I’ve become a huge fan of tabletop content on YouTube and other video services. I’ve certainly extolled the virtues of shows like Critical Role and The DM’s Craft in previous posts, and I’m always on the lookout for new shows in “GM Advice” vein. I’ve got three new ones which I watch regularly, and if you’re a busy GM like me I think you’ll find them a useful addition to your viewing library.
Matthew Colville – I found my way to Matthew’s channel through Matthew Mercer and Critical Role, and I count it as just one more good thing Critical Role has brought to my gaming life. I enjoy Matthew’s videos for a number of reasons: he’s my age(ish), he has a similar attitude and style of GMing to my own, and he has an obvious love for the hobby. That last might seem obvious; why else would he be posting videos on tabletop gaming if he didn’t love it? But a number of channels I’ve come across post a lot of videos which focus on negative aspects of the hobby, or spend a lot of time ranting about everything they see as bad. I’m not opposed to watching videos of criticism, but I don’t want it as a steady diet and I prefer videos which offer some suggestions on building up after they’ve been tearing down. Matthew’s videos focus very much on the things he likes about the hobby, and when he does bring up aspects not to his liking, he doesn’t tend to spend a lot of time on them. He just goes back to the things he likes and builds on that. He has a friendly, no nonsense style which I find not only appealing, but worthy of emulation. He’s just an entertaining speaker as well, bringing a sense of humour to his videos without stumbling in to wackiness. Great for the beginning GM, and perfect to listen to/watch in the background as you do something else.
Web DM – At just a year old, judging by how far the videos go back, Web DM is the youngest of the shows I’ve found. It does not suffer from that youth, however, and the two hosts (Jonathan Pruitt and Jim Davis) have obviously been gaming for a while. The show definitely focuses on D&D and specifically 5E, so if that’s not your game your mileage may vary. But as someone getting back in to D&D after a 4E hiatus, I actually really like that focus. It’s helped me get a quicker handle on the system and various aspects of the new rules. They also spend a lot of time discussing fluffier topics, like how to use giants or angels in your campaign, which I have enjoyed a great deal. Excepting the gameplay videos, the episodes all range between 10-20 minutes long, which is a comfortable length. And the I really love the conversational tone of the videos. It is very much like listening to two of your gaming buddies discuss your hobby, minus the arguments and edition war rants. If you are thinking of getting into D&D 5E, this is definitely a series you want to stick in your playlist. And even if you aren’t as D&D focused, a lot of the episodes will still give you ideas for your game of choice.
A Fistful of Dice – A YouTube channel which I just subscribed to yesterday, actually, but I’ve caught videos from the channel through various other sources for a while. I really enjoy the rough, “vlogging on the go” feel of the episodes, as if he’s just taking a break from his busy day to tell us something important about gaming. The cool thing is, he usually is telling us something important about gaming. The episodes cover a wide range of topics, from Gaming with Kids, to his “Five Ways” vids on various subjects, to episodes on how to start your own YouTube gaming vlog. An affable guy who is obviously enthusiastic about the hobby, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far enough to recommend the channel to others and I look forward to working through the back catalogue. Plus, how could I not love the Sergio Leone reference in the title? And he keeps it going with a series of vids called “For a Few Dice More”. Love it!