Ask the Artists: Play on Tabletop!
Updated: Jul 7, 2020
Boy oh boy! I am stoked to bring you the subject for this interview: Play On Tabletop! My first introduction to the Play On team was when I watched the video: How to Play Warhammer 40,000 and I've been an avid viewer since! One awesome thing that immediately caught my eye was their playlist: 40k in 40 Minutes. The ability to watch an entire battle report in less than an hour is a HUGE point to the positive in my book. Recently, they posted their idea for a fun and exciting concept: 40k in 40 seconds! Essentially, they are asking the community to record their battle reports, then boil the video down to 40 seconds, showing highlights, or moments of tide-turning awesomeness! Once the videos are recorded, upload them to instagram and use the hashtag #40kin40s, or put them on facebook and send the team your link. After 30 days, they will select the top 10 videos and feature them on the Play On Tabletop YouTube Channel!
As I think about what drew me into this channel, it was hands-down the value they place on their video quality! They firmly grasp and understand the importance of strong storytelling through effective cinematography. The shots they take are done in such a way that the viewer FEELS as if they're in the heat of the battle. I love the interactive and immersive way they introduce the armies and take the amazing pre-battle shots on the terrain. Something else I think is pretty cool is the overhead visual "summary" of each turn, using sound and visual effects.
In keeping with the theme of quality, their soundtracks and transitions are amazing! When you combine the cinematic prowess with the auditory excellence, their videos have a professional polish that very few content creators have been able to pull off. Finally, on top of their industry grade production value we find a group of really awesome people that truly love the game! It's not often we find entertaining personalities, captivating gameplay AND high quality video production. When you follow the folks over at Play On Tabletop, that's the kind of total-package viewing experience you can expect!
(For this interview, Tak is answering the questions both for himself, and when appropriate, for the crew as well).
1. How many people are a part of your team, and who are they?
"We are six people from a variety of different backgrounds who all met through Warhammer 40,000".
2. How long have you been involved in the hobby in general?
"That is varied amongst all of us. Some of us since the 90's and some of us are relatively new, starting up in the 2010s. Some of us have played since Rogue Trader".
3. How long have you been actively promoting your content on social media?
"We started in March of 2019".
4. What initially drew you to the miniature model hobby realm?
"That is going to be different for all of us, but for me, science fiction and then fantasy are my favourite genres. I also work in the creative field and I don’t think that part of my brain ever shuts off. I can’t think of a better way to still be creative and working with my hands in a genre I love.
We have a lot of creatives on our team, so probably something similar for them. We get along because of a lot of shared interests from old school sci-fi from the 70's and 80's, to Lord of the Rings and classic fantasy".
5. What tabletop game would you say is your favorite? What particular faction within that game is your favorite and why?
"We all came together because we all played Warhammer 40,000. I can’t say that is everyone’s favourite in the group, but it is our commonality.
JT plays his Dark Eldar (Drukhari) though he has some other armies and has started up some new ones.
Stephen is all about his Space Marines - he loves Space Marines - he is Space Marine Steve!
Paul is currently playing his Grey Knights, but he has Dark Angels, Blood Angels, and Astra Militarum - basically, he is the Imperium guy.
Nick is best know for his Tau, he is very passionate about his not-fish-people. (It's true! He gets so worked up when people call them fish people...absolutely hilarious!)
Tycho played Blood Angels because of his name, but he really enjoys his Chaos and just being able to freely create with whatever faction he is putting together. He played a lot more fantasy than 40k until the changes in the last 8 or so years.
Tak’s go-to is his Ultramarines, but he also has an Ad Mech and Death Guard army in the works. He is attracted to whatever looks good to him aesthetically more so than fluff or meta".
6. If money or time weren’t a consideration, what single purchase/upgrade/expansion would you make to further your hobby enjoyment?
"Nick I am guessing it is the Tau Manta..
I (Tak) would like to build a battlefield and playable diorama like what you see at Warhammer World for the channel. I do a lot of the channel’s photography and want to get to White Dwarf / GW level photography.
- Space Marine Steve wants to own and have painted EVERY Space Marine chapter. All of it. Every one of it.
