net. We need another Horrible-esque show from the Wheadons. They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but I get Joss can come close.

It would have really been nice to see this on the Primetime Emmy Awards. There are still people who haven’t seen, or even heard of Dr. Horrible. Maybe with NPH hosting, we’ll get some allusion to his alter ego. Congratulations to everyone involved.

(images in this post used without permission from @nathanfillion and @ motancharoen …hope they don’t mind)