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Subject: Game Table Design Series: What Size Should My Table Be? rss

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While researching my table, I came across a few sites that discussed optimum dining room table dimensions and room sizes. While these articles discussed dining tables, I found that many of their requirements mirrored the requirements that a game table demanded. As a result, I gathered a bunch of info for figuring out how big of a table my room could sustain. Lets just say my first crack at designing my own table was over zealous with the size compared to the room I had to put it in. I'm glad I took the time to figure out what fits within a room. Otherwise I would have ended up with a beast in my basement with so little room around it that I could barely move.

Before starting down the road of building your own game table, take a step back and look at the room you plan on sticking the table in. Your room size influences the size of the game table so you had better take a look at where the table is going so as to maximize your enjoyment of the table when it is done.

There are two main issues you need to work out:
1) how many people will be using it regularly and
2) What size of table can the room support.

Both of these factors will influence the shape and size of the table. Each person sitting at the table will require a certain amount of room in front of them in order to play comfortably for long periods of time. Each player will also need a certain amount of room behind them to allow them to sit easily or allow others to pass unhindered behind them. Remember, playing a game can be as short as 15 minutes or as long as 6+ hours. If you are sitting there for 6+ hours, the table and chair and your personal space at the table had better be comfortable!

Player Sitting Width
When sitting at a table, the minimum amount of shoulder room you need is around 24" (average shoulder width). While most person can squeeze into 24", it will not do for long gaming periods as there will be lots of elbow/knee/legs knocking. If you want a more comfortable and spacious game experience, aim for a shoulder width of 30" for each person. This will give each player a lot of elbow room. Also keep in mind how wide the chairs you plan on using are. If they are 30" or greater, they will determine the amount of space each person has when sitting at the table. Therefore, the length of the table will be determined by the amount of shoulder space each player needs multiplied by the number of players on a side. Keep in mind that the table type (rectangular, circular, oval, etc.) affects how the players are distributed around the sides. As well, a table corner also affects how people will sit as two people cannot share a corner as their knees/feet with intersect under the table. Table legs also get in the way of peoples feet unless the leg is straddled. The table leg will also affect how the chair slides in when not in use. It all has to fit together.

Player Playing Space
Another important thing to think about is how much room in front of a player is available for them to use on the table. If a table is 2'4" wide, this gives players 14" of space in front of them (split the table in half for a player on each side). This is probably the bare minimum required for a games table as it should fit most game boards except for the very large boards. While this will work, it will be a very tight fit for your personal gaming space. It leaves very little space in front of each player to hold their cards or game pieces. On the other hand, going with a 4' wide table has its own advantages and disadvantages. A table 4' wide will fit "almost" any board game (there are exceptions I imagine but lets be realistic) but at the cost of player usability. At 4', a player can reach approximately half way across and would have to stand up to reach further which could be tiresome if people are constantly standing/leaning forward every turn to play the game. Depending on the games being played, this may be fine. It is really dependent on what type of game is being played. Identify the games you plan on playing and how much movement your "players" will be expected to do and design the table around that. Also keep in mind if you plan on having a leaning ledge as it will increase the width even more at the cost of removing some of the "nice" playing surface area.

Table Shape
Is a circular/oval table better than a rectangular/square table? Depends...

Rectangular Tables
1. People sitting at Rectangular tables will not be able to reach the table center. People at the far ends will have to depend on others to help them in this regard.
2. Rectangular tables can be made longer to accommodate more people. The table width can be kept thinner so that people at each side can easily reach the center line or even 3/4 of the way across the table.
3. Rectangular tables fit within rooms better as the majority of rooms are rectangular.
4. You can't place two people at a corner of a rectangular table as their feet will collide with one another.
5. Most board games are rectangular so they typically fit better within a rectangular table but there is no reason why they wouldn't work with circular tables either.
6. With a rectangular table you can easily have two board games going on with 3 to 4 people each at either end of the table if it is long enough.
7. Rectangular tables deal with mostly 90 degrees so construction of a rectangular table is substantially easier (and more efficient usage of materials) compared to a circular table.

