Game On! - #parent ep. 6

Uploaded by geekandsundry on 08.01.2013


MIKE PHIRMAN: How's it going?
ANNE WHEATON: Are you going to turn it off?
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: He has to go turn it off, which is
better than the awkward--
WIL WHEATON: You have to leave to turn the music on.
And then you have to leave to turn the music off?
MIKE PHIRMAN: The opening of the show would be a lot
smoother if I had a really big stick.

KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Or just a stick with a glove, like a
hand, like a manikin hand.
WIL WHEATON: I want it to be a hand like in
the game Mouse Trap--
like the boxing hand.
MIKE PHIRMAN: A Dr. Seussy hand-- like a glove with a
little button right here.
WIL WHEATON: Yeah, and four fingers.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Yeah, if I had that, smooth [INAUDIBLE].
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Or we need this to be like the beginning
of "Pee Wee's Big Adventure," and you actually do just knock
over a domino.
And then we just see around your office
all this stuff happens.
And the music goes off.
WIL WHEATON: If we were really committed to that Rube
Goldberg machine, it would start in your house, trigger
something in our house, and then finally end
in Phirman's house.
MIKE PHIRMAN: It has to go through a delivery room, where
we see a baby being born.
MIKE PHIRMAN: The baby comes out, sets off another thing of
dominoes, continues on.
ANNE WHEATON: Oh my god.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Now it's like the opening credits of
"The Stand." Now that's turned into the plague.
WIL WHEATON: I kind of the idea of a baby just flying
across a room, you just see the legs sideways.
And a baby flies across the room into a giant, oversized
catcher's mitt that then falls backward.
And that kicks off another fall.
ANNE WHEATON: The baby goes into the stick to turn the
music on and off.
MIKE PHIRMAN: That's right.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Or the baby comes into the big
catcher mitt.
And it pulls back to reveal Mike
Phirman, and it just goes--
WIL WHEATON: And Mike catches the baby, and then still gets
up and walks off camera.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Actually, that would be the best, because if
nobody had snipped the cord, the baby hits the music and
springs all the way back.
ANNE WHEATON: Nobody has snipped it.
ANNE WHEATON: Oh, that is awful.
WIL WHEATON: Oh, bungee umbilical cords are the wave
of the future, everyone.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: And now everybody thinks they're in on
the big brainstorming session for future
hashtag parent shows.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Yeah, season two, season two right there.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Season two, when we
get all this money.
ANNE WHEATON: Leave the umbilical cord on.

MIKE PHIRMAN: Well, hey, how's it going?
Welcome to the show, everybody.
MIKE PHIRMAN: We are broadcasting, I believe.
MIKE PHIRMAN: And we are live here.
It is 8 o'clock on the west coast.
Thank you to all the heroes and heroines on the east coast
that are up at 11 o'clock.
MIKE PHIRMAN: If you have kids, we know how ridiculous
that is that you're watching us--
MIKE PHIRMAN: --with your very valuable time.
We are here with--
he needs no introduction, because you've already seen
his name and her name-- that right there is
Wil and Anne Wheaton.
Say hello to everybody.
MIKE PHIRMAN: How's it going?
WIL WHEATON: And our dog, Marlowe--
we're doing this from my office in our house.
And my dog Marlowe-- oh, it looks like she's probably
going to get up on the couch.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Oh, that's great.
Come on, Marlowe, do it.
Get up on the couch, please.
WIL WHEATON: Marlowe likes to destroy her little dog bed.
So if you see one of us dive off to the side and no music
starts, it's because we have to stop her from
trashing her bed.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Does she usually go through a bed a week, kind
of thing, like that destructive?
Well, we had this one for, like, 20 minutes, and she
ripped a hole in one side.
And stuffing was everywhere.
But other than that, it's OK.
WIL WHEATON: Yeah, you turn your back on this dog for five
minutes, and you come back and whatever toy she's with, it
just looks like Antietam on the floor, with stuffing and
just all kinds of viscera, and for some reason lots of Union
soldiers, which is weird.
I think my house is haunted--
and also in Virginia.
MIKE PHIRMAN: And she can bark the--

She barks sort of a bugling charge.
MIKE PHIRMAN: You know, I had a little wiener dog that
barked crazily.
We'll talk about kids and all that stuff in a minute.
But I had a little wiener dog that we put a little shock
collar, because he barked so incessantly that
we had to do something.
You know how it works, right?
You put it on, it vibrates, it triggers the
little tiny bit of shock.
And I put it on myself to make sure it's
not terribly painful.
ANNE WHEATON: Did that happen when you did it?
MIKE PHIRMAN: That's the thing, he learned what
frequencies won't set it off.
ANNE WHEATON: I scared Marlowe.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Yeah, he learned what frequency
would not set it off.
So he barked incessantly.
But now it was a--

ANNE WHEATON: It's OK, honey.
I scared her.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: We tried putting
our other dog, Snickers--
that is not with us anymore.
We had just moved to LA.
We were in an apartment.
And she was barking all the time, because she was like, I
don't know this place.
Where did you leave me?
Because it was a new apartment.
And so we tried putting a little muzzle thing on her.
And we came home and she'd taken it off.
Like, she had just been like, fuck this.
WIL WHEATON: This is bullshit, you guys.
I don't need this stupid thing, come on.
ANNE WHEATON: Look at Marlowe.
So all right.
So we're ready to go.
MIKE PHIRMAN: All right.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: We have to say, Jane McGonigal was
supposed to join us tonight.
Jane McGonigal is so sick.
We got an email from her saying--
actually, see actually sent me a picture of herself so sick,
holding up a thermometer with her temperature on it.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Hey, I know Photoshop pretty well.
Do you want to send it to me, and we can verify?
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: I'm going to forward it to you.
And just check any green screen.
MIKE PHIRMAN: I don't believe any images, unless I put it
through a histogram.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: This is CSI, hashtag parent.
WIL WHEATON: Jane McGonigal's amazing.
We're going to be a poor substitute for Jane McGonigal.
MIKE PHIRMAN: I don't know.
But I will say, I watched her TED talk this morning to just
try to get a little back story.
It's awesome.
If you guys, anybody watching, go to Jane McGonigal's website
and watch that TED talk.
It's about 20 minutes long.
It's awesome.
It's really, really cool.
WIL WHEATON: Yeah, It's really good.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Jane and I worked together on a project
called "I Love Bees." That's where we met back in 2004.
WIL WHEATON: You worked on "I Love Bees?"
WIL WHEATON: Holy crap.
MIKE PHIRMAN: What is "I Love Bees?" Should I know that?
WIL WHEATON: "I Love Bees" was a "Halo" ARG.
It's amazing.
MIKE PHIRMAN: It's not a group that loves second rate
WIL WHEATON: No, that's "I Love
Applebee's." [LAUGHTER]
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: I played in the group--
WIL WHEATON: Throwing me an alley oop there, I meant to it
put in the back of the net.
Yeah, I'm the [INAUDIBLE].
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: I was Melissa and the sleeping
princess in the op.
I did all the live improv with all the players every Tuesday,
all day every Tuesday.
And Jane was actually the character who blogged, who was
saying, help me.
I don't know what's wrong with aunt's beekeeping website.
So that's where we met.
So I've known her since 2004.
So it's been almost 10 years.
She is the most fun, just everything about her.
She's super positive.
And everything is a game.
The first time she ever met my two dogs, they were like--
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: --at each other.
And she was like, what an amazing game you're playing,
let's name it.
And I thought, I've seen them do this a million times.
I never thought to name what this game is
that they're playing.
WIL WHEATON: Do you remember what you named it?
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: I think it was Growly Growlster.
Or it was something like that.
You know, it was just something ridiculous.
But she, for a while, was doing this thing called--
it was a cookie rolling experiment, where she was
traveling so much doing talks in all of
these different cities.
She was recreating "The Myth of Sisyphus," spelling it out
word by word in different cities using the indigenous
cookie of that city.
So when she came to Los Angeles to visit me, she was
like, OK, I'm on this-- whatever this word is in "The
Myth of Sisyphus." And made Mexican
wedding cookies together.
And then we took them out on the beach and spelled out
whatever the next word in the essay was, and took a picture
of that, and then rolled a cookie.
You had to roll a cookie someplace.
And she did this all over the world.
WIL WHEATON: That's awesome.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: And the whole thing
is a Sisyphean task.
And she likes cookies.
And she got to taste all these indigenous cookies.
And she has so many great stories.
And that's just something she did for fun.
It wasn't even like, I'm going to do this and make a coffee
table book out of it.
It was just, let me do this weird thing that's so fun.
And that's 2006 Jane.
That's not two TED talks, amazing, super-better Jane.
She's pretty great.
WIL WHEATON: I love making games out of everything.
I love--
is it gam-ification or game-ification?
MIKE PHIRMAN: I would imagine it's game, right?
WIL WHEATON: Game-ification?
MIKE PHIRMAN: I would think.
WIL WHEATON: I've heard it both ways.
I don't know which one is right.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Let's make a game of it.
WIL WHEATON: Solve it.
ANNE WHEATON: With indigenous cookies.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: With indigenous cookies.
As long as there's cookies involved, it's a game.
WIL WHEATON: That was sort of how I--
before I started working out all the time, in order to stay
motivated, I had to do that walk back to Hobbiton thing,
where you track how far you're going.
And like, how many miles do I have until I get to Rivendell?
Or I always end up rolling dice to give myself challenges
or give myself permission for things.
My friend quit smoking by rolling, he was rolling--
[INAUDIBLE]-- was rolling a 20-sided die.
And he made it increasingly difficult to actually score
getting a cigarette.
MIKE PHIRMAN: That's cool.
WIL WHEATON: Yeah, and he just treated it like a game.
MIKE PHIRMAN: That's awesome.
I've been wanting to do this for a long time.
I've never done it.
But I've been meaning to, when I sell CDs after a show, I was
going to bring a 20-sided die.
And whatever you roll is what you pay.
I haven't done that yet.
But I feel like, I don't want to stick anybody with, like,
$20 for one of my CDs.
WIL WHEATON: But they could be getting it for $1.
Maybe you give them the option of rolling the die.
MIKE PHIRMAN: That's a good idea.
WIL WHEATON: And then you could even make a
double game out of it.
Give them the option of rolling a die.
If they roll higher than you, than they get it
for the lower number.
MIKE PHIRMAN: That's great.
OK, nice.
ANNE WHEATON: That's kind of gambling.
WIL WHEATON: Which is a form of games.

