Saturday, October 06, 2007

Thoughts on a Game Table --

I'll have a wonderful space for gaming . . . so the question becomes "what size gaming tabledo I want?"

Sure, I'd like a nice BIG table . . . but there is a problem. I'm stout (okay, fat) and my arms are rather short as well. I couldn't even reach the middle of a 6' wide table . . . so it is out.

I can barely reach past center on a 5' wide table . . . but my belly then has a tendency to drag figures and terrain on the table edge off onto the floor (which is NOT a good thing). I also have a troublesome back so I wanted a taller table.

I do have (as the pictures in the last post attest) two 8' long banquet tables; each of which is 30" wide. This presents me with a 5'x8' table with some rounded corners.

One thought that I've had is, since I was planning on having some side tables for troops, that a pair of 5' long banquet tables would give me the option of having a 5' wide table either 8', 10 1/2' or 13' long . . . and sometimes a big table like that would be nice.

But what about "smaller" games?

One thought that I've had is to use the two long banquet tables as a "base" for a 4'x8' sheet of plywood table raised about 7" above the banquet tables. I'd have supports at the four corners and then interior supports running lengthwise (and across) about 8" in from the plywood edge.

Why this inset? So that, along with one 6" on either side, players would have a "ledge" below table height where they could have their rulebooks, drinks (safely under cover) and containers for dice so that none of these would need to be on the gaming surface.

I would also have some brackets on the edges of the plywood so that a protective raised edge would help keep figures and terrain safely on the table. These edges could also be lifted out so that thin boards with a painted background could be used for photographs.

So I have two thoughts . . . and really, they could be combined. I have some 2'x2' terrain boards -- which would be great for the 4'x8' plywood top, but which wouldn't fit on the banquet tables. But the local fabric store that my wife frequents sells lots of material that's 60" (five feet) wide . . . thus a good cover for the banquet tables.

I like the idea of the flexibility of both, but what do I do with the plywood top and frame when I want to use the banquet tables . . . we are on what is known as the "Wet Coast" of Canada . . . which means that we do get a lot of rain -- taking it outside isn't really an option.

Please share your thoughts.

-- Jeff


MurdocK said...

Interesting idea Jeff, I was unsure about your description the first time, now I see it.

Perhaps as a storage solution, you could break the 4'x8' sheet into two 4'x4' 'boxes' that have one more rectangular either bracket or hole in them (on the underside) where a pair of 2"x4" boards could be used to 'link' them like a leaf in a table would be added. By sliding these together like this you make the 'table' bits smaller, then you can store them in a smaller volume and they will 'weigh' less (I know what it is like to lift my own 4x8 table alone!).

You could also put bracket hooks on the connecting side, between the two 4x4 pieces, which would then also 'hook' onto a matching bracket on a wall, permitting you to store the table 'up' on a wall like a painting.

The other approach would be to have 'hook up' points on the corners of a whole 4x8 sheet and in the middle, then have a harness set into the ceiling. When the table is not needed, haul it up the the roof, out of the way!

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Happy Saturday Jeff,

Oh, I wish I had your table problems! At present, I have no table at all. :-(

But anyway, how about working out some kind of arrangement where that 4'x8' piece of plywood and it's supports are: 1) either cut into thirds and hinged, to fold up like a Chinese rice paper screen, making storage in a closet or corner relatively easy. This might be a bit on the heavy side though.

Or, 2)cut the piece of plywood into four 2'x4' pieces that are each reinforced from below. Each of these subsections would be relatively light, plus you'd have a bit more flexibility as far as table size goes.

You might find this book helpful: Scenery for Model Railroads, Dioramas, and Miniatures (1994) by Robert Schleicher. It has a section on making light weight scenery from those 4'x'8 pieces of high density styrofoam insulation that are sold at DIY stores like Builder's Square or Maynard's in the US. Schleicher discusses, and includes photos of, making something like you describe but from foam rather than plywood. Much easier on the ol' back I think. Hope this might be of some interest, or at least help you in your thinking. Enjoy the weekend!

Best Regards,


Steve-the-Wargamer said... have a "problem" that most people would give their eye teeth to have.... :o))

...if it was me, I would stick with just the banquet tables, and a piece of ply - raised and supported as per your description (I'm not a fan of clutter on the table top either) and I'd play all my games on it, big or small..'s a shame about your 2' square tiles, as apart from your very definite views I would have gone with 8' x 6' as my ideal table size... are these tiles commercially bought?? If so, do the company concerned do 1' squares?

...for even bigger games, then another couple of similar sized tables gives you expansion options - or better still do as I do and have a hinged drop down section on either end of the 8 x 5 ply, each with their own supporting legs.. that way you can use one or both as the need arises, but you don't have a storage problem... depending on how high off the ground the table surface would be (7" plus whatever the height of the table) this would give the potential of say another couple of feet extra width at each end - giving 8x5, 10x5 or 12x5...

Bluebear Jeff said...


To answer your questions about my 2' square tiles . . . no, they are not commercial, but ones that I've made myself . . . and I suppose that I could eventually make some one foot wide ones.

Of course, as frequently happens, the simple act of writing things down has helped to clarify my thinking.

(Note . . . this does NOT mean "simplifying".)

Stokes idea of cutting the plywood into smaller (4' square) pieces for ease of movement has got my mind swirling with more possibilities too.

So, while I've not reached the "final decision" stage, I am (with thanks to you gentlemen) moving much closer to it.

-- Jeff

marinergrim said...

How about making a lattice framework that would support the terrain boards, rather than a full blown tabletop?

Thinking here of the lattice bought for garden plant support (but more sturdy in it's construction). Or indeed a series of pieces of timber slotted together with some simple tenon joints which can be dismantled and stored away.

I like the idea of the folding table and if using marine ply wouldn't have to be that heavy to take the weight.

old-tidders said...

Having built a rather heavy duty wargame table, I'm now wish I hadn't.

Something lightweight and modular would be best.

-- Allan