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 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.
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:
doesn’t even know how to respond.
— Boyan Radakovich (@thegamesmith) June 19, 2015
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.
@thegamesmith no response necessary. His grotesque professional behaviour speaks for itself. Has the internet now met the real Wil Wheaton?
— Craig Taylor (@LupoLoopy) June 19, 2015
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.