Circular Tables
1. Circular tables are great in that everyone is the same distance from the center of the table. For games this is perfect as you get a great view of everyone in front of you.
2. Small circular tables will have leg room issues where everyone will be kicking each other. The larger the table gets, the less of an issue this becomes.
3. As a circular table becomes larger, its square footage grows dramatically. It's great for fitting multiple people around at the cost of suddenly no one can reach the center of the table. If the circular table is a pedestal table, any one leaning on the table to reach the center will run into table tipping issues.
4. Large circular tables are also very difficult to fit in rooms due to their size.
5. Multiple games can be played on a single large circular table but due to how the people sit beside each other, these games would be limited to 2 or less (you could squeeze 3 in but it would be very cozy) per game in order for everyone to see and be within reach of the board game.
6. Circular tables are also more difficult to build since you are dealing with many curves and only a few 90 degree angles compared to a rectangular table. Making a curved vault would be a challenge!

Table Access
While space in front of the player at the table is important, so is the space behind the player. You need room at the table edge for the player and the chair to sit, as well as room behind them to allow a player to get up from the table unhindered while still allowing people to pass behind sitting players without touching them. Typically you will need a minimum of 30" of clearance for the player to sit in. This allows enough room for a chair and a person to take a seat or get up but does not give very much additional room for a person to pass behind someone sitting. So while 30" could be considered a minimum, you are better off having 48" (4 feet) of space from the table edge to the wall (or next piece of furniture). 48" is nice since it gives each player plenty of room to walk to their space and sit down without disturbing their neighbours. A problem with 48" is that making a 48" border around the table may not fit within the room you plan on putting the table in. Hence the need to determine what size of table you can fit in the room will be influenced by how much walk room you pick for around the table. A good idea is to take your room and make a 4' boundary from the walls into the room. The space left in the very middle is the space for your table. If it is too small, you will need to cut back on the 48" but don't go within 30" as that is the bare minimum space needed around the table for room to move around a sitting person. Going to the 30" minimum will result in a very crowded room so keep that in mind as well. If the table has fold out/sliding shelves, the 30" is reduced to ~24" which is not enough room. This occurs since when the shelves fold out/slide, the person sitting is forced to move back a few inches due to the extended shelf in front of them. As a result, the 30" minimum turns into 30"+ depending on how far the shelf extends out.

Room Mechanics
Quite often objects in the room can also influence where you place the table. An opening door into the room can possibly touch the table which is not advisable. Identify how much swing the door has and if there is enough clearance for the door to clear anyone sitting at the table. This also applies to any cabinet doors or other items that "open" into the room. Also be aware of window placement and light fixtures as they can also affect where the table can be placed. Unless you are building a new room or renovating a room, this is usually out of your control. If you plan on having a rug in the room under the table, make sure the rug is large enough that it does not interfere with the chair legs of people getting in and out. If the rugs hinders someone trying to scoot their chair in, it will become a hindrance.

Example Table
Lets look at a rough table top designed to hold 8 people, 2 at each end and 3 along each long edge each with their own fold out shelf. Its current width is 4.5' and length is 7'. Are these table dimensions suitable for an 8 player table?

Lets dig into the table details... The available player space in front of each player (with no overlap with a neighbour player) is 15.75" with a large amount of space in the very middle for the game board. 6" of this 15.75" is taken up by a 6" leaning ledge (which can also fold out into a shelf). The 6" ledge could be used to hold cards since it would be easy to pick the cards up due to the ledge not having any edges to prevent cards from being slid off the ledge. This should be fine seeing as there is additional room in the middle of the table for a shared play space that everyone can use. The space in front of each player appears to be fine as it is more then the minimum 14" space recommended. The player can also store cards, etc. in the small private cubby hole under their 6" ledge if they wanted.
From gallery of Kaiyoot


