Picking that perfect board game table is really hard to do. About a year ago my wife and I found ourselves doing just that. We had committed to buying our first dedicated table for gaming. We debated a number of decision points and went back and forth for quite some time until we finally decided upon our final choice.
I hope to help provide some thoughts on what you want to consider to pick up that perfect game table.
These days, there are so many options for gaming tables that you can find yourself finding the perfect table only to realize it’s not within your budget. You need to decide how much money you want to commit to this. Some of the commercially available tables can run into the thousands of US dollars to buy and may quickly go past what you can afford. Knowing your budget will help you find a perfect fit of features for yourself.
Know Your Gaming Needs
After identifying your budget, you need to pin down what it is that you plan to use your gaming table for. We found that if we made a list of requirements and then evaluated those on definite need versus nice to have that it really helped our selection process.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself as you drill into your requirements:
- How important is the material the table is made out of to you? Do you need natural wood or manufactured board material good enough?
- Do you want to be able to replace the felt/gaming surface easily?
- How large do you need the gaming surface to be?
- Do you need to use this table for other activities, such as being used as the dinner or coffee table in the room?
- How many people do you want to comfortably seat at your table?
- How much space do you have to put the table and have people comfortably move around the table?
Build It Yourself vs. Buying a Table
While most of us dream of having the perfect game table, the budget for one can quickly get out of hand. I have seen a lot of really cool tables out there that were made by the people that own them. Indeed, my first gaming tables were nothing more than some wood screws, lumber, and a twin-sized bed sheet. Deciding to build your own vs. buying is a complex decision.
Building one from scratch will ultimately save you quite a bit of money. I have seen some really good projects come together for under $250 in materials. Besides having the skills and ability to design your custom table, you need to have a safe workspace that’s well-ventilated for working with things like wood stains and polyurethane that you may use to treat your lumber. You will need some other tools such as the proper saws and woodworking materials. If you have those or access to someone who does and is willing to put in the time to help, then this might well be the way to go!
Purchasing a game table from a well-respected vendor is likely the way most of us will go. The quality that comes with a table like those made by Wyrmwood or Geeknson is far better than anything I could pull off. The price goes up significantly here, but for game tables, this is something you definitely will get what you pay for.
A Look at a Few Commercial Tables
The Jasper Gaming Table from BoardGameTables.com is a great budget table and the least expensive on this list. The table is made of Malaysian Oak instead of particle board or MDF. While this means the wood is a bit softer, it’s still real wood and durable with a quality stain and commercial finish. There are a number of options to customize the Jasper as well with its modular cup holders, dining topper, wing, and side shelves, and alternate color play surfaces.
Geeknson is another company that we own one of their tables. The two primary tables that are considered by Geeknson include the Denis and the Henry. We opted for the Henry due to additional drawer storage and what we felt was a more elegant look. The Denis is a lower-cost option and is a more traditional dining room table replacement gaming table.
All of the Geeknson tables feature not only an amazing playing surface but also the ability to remove that surface to unveil a clear plexiglass layer that can be lifted up. This is a great feature for RPGs as you can put maps or gridded boards underneath the plexiglass and then use wet or dry-erase markers to draw out additional details on the plexiglass surface. This is also a great feature for those board games with modular boards that remain fixed after initial setup.
You can check out our full review of the Henry Gaming Table from Geeknson for more information.
The Prophecy Game Table from Wyrmwood is a beautiful table and one of the most well-made tables on this list. With that said, it’s also one of the more expensive tables that don’t go completely custom. Starting at $5000 US it tends to go up from there. With options for table toppers, a lift mechanism for the recessed table, cup holders, component organizers, card and other shelves, and more. This table can be an investment as expensive if not more than all of your games combined.
The Councilor Gaming Table from Rathskellers features an aluminum railing system, wooden surfaces, and options for electrical accessories such as table lights! The table is made from white European oak making the table itself very durable by itself. One of the few tables that are being featured that have options for sliding drawers giving you a bit more storage in your game room. This table can be ordered in multiple custom sizes, add-ons and more. This makes it possibly the most flexible table on the list for your gaming needs.
The Legacy Gaming Table from Uniquely Geek is the most expensive table on this list. While Uniquely Geek has a number of other models at varying price points, this table is a gamer’s dream come true. Built-in player stations that fold out, solid hardwood construction, double-sided insert, multiple options for the legs, and more. Where other tables on this make you upgrade for cup holders and other accessories, this table all of these features are included. If you are looking for the best that money can buy, this table has to be right there with any other table on the market.
The Right Table for the Delve
A year ago, I went through this process and our budget and gaming needs led us to the Jasper Gaming Table. You can check out the review, but it’s worth noting that we bought only the table itself. The chairs were separately purchased. We upgraded the table to have the toppers and cup holders. We’ll be adding on soon additional cup holders, wine glass holders, and possibly one of the shelf options. It’s a solid table that you can assemble easily and we have been very happy with it.
If you are like us, once you have that table you are going to want to accessorize your gaming space. Check out our recommendations for the top things you want to include in your game room. Then listen to Episode 84 of the WiscoDice Tabletop Gaming Podcast for even more ideas that will help you get the most out of your game room.
If you need help selecting the right table for you feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].