Some observations on a recent FB thread about the game table could use a little clarification regarding the project. I’ll try to answer them here:
Is the game table too high? We had to strike a compromise between the height of a comfortable chair, average lap/thigh height and the ability to function at arm and head height. Please remember that these D&D, Heroscape and other tabletop sessions can go 8-10 hours at a stretch. We reviewed and tested the heights with our gaming group to determine the best height that still provided us appropriate consoles with cubbies for storing dice, snacks and, of course, books and paper. Which brings us to the second common comment:
This table is too tech – all you need is old-school pencil, paper, books, dice: In fact, the majority of the gaming group is very old school. Some were teenagers and remember quite well when Mr. Gygax released the very first widely-published D&D set (with no dice, just cardboard “chits” in a cup, all in a simple box with a dragon on it). Several of the group don’t even use any electronics. Each console (and especially the GM stations at each end) are designed to hold books and papers. However, some prefer laptops, tablets or smart phones (which do come in handy for settling arguments quickly or whipping up a last-minute musical cue). And we’ve had members Skype in to participate. Tech is tech — paper and books are technology and so are tablets and smart phones. This table accommodates all preferences.
Too big for an apartment: Unfortunately, the scale of the table we built probably is (it’s 10 feet long and five feet wide, WITHOUT making space for the chairs). HOWEVER, if you look at the plans, you will see it is really just a series of free-standing consoles anchored together to a table base. Such a table could be built with as few as four consoles surrounding a square recessed battlefield for a much smaller footprint, not much larger than a card table. We were ambitious but we have a large group and were fortunate enough to have the space.
Disposable income: While the table looks grand and wildly expensive, it really was not, if you take time to shop wisely for the wood, stain, varnish and hardware. The entire table project done here came in at less than $800. If you look closely at it, you would see that it is intentionally built “rough” to “take a beating” (respectfully). This furniture is meant to be used, not babied, so we built it with simple pine, thick and heavy. If you do not have access to the woodworking, however, you would run into additional expense hiring that part out. Also, it took a long time, several months of long weekends, to build.
Don’t like the light around the battlefield: We don’t always, either. We use it depending on the scenario. We sometimes use 3D environments like Heroscape or 40K that require side lighting to help see, plus the room itself doesn’t have good overhead lighting. But that’s why there is a simple light switch built in to turn it on or off.