WIL WHEATON: So I guess we're done.
Thanks, you guys.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Sounds really, really good.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: I'm going to Bingo.

MIKE PHIRMAN: Hey, real quick before we continue onto
hardcore gaming questions, I wanted to reference two things
real quick.
And I just want to take a moment at the top of the show.
One is a rant, and one is an idea.
It's a very, very short rant, because I won't want
to take time away.
We have a guest that everyone wants to hear.
You don't want to hear me.
But there's one thing I need heard, which is I want to
appeal to the manufacturers of the little
tables and play sets.
If you have a kid who is one, two, three, and has the little
play set that you push a things and it says red, you
push a thing and it tells you the alphabet, or something
like that--
you know what I'm talking about?
Like a little tabletop game thing.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Yeah, it's a little table.
WIL WHEATON: Yeah, it's like one of those little busy map--
what's that thing called that Shane has?
A little map thing.
Like an activity map.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Activity, exactly.
It's an activity table, or activity map.
Those are too responsive.
They respond far too readily to whatever your kid's doing.
If your kid is doing the mashing hands,
it's driving me crazy.
It just responds to everything so quickly, it'll be like A,
B, C, D, E, F--
corn-- hammer.
That's it and you're like, stop, stop!
Could somebody just, please, who works there just add a
hair of AI to those, to where when they start just going
Whack-A-Mole on it, it goes, hey, you know what?
You asked for the alphabet.
I'm going to finish the alphabet, then
we'll move on to colors.
How about that?
ANNE WHEATON: I think that that map is absolutely
encouraging ADD children that they can't focus on one thing.
It's just launching from one thing to another.
MIKE PHIRMAN: And it's dragging me down with it.
WIL WHEATON: It's a training aid for the next generation of
dance music producers.
ANNE WHEATON: Or it could be simulating the multitasker
brain of your infant.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Or they can just put a little switch
so you can turn off the sound.
ANNE WHEATON: Or it's just there to piss of parents.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: When she was one, I bought her this
little Winnie the Pooh train.
And I was like, why did I do that?
And I was searching everywhere.
Because I think Fisher Price, at least, they at least give
you the option of I'm just going to turn this volume
down, I'm just going to turn this off or take this music
piece out completely.
But this little Pooh train, my god.
She hit every button, the same kind of thing all the time.
And it was the worst voice matches for
Tigger and Pooh ever.
I just couldn't.
After a while of, (TOY IMPRESSION) I love music.
WIL WHEATON: Tigger sounded like Al Roker.
It was totally that thing of, (TOY IMPRESSION) I love music.
I'm like, you don't sound like Winnie the Pooh at all.
ANNE WHEATON: When my kids were little, those kind of
light-up, sound, whatever activity maps weren't around,
because my children are old.
But they had just come out with the little athletic shoes
that had the light on the bottom.
And it would go--
ANNE WHEATON: They'd make noises.
And Ryan had pair that there was a short in it.
And in the middle of the night I'd hear--
ANNE WHEATON: And I threw it out on the patio.
I think it kept waking me up over, like, a
four hour time period.
And he never wore them again.
I chucked them out onto the patio.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: We have one on our patio right now, as
a matter of fact, that's been rained on a lot of times.
And it just keeps saying, A is for apple.
At just 4 o'clock in the morning, A is for apple.
MIKE PHIRMAN: There should just be a little Jawa sand
crawler that goes down the neighborhood and just
horrible toys.
It fills that little lower area with--
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Like those metal guys, the guys that
drive around looking for spare metal.
There needs to be one that's just looking for do you want
to get rid of a toy?
Come on, just bring it out.
WIL WHEATON: Those guys are creeps.
I don't want those guys in my neighborhood.
Those guys drive windowless white vans.
I do not want them driving up and down my
street looking for toys.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Like "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."
MIKE PHIRMAN: So I guess that's the rant portion.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: That's your rant?
The other thing was--
this is an idea.
If you have a baby--
our son just turned one.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Oh, congratulations.
WIL WHEATON: Way to keep him alive, right?
MIKE PHIRMAN: It's a tax write-off.
It's not entirely selfless.

But so there baby-proofing products.
And I have always wanted to point out to the general
public how much more sense--
I got to change one thing real quick.
I want to set up my screen share.
Here we go.
So you can buy this foam that you put on all the corners of
your furniture, all your tables that have a little
sharp edge, or something like that.
But I realize, why spend $180 on all this baby proofing,
when it only costs--
I'm going to pull a picture here to show you guys-- it
only costs about $30 to cover the kid head to toe?
Now the whole world is baby-proofed.
Anywhere he goes, totally safe.
That's all I'm saying.
WIL WHEATON: That's amazing.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: And he looks like
those marshmallow men.
ANNE WHEATON: The Michelin man, or the Stay Puff
Marshmallow guy.
WIL WHEATON: He looks like the Stay Puff
Marshmallow Man if he--
ANNE WHEATON: Man, sorry.
WIL WHEATON: --came in to Manhattan through, like, I
don't know.
I don't know Manhattan enough to know what the grungy
district is.
But if he came in through--
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: There's no more grungy districts
WIL WHEATON: Yeah, that's not much of New York anymore.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: That's Jersey now.
ANNE WHEATON: That's awesome.
MIKE PHIRMAN: And that's all.
ANNE WHEATON: I mean, I understand needing--
WIL WHEATON: What the hell happened to Mike?
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Oh, Mike's frozen.
Not on my end.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: And now it's a memorial.
Now it's a memorial, remembering Mike Phirman.
MIKE PHIRMAN: I'm moving.
I can see me moving.
I remember when Mike was talking about how--
ANNE WHEATON: There he is.
WIL WHEATON: Oh, he's come back to life.
Well, never mind, then.
I remember that time we thought Mike had fallen out of
the Matrix.
And then he came back.
MIKE PHIRMAN: I got to check my stopwatch with Doc Brown's.
Hang on.
I skipped over that time.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: He's still stopped, though.
It is really weird.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Am I still stopped?
We don't see you at all.
We just see this head shot of you.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Is it a good looking head shot?
ANNE WHEATON: You're all 8-bit.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Is it a good looking head shot?
See now it's like you're moving like--
aw, Mike.
MIKE PHIRMAN: How's my hair?
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Oh, you look really good.
I mean, that's the thing.
So I wouldn't worry about it.
I think it was because we saw Marlowe walk by twice.
And that's how we knew you were entering the Matrix.
ANNE WHEATON: She's asleep.
WIL WHEATON: Don't, if you say her name, she'll know.
I don't really understand--
I mean, I know it's been a lot of time.
It's been a very long time since I've had small children.
But when my kids were little, and when I was a kid, the
playground equipment was all metal bars and chains.
MIKE PHIRMAN: And stand-alone slides.
ANNE WHEATON: And barbed wire.
ANNE WHEATON: Well, yeah.
And land mines and whatever.
I don't understand why everyone needs to be so, like,
everything is plastic and padded.
Were there really that many injuries that needed full-on
Michelin Man outfits for your baby?
WIL WHEATON: Only to the stupid children.