Lets look at the amount of room around this table for people sitting at it (shoulder room). It currently has about 22.5" of space for each person which is under the recommended 24". This would be a very tight fit for the 3 people on each long edge of the table. If this was a 4 legged table this would be even worse as the players would be squished together even more by the corner table legs. The only way to fix 3 people in on each side would be to add a few more inches to each person's space on these long edges. This would not be as bad of a squish if this table used pedestal legs as each person on the long edges could move closer to their corner giving them the extra room they need. This would result in a slight misalignment of the corner people lining up with the center of their fold out shelves. Depending on the game, this might be OK, or not. If the table was designed to consistently sit 8 (3 people using shelves on each long edge, plus 1 at either short edge end), I would say this table would not be an ideal solution. If it was built for 6 people using the fold out shelves (2 people using shelves on each long edge, plus 1 at either short edge end) most of the time and 8 people occasionally, then it would be a much better fit. Again, the size of the table really depends on what usage the table will see and if it will fit within the room.

Now what room would this table would fit in? Lets start by placing the chair boundary (30") and the walk boundary (48") around the table. The 30" boundary is shown in green while the 48" boundary is shown in cyan. The correctly sized room for a 7' x 4.5' table would be 15' x 12.5'. This would give plenty of room around the table so people could move freely around the table without bothering people who are sitting at it.
From gallery of Kaiyoot


Unfortunately the chances of having the perfectly sized room for the table will rarely happen. In fact more often the opposite will happen where you have a room and a table idea that just won't fit. In most cases, you should start with the room size and determine what size of table it will support and work backward into the table details. Most people don't do this and jump into designing the table first (I did!) so lets see what we can do when we have a table of a specific size and a room that is not perfect. This will eventually involve changing the table to fit the room.

Example Game Room
The game room dimensions (wall to wall) is approximately 13' x 13.7'. The table dimensions for this room is 7' x 4.5'. If we place the table in the middle of the room it would look like the following. I kept the 30" boundary (Green) and the 48" boundary (Cyan) visible for your reference.
From gallery of Kaiyoot


After putting in a shelf along one side of the room (for holding the board games), the room size decreases to 13.7' x 11.58'. Will the table fit in this room? Looking at the room layout, it is most important that there is a walkway along the bottom and left hand side of the room to allow people to go from the stairs over to the side rooms and the hallway at the top left. In order to have 48" or more for space, the table will have to be squeezed into the top right hand corner as shown:
From gallery of Kaiyoot


Is this bad? Lets add some people to get a feel for how much room you will actually have to move around the table. This would result in having the other sides with ~30" (This is very tight) and ~50" (great!) of room for people to walk by the table.
From gallery of Kaiyoot


It is obvious that this is a pretty tight fit for the table. People along the top and right edges of the table will not have an easy time moving around due to the limited 30" of space. The closet would also not be accessible when people are sitting along that edge. On the positive side, the other two sides of the table have plenty of room. While not being perfect, the table could still be used in this scenario but you will hear a lot of complaining every time you get a big group together and that one person in the far corner has to go to the washroom and squeeze by people to get out. On top of this, the tight area around the walls will hinder any usage of the foldout shelves as they will decrease the 30" down to 24" since they fold out 5.5". This is not enough room so some changes must be made in the table design.

Lets move the shelves to the right hand side of the room and turn the table 90 degrees. We already know the length of the table is an issue so lets shrink this by 1' and make the table 4" thinner. This leaves us with a 6' x 4'2 table. This will turn it from a 8 person table down to a 6 person table.
From gallery of Kaiyoot


This looks a lot better as we now have 48" or more on 3 sides of the table (Left/Right/Bottom). The two most important areas (left and bottom) have the bare minimum 48" of room which is very important as this would be the main passage way between the stairs and the rest of the basement. This also removes the "tunnel" that the shelving on the bottom wall would have created with the room located there. The tightest area of the table is now the top edge which has 36" of space. This is more than enough to prevent the closet doors from contacting the table and still gives the player sitting there enough room to be comfortable. The others can move freely around the other side of the table so this location does not bottle neck any player into a tight space which is good.
Having done this leg work, I would proceed with this size of table for this room over the original 7' x 4.5'.

