I’ll be doing a series on how we actually built our custom game table. The idea spawned as I got frustrated with the standard size maps and how they took up so much space on the table surface, leaving players cramped and often moving their stuff out of the way to extend the dungeon. Also, if a drink spilled, it got on other people’s stuff! The way to solve this? Raise the map up and compartmentize the player space. While we are at it, add a few other cool features. So I started drawing up plans and my wicked cool gamer-chick wife helped me build some scale models.
Then we made a shopping list and just “did” it. Here are the features our “analog” game table had:
- Each player has a personal space
- Small book holder between each player
- Supports 6 players – 2 per side with 1 side for the DM
- DM space must be big enough for laptop, books, dice, figs and notes
- Raised map allows for overlap
- 4’x4’ map surface – Provides 240’x240’ in game (at 1”=5’ scale)
- Tunnel system for Player to DM and DM to Player message (removed for the digital table later)
Here are some pictures of the construction:
This is the first parts of the table. Remember, that I made a scale cardboard model, so I knew exactly how everything was needing to be cut before any assembly began. The big piece is my map, the small pieces are the player surfaces and book shelves.
Here you can see the raised section coming together. The holes are for the tunnel system which I later scratched. I did have it working, but my cats tore it up all the time and we found it wasn’t used much anyways. Each player has 2 holes, the upper hole sent a message, which was tucked nicely into a tennis ball that had a slit in the side. Then you drop it in the hole and it would roll to the DM. Then the DM has 6 upper holes one for each player. The DM could write back and drop it in the correct hole and it rolled to the players lower hole. The two lower holes on the DM side are where the DM received the messages. The left served the left half of the table, and the right served the right half. (See DM section below).
This is a buddy of mine that I had sit at the table to show the size. The desk part is at a comfortable level similar to a dining room table. The map is raised up 1’. It is a tad high, but I actually like it because everyone stands up and gets “into the action” when combat starts.
That is part one, how we built the analog table. After a season of play, I got the itching to do some upgrades… Stay tuned for info on how I turned this from the simple analog game table, to the new (and improved) digital game table! Oh, and the total cost of the analog game table was about $500. Yes, this was spendy, and we could probably do it cheaper if we shopped around or used thinner laminated boards. Also, if I had known we didn’t need the tunnels, that would have saved a bit for those components that I later just tore out.