MIKE PHIRMAN: I wonder if it's--
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: --falling off monkey bars.
MIKE PHIRMAN: We have so much recyclable plastic now, what
do we do with all that stuff?
I guess the only thing there is to do is make it into cool
shapes and have kids climb on it.
ANNE WHEATON: There you go.
But it kind of seems to me that that is just a bacteria
haven, when good, old fashioned stainless steel
monkey bars, besides the fact that I crashed into one it
flipped me over onto my back and knocked the wind out of
me, I got no germs from that.
WIL WHEATON: Right around Christmas time, we walked
through that fifth circle of hell in the mall where people
take all their kids to play.
ANNE WHEATON: It's the germ pit.
WIL WHEATON: Seriously, we walked passed it, and I was
just like, I feel like I need to put on one of those
outbreak suits.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Yeah, a hazmat suit.
WIL WHEATON: This is where the zombie plague begins.
ANNE WHEATON: It's like a [INAUDIBLE] force-field.
WIL WHEATON: It's winter, right, so every
kid in there is--
ANNE WHEATON: Snot-nosed.
WIL WHEATON: Snot on everything, and
coughing and sneezing.
And they're probably pooping.
And it's just like, oh, god.
And it's just so gross.
WIL WHEATON: --Sunland Park any day.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Every toddler has their hand down
their pants.
They're always like [INAUDIBLE].
And then they're touching things.
And you're like, oh my god.
WIL WHEATON: Which, by the way, I think it's kind of
bullshit that kids are allowed to walk around with their hand
in their pants.
But as an adult, putting you on a list.
MIKE PHIRMAN: I've been saying this for the last two days.
My god.
So let's talk about TableTop.
We talked about Jane's world of gaming is everywhere.
We want to talk to you about TableTop because Mike and I
were discussing, in our private Hangout that we always
have, we were talking about the fact that we think that it
feels like after decades of video games, and video games
going from 8-bit all the way to where they are, that
there's this really nice swing back to, hey, let's sit around
a table and play and look at each other and do this.
And your show is really--
I love how it's sort of turned into this really nice family
show, because I always see the feedback.
I see a lot of feedback for your show of families saying,
thank you so much.
We had no idea.
And now we're playing this amazing game
that we didn't know.
And I mean, I just wanted to see is that something that,
when you were working on the show, did you say, this is
going to be so great for families?
WIL WHEATON: That actually wasn't one of my ideas.
And when we were developing the show, when we were in
production, I don't remember who--
someone from Geek & Sundry-- we were talking about how
YouTube was going to bleep the show and censor the show.
And as a general rule, I really dislike censorship.
And I was not OK with that.
But I just accepted it, fine.
That's the trade off, whatever.
A couple of episodes into the show actually airing, I
started noticing all kinds of feedback from parents who
watch the show with their kids.
And so they watch TableTop with their kids.
And then they go and play a game with their kids.
And my ulterior motive with TableTop from the very
beginning has been to make more gamers, and just show
people who don't game why we love it and why it means so
much to us.
And then show people who do game maybe games they hadn't
seen, hadn't thought of, just to make gaming
accessible and fun.
Because it's a thing, like, we did it with our kids when they
were little.
We play games together now.
It is the thing that holds my whole
group of friends together.
If I'm like, hey, come over and have dinner,
no one shows up.
Hey, come over and play games and have dinner, we have a
house full of people.
And I love just giving that inspiration to other families.
And if we are lucky enough to get a second season, I really
want to show this game is great for kids, because I know
families watch the show now.
And I will actually make more of an effort, if we have a
second season, to clean it up a little bit.
So that even if things are bleeped--
kids are smart, they kind of figure it out, right?
And I've gotten emails from teachers who have said, I
would love to show this in my class.
But I can't, because you said balls, or whatever.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Could you just make a G version, like an
Like, not live but--
WIL WHEATON: Theoretically, it's possible.
ANNE WHEATON: You could [INAUDIBLE] that gag reel with
all the bad words.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Oh, it's not live, is it?
WIL WHEATON: It's just really expensive to do that, because
then we have to do two edits.
And I think it's probably easier just to
do it on the set.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: You know what I like, too, about your
show is that--
I'm going to compare it to "Iron Chef"--
because you're a really good showman.
Like, in terms of the way you present the games--
obviously you're not as extreme as "Iron Chef." But
the first time I watched it, I was like, oh my
god, this is amazing.
Because it's like how you're like, oh I love this guy who's
showing me that they're espresso cocktails out of
squid, and it's that same kind of really nice showmanship
that you have, the way you present the game.
I just love the drama of it, the way you present the game.
Because I'm one of those people that's like, I don't
want to read these directions.
Can we just play and just see what happens?
And then we'll go back and figure it out.
And so I like this show, because now I don't have to
read the directions.
ANNE WHEATON: I actually saw that in some of the comments
that people said they learned how to play the game by just
watching the TableTop video of it.
Because seriously, who wants to learn directions?
MIKE PHIRMAN: Do people send you games?
Is the show like-- do you just get tons of stuff coming in?
WIL WHEATON: It's the best thing ever.
I went to Origins this year, and I went to
Gen Con this year.
And I'd say maybe every other booth, on average, that I
walked by, someone was like take my game
and put it on TableTop.
WIL WHEATON: And that was awesome.
There's two things that I have to give credit
where credit is due.
All that stuff with the rules and how the rules are so easy
to explain and how an episode makes those rules really
100% of credit for that goes to our team of editors.
Because they sit down with the rules, they play the games,
they watch the show.

It's Kim and Sue and Steve, they are responsible for that.
I can't take any credit for that.
They do all of that work.
And they do an amazing, amazing job communicating to
people over the course of the episode how to play the games.
And this thing where I sort of do this to sort of--
well, I'm off-camera--
like that to welcome you to the game, that was director
Jen's idea.
She as like, I think this would be a nice way to welcome
people into the thing.
And I was like, that's not a thing that I do.
But I trust you.
And now it's a thing that people are like, I like it.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: It's a signature move.
You have a signature move.
WIL WHEATON: For the longest time before that, my signature
move was just--

MIKE PHIRMAN: Some day you're going to have to do battle
with DJ Lance Rock.