Table Height
As for the correct height of the table, lets look at what is already well established regarding Dining Room Tables. Dining Room Tables typically are 30" tall and have enough room underneath for the legs & knees to fit comfortably (height from the floor to the bottom of the table). If your table is flat with no vault, this is easily accomplished as your table will typically be less than 4" thick which will give you at least 26" or more of leg/knee space. If a vault is included in the table, depending on its depth, the leg room underneath can quickly disappear. While there is no standard as to how much leg room you need, the tables I researched all had at least 25" or more of space. This means if you stick with a 30" tall table, you can make the table 5" thick and be fairly safe with the leg room underneath. These table height numbers are all relative to a chair height of 18". The table and chair can deviate from these dimensions but straying too far from these numbers can result in an uncomfortable table. If you decide to go outside of these boundaries, make sure to do a mock up to see how it feels.

If you wanted to design a table at bar height, you would aim for ~42" tall. This height is the average height needed for comfort when standing, and when used for sitting with a bar stool that is 30" tall. The rest of the information regarding widths and sizes still applies regardless of what height you decide to make your table at.

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for how your project turns out using any of this information.

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Change Log:
April 7, 2015 - Added Table Shapes section.
March 22, 2015 - Added revised table size (6' x 4'2") image and updated the description for this section.
March 12, 2015 - Initial Posting
 
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After visiting a friends game room and viewing how his table fit in his room, I went back and have begun changing my table to better fit my room. My own posting in this section had already alluded that my initial table size was too large but until actually seeing a very similar sized table, I think I still held on to the thought that it would work. Now that I've seen it in person, I know I have to shrink things down for my own use.

As a result, I have updated the Room Example in this posting to reflect that the smaller table will fit much better in the room. I have gone from an initial 7'x4'6" table down to a 6' x 4'2" table. I should be much happier with this smaller table than if I had proceeded with the larger table and tried to squeeze it into this room.
 
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I was initially looking at a 6' x 4' table, but because of room dimensions, I've revised that to 5'6'' x 4'6'', including the ledge, so 5'x4' game area.

To me that was the best compromise between room dimensions, gameplay area, comfortable ledge for elbows, and players' reach on the table.

Most game nights are with 4 players, occasionnaly 5, and very rarely 6. So when we're 5 we can offset the center board (if any) towards the 5th player sitting on a far edge.
 
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Anyone try an expandable table with leafs like a dining room table? I've got the space for a big ole' gaming table, but sometimes I think it would be too big for a 2 or 3 person game. Do I just keep a small table to the side for that or try to do something crazy like this?
 
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Dimmendarkgirl wrote:
Anyone try an expandable table with leafs like a dining room table? I've got the space for a big ole' gaming table, but sometimes I think it would be too big for a 2 or 3 person game. Do I just keep a small table to the side for that or try to do something crazy like this?
Take a look at this thread: My first DIY game table
 
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Is anybody thinking about Octangle tables?

I bought a cheap octangular table recently and I like the basic design. Each side is 20 inches, but I am thinking that 24 inches will work better as it probably allows me to consider some of the other very cool add-on features that are mentioned above.

I am very interested in some type of system to accommodate drinks, but not on a ledge at the lip or in the vault. Am not sure how to address with octangular design. (Especially when I would like to end up with something that accommodates my big Bubba mug).

I suspect that the octangular design shares many of the strengths and weaknesses of the circular design (but perhaps mitigates some of the weaknesses somewhat?). I am fine with no one player being able to reach across the entire width of the table, but would like everybody to be able to reach the middle.
 
