Wil Wheaton blames ‘Tabletop’ producer for errors

Former child actor Wil Wheaton hosts a YouTube show called Tabletop. The show features Wheaton and three or four guests playing a board game, the type of specialty board game one might buy at a specialty game store. In the videos, you see Wheaton and his guests, usually D-list celebrities, playing the game, presumably correctly.

I’ve only watched a few of the episodes. I got the impression the show was meant to be both entertaining and educational. As it turns out, Tabletop may not be as academic as I first believed. It would seem Wheaton and his guests haven’t been playing these games correctly, and Internet people have begun calling him out on it.

I hate

I hate it when that happens.

Wil Wheaton addressed this criticism this past week on his blog. He admitted that the third and current season of Tabletop had gotten many things wrong. He placed the blame on an unnamed former producer.

From Wil Wheaton’s blog:

I am furious, I am embarrassed, and I need to put there here so I can just refer to it when this almost certainly happens again this season:

We had a producer whose primary job was to make sure we knew the rules to the games and played correctly. I trusted this producer to be on top of these things, and I trusted this producer to ensure that we played the games properly.

For the first two seasons, this producer did a fantastic job. A couple mistakes got through, but it wasn’t a big deal. Everyone makes a mistake now and then, and the show has always been more about the fun of playing the games than anything else. But something happened in the third season. I don’t know if this producer was careless, overwhelmed, didn’t care as deeply as previous seasons, or just didn’t do the same amount of preparation that was done for the first two seasons. I don’t know why this producer failed to do the most important part of the job so many times this season, but I’m pretty fucking pissed off that the person I trusted to make sure we played the games correctly let me down. I trusted this producer so completely, I spent my time and my energy on other aspects of production, instead of diligently reviewing the rules before every game like I’d done the first two seasons. I feel really, really awful about this. I feel embarrassed by this.

What Wil Wheaton should feel embarrassed about is his blog post. When I first read it, I honestly thought it was a spoof. He didn’t take any personal responsibility until the eighth paragraph. Even then, he implied his failure was not making sure they were playing the games correctly and by the rules but was trusting that the unnamed producer was doing their job.

Who is the unnamed producer?

Wil Wheaton never identified the guilty producer by name, but it’s not too hard to figure out who he was referring to. Wikipedia lists six people who produce the show. They are Sheri Bryant, Felicia Day, Kim Evey, Wil Wheaton, Adam Lawson, and Boyan Radakovich. Of these six people, only one has ever been identified by Wheaton in the past as being an associate producer and the games guru.

His name is Boyan Radakovich

I found Boyan Radakovich on Twitter. He posted the following tweet on June 19, four days after Wheaton’s blog post:

Radakovich didn’t come out and admit he was the unnamed producer Wheaton threw under the bus, but it’s pretty clear from the ensuing comments made by other people that he’s the unknown producer. He certainly didn’t correct anyone when they referred to Wil Wheaton.

What Wil Wheaton should do

If Wil Wheaton doesn’t know how to play a board game he’s featuring on his show, the board game he pretends to know everything about, he should have an actual expert for that board game on set to act as that episode’s technical advisor. Having one person whose primary responsibility is to be the expert on every board game being played seems like a massive recipe for disaster.

No one person can be an expert on every board game. To assume otherwise is stupid.

15 thoughts on “Wil Wheaton blames ‘Tabletop’ producer for errors”

  1. It’s not unfair to expect someone to do their job. Why would it be Wheaton’s job to double check the producer’s work?
    Should the dirty laundry have been aired in public? Probably not, but it’s clear there are hurt feelings. Everyone should apologize to each other and move on.

    1. Ultimately, it’s Wheaton’s responsibility to make sure the information he is presenting is accurate. As I wrote in the post, he should have a technical advisor for each game on set to make sure they are doing things correctly.

      You can’t expect one person to be an expert of multiple games.

      1. Wouldn’t that require a far bigger budget? A low-budget net-show cannot be expected to be able to do everything perfectly. He did a terrible job at owning up to his show’s mistakes, but requiring him to have preemptively having fixed it with a far more expensive solution only makes sense if the budget can deal with such expenses.

  2. Haha… So he should have a “technical adviser”. How about that unnamed producer? That’s his job. he is the “technical adviser” you are referring to.

    Is Wheaton supposed to check everyone’s work? What’s the point of hiring anyone then?!

    LOL article. Wheaton is right to be angry at a person who failed at his job.

    1. Technical advisor and producer are two different jobs. It should have been the producer’s job to line up a technical advisor for each episode, not be the technical advisor. To expect Boyan Radakovich to be an expert of every board game covered was stupid.

  3. Wil is quite unprofessional in his response but there are many jobs, from games dev to politics which involve researchers to prep lead personnel for presentations. Whilst I don’t condone Wil’s response, it was the producers role to either know the rules or make known that the task is too much for one person. The mistakes aren’t Wil’s nor are they his responsibility.

    What makes the situation a little more unique is that we are watching crowd sourced internet programming. In a way, Wil has been made answerable to the people, and he has given his honest (subjective) account.

    I sympathise, criticise but ultimately, don’t understand the Wil Wheaton witch hunt. If he’s scared off from another season I’d be heartbroken

    1. It’s not a witch hunt. At least not on my part. I only responded to something he chose to make public.

      That said, I used to watch the show. Not because of Wil Wheaton, but because of the source material. I love board games. If they aren’t playing the games correctly, there’s no reason for me to watch.

      They could have done the show many different ways. They chose to do the show as though Wil Wheaton was the game expert and he was showing the viewer how to play the game. That turned out not be true.

