Chances are pretty good that either you or someone you know has played the board game Settlers of Catan. Considered a gateway game, it’s the perfect game to start a new, passionate relationship with board games. But what comes next?
There are TONS of incredible tabletop games out there — which means that there are also a lot of mediocre ones, too. So, what’s a girl to do? Walking into a store and staring at a wall of board games isn’t exactly the best way to go (believe me, I’ve tried). It’s overwhelming. And board games aren’t exactly cheap, either.
The biggest breakthrough for me was Geek & Sundry’s show Tabletop. And from there, more board game shows popped up. Now, I’m the proud owner of amazing games like Ticket to Ride, Smallworld, Zombie Dice, Munchkin, Cosmic Encounter, and more. So, if you want to expand your tabletop gaming horizons, here are some of the best shows to watch.
Tabletop — Geek & Sundry
Hosted by the super wonderful Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Guild), Tabletop feels a lot like game night with friends. After a brief introduction to the game being played, Wheaton and guests sit around the table and play. Which sounds like it would potentially be boring, but thankfully Wheaton is hilarious, and the banter between him and the other cool people playing is just pure fun (and makes learning the game and its rules more enjoyable). Even better? The guests are always changing, and have included Felicia Day (Writer/ Actress, The Guild), Grant Imahara (Host, Mythbusters), Riki Lindhome (Actress, Big Bang Theory), Ed Brubaker (Comic book writer/artist, Captain America), and a bunch more. The only negative about the show is that you’ll find yourself spending a lot of money on board games!
The Dice Table — Tom Vasel
Tom Vasel is a big name in the tabletop world. A well-known reviewer of board games, he is best known for his long-running podcast, The Dice Tower. He also does video reviews (which are incredibly helpful and thorough for anyone who wants to learn more about certain tabletop games), and every year comes out with a list of the Top 100 Board Games (see the 2012 list here). If you want to start growing your board game collection, I highly recommend you check out his videos on his Top 100 games — he’ll briefly explain what it is that he loves about the game, and from there I end up checking out his fantastic video reviews, which go through all the pieces and rules. He is also the reason I now own my fave board game, Cosmic Encounter.
On The Table — Geek & Sundry
On the Table is a show that might be familiar to tabletop geeks, but since its move to Geek & Sundry this past November, it’s certainly gained a number of new followers. Produced by the people from top wargaming news site Beasts of War, On the Table is a biweekly video bulletin of tabletop gaming news. And what makes the show so unique is that fans are able to submit tips, events, new releases, etc. — making this a show that has, at its core, a very solid community.
Shut Up & Sit Down
What’s better than watching two unusual and quirky guys talk excitedly about board games? Watching two unusual and quirky guys with English accents talking excitedly about board games! Board game and card game reviews have never been so weirdly fun. Paul & Quinns take you through a number of games in each 30-minute episode, which include reviews and skits. Yes, skits. So don’t be surprised if you see them in costume!
If there are any other tabletop-related shows, share them in the comments!