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Paladin82Y wrote:
I am very interested in some type of system to accommodate drinks, but not on a ledge at the lip or in the vault. Am not sure how to address with octangular design. (Especially when I would like to end up with something that accommodates my big Bubba mug).
Depending on how wide of a leaning ledge you go with, this idea might work for you:

Re: Wade Through My Babble about Designing and Building a Games Table

This is what I am doing on my table design except that I have replaced my original idea of using rough wooden slide rails with a nice set of small 9" long ball bearing linear rails. Its still in the design stage to be constructed next summer as I am just finishing the room right now. This idea keeps the cup holders out of sight until needed and in the event someone misplaces their drink into the cup holder and it tips, it will spill outside the vault saving the game.

This could be integrated into an Octagonal shaped table with a 5" or larger leaning ledge. It would interfere with a fold out shelf unless you got fancy and made the fold out shelves only on 4 of the 8 sides. You could then have two cup holders on both ends of the alternating sides to service the 4 fold out sides - if that makes sense!? It gets ugly since the cup holders extend into the table which automatically starts interfering with the neighboring sides. If you alternate the folding shelves and cup holders like this: folding shelf (side 1), cup holder left (side 2), cup holder right (side 2), folding shelf (side 3), cup holder left (side 4), etc... you could make it work. It all depends on your wood working skills and how well you plan the design. Or ignore the folding shelves and go wild with the cup holders where ever you want.

I've been planing my room and table for almost 2 years now and have changed many things so don't rush it! I've always personally liked the idea of an octagonal table except that it gets big very quickly as you increase each players side. I also rarely game with 8 people so it doesn't fit my gaming life style.
 
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Kaiyoot wrote:
Paladin82Y wrote:
I am very interested in some type of system to accommodate drinks, but not on a ledge at the lip or in the vault. Am not sure how to address with octangular design. (Especially when I would like to end up with something that accommodates my big Bubba mug).
Depending on how wide of a leaning ledge you go with, this idea might work for you:

Re: Wade Through My Babble about Designing and Building a Games Table

This is what I am doing on my table design except that I have replaced my original idea of using rough wooden slide rails with a nice set of small 9" long ball bearing linear rails. Its still in the design stage to be constructed next summer as I am just finishing the room right now. This idea keeps the cup holders out of sight until needed and in the event someone misplaces their drink into the cup holder and it tips, it will spill outside the vault saving the game.

This could be integrated into an Octagonal shaped table with a 5" or larger leaning ledge. It would interfere with a fold out shelf unless you got fancy and made the fold out shelves only on 4 of the 8 sides. You could then have two cup holders on both ends of the alternating sides to service the 4 fold out sides - if that makes sense!? It gets ugly since the cup holders extend into the table which automatically starts interfering with the neighboring sides. If you alternate the folding shelves and cup holders like this: folding shelf (side 1), cup holder left (side 2), cup holder right (side 2), folding shelf (side 3), cup holder left (side 4), etc... you could make it work. It all depends on your wood working skills and how well you plan the design. Or ignore the folding shelves and go wild with the cup holders where ever you want.

I've been planing my room and table for almost 2 years now and have changed many things so don't rush it! I've always personally liked the idea of an octagonal table except that it gets big very quickly as you increase each players side. I also rarely game with 8 people so it doesn't fit my gaming life style.

What about a hexagon shape? Would 24" sides be fine or would 30" wide sides be better?
 
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chiefsachem wrote:
Kaiyoot wrote:
Paladin82Y wrote:
I am very interested in some type of system to accommodate drinks, but not on a ledge at the lip or in the vault. Am not sure how to address with octangular design. (Especially when I would like to end up with something that accommodates my big Bubba mug).
Depending on how wide of a leaning ledge you go with, this idea might work for you:

Re: Wade Through My Babble about Designing and Building a Games Table

This is what I am doing on my table design except that I have replaced my original idea of using rough wooden slide rails with a nice set of small 9" long ball bearing linear rails. Its still in the design stage to be constructed next summer as I am just finishing the room right now. This idea keeps the cup holders out of sight until needed and in the event someone misplaces their drink into the cup holder and it tips, it will spill outside the vault saving the game.