Yo gabba TableTop.
WIL WHEATON: I'm really lucky.
From Sherry and Adam and Jen and Kim and Felicia--
everybody has just put together this
phenomenal team of people.
And I'm just really lucky to kind of be part of it.
And every now and then, I grab the rudder and nudge us one
direction or another.
And most of the work that I do on "TableTop" is really just
staying out of the way and letting people who were very,
very good at their jobs help make the show awesome and
worth watching.
ANNE WHEATON: He's also being way too humble,
because Boyan just left.
They have been sitting at our dining room table, I can't
even tell you how many nights, actually going through games.
Because even though people give Wil games and say, play
this on "TableTop," they choose the games that they
want based on how well it plays, how people are going to
understand it on the show.
It's not a thing at all where it's encouraged by--
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: It's like "Mystery Date"
And so they sit there.
That's why we were a few minutes late getting in here,
because they were at our dining room table for three
hours going through games.
And I've--
MIKE PHIRMAN: Do you burn out?
ANNE WHEATON: --played some of them, too.
WIL WHEATON: No, I don't.
That's a great question.
But no, I don't.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Do you ever burn out, and you're just like, I
can't pick up another.
I don't play all the time with them, because I cannot sit
there for hours.
Because really it's not just playing the game.
They're actually kind of breaking the whole thing down
and seeing how it's going to work being on a show, and then
decide from there if it's something that will work.
Because the games that he has-- you can't see in his
office right--
there is about 1/3 of his office that
you cannot walk through.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Let me take a look.
ANNE WHEATON: Can you see?
Yeah, it's right there.
See it?
MIKE PHIRMAN: My god, wow.
ANNE WHEATON: Yeah, it's a lot.
Don't knock it over, because you'll kill [INAUDIBLE].
WIL WHEATON: I don't really think of that stuff
as work very much.
So we're very hopeful we're going to get a second season.
So Boyan, one of my best friends and my associate
producer on "TableTop," he and I have been play testing games
since September.
So when we get the phone call that we're hoping we get,
we're like, great, we're ready to go.
Here's the list.
So we go through all these games.
And it's great, because I had this conversation with Anne
earlier today.
I was like, listen, we got to play games on these days,
because I got to get all these in, because I'm hoping that
we're going to get this in the next couple of weeks.
And then we'll know.
ANNE WHEATON: And they'll be ready.
WIL WHEATON: And there are games, man, that I freaking
love that are amazing.
And they just don't translate to television.
And we can't play them.
Are they too cerebral or too slow?
Or how does it?
WIL WHEATON: Yeah, there's some really wonderful
two-player games, where really what makes those games great
is that strategy where you're sitting in your head and
you're thinking.
Like, if you're playing a game like
"Agricola," and you're just--
my friends and I, we all call it Agri-cola because it
infuriates super hardcore gamers, because you're not
saying it right.
ANNE WHEATON: How do you say it?
WIL WHEATON: Well, Agricola is how you say it.
But we say Agri-cola, it makes them mad.
But there's a great game-- it's called "All Creatures Big
and Small," I think.
And it's just this thing in "Agricola" where--
it's a resource management game.
And you're placing little figures all over the board.
And you're trying to manage all these different resources
and ultimately use that to win the game.
And there's this two-player version of "Agricola" that's
just this farming thing, where you have to get sheeps and
cows and pigs.
And then you have to build little stalls for them.
And you have to fence in a little pen and stuff.
And there's a lot that goes on.
It's very much like--
ANNE WHEATON: "Minecraft."
WIL WHEATON: Well, only in the sense that I love it as much
as I love "Minecraft." But there's this that you have to
do where you have to think three moves ahead.
And you have to think, OK, I can probably risk not taking
the cow on this turn, because I think it's better to block
him by going for the-- right?
And you do that.
And I love that game.
It's like chess and backgammon and poker all together.
But if you were just going to sit there and
watch guys like this--
there's nothing to it.
So if we were going to make it a game that would work for
"TableTop," then we would have to do this thing where we put
I was going to say dancers.
Tons of action happening back behind them.
WIL WHEATON: So if you were going to do, well, that would
be amazing.
It would open up games like "Dominion" and "7 Wonders" and
"Gathering" and these deep, deep strategy games.
You could probably play "Tribute," which is another
game I'm crazy about.
But then that adds two post-production days.
And that adds studio rental.
And like, how are we going to get the players to
come in for more days?
So part of it is awesome, we just get to keep playing games
and loving games and advocating for games.
But then it's heartbreaking that there are games that I am
crazy about that just don't work.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: When we were talked about Jane
McGonigal before, in her first TED talk, she referred to
there's a scientific study that says when you play a game
with someone, you're more likely to trust them.
Even if they slam you and just completely obliterate you, in
the game you still feel a bond with them.
And you still feel this sense of trust with them.
And I think that's what appeals--
I feel like with your show, because it's so funny to watch
people play an analog game that I think people feel a
bond because they feel like they're part of
that game with you.
And I feel like it's passing it forward, because then they
go play with their families.
And they feel the same kind of-- building this
trust and this bond.
WIL WHEATON: I think you made an interesting point when you
said that we're sort of swinging back to analog games.
Up at Penny Arcade Expo-- the enforcers that run the
"TableTop" gaming room-- they call it
original wireless gaming.
WIL WHEATON: Which I think is really great and really cute.
And I am of a generation where I started playing video games
I only played multiplayer games if we were sitting next
to each other on the floor playing Atari.
And then as I got older, at a LAN party--
where you were only six computers or whatever.
So playing with people I don't know online, telling me about
all the ways they're nailing my mother,
that's not fun for me.
I don't enjoy it.
But getting around a table with people, even complete
strangers, at a game convention or a game
shop is such a--
MIKE PHIRMAN: Or even a bar or something, where they have
games on a table at a bar.
There's a bar in Burbank that I love called
Tony's Darts Away.
And it's a beer bar, and it's sort of like that.
And then the Golden Road brew pub over in--
MIKE PHIRMAN: Same owners.
WIL WHEATON: Same owners.
They have tons of a board games in both of these places.
And every time you go in there, there are people,
friends and strangers, playing everything from "Apples to
Apples" to "Connect Four" to "Boggle." I don't know, I see
a game, and I just think, OK, here's a place where there's
ANNE WHEATON: It makes more of a sense of community, which
you don't have online, because people hide behind a screen to
be terrible.
And when you're actually playing in
person, you have to be--
well, I mean, you don't have to be, but--
WIL WHEATON: Well, if you want to leave there in tact.
ANNE WHEATON: It's better to be civilized, because then you
actually can enjoy the game.
I don't know anyone that enjoys a game--
I mean, I don't play any online games.
But I can imagine that it's not fun if the person you're
playing against is just being terrible.
What's the point of that?
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: There's talking smack and having fun
with it, and then there's just, you're being abused.
in "Halo."
WIL WHEATON: Boyan and I were just play testing this game
that I absolutely want to play if we get a second season.
And it's a game called "King of Tokyo." And it's
mostly a dice game.
And I generally don't like dice games.
But it's really fun.
And it's really silly.
And you're Kaiju monsters trying to punch
the other ones down.
Like, you just punch them down to 0 hit points so that you
can be the titular King of Tokyo.
And it's designed by Richard Garfield who did "Magic, The
Gathering." And it's a really, really fun game.
And a huge component of the fun of that game is talking as
the monsters, like yelling at each other and
taunting each other.
And I think you're right about that bond of trust that
happens and that sense of we're
building a reality together.
And when Anne and I were younger and the kids were
still little--
I talked about this in the solo Google Hangout that I did
about "TableTop"--

our family was really, really under siege from her
ex-husband, and it sucked.

ANNE WHEATON: Super thumbs down.
WIL WHEATON: One of the ways that we maintained a strong,
healthy, loving bond with our kids was through gaming.
And we would sit at the dining room table a couple of nights
a week after homework was done, after dinner was done.
And we would play games, all different levels of games.
And one of our great--
when we want to Julian for Christmas, and we took
"Settlers" with us.
ANNE WHEATON: And we were in a little bed and breakfast.
And we took the kids to the San Diego Wild Animal Park
just before Christmas.
I don't even know how many years ago that was.
WIL WHEATON: It was forever ago.
ANNE WHEATON: Maybe eight years ago or something.
WIL WHEATON: I think Ryan was, like, 13 or 14.
But it's great.
ANNE WHEATON: It was fun.
After we did the park and everything, we went to the bed
and breakfast, and was freezing outside.
But our bed and breakfast had a fireplace in it.
And we sat in front of the fireplace and played
"Settlers." It was fun.
WIL WHEATON: Yeah, it was great.
MIKE PHIRMAN: That's great.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: My family, we were big card players.
We played with my parents and, of course, my grandparents.
My grandmother was the one who taught me five-card stud and
never play for free.
I mean, she'd give me a handful of pennies and be
like, we're playing for money.
And I asked my husband, I said to him one time--
sort of waxing nostalgic about the games I used to play with
my parents and my grandparents.
And I was like, what kind of games did you
play in your family?
He was like, we played go get me an ashtray.
It was the '70s.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: And I was like, oh.
WIL WHEATON: My dad taught me how to play cribbage--
WIL WHEATON: --when I was really young.
And much to my parents credit, they never let us win games.
MIKE PHIRMAN: You know what, I was just going
to ask about that.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Actually, I think it's one of our
questions on the board there.
MIKE PHIRMAN: That's exactly it.
But sorry, I interrupted you.
The question is about that, letting your kid cheat or win.
WIL WHEATON: I don't think that it's ever a good idea to
just let a kid win.
Because when you do that, you teach a kid that the only way
to have fun is by winning.
And you don't teach kids that you have fun by actually
playing the game.
MIKE PHIRMAN: But what if you smoke them every single game?

