Day, via her Geek and Sundry YouTube Channel, has declared March 30 a day for all the dice rollers, card players, and “Monopoly” piece, um, havers, to get together and game. Your local gaming and hobby store might be getting in on the event too, with companies like Asmodee Editions, Days of Wonder, Indie Boards & Cards, Mayfair Games, Wizards of the Coast sponsoring giveaways around the day.
We spoke with Day and “Tabletop” co-creator and co-star Wil Wheaton about getting the world gaming, why it’s a big deal, and some of their favorite tabletop gaming memories.
MTV Geek: So what was behind dedicating an entire day to tabletop gaming?
Felicia Day: Our show “Tabletop” has been a huge success for us, and it has spread the love of tabletop games to so many new people, we wanted to organize something similar to Free Comic Book Day for fans of tabletop gaming all around the world, to celebrate and spread word!
Geek: Wil, how did you get involved here and what do you hope to see come out of setting aside a day for tabletop gaming?
Wil Wheaton: We’ve been talking about doing something like this since Tabletop was created. I love making the show, and I’m glad that it’s entertaining to the audience, but my ulterior motive is to make more gamers. I want Tabletop day to have events in every country, on every continent (including Antarctica!) and I want it to be so much fun for everyone, it becomes an annual event.
Geek: From the announcement, it sounds like you want to develop/increase the community here a bit more. Could you elaborate on some ways Geek and Sundry hope to do that in the coming weeks and going forward?
FD: We are rallying fans from around the world to create their own events in their homes and community centers, and we are in touch with retailers to throw events in-stores as well for special items to be given out for certain games. We are encouraging people to connect using the hashtag #TableTopDay, and some people have already planned events with strangers in their area based on the social media push! We are supporting with videos and a live stream as well on Geek and Sundry. I wanted to tap into the grassroots spirit that the Internet responds to best: asking for help, not trying to force it, and giving control to the community. This day isn’t about the channel or the show, it’s about games and gamers.
Geek: How do you plan to go global with this? I understand your site has a few social tools that might help gamers find one another.
FD: We are already in 43 countries I believe, and have over 1000 events scheduled but we want an event in every country (looking at you, Uraguay)! Our website has a map where people can submit events and download assets for fliers and signs etc., easy links to share messaging over social media, we wanted to make it easy for anyone who wanted to be involved to contribute. The website is the architecture for this event for years to come hopefully!
Geek: What do you both think the biggest obstacle is to getting more people together to play their favorite games?
FD: I think a lot of people don’t realize the breadth of options out there of board games, I certainly didn’t before I did the show. There are super simple games like “Zombie Dice” and “Dixit” that would welcome anyone into the gaming fold, regardless of experience. Also I think face to face interaction is something that got pushed to the wayside with our digital world. Thankfully now there seems to be a desire for people to rekindle that experience!
WW: Players may not know how to find each other, or may be shy about walking up to a group and asking if they can join. On Tabletop Day, everyone will know where to go, and know that when they get there, all the people they meet are specifically there to play games and make new friends.
Geek: Could both of you share with us your first tabletop gaming memory?
FD: I loved playing Monopoly with my family, I always had the Top Hat piece and insisted on being the banker. I admit I wasn’t always 100% honest with counting.
WW: When I was a teenager, some friends of mine were wargamers, and really loved games like “Illuminati,” “OGRE,” “Diplomacy,” and “Warhammer 40K.” I’d grown up playing the Monopoly-style games, and it wasn’t until my group (who are still mostly together, 20 years on) introduced me to those games that I realized I was a capital-G Gamer. From about 1987 to 1990, I played “Car Wars” every chance I got. I still have all my Uncle Albert’s catalogs, a bunch of my vehicle design sheets, and miles of tracks.
Geek: And right now, what game(s) are you playing? Do you have a regular game night? We all want to know what your groups are like.
FD: I have a game night once a month at least, ideally twice. When my brother visits we do a few in a row because he is huge into tabletop games. My friends generally come from the video game side, so we are still building game libraries, and we can’t resist purchasing new games for us to try each session! I love card games like “Dominion” and “Ascension,” “Ticket to Ride” which is a great entry-level game. My personal all-time faves are resource management games like “Agricola” and “Lords of Waterdeep.” I love the long-term planning aspect!
Wheaton: Right now I’m playing “Lords of Waterdeep” at every opportunity. It’s like “Agricola” but it plays in about an hour, instead of four. We’ve been playing a lot of “Tribune” and “Smash Up” in my game group.
You can sign find out more about International Tabletop Day, or learn about their social tools and resources at the official site.