      1. But that’s TV. I think the format works (or worked until now), I personally like Wil Wheaton and his presentation. I love watching Tabletop for the game profiling but also as a programme. The producer messed up, a season was botched, some people will tune out. I just hope it’s not a death knell as many of us watch it for more than gameplay research.

        I’m not say I yours is a witch hunt, but there is a witch hunt. Reddit is a wash with naysayers and mud slingers. I don’t know how Wil has the constitution to put up with the the nerd trolls, its not just this issue… Everyone has an opinion about him/the show and many are full of undeserved vitriol.

        I just hope season 4 finds its feet and people move on. Silly judgement from Wil, nothing more

      2. Rick,
        why not offer your time as technical adviser? apparently board gaming is something you are passionate about and it would almost read as though you are an expert on…

        Have you donated money to fund the show? Perhaps offered to assist them in other ways to defer the cost of producing the show? I’m just curious because it would appear that you are being awfully critical of the format

  4. “If Wil Wheaton doesn’t know how to play a board game he’s featuring on his show, the board game he pretends to know everything about, he should have an actual expert for that board game on set to act as that episode’s technical advisor.”

    Sounds to me like you’re describing the very specific job of the producer you’re defending. Your claim that “technical advisor” and “producer” are two different things betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of what the title Producer means in the context of a show. The show has multiple “producers” and each has a specific area they control. This producer’s job was to understand the rules of each game being played, and to ensure that those rules were followed and the games played correctly. That was their responsibility. When that person tells the cast and crew how the game is played, it is not their responsibility to check.

    Wil perhaps didn’t handle the situation in the most tactful way possible, but considering the aftermath, that’s both understandable and hard to condemn. The full depth of what this person had done was not yet common knowledge. With hindsight, I’d call Wheaton’s response mild. That producer deserved far worse.

  5. I’ve read a few things regarding TableTop, I thoroughly enjoy the content and the way the games are portrayed… The guests are generally entertaining and some were down right lovable. If some of the games were played wrong due to a misinterpretation of the rules by someone who’s job it was to specifically understand the rules, then Will has every right to be angry… Let me fail at my job and my boss get in trouble for it, lets see how long I keep my job… Also, claiming that Will is presenting himself as the rules expert is laughable as SEVERAL times he has blatantly looked past the camera for clarification on rules and the “unnamed producer”, who was named in an episode, can be seen in several episodes assisting in rules clarification… and also board reassembly if I am not mistaken… “Ticket to Ride” specifically.

  6. I would be more curious to know the producers side of things. Because for two seasons they did an amazing job. But here’s the deal. You’re all saying it isn’t wheatons fault and the producers but I’ll tell you how you’re wrong. It’s still wheatons show. He still looks over every thing. It’s his face over all of it and that’s what he was trying to save. His face. He was completely un professional. A good boss would have seen the complaints and gone to said producer privately and ask them what happened. Once he handles said producer accordingly that’s when he should have made a public professional statement addressing the situitation and how it happened and what they intend to do to fix it. Not this raging uncouth mess that looks like he was trying to save face. I’ve seen you tubers make better statements then this….

  7. I didn’t know anything about TableTop’s next season or why it was delayed for so long (which is how I came upon this post from searching), but I don’t see anything wrong with Wil’s comment. If you know anything about Wil, he takes things very personally to begin with. Those of you saying he’s trying to pass the buck clearly don’t understand the perfectionist side of him that wants everything to be right and how from that viewpoint he is also blaming himself for not catching the problem sooner. Face it, Boyan was paid to make sure he read the rules before they taped the show. He had the game in hand. If he wasn’t capable of providing better information HE as the producer should have called the game manufacturer who I’m sure would have been more than happy to have a representative from their company come to speak about their game and how it is played. Was their deceit of some type on Boyan’s side? Depends on what he is pursuing now. If he’s completely left the whole game concept and gone into traditional producing for network TV, then I’d give it a second thought. If he’s parlayed a job for himself as an offshoot for work he did on TableTop then I’m less likely to factor in his surprise at Wil’s statement. I didn’t see anything vicious in what Wil said. I’m not saying Wil is an angel by any means. In this, however, I think he said what needed to be said. A guy who was paid good money to make sure of ONE thing didn’t do that thing for TableTop’s 3rd season and the internet pointed it out. Had they not done so, no one would know how badly Boyan was doing his job. He was hired because Wil didn’t have the time to spend doing that for all the games. At least Wil was willing to address the issue and not just sweep it under the rug.

  8. Ultimately the leader is responsible for everything they are involved in, both good and bad. After the shellacking Wheaton took on the net, I believe he has done that, and it has become his job to re-build the trust in the show. Since many who watched it, really enjoyed it, and knowing that with this whole mess, the 4th season should be a relatively easy fix, as getting the right person to do the job of game-mastering, should restore faith. He will have to be diligent in cross-checking the work on all levels of the show, taking more time from his life to make sure those put into a place of responsibility do their jobs. The egg for this one rests on Wil, as the leader of the show, and for not doing periodical checks on the ones he entrusted with responsibilities. There is a difference between delegation and abdication, and Wil has now learned this the hard way.
    That being said, the producer is the one who screwed up and screwed over Wheaton. They had a job, regardless of what the title given it, and they totally botched. The fact there was a whole season of their failure makes their error worse. If they had said that needed help, or didn’t have the time or enthusiasm to do the job like they had in previous years, their not speaking up is what made this worse. This person is the source of the error and should rightly lose their job. So far, they haven’t owned up to it, and that just makes them a coward, as well as incompetent.
    With a new, more able person in place, and regular oversight into each aspect of the show by Wheaton, I am looking forward to the fun that is the show and the improved professionalism in Season 4.

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