WIL WHEATON: Well, hopefully they get better.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Crush him.
WIL WHEATON: Like kids--
ANNE WHEATON: How do you like that, kid?
WIL WHEATON: I think that you sort of mitigate that by
playing games--
ANNE WHEATON: Now go get me an ashtray.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Go get me an ashtray.
MIKE PHIRMAN: If I win, you go get me an ashtray.
WIL WHEATON: Well, yeah.
I mean, if you're playing, like,
Lords of Ashtray Builders.
But I think one of the ways that you mitigate that is you
just you play games that are age appropriate, that
the kids can grasp.
And I think that it's OK, every now and then, maybe to
soft play a little bit, if they're younger.
ANNE WHEATON: Yeah, not be so competitive.
WIL WHEATON: Yeah, while they sort of get their bearings
about the game.
But I found this trick that I used when my kids were young,
and I think we called it rule 17-b, I think is
what I called it.
Because when my friends and I play a game for the first
time, we have a thing called rule 17.
If you just profoundly screw up because you don't have any
experience playing the game, then you just get a do-over,
and you get to go ahead and do the thing over again.
So we do a thing called rule 17-b, where every player in
the game-- adults and kids-- get a marker.
It could be a little handful of glass beads, or poker
chips, or whatever.
And you can cash those in to re-roll something if you just
get screwed by the dice, or to take a move back
if it's just awful.
So what you do is you give everyone in the game an
opportunity to sort of have a do-over, where you're not
breaking the rules for anybody.
What are you doing?
Oh, she's saying hi to our son.
No, you need to--
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Another one of our questions over here
on the board is from Ryan Wheaton saying, "Hey, Wil,
isn't Ryan the best?"
ANNE WHEATON: Yeah, I know.
That's why I was just saying hi to him.
I don't know how to do it, though.
WIL WHEATON: It's because it's blurring out.
You have to write with a thicker pen.
But really, thanks for interrupting my talk about
rule 17-b to do that.
Go get me an ashtray.
WIL WHEATON: So what I think is really awesome about that
is that when you give these things to kids-- so now they
have this thing where they have an additional level of
empowerment, because they really need to roll well.
And they just get unlucky and roll poorly.
OK, do I want to use my marker now?
Or do I want to use it later?
So you give that extra level of empowerment to kids.
And power gamers will get mad because you break the game.
But you know--
That's not the point.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Power toddlers.
ANNE WHEATON: Power gamers, I'm sorry, what?

WIL WHEATON: That's another one of the goals of
ANNE WHEATON: Now can you see it?
WIL WHEATON: Yeah, that's better.
Hi, honey.
I love you.
One of the goals of "TableTop" is to not be competitive.
And when I reach out to guests, I tell them, this is
not like World Poker Tour, where you don't want to look
stupid, and there's going to be these widely divergent
skill levels.
It's about having fun.
It's about showing people why this is amazing
and why we love it.
ANNE WHEATON: And why it's not weird at all that the host
doesn't actually win any game on his show.
I'm going to be honest with you, I actually would really
like to win once.
I think it would be nice.
this might be a rumor.
I might be making it up.
I've heard that you're not getting a second season until
you win a game.
But I might be making that up.
WIL WHEATON: The thing that's funny is that we play games,
and I destroy people when we're playing just at the
dining room table.
And the joke is-- well, of course, because the camera's
not rolling.

We had so much fun at Vid Con last year with the Geek &
Sundry booth.
And we had this great "TableTop" set up, where we
brought people in to play lots of different games.
And I played "Small World," and I played "Settlers." And I
don't remember what the third game is that I played.
But I went two for three on that day, which is a way
better-- oh, we played Tsuro, yeah--
way better batting average than I have
during the actual season.
ANNE WHEATON: Didn't you actually get a trophy?
Or you were given the trophy with the tape
and everything there.
Poor guy, poor guy.
WIL WHEATON: But it's such an important
message to give kids.
And it's not just for board games.

It's for kids' sports.
Parents, grow the fuck up.
Stop being so competitive when your little kids
are playing a sport.
It doesn't matter.
All you're teaching them is all that matters is winning.
And if you're not winning, it doesn't matter.
And you should be having a terrible time.
And I taught both of my kids, from the time they were very,
very, very young, that if the only time you're happy is when
you win, you're going to be unhappy a lot of the time.
Because unless you're the 1927 Yankees, or the '76
Philadelphia Flyers--
ANNE WHEATON: Or the LA Kinds last year, OK.
WIL WHEATON: --you don't win all the time, you know?
Find joy in every at bat, in every possession, in every
time you roll the dice.
And just be glad that you're doing this instead of picking
up dog poop in the backyard--
which also, by the way, can be a really fun game.
MIKE PHIRMAN: I was just going to say that.
What's that game called, in the spirit of Jane?
WIL WHEATON: It's called Poop Odyssey.
ANNE WHEATON: I've always asked the kids, when they were
little, it's about harvesting the backyard.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Harvesting?
ANNE WHEATON: Harvesting.
WIL WHEATON: Because we have three dogs, my game now is to
see if I can get through the entire backyard in just
filling up the pooper scooper-- and we have the
super deluxe one--
is if I can just get through there one time, without having
to go empty it and then go back and refill it.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Oh, my god.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Can I just use this moment to tell a
story that has nothing to do gaming but everything to do
with dogs pooping?
My favorite story about a dog pooping is my friend's husband
searching all over the house trying to find his new purple
fleece gloves.
Went into the dining room, which had bay windows that
looked out onto the backyard, and looked up to see their
dog, a golden retriever, pooping them out
at that very moment.
They're actually very lucky, because that stuff can bind up
a dog's digestive tract and kill them.
I mean, it was probably a very big, long, long purple poop.
But just the idea of him standing in the bay window
going like, oh my god.
WIL WHEATON: Hey, there's my gloves.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: And then the dog's point of view is
he's totally silent just going--
ANNE WHEATON: Oh my god.
That is so awful.
MIKE PHIRMAN: I actually have a picture from the time that--
I don't know if you guys remember-- but when my family
came over to your guys' house.
And I remember I let my son Milo go into your backyard and
walk around for a couple of minutes.
And this was a little picture we took just after.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Only five minutes.
ANNE WHEATON: Watch out for poop.
WIL WHEATON: Was that him after he rolled around?
He just ran around in the yard, and he was like, oh,
there we go.
MIKE PHIRMAN: We didn't want to stop him, you know?
WIL WHEATON: Right, sure.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Rule number 2-S.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Look out Mike Phirman.
ANNE WHEATON: The thing that's awful is there were times when
he'll go out there in the morning, I would do it in the
afternoon, and still something will step in it.
And there have been times where I'm in
the process of scooping.
And Riley's like, oh, you need more?
It's awful.
MIKE PHIRMAN: You know what I say every time I step in
some-- whether it be a dog or other animal poop--
I always say, if not at loud, at least in my head, Jehovah
with an I. [LAUGHTER]
ANNE WHEATON: Oh my god.
Oh my god.
Are we supposed to answer some of these questions?
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Yeah, I was going to say, it's time
now to field some questions that we have.
So here's a good one.
Someone wants to know "what are your favorite board games
from your childhood?"
WIL WHEATON: I loved "The Mad Magazine Game."
WIL WHEATON: I don't even know if that's because it was
awesome, or if it's because it was the game that I played
with my parents--
ANNE WHEATON: Well, didn't you just buy it?
WIL WHEATON: --and my brother and my sister.
I did, yeah.
I actually found it at a thrift store and bought a new
copy of it.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Oh, that's cool.
WIL WHEATON: I mean, it's basically Monopoly, just
you're trying to lose your money instead of win money.
But I love that, because it was sort of like the TV was
off and mom and dad were paying attention to us.
And we were like doing a thing together.
And I really loved that.

That was our New Years tradition from the year that
game was published until I moved out of the
house when I was 19.
That was what we did every New Years Eve,
we played that game.
MIKE PHIRMAN: That's cool
WIL WHEATON: Yeah, so that's one of my favorites.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: I had totally forgotten about that
game until you just--
ANNE WHEATON: I don't think I ever played that.
MIKE PHIRMAN: I've got it.
We should play it.
Next time Ryan comes to visit, we'll play it.
And speaking of Ryan, my other absolute favorite game from
when I was younger, from when I was a teenager when I sort
of graduated away from the Milton Bradley games to the
hobby games, like the ones we feather on "TableTop," it's a
game called "Talisman" from Games Workshop.
And it's a fairly divisive game.
People either really love it or really hate it.
And there's things that are wrong with it.
But it's one of those things where it's it just like there
might be some song that you can't believe, you would never
admit that you like this song, but it reminds you of some
amazing time in your life.
It reminds you of a really great trip or really fun
people or something like that.
That's what "Talisman" does for me.
Because it was one of those things that
we played like crazy.
And then I could go on and on and on, if we're getting up
into high school and stuff.
But I will say back in the '70s and '80s.
And then the only other one that I was just out of my mind
about was the game "Dark Tower," because it was a
computer, and it was fantasy, and it was kind of "The
Hobbit," and it was "Dungeons & Dragons."
And you could play it by yourself if you were creative.
And it was just big and beautiful.
And the artwork was like heavy metal.
And everything about that freaking game, I loved it.
And I was just crazy about it.
And then, of course, "Dungeons & Dragons."
ANNE WHEATON: Yeah, "Dungeons & Dragons."
MIKE PHIRMAN: You were a big "Dungeons & Dragons" guy?
WIL WHEATON: Huge "Dungeons & Dragons" guy.
I still actually have on the bookcase behind me--
you can't see it--
all of my original "Dungeons & Dragons" books.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Anne, were you as well?
MIKE PHIRMAN: Anne, were you into "Dungeons & Dragons?"
ANNE WHEATON: Oh god, no.
You know, it's funny, I'm three years older than Wil.
And it's always a thing where TV shows and movies and music
and games are very different for us, like
what we grew up with.
So "The Mad Magazine Game" I didn't know anything about.
But the game I played with my mom was "Scrabble" and
"Boggle." And she never let me win.
But she did let me--
like with "Boggle," you just write down whatever.
And that was really how I learned spelling and
Because she'd just tell me, nope, that's not a word.
And so I played those.
But then when I was a kid, when I was really little, I
played Yahtzee with my grandma all the time.
And actually, she still has the game, I just got from her
not too long ago.
And my scorecard with my little eight-year-old cursive
is on there.
WIL WHEATON: So, so cool.
ANNE WHEATON: And the only time my parents would play
Monopoly with us, because that game lasted forever, was my
grandma would come to visit two or three times a year, and
we'd sit there for, like, five hours playing with her.
But I never did any of the fantasy stuff.