We all probably want a place to house all of our dreams and desires because we dream big and we are going to need a big space for it all".
7. Where do you get the inspiration for your particular army theme or style?
"I would probably need to spend a day to answer this question. So many great creators out there. So many artists we admire. And, it would be unfair for me to just put my own list here".
8. What tips or advice would you give someone just starting out in the hobby?
"Ignore the gaming meta and choose an army that calls out to you because of the aesthetic or the narrative. The game meta will change. But if you love the stories about your armies and in turn can make stories, or you just love the aesthetic, there is a very good chance you are enjoying the hobby".
9. What was the moment you realized hosting battle reports was something you wanted to pursue as more than a hobby?
"I sold my company and was looking to take a year off. We had all talked about the state of battle reports off and on amongst ourselves and I'm not a person that likes to talk and not take action. So, we looked at battle reports and asked the right questions. What is not happening. Who is not being serviced. What could be? And we decided to take action and produce something that needed to be entertaining and not something you put on in the background while you paint. Not saying those formats are bad. We were just looking to fill a gap in the marketplace".
10. What was the most difficult obstacle you had to overcome on your path to becoming a YouTube Content Creator?
"Time! Shortly after we started, I was recalled to my position at the Creative Agency and now everyone else was doing this part time. However, Nick and I are both creative industry veterans with 17+ years experience each, so we were able to utilize that skill set in challenging the status quo of tabletop strategy gaming content. It's just, since we want to create TV quality productions, the investment of time is massive. Some of our battle report productions have eclipsed 100 hours. So, definitely time has impacted the rate of content releases. And, that is really what hurts us as content creators. It has really stunted our growth not being able to put out a show weekly".
11. What was the most rewarding experience you’ve had since you started creating content?
"We try to read every comment we get. This is becoming more and more challenging as the channel grows but we do try. All of us. In shifts. Getting feedback from the community is really, really rewarding. However, the stories we love the most involve getting people into the hobby. We entertain so that we inspire action. That is our cause, our core purpose, and reason for being. If we can excite people’s imaginations and they want to play and enjoy the games we love there is no better reward. We’ve had stories of kids wanting to learn so they can play their dads, grandpas learning to play with their grandkids, and guys finding the courage to enter into what they otherwise thought was too daunting or intimidating a hobby".
12. If you could do anything to expand your company/studio/hobby footprint, what would it be?
"We want to turn this into a full-time job for some of us so we can release content more consistently. We want to have a dedicated studio attached to offices with our edit bays. We really just want to produce more for this amazing community. It would be nice to cover more factions, get more players from all over the world to be on the show, and just to be able to pump all that out for our audience".
What product line do you endorse and what about their products do you feel sets them above their competitors?
"We have started to form great relationships with terrain and mat producers like Frontline Gaming and Gamemat.eu who have supported what we do with enthusiasm. Being supported and encouraged by veterans in the industry who have forged their own way is humbling and incredibly valuable. Our first endorsement was from Flipside Gaming in New York. New York! The other side of the continent who just believed in what we were doing and was willing to sponsor our championship series. We couldn’t be where we are today without the Garage: Games & Geekery where we currently shoot out of. And, it was the local community and WetCoast GT, the big local tournament that helped us get our kickstart when we covered top table and that became our first show. There really is too many to mention. We love them all".
If you could earn a sponsorship or endorsement from your dream company, who would it be and why?
"We want partnerships with people who believe in what we are about. Work with us if you believe that through entertainment we can inspire action. We don’t want to limit this to just the gaming industry that we are in. Entertainment is universal. Inspiring action is universal. If a company is inspired by our core purpose, If they believe in always striving to be better, in being better together through collaboration and partnerships, and are looking to find the fun in things - then they are a dream partner for us".
Folks over at Play On Tabletop (Tak especially) thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. I honestly love getting to know people and creators in this way. I think there is something very valuable in knowing people's struggles and victories as we consider their impact on us. Y'all have set the production bar very high for those in the wargaming niche, and I truly hope as your footprint grows you'll all be able to jump in full-time. I think we'll all be amazed with how far you guys are going to go! I love your work and can't wait for the next video!
Readers, hop on the social medias (especially their YouTube) and get to work!
'Til next time...