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Creating a Stowable Gaming Table

Many folks who have visited my gameroom and played tabletop RPGs like D&D and Traveller with me have remarked on my table setup. It’s easy to deconstruct and reconfigure the room to instead setup a folding ping-ping table or put down an inflatable bed if we have guests. It’s also big enough they I can seat 8 players plus a GM (though usually it’s set up for 5-6 players plus a GM).

Here’s how I pieced it together along with costs.

  • A Chessex Megamat which is 34.5” x 48” from Amazon (runs about $34) [view online]
  • Two center-fold folding tables from Costco (runs about $67) [view online]
  • A full-size black bed sheet from Target (runs about $11) [view online]
  • A Lexan 36” x 48” clear acrylic sheet (runs about $67) [view online]

Total cost was around $250.

Stan's Gaming Table

Stan’s Gaming Table

I use Costco folding tables. Very sturdy and rugged (as compared to some less expensive tables I used to have from Target which were a little more wobbly).

Costco Heavy Duty Folding Tables

Costco Heavy Duty Folding Tables

I simply use a black full-sized bed sheet as a table-cloth. It’s not slick and has enough friction to keep maps and cards from sliding around. Easy to throw in the laundry once the Cheeto stains become noticable!

Full Size Bed Sheet Used as a Tablecloth

Full Size Bed Sheet Used as a Tablecloth

I use a Chessex battlemat which fits on the table with still about a foot of space along the table edges for players to put their books and character sheets and innumerable dice.

Chessex Megamat

Chessex Megamat

I’m paranoid about staining my Chessex battlemat by forgetting to wipe off the wet erase markings. Also, I’m sometimes concerned about water marks or tears given some of the minis and soft drinks we junk up the table with. So I overlay a piece of Lexan on top of the battlemat. Lexan is more expensive than Plexiglass but is thinner and (supposedly) more scratch resistent. I’d probably have been just as happy with Plexiglass in retrospect.

Lexan Sheet

Lexan Sheet

You can draw on the battlemat just fine. I can wait and erase the marking a month later and it comes up just fine.

Battlemat You Can Draw On Without Fear of Stains

Battlemat You Can Draw On Without Fear of Stains

Another use for the Lexan is to press maps flat and protect them. Here’s a Heroclix map that is hard to get flat.

Maps When Not Under Lexan

Maps When Not Under Lexan

But when placed under the Lexan it is nice and flat!

Example Map Under the Lexan Sheet

Example Map Under the Lexan Sheet

Come game-time, I really like the table setup. We toss dice around and the maps are nice and protected from drink spills and don’t move around on the table.

Heroclix Figures on the Battlemat

Heroclix Figures on the Battlemat

While the cost was $250 for this setup, it works great for me. Hope you find these tips helpful!

3 Responses to Creating a Stowable Gaming Table

  1. Sequoyah Wright February 1, 2015 at 8:40 pm #

    Excellent set up, sir!

    I have a 10 ft conference room table, which is very nice but still not quite perfect and very long. Players at the far end have a hard time manipulating their minis and seeing the map etc.

    A square set up like yours is better for the players. The GM space behind you for your supplies keeps it from cluttering up half the table.

    And much less expensive than a conference room table, I can tell you!

  2. Derek Pennycuff February 2, 2015 at 8:39 am #

    Is your battlemat 1 inch or 1.5 inch? I ask ‘cos Heroclix are 1.5 but the default Savage Worlds templates are scaled for 1 inch. If you use a 1.5 inch map for a Savage Worlds game do you scale up the templates? If so, how?

  3. S. W. Shinn February 2, 2015 at 9:46 am #

    The Chessex map is 1” and is what I usually use. I hadn’t really thought of scaling up the Savage Worlds templates — but if I do that I’ll just do the math, create the larger template and print it out and laminate the template. I’ll also be doing some scaled down templates since I’m going to do a 15mm scale game for The Last Parsec. 🙂

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