When did that come out? '80-- what?
WIL WHEATON: When "Dungeons & Dragons" kind of like--
ANNE WHEATON: Oh, that was, like, '70s, no?
WIL WHEATON: Well, when D&D kind of broke through into
sort of more mainstream was when they introduced the D&D
basic set, which was the red box set, which would have been
anywhere from '81 to '83.
ANNE WHEATON: Excuse me.
WIL WHEATON: Hey, you asked.
You knew I was a nerd when you married me.
ANNE WHEATON: Yes, this is true.
That's OK.
WIL WHEATON: The original chain mail came out in the
early 1970s.
ANNE WHEATON: Oh my god.
Oh my god.
So I didn't play any of that stuff.
But I was in high school.
And my friends and I, we would make up card games we'd play
all the time.

I was doing more of playing volleyball,
softball, or whatever.
I was doing more outside stuff.
But when we were inside, it was all about playing Rummy,
or making up other card games and stuff.
WIL WHEATON: We played a lot of Out of the Box games with
our kids when they were little.
Out of the Box is a really terrific publisher.
It's what it sounds like.
The idea was you could open up the box, and there's maybe one
or one and a half sheets of rules.
And you just go.
And we played "Gold Digger."
MIKE PHIRMAN: Like, use your environment can of goal?
Like, this is a game that uses your room, or
something like that?
There's no pieces?
It's more just like you open up the box, there's a tiny,
little bit of rules, and you you just start playing.
Oh, I see.
Like turnkey.
WIL WHEATON: Yeah, so "Zombie Dice" from Steve Jackson Games
is a really great game that kind of works like that.
But we played "Gold Digger" and "Apples to Apples." And
what was another one that we played with them all the time?
We played "Give Me the Brain," from Cheapass Games, and then
ANNE WHEATON: What was the one with the pig?
WIL WHEATON: There's another one that we
played all the time.
ANNE WHEATON: The little pig game, what was that?
WIL WHEATON: The little pig game?
ANNE WHEATON: With the tiny little pigs.
WIL WHEATON: "Pass the Pigs?"
MIKE PHIRMAN: Yeah, "Pass the Pigs," right?
WIL WHEATON: "Pass the Pigs," yeah.
And then Anne and the kids love "Pit." And I don't like
"Pit" at all.
ANNE WHEATON: Oh, but we would play that.
I'd make him play that.
WIL WHEATON: And then we would sit on the floor.
The four of us would sit on the floor, and
we would play Spoons--
oh my god, Spoons-- and then Speed with a deck of card.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Oh, Speed is great.
WIL WHEATON: So much fun.
When we were dating, we took a trip together to Hawaii.
And because we were on like super saver, steerage class,
Irish immigrant people dying from consumption--
MIKE PHIRMAN: Gaelic Storm is playing downstairs.
WIL WHEATON: Yeah, exactly.
ANNE WHEATON: We were on the uber budget, yes.
WIL WHEATON: And so we had to get to the airport, like, 5
and 1/2 days early just to ensure that
we were on the plane.
And I just remember sitting on the floor in Kahului Airport
just playing Speed until our fingers were numb, and you
just couldn't even see.
And the cards were falling apart.
Like when it would rain and stuff, we would just sit and
play cards.
And it was fun.
WIL WHEATON: And we still play cards all the time.
We have this tradition where we play "Sorry." Because a lot
of the hobby games--
a lot of the games that are "TableTop" games--
I play them so much.
Anne doesn't play them very much.
I can meta-game it so much that it creates this massive
gap between sort of, oh, well, I've figured out how to
optimally play this game.

So I'm just sort of mechanically
breaking the game.
And Anne's trying to play the game, and it's not fun.
So a game like "Sorry," or a game like "Zombie Dice--" any
game that has a lot of luck involved
and not as much skill--
ANNE WHEATON: Um, it's skill.
WIL WHEATON: No, but it just makes it more fun.
MIKE PHIRMAN: What about playing the game?
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: I think one of Anne's special skills
is pop-a-matic.
And "Uno."
WIL WHEATON: And then here's the other thing, when it comes
to skill, I will not play "Scrabble" with Anne, because
she destroys me.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Oh, Anne, I really want to play
"Scrabble" with you.
I love--
I played "Scrabble." with--
WIL WHEATON: Don't do it, Kristen.
You're going to regret it.
WIL WHEATON: You're going to regret it.
ANNE WHEATON: Oh, come on.
I have tried to play with him where we don't keep score,
that I just like to make the words.
And he gets all freaked out, because--
WIL WHEATON: You have to keep score.
It's part of the game.
ANNE WHEATON: Well, god.
WIL WHEATON: How many "Words With Friends" games did you
have going before you finally declared "Words With Friends"
I finally was just like, I can't keep
up with all of these.
ANNE WHEATON: I couldn't keep up.
I had to just stop "Draw Something" and "Words With
Friends." I was getting text messages-- it's your turn,
it's your turn.
And I was like, oh my god, I can't keep up.
WIL WHEATON: We would get in bed at night, and I would be
like, OK, I'm reading.
And then I would just see her face illuminated by her phone.
What are you doing?
What are you doing for an hour?
Are you reading Reddit?
And she goes, no, I'm just trying to catch
up on all my games.
ANNE WHEATON: 22 games of "Scrabble" and 14 games of
"Draw Something--" I stopped.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: This is the exact same story of me and
my husband.
It's like you're speaking my truth here.
Because I finally was like, I can't.
It became like a job.
I was like, well, I've got to play all these games.
WIL WHEATON: "Cranium."
ANNE WHEATON: "Cranium," yeah.
WIL WHEATON: We played "Cranium" all the time.
Phenomenal family game.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Oh, yeah, "Cranium's" great.
WIL WHEATON: The "Trivial Pursuit" DVD game.
ANNE WHEATON: Oh, yeah, that's good.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Have you ever heard of a game--
I did a panel for GeekMom at New York Comic Con.
And one of the GeekMoms, Nicole Wakelin, she talked
about games.
And there were two games that she suggested, good whole
family games.
I don't know if you'd heard of them.
One's called "The Black Pirate." And the other one she
recommended was "Zooloretto." And I thought--
WIL WHEATON: "Zooloretto" I actually have in the--
ANNE WHEATON: Can you lean in and see?
WIL WHEATON: --pile--
Wait, let me just go into here.
WIL WHEATON: --somewhere.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: That would be awesome if I just slid into
your house.
WIL WHEATON: I don't know where it is.
I have it, but I haven't played it.
I'm going to write it down.
What's the other one called?
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: One's called "The Black Pirate." And
the other one is "Zooloretto." I really loved her.
We all took turns talking about different nerdy things.
She was like, if you want to get away from "Candyland,"
"Chutes and Ladders," when you're introducing games to
your kids, her suggestions for RPGs were "Mouse Guard" and
"Faery's Tale."
WIL WHEATON: Absolutely.
WIL WHEATON: Great call.
Great, great, great call on "Mouse Guard."
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Yeah, Nicole, she's on it.
And games for little ones were "Eleminis" and "Jungle
WIL WHEATON: I haven't played "Jungle Treasure." But I have
"Eleminis" around here.
I've seen that.
ANNE WHEATON: What is the game that we were playing that has
all the sticks?
WIL WHEATON: Oh, "Catch a Falling Star."
ANNE WHEATON: Oh my god.
That is an awesome game.
It's sort of like [INAUDIBLE].
WIL WHEATON: Keep talking.
I'm going to pick it up so that people can see it.
ANNE WHEATON: There's some magnetic sticks.
And it is really fun.
Pick-up sticks, from when I was a kid, that was
But this one, you just kind of want to--
it's sort of like, "Jenga" or pick-up sticks.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: That sound is coming
from beside you, Anne.
He comes by with, like, bandages.
ANNE WHEATON: They're German games.
The artwork is adorable.
The games are very--
WIL WHEATON: This is "Catch a Falling Star."
ANNE WHEATON: This is a great game.
I can see that there's lots of questions of people asking how
to introduce gaming to your kids.
WIL WHEATON: This is "Magician's Kitchen," another
great one from the same publisher.
ANNE WHEATON: They are so fun.
I mean, they're fun for adults, too.
I hated "Chutes and Ladders" when my kids are really little
and wanted to play that.
I could handle "Candyland" a tiny bit more, but not really.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: "Candyland" has changed, too.
Before I was so happy that Nicole sort of hit me to new
games for little kids, since Vivienne's three.
But when she reached a certain cognitive level, I had this
very exciting sort of, you are old enough, we can play a
board game.
And so I thought, oh, I'll start with "Candyland."
And I bought it.
And they changed everything.
It's got different characters.
It's way, way busy.
And I was really disappointed in it.
And then I didn't want to play.
I was like, I don't like this.
WIL WHEATON: I remember being really little.
I'm six years older than my sister.
And I remember being really little, probably being eight
or nine years old and being able to play
"Candyland" with my sister.
And the simplicity of that game was great.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: I feel like it's gotten very busy
now, and very sort of--
WIL WHEATON: There is another sort of a roleplaying game.
It is a storytelling game that is phenomenal for children.
It's called "Happy Birthday, Robot!'
I just like robots.
MIKE PHIRMAN: It is absolutely amazing.
And it's great for adults, too.
So what you're doing is you have three dice.
And they have arrows on them and conjunctions on them.
And you roll the dice.
And you start building words and phrases.
And then when you roll the dice, it tells you what you're
going to do next and where the story's going to go.
You have a certain number of terms to
serve around the circle.
And then when it's over, you have a little story that
you've all worked together to tell.
And especially for kids playing this game, the
designers have worked to make it an improv.
You want to say "yes, and." And you want to keep the story
going and work together.
And it's wonderful.
It is a beautifully illustrated game.
And it's just great.
And if your kid is old enough to tell a story-- he doesn't
even have to be literate yet-- if he can just tell a story,
then you can play this game with your children.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: That sounds awesome.
MIKE PHIRMAN: And that one's called "Happy Birthday,
WIL WHEATON: "Happy Birthday, Robot!" yeah.
ANNE WHEATON: Another one that's good--
I don't remember how old Ryan and Nolan were when "Apples to
Apples" came out.
WIL WHEATON: And "Apples to Apples Junior."
ANNE WHEATON: Well, yeah.
So we didn't have "Apples to Apples Junior" yes.
We had just the regular one.
The junior one was too simple for--
I think they were around 10, or something like that.
So that junior "Apples to Apples" is
great for little kids.
But we are playing just the regular person.
And I remember one of the cards--
there were a lot of things that they--
WIL WHEATON: I know what story you're going to tell.
ANNE WHEATON: There were a lot of things that the kids didn't
understand what it was.
But that was OK, it would help them learn.
But Nolan threw a card out that just made no sense for
matching it up for the judge.
And Nolan just looks up, and he goes, I don't even know who
Hogrey Bofart is anyway.
The card was Humphrey Bogart.
But he said Hogrey Bofart, which I thought was hilarious.
WIL WHEATON: Nolan is 21, we still laugh about that.
ANNE WHEATON: We still call him Hogrey Bofart.
WIL WHEATON: Good old Hogrey Bofart.

