Thank You Wil Wheaton

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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…