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An Interview with Board to Death TV

Kristen McCarty
United States
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I am excited to bring you an interview with A Video Review Site, Board to Death TV. You can find them at http://www.boardtodeath.tv/. They are known for their high quality video reviews of all types of Board Games. It's a great site for new gamers and seasoned gamers. The reviews are organized into easy to view categories. You'll find exactly what you are looking for with a quick glance.

Board Game: Fireball Island
I was able to speak with Luca Vince Caltabiano, the founder, cameraman, and editor for Board to Death TV about the website and why you should check it out and become a a member.

Luca started in the board gaming hobby with the awesome game Fire Ball Island. Though I've never played it, that scary volcano seems pretty cool. From there Luca started playing more games. But gaming wasn't his only hobby. He also started a video production company where he did wedding videos and local commercials for store owners.

A new HD video camera needed to be tested one night. Luca and his friends tried it out during a game night. The games that night were Descent and Chaos in the Old World. They decided to post it online. They didn't want to post just random footage so they posted reviews. If you watch these videos on the website you'll see some of their first attempts at video reviews. Ever since they have been improving on their videos. After posting two or three videos the e-mails started coming. People really like the reviews and wanted more.

They quickly decided to make more video reviews. Getting games to play was the hard part. They started contacting companies for games to review. Companies like Rio Grande and AEG were great from the beginning. Others, such as Fantasy Flight, didn't respond.

They worked hard on their website, the videos, and playing games. The hard work has impressed many and now companies are actually contacting them. The do their best to get all the games played and reviewed so others can learn about the great companies and games.

At Board to Death TV, Luca said that "you'll find fun, short game video reviews." They videos are about five minutes, which lets people get a deep, yet quick, overview of the game. The length is enjoyed by both the viewer and game companies.

Of course Board to Death TV has the most popular games like Ticket to Ride, Through the Ages, and Alien Frontiers. They review those that are on the "hot" list. They also have games that many may not know about yet. Games like Tri-Cross or Guild Quest even get their close-ups with Board to Death TV. Believe it or not, that's not all you'll find on the website. They have monthly contests to win games. Recent winners received the Walking Dead Game or The Lord of the Rings Deck Building Game.

Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Deck-Building Game

Luca isn't the only one working at the website. There are others working together to create the videos on the website. Some of them are Michaela Di Cesare, Steve Nash, Felicia Mezzanotte, Jessica Elias, and the reviewers Joe Capano, James Simionato, Giancarlo Caltabiano, Neskins Aujours, Joe Amato, Alex Brunetti, Simon Elias, and Zeb. They are friends and many grew up together. They all work together because they love it. The fan mail is a welcome result! The Hosts do the videos for free, with the occasional games as a bonus.

Many of the people who work for the site have a background in film or acting. Luca has a background in filming and his brother in acting. Many of their gamer friends have played parts in short films and plays. This show is the video they make from the filmography to the reviewers in front of the camera. Even professionals sometimes make mistakes and if you go to their facebook page you can check out some bloopers.

Even with my limited film editing experience, I know that filming, editing, and posting a video takes time and patience. There is a lot that goes into the process. So, I wanted to learn more about what they do at Board to Death TV.

The process begins with reading the rules, four times at least, even if this means reading them in bed before they go to sleep. The next step is a gaming DAY, and I mean day. They play the game all day. I'm sure they go through a couple of pots of coffee. Luca says you might even spy a cup or two when you watch a video.

During the gaming day they play the game all the ways it can be played. By team, variant rules, 2 players, 6 players; whatever the game allows. After a game day the reviewers will then send a e-mail about what they liked or didn't like.

This information is then put into the script. Writing a script can take two hours or more. After the script is written they need to contact the hosts. The hosts will need to shoot the Intros and Voice overs; again at least two hours of work. Then they have to shoot the close ups of the board game to match the script. And you guessed it, that means another two hours of work. Editing and posting online takes the most time, about three hours.

Delays are possible but the viewers, board game companies, and Bored to Death TV know that the videos are worth it. Luca said that "other reviewers out there take the EASY way out making a review, the "FILM and TALK" review where no time is spent making it nice." He also doesn't like when they don't show actual game-play footage. He suspects that many read the rules, play the game, and make the video on the same day. They want to be the first one out with the review. Luca also doesn't like the "Box Opening" videos. He gave the example of video game reviews that are all about the gameplay. You wouldn't see a a video game review with out any actual footage. Luca has offered up a challenge to reviewers out there. "START putting gameplay footage and prove to your watcher that you PLAYED that game with a group, or else your review can't be trusted."

Short, concise videos are a great introduction to games for new gamers. They can see a game, the components, and the gameplay and quickly decide for themselves if they do or do not like a game. I know my husband used many of the videos from Board to Death TV to help decide on games that we both enjoy. So I wanted to know if this was a goal from the beginning. Luca said that he wanted to bring new gamers in his area so he shared the videos with schools and local game stores near him. The videos would be fun to watch and show that these games aren't hard, once you get it. The stores used the videos to generate more sales on their site. Australian game stores thanked them many times over for the videos. Distributors use the videos to sell games to retailers. He said, "We are just so proud to hear that, and when we do, all that goes through my head is that hopefully, new gamers were made that day."

So by now you know that Bored to Death TV is a great website, with lots of videos to view, but you still may be wondering about the advantages of being a member. Why would you want to pay to use the website? Luca said that with membership you get to see the latest reviews. Plus if you write comments, use the stars to vote, are active, and make them notice you on the site, you can win some of those Monthly board games.

Board Game: Super Dungeon Explore

He also said that with only about 10 active people on the site right now your chances are really good. That's not to say that only 10 people are watching the videos, most people watch them on their YouTube page. These people are missing out according to Luca. There is a donation system on the website where you can donate $3.00 a month and that automatically puts you in the monthly drawing without ever going to the site. Better yet, get your gaming group to donate $3.00 and you can win a game you would all enjoy. There are only about 6 people doing this now so the chances are very good. Plus, the more people who join, the bigger the game. I've heard a rumor about Super Dungeon explorer being a possible prize. So for just $3.00, you can have video review and a chance to win a game.


While Luca does have other hobbies, making animations, having BBQ's, most of his last year has been consummed by his latest board gaming project; CarmaRace. We will talk more about this Kickstarter hopeful in another interview. But until then be sure to check out Board to Death TV at: http://www.boardtodeath.tv/. Also, here is one my favorite games, At the Gates of Loyang given the Board to Death Treatment.

Picture Credits: Luca Caltabiano (Chez Geeks), Homo Ludens (cvandyk), W. Eric Martin (W Eric Martin), Daniel Barrett (Helljin), Luca Caltabiano (Chez Geeks)
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