Originally published at The L.A. Times
Felicia Day, Wil Wheaton and the “TableTop” team over at Geek & Sundry are hoping that their zeal for board games is contagious.
Day’s multimedia company and YouTube channel Geek & Sundry have dubbed Saturday (March 30) International TableTop Day, teaming up with game stores and major publishers, including Asmodee Editions, Days of Wonder, Indie Boards & Cards, Mayfair Games and Wizards of the Coast, to host the event — a sort of worldwide gaming open house. People interested in trying new games or meeting other gamers can sign up at TableTopDay.com to attend free events at game shops or to host their own gaming event.
In the meantime, the Geek & Sundry team have provided Hero Complex readers with its top 10 board games list — five games for players coming from popular classic games, and five games for players who are already familiar with modern games. Click through the gallery above for a peek at some games you might not know about.
TableTop Day comes after the success of the “TableTop” Web series, in which Wheaton — of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “The Big Bang Theory” fame — and a table of celebrity guests play and teach board games, card games and dice games. The show, which draws hundreds of thousands of views each week, is produced by Geek & Sundry.
Hero Complex caught up with Felicia Day to talk about gaming, TableTop Day and what’s next for Geek & Sundry.
HC: How did International TableTop Day come about? What’s the goal of the event?
FD: We’ve gotten an amazing response online around our show “TableTop.” Every time we air an episode, the game we played that week gets boosted in sales by thousands of percents. Also, people share with us amazing stories about how gaming in real life with their friends and family has affected their relationships and brought joy to their lives. We wanted to create a rallying event that transcends just the show and our channel, and give the tools to our community to make the event awesome.
Felicia Day in 2011. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
HC: Board games have become more popular the past five years or so. Why do you think there’s been this resurgence of interest?
FD: I think a big part of this is casual games being played on iOS and other portable devices. A lot of games we only used to play physically have been transported to devices we use every day. It makes it easy to learn new games, revisit old ones with your friends in a portable sense, so it’s an easy and natural step to take them backinto real life physically.
HC: How does table-top gaming compare to video gaming? You’re well-known for your love of MMORPGs … can board games compare?
FD: I was never a huge board game player before TableTop, but the complexity of the games, the beautiful design, and the eventof inviting friends over, ordering food, enjoying each others’ company in real life is a huge tangible reward in a world where we generally keep up with the people in our lives through status updates online. Video games add a whole other layer of immersion, but board games give you that personal connection.
HC: Did you grow up playing games? What was the first game you remember playing?
FD: I was definitely a big Monopoly player, I was always the bank. (And I cheated. Sorry, Mom).
HC: Was there ever a period where you weren’t into them? What game drew you back in?
FD: I lapsed a lot as a teen; video games took over my life. Several years ago someone at a sketch theater I was involved with organized a [Dungeons & Dragons] campaign. I always wanted to play D&D, so we got together every week for over 2 years to play. It was the highlight of my week for a long time.
HC: You’ve played or watched dozens of games since doing TableTop. Are there any that stand out as favorites?
FD: I am a personal fan of Ticket to Ride, Munchkin and Pandemic. I also like dice games a lot, like Zombie Dice and Elder Signs. And my favorite epic obscure game is Agricola, because I love making my farm!
Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton. (Geek & Sundry)
HC: Can you talk a little about Geek & Sundry’s success? Why do you think so many people feel at home in this community you’ve fostered?
FD: I think our community realizes that Geek & Sundry isn’t just about making content; it’s aboutthem enjoying our content. The videos are a vehicle for them to connect with each other. That’s the beauty of making things for the Web. It’s not about us. We remain an independent voice and our audience understands our struggles on a personal level. We strive to have a voice that represents the geek beyond the label. We are grateful for each person’s attention and support: We never take anyone for granted.
HC: What do you have coming up?
FD: I will be appearing on “Supernatural” again as Charlie, and we have amazing plans for Geek & Sundry coming up. Stay tuned!
– Noelene Clark | @NoeleneClark