A couple of weeks ago Rooster Teeth and Achievement Hunter in particular, started airing a new show they have been teasing for a little while, Hardcore Tabletop.
The premise, of the first 'season' at least, is simple; what if you played a game of Monopoly with real money? Not just substituting denominations to a more affordable amount, no, playing with over twenty thousand dollars cash where the winner of the game gets to keep whatever money they have on hand at the time!
In typical AH broadcast style everyone involved has taken the opportunity to go a little slapstick and over the top with their costuming and the production team has outdone themselves as well with a fully customised Monopoly board and gaming table complete with actual jail cell underneath for anyone who lands on that spot or rolls three doubles.
The tone of the show is brilliant, it is very much a comedy but with cut away interviews in the style of a 'World Series of Poker' type show where everyone is taking themselves far too seriously.
The show is a lot of fun and for me is the most enjoyable of the multitude of board game shows that have popped up all over in recent years.
The first show to jump up in popularity and could be responsible at least in part for the resurgence of board games we've been seeing for a while now is Will Wheaton's 'Tabletop' on Geek & Sundry. Each episode he would gather some famous friends together and they would play a board game. It was part gameplay, part review show and the games they covered were more often than not solid 'entry level games.'
That shouldn't come off negatively, and it is really just very clever, these were all games that were readily available and not too difficult to learn or play with all sorts of different demographics.
I think thats why the show did so well and should be applauded.
Shut Up & Sit Down, for my money, is the most entertaining straight up review show out there. They have an interesting take on every game they cover and don't always go with just the hot new thing and nor do they always agree with the popular opinion.
I don't always agree with their assessment of a game but their reviews are entertaining as hell.
I really like that board games have permeated through pop culture, at least among online video communities. I talk about them a lot and really enjoy them obviously, but it's cool seeing them spread wider and wider thanks to this sort of organic advertising. There is something for everyone out there. Do some google-fu and look up a board game shop near you, go speak to someone there and they should be able to recommend something for you. Failing that, ask me.