This could be integrated into an Octagonal shaped table with a 5" or larger leaning ledge. It would interfere with a fold out shelf unless you got fancy and made the fold out shelves only on 4 of the 8 sides. You could then have two cup holders on both ends of the alternating sides to service the 4 fold out sides - if that makes sense!? It gets ugly since the cup holders extend into the table which automatically starts interfering with the neighboring sides. If you alternate the folding shelves and cup holders like this: folding shelf (side 1), cup holder left (side 2), cup holder right (side 2), folding shelf (side 3), cup holder left (side 4), etc... you could make it work. It all depends on your wood working skills and how well you plan the design. Or ignore the folding shelves and go wild with the cup holders where ever you want.

I've been planing my room and table for almost 2 years now and have changed many things so don't rush it! I've always personally liked the idea of an octagonal table except that it gets big very quickly as you increase each players side. I also rarely game with 8 people so it doesn't fit my gaming life style.

What about a hexagon shape? Would 24" sides be fine or would 30" wide sides be better?
A hexagon shaped table with 24" sides will be have a diameter of 48". For a 30" long side it will be 60" diameter (the diameter is twice the side length). Whatever side length you pick, it will also represent the half way mark across the table. Figure out what value works for you and then make a mock table out of cardboard or paper to actually see how big it will be. You might find it too large and have to rethink the size. Best to do that with paper/cardboard and not with a nearly finished table.

Another issue you can run into is what will the table stand on? Legs? A Pedestal? These will affect the leg room of course. BoardGameTables.com has a hexagonal table called the Hexus which has sides that are 25.5" long (dia. of 4'3"). It uses a pedestal. Nice looking table!
 
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Kaiyoot wrote:
chiefsachem wrote:
Kaiyoot wrote:
Paladin82Y wrote:
I am very interested in some type of system to accommodate drinks, but not on a ledge at the lip or in the vault. Am not sure how to address with octangular design. (Especially when I would like to end up with something that accommodates my big Bubba mug).
Depending on how wide of a leaning ledge you go with, this idea might work for you:

Re: Wade Through My Babble about Designing and Building a Games Table

This is what I am doing on my table design except that I have replaced my original idea of using rough wooden slide rails with a nice set of small 9" long ball bearing linear rails. Its still in the design stage to be constructed next summer as I am just finishing the room right now. This idea keeps the cup holders out of sight until needed and in the event someone misplaces their drink into the cup holder and it tips, it will spill outside the vault saving the game.

This could be integrated into an Octagonal shaped table with a 5" or larger leaning ledge. It would interfere with a fold out shelf unless you got fancy and made the fold out shelves only on 4 of the 8 sides. You could then have two cup holders on both ends of the alternating sides to service the 4 fold out sides - if that makes sense!? It gets ugly since the cup holders extend into the table which automatically starts interfering with the neighboring sides. If you alternate the folding shelves and cup holders like this: folding shelf (side 1), cup holder left (side 2), cup holder right (side 2), folding shelf (side 3), cup holder left (side 4), etc... you could make it work. It all depends on your wood working skills and how well you plan the design. Or ignore the folding shelves and go wild with the cup holders where ever you want.

I've been planing my room and table for almost 2 years now and have changed many things so don't rush it! I've always personally liked the idea of an octagonal table except that it gets big very quickly as you increase each players side. I also rarely game with 8 people so it doesn't fit my gaming life style.

What about a hexagon shape? Would 24" sides be fine or would 30" wide sides be better?
A hexagon shaped table with 24" sides will be have a diameter of 48". For a 30" long side it will be 60" diameter (the diameter is twice the side length). Whatever side length you pick, it will also represent the half way mark across the table. Figure out what value works for you and then make a mock table out of cardboard or paper to actually see how big it will be. You might find it too large and have to rethink the size. Best to do that with paper/cardboard and not with a nearly finished table.