MIKE PHIRMAN: Our son has a thing going where he will
guess the superhero.
My wife and I-- he'll just be like, hey, I have one.
And he'll be like, all right, cape?
No cape.
No fly.
And this morning, we went through does he
work with the Hulk?
Does he work with Wolverine?
And he ended up with--
so it was mine.
I was the one who had it in mind.
I said, so he's one of the Fantastic Four.
He's not Mr. Fantastic, he's not the Thing, he's not
Invisible Woman.
He's-- and he goes, the Human Porch.
MIKE PHIRMAN: That's so much better than the one I was
thinking of.
MIKE PHIRMAN: What a great character.
The Human Porch.
WIL WHEATON: Listen, I know somebody
watching this is an artist.
And I really want them to draw the Human Porch.
And email it to
I will put it on my blog and my Tumblr--
the Human Porch.
MIKE PHIRMAN: I feel like Popeye with the spinach.
You should drink a cool glass of lemonade and become the
Human Porch.
ANNE WHEATON: You know, when our kids were little, I see so
many-- well, I can just see it when I'm driving by people,
that people just have movies on in their car for kids.
Or the kids have their own iPads.
There's constantly an electronic
thing in their face.
And when our kids were little, we would take
them on road trips.
And there were no DVD players, none of that stuff.
But we would play I spy out the window.

WIL WHEATON: We had that "Rubberneckers" deck of cards.
ANNE WHEATON: Yes, we had "Rubberneckers."
WIL WHEATON: Super fun.
ANNE WHEATON: If you go to AAA, they have travel bingo,
where you just slide the little window.
WIL WHEATON: If you see things on the way.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: If you went to the local Howard
Johnson's, you'd get the triangle game
with the pegs in it.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: My parents would just buy that.
And we would sit in the back of the car with that, quiet--
quiet for hours.
MIKE PHIRMAN: It's interesting.
And this is where having Jane on would be interesting,
because she is very big into the video game side of it,
which is also you're interacting with people.
But it's so great.
I love that you guys have such value on the physical sitting
there, playing a game.
Because it makes sense.
And you're totally making me like--
I've written down like six games I'm going to go get.
ANNE WHEATON: That's good.
MIKE PHIRMAN: And I'm started, you know.
It's so cool.

WIL WHEATON: It can be really fun to play in games online.
When Ryan first went to college, he and I played
"Castle Crashers" together on Xbox Live.
And it was great.
And it was a way for us to stay in touch.
We're both playing "Minecraft" right now on
single-player installs.
But I'm building a server for us to play together.

There's absolutely value in doing--
I don't want to give the impression that I'm like,
video games are lame.
And playing with [INAUDIBLE] is bad.
It's not a thing that I particularly enjoy.
But look, the reality is this is the world that we live in.
And we have to raise our kids to be strong in this world
where online gaming is a thing people do.
Multiplayer gaming is a thing people do.
And not so much Ryan and Nolan's generation, but your
kids' generation are going to grow up with Google Glasses
and games like "Ingress." And they're going to be doing so
much location-aware stuff.
They're going to want to play games, you know.
An evil company like Zynga is going to make some game that
tricks kids into giving up their location and stuff.
And kids are going to want to play that.
And as parents, we have a responsibility to give our
kids the tools that they need to protect themselves and to
look out for predators and how to deal with people who are
griefers and how to be a good partner in a game,
and things like that.
And they're going to be doing it in ways that, frankly, I'm
glad I don't have little kids right.
Because I don't really have to worry about it.
But there's so much with technology, and especially
with smartphones, that it is very much the
world we live in.
And I don't want to give the impression that I'm like, get
off my lawn, you kids with your newfangled computers and
your talking devices.
ANNE WHEATON: Your talking devices.
ANNE WHEATON: We actually, when the
kids, and they probably--
I know that Ryan's listening to this.
I don't know if Nolan is.
But I know that they hated it at the time, because the
priority was, of course, getting homework done.
But we would have them, for the time that they wanted to
play a video game-- like, if they wanted to play for an
hour, they had to read for an hour first.

I mean, I know, especially for Ryan, it really encouraged him
to be a big reader.
And Nolan just thought, nah, I'll go outside and play
soccer instead.
But I think it also got them, if they were going to invest
that time when they were--
I think games are much more complicated now.
Video games are more complicated.
But if they were just going to sit there and play Frogger, or
what were they?
I don't know.
They had Sega all that stuff.
But if they were going to sit there and play something which
was sort of just like point and shoot or something that
was meaningless, at least they balanced it out by reading
first, or just using their time in a different way if
they didn't want to read, and go play outside.
MIKE PHIRMAN: That's cool.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: And people demon the iPad a lot about,
oh, people, they hand their kids an iPad, or whatever.
And I really think the iPad can be used for so much good.
And you can have a really nice bonding experience.
MIKE PHIRMAN: "Monkey Math."
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Yeah, "Monkey Math." We have
mentioned that every hashtag parent, we get a plug-in with
"monkey free school lunchbox."
First of all, I'm sort of like, well, I'd rather have
her interacting with something than sitting in front of a TV
just blank, and just accepting things into her brain.
But I also spend time with her with the iPad and play with
her and do the activities with her.
I have a lot of apps, like anything by Night & Day
Studios and Duck Duck Moose and the three L's.
I mean, those women, they do these amazingly layered
Montessori apps that have so many different Easter eggs and
things to find, and grows with her.
She started out just kind of poking around at them.
Now she's drawing letters.
She's actually tracing the letters in the
sand on these apps.
MIKE PHIRMAN: You know what game does that?
ANNE WHEATON: What was the thing that the kids did?
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Monkey free school lunchbox.