Another issue you can run into is what will the table stand on? Legs? A Pedestal? These will affect the leg room of course. BoardGameTables.com has a hexagonal table called the Hexus which has sides that are 25.5" long (dia. of 4'3"). It uses a pedestal. Nice looking table!

Boardgametable does indeed have a nice hexagon. By adding a rail system similar to Geeknson I think you have the best of both worlds.
From gallery of chiefsachem
I like the idea of being flexible on positioning cup holders and bins where ever you want them. Radiating pedestal legs is also necessary for increased stability.
 
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Kaiyoot wrote:
Paladin82Y wrote:
I am very interested in some type of system to accommodate drinks, but not on a ledge at the lip or in the vault. Am not sure how to address with octangular design. (Especially when I would like to end up with something that accommodates my big Bubba mug).
Depending on how wide of a leaning ledge you go with, this idea might work for you:

Re: Wade Through My Babble about Designing and Building a Games Table

This is what I am doing on my table design except that I have replaced my original idea of using rough wooden slide rails with a nice set of small 9" long ball bearing linear rails. Its still in the design stage to be constructed next summer as I am just finishing the room right now. This idea keeps the cup holders out of sight until needed and in the event someone misplaces their drink into the cup holder and it tips, it will spill outside the vault saving the game.

This could be integrated into an Octagonal shaped table with a 5" or larger leaning ledge. It would interfere with a fold out shelf unless you got fancy and made the fold out shelves only on 4 of the 8 sides. You could then have two cup holders on both ends of the alternating sides to service the 4 fold out sides - if that makes sense!? It gets ugly since the cup holders extend into the table which automatically starts interfering with the neighboring sides. If you alternate the folding shelves and cup holders like this: folding shelf (side 1), cup holder left (side 2), cup holder right (side 2), folding shelf (side 3), cup holder left (side 4), etc... you could make it work. It all depends on your wood working skills and how well you plan the design...
I do not want to misrepresent. Just to be clear, I have zero woodworking skills. But I live in an area with quite a few shops that have extremely talented craftsmen. So, if I can come up with a plan (and a little bit of capital), I think that I could hire somebody with skills to build the table. But they probably do not have experience building such a specific product -- so I will need to feed them extremely detailed specs.


Kaiyoot wrote:
I've been planing my room and table for almost 2 years now and have changed many things so don't rush it! I've always personally liked the idea of an octagonal table except that it gets big very quickly as you increase each players side. I also rarely game with 8 people so it doesn't fit my gaming life style.
I usually game with 4-5 and often with 6. Eight would be the rare exception, but since I am only going to get one shot at this, I figured that I should build for the edge case.
 
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Paladin82Y wrote:
Kaiyoot wrote:
Paladin82Y wrote:
I am very interested in some type of system to accommodate drinks, but not on a ledge at the lip or in the vault. Am not sure how to address with octangular design. (Especially when I would like to end up with something that accommodates my big Bubba mug).
Depending on how wide of a leaning ledge you go with, this idea might work for you:

Re: Wade Through My Babble about Designing and Building a Games Table

This is what I am doing on my table design except that I have replaced my original idea of using rough wooden slide rails with a nice set of small 9" long ball bearing linear rails. Its still in the design stage to be constructed next summer as I am just finishing the room right now. This idea keeps the cup holders out of sight until needed and in the event someone misplaces their drink into the cup holder and it tips, it will spill outside the vault saving the game.

This could be integrated into an Octagonal shaped table with a 5" or larger leaning ledge. It would interfere with a fold out shelf unless you got fancy and made the fold out shelves only on 4 of the 8 sides. You could then have two cup holders on both ends of the alternating sides to service the 4 fold out sides - if that makes sense!? It gets ugly since the cup holders extend into the table which automatically starts interfering with the neighboring sides. If you alternate the folding shelves and cup holders like this: folding shelf (side 1), cup holder left (side 2), cup holder right (side 2), folding shelf (side 3), cup holder left (side 4), etc... you could make it work. It all depends on your wood working skills and how well you plan the design...
I do not want to misrepresent. Just to be clear, I have zero woodworking skills. But I live in an area with quite a few shops that have extremely talented craftsmen. So, if I can come up with a plan (and a little bit of capital), I think that I could hire somebody with skills to build the table. But they probably do not have experience building such a specific product -- so I will need to feed them extremely detailed specs.