WIL WHEATON: When the kids were little, my future
sister-in-law worked for a company
called Knowledge Adventure.
And they put out a whole series called JumpStart, like
JumpStart First Grade, JumpStart Second Grade.
And these were age appropriate,
advanced learning games.
And it was a series of games.
They were mini games that were all educational.
I remember being a kid and thinking, I'm going to get to
play a game.
Oh, It's an educational game.
WIL WHEATON: I get free ice cream.
Toothpaste flavored?
Come on.

But they loved these games.
And they were so much fun.
And Ryan still talks about this character Roquefort who
liked cheese.
And still talks about the Logical Journey of the
Zoombinis and the something or other of Dr.-- like the Island
of Dr. Brain, or something like that.
I don't know if this company is still around.
I don't know if they're still making these programs.
These were old Windows '95 programs.
But I'm sure that if they're still around, they've got to
be on iPads and things now.
And it was amazing, because kids could challenge
If they wanted to excel in spelling, then they could just
do all the spelling mini games.
And then it would give them a report card.
And it would show them, you did amazing in this.
You probably want to work more on this.
And then in order to unlock new levels, you had to do the
things that you weren't doing very much.
So you were getting this well-rounded education.
MIKE PHIRMAN: That's cool.

WIL WHEATON: Clearly this did something good for my son,
because he just applied to the MFA a program at his

WIL WHEATON: I think there's something to be said for using
these things.
TV can teach kids.
And it can also zoom kids out.
And it's the same thing with computers and iPads and how
we, as parents, interact with our children.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: They're all tools.
And you have to use them as tools and not as babysitters.
WIL WHEATON: Yeah, and I think that if you're an engaged
enough, responsible enough parent to ask the question,
how do I make this iPad had awesome for my kid instead of,
oh my god, how do I get this kid to shut up, then clearly
you're doing it right.
MIKE PHIRMAN: By the way, I want to mention--
WIL WHEATON: That's old man Wheaton.

MIKE PHIRMAN: On my new iPad game, "Get Off My Lawn," you
try to get all--
You get on the lawn with a jalopy.
And an old man chases you off.
MIKE PHIRMAN: So a guy sent me a link, said, hey,
check out this game.
It's called "The Digits." And it's an educational iPad,
iPhone game.
But I just wanted to make sure and mention it,
because it's bizarre.
It's so weird.
If nothing else, there's a website for it that's just
And they have an infomercial.
I think it's meant to look bad, because it looks bad.
But it's bad with, like, a good sense of humor bad.
And anyway, the game is really fun and really weird.
And so if you're looking for a silly, fun game for, I think,
mostly little kids.
Because it's stuff on concepts like cutting things in half.
And you're flicking stuff across the room
and stuff like that.
So for little kids, "The Digits" is a good, fun game.
MIKE PHIRMAN: That's great.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: We have to wrap up,
because we're way over.
You guys are so delightful.
And it's so interesting.
There's so many.
Just even tonight, "The Mad Magazine Game," I had totally
forgotten about that game.

It's just bringing up all these crazy game memories of
all the games I used to play.
I used to subscribe to "Games" magazine,
read "Games" magazine.
"Games" magazine, it was amazing.
"Games" magazine was sort of like the original iPad for me.
When I go on a long trip or something, I take my iPad with
me, because I've got books, I've got movies, I've got
games, I've got all sorts of stuff in there.
And "Games" magazine, man.
My grandparents lived in Sacramento.
So we would drive up there all the time to go see them.
And I would just go get "Games" magazine at the B.
Dalton bookstore in the mall.
And then it was just puzzles for days.
I loved that magazine.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: I don't want you to think that I am
But I am fancy-town.
I have a subscription.
And I used my own money.
I used my own money to get a
subscription to "Games" magazine.
I loved it.
WIL WHEATON: Didn't they give you some cool giant word
search poster or something?
Yeah, they did.
And even simple games, like chess and go
and stuff like that.
My daughter is so young, I can't wait to teach her chess.
I'm like, what age are they ready for chess?
Because my husband doesn't play.
And I'm like, let's have a baby, so I can
play chess with someone.
WIL WHEATON: You're really playing
the lawn game, Kristen.
MIKE PHIRMAN: That's seeing a lot of moves ahead.
That's a lot of moves ahead.
WIL WHEATON: That's why you're such a good chess player.
ANNE WHEATON: Oh my god.

MIKE PHIRMAN: And then, of course, the kids
doesn't like chess.
And then she has to play one of her
17-b tokens and do-over.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: I'm going to be in the park with a bunch
of old men.
WIL WHEATON: Like, shit, we have to make another baby.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Yeah, exactly.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Or go get your mother, she's in the park
with the old men playing chess again.
It's like get your father, he's at the pub.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Where they have games.
WIL WHEATON: And darts.
ANNE WHEATON: They do have games.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Well, you guys, thank you so much for
being on the show.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Thank you so much.
This was awesome.
I have a whole list of games.
This is fantastic.
WIL WHEATON: Yeah, I'm really interested to know how your
kids like the games that we talked about.
I'm really, really interested to know.
Because I can know sort of academically, oh, this is
great for a kid.
But until I actually get to talk to somebody I who can
tell me, yeah, this was great or this was lame or whatever,
I'm really interested to know.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: I'll be happy to report back, because
this is a whole list.
Like I said, I feel like, oh, good, now we don't have to
play "Chutes and Ladders." Now I don't have to play this
weird new "Candyland."
MIKE PHIRMAN: We can't get sued by "Chutes and Ladders,"
can we, for saying that?
They're not watching us.
What if they are?
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: If I have a son, I'll
call up Milton Bradley.
So thank you so much, you guys.
And again, thanks, everyone.
WIL WHEATON: Thanks a lot for having us.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: No, no, this was wonderful.
And again, Jane McGonigal, feel better.
WIL WHEATON: Yeah, Jane, seriously.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: It is not necessary to Twitter a picture
of your thermometer.

MIKE PHIRMAN: And go check out her TED talk.
It is unbelievable.
WIL WHEATON: It's really great, really great.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Kristen, do you mind if I plug one more thing?
Because I'm not sure how we're doing this next month, and how
our show is going on.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Everybody, next month Mike Phirman is
leaving me to go on a cruise.
ANNE WHEATON: We're going on a cruise.
We're all going, yay.
I'm staying home and minding the fort.
So when the cat's away, the mice will just do this Hangout
with some friends of mine.
ANNE WHEATON: Play chess.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Yes, we'll play chess.
Just me alone playing chess.
And it's going to be the most like-- we got
millions of hits on that.
People were fascinated.
Or sleeping in the Murphy bed.
Pull that bed down and just sleep.

MIKE PHIRMAN: Next week is going to be Kristen-- you with
some other guest.
We don't yet have confirmation.
MIKE PHIRMAN: But it is possible--
I think we were slated to do a run until next month.
I think February's our last.
MIKE PHIRMAN: If we come back, cool.
If we don't, then this is me saying--
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Wil, for us, if we don't parent our
children well, we don't get a second season.
That's how it works out.
If Wil doesn't win a game, he doesn't get a second season.
If we don't parent our children well--
ANNE WHEATON: Pressure is on.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Now all of sudden, there's a lot of
pressure to be a good dad.
ANNE WHEATON: Yeah, now.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Mike Phirman, I will miss you next
month so much.
MIKE PHIRMAN: I will miss you, too.
ANNE WHEATON: We will keep him in good company.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: Well, you're all going on this--
don't go crazy--
WIL WHEATON: I'll see you on a boat in a month, Mike Phirman.
Yes you will.
KRISTEN RUTHERFORD: And I will see everybody
here with other people.
MIKE PHIRMAN: All right.
WIL WHEATON: Thanks a lot for having us.
WIL WHEATON: Play more games, everybody.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Go play games.
MIKE PHIRMAN: Put the internet down and go to bed.