Kaiyoot wrote:
I've been planing my room and table for almost 2 years now and have changed many things so don't rush it! I've always personally liked the idea of an octagonal table except that it gets big very quickly as you increase each players side. I also rarely game with 8 people so it doesn't fit my gaming life style.
I usually game with 4-5 and often with 6. Eight would be the rare exception, but since I am only going to get one shot at this, I figured that I should build for the edge case.
Most of the stuff I talk about here I've thought up in my head and work the details out in my CAD program. Once I know the details and have worked out the dimensions, I build it myself which is easy since I know exactly what I want. I do not know how much success you will have going to a skilled woodworker with rough sketches - depends on the woodworker. If he is willing to listen to your requirements he might be able to figure out what you need and figure out the details himself (at your cost). Pictures may help but again that depends if the guy is visual or not.

Keep in mind to mock things out first (before even talking to a woodworker)! To use an Octagon table it has to be big so each players space doesn't result in bumping elbows. That said, the table will be huge so it may not fit in your room. Draw it out on paper or cardboard to visualize if it will fit or not.

I am current renovating my basement to create my games room. Once I had the new wall up, I taped out the rough dimensions of my predicted table size on the floor and asked the wife and kids what they thought. My wife thought it was too big while the kids felt it was fine. I know my wife isn't a visual person so I took some plywood and mocked up the exact size and placed my "flat" table on top of some saw horses to put in the room so it could be moved around. With that version, my wife was able to "get it" and after some spinning and slight maneuvering around, we found a position that fit the room but still allowed easy access around it to access the rest of the basement. It also resulted in our decision to shorten the table length by 2" for a better fit. I now need to update my CAD drawings for this correction. It is much better to figure these details out well before making the table as once it starts, it will be very expensive to make changes on the fly. A bonus of doing the mock up helped me identify exactly where to place my lighting in the room. I was then able to do the correct wiring and am now in the process of dry walling the ceiling <ugh!>. I am taking pictures of the whole process and will create a posting for it once I finish. While it's not about the table, it is about the room which is almost as important!

Hopefully you have some luck in finding a woodworker who can help you out and not break the bank.
 
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Kaiyoot wrote:
chiefsachem wrote:
Kaiyoot wrote:
Paladin82Y wrote:
I am very interested in some type of system to accommodate drinks, but not on a ledge at the lip or in the vault. Am not sure how to address with octangular design. (Especially when I would like to end up with something that accommodates my big Bubba mug).
Depending on how wide of a leaning ledge you go with, this idea might work for you:

Re: Wade Through My Babble about Designing and Building a Games Table

This is what I am doing on my table design except that I have replaced my original idea of using rough wooden slide rails with a nice set of small 9" long ball bearing linear rails. Its still in the design stage to be constructed next summer as I am just finishing the room right now. This idea keeps the cup holders out of sight until needed and in the event someone misplaces their drink into the cup holder and it tips, it will spill outside the vault saving the game.

This could be integrated into an Octagonal shaped table with a 5" or larger leaning ledge. It would interfere with a fold out shelf unless you got fancy and made the fold out shelves only on 4 of the 8 sides. You could then have two cup holders on both ends of the alternating sides to service the 4 fold out sides - if that makes sense!? It gets ugly since the cup holders extend into the table which automatically starts interfering with the neighboring sides. If you alternate the folding shelves and cup holders like this: folding shelf (side 1), cup holder left (side 2), cup holder right (side 2), folding shelf (side 3), cup holder left (side 4), etc... you could make it work. It all depends on your wood working skills and how well you plan the design. Or ignore the folding shelves and go wild with the cup holders where ever you want.

I've been planing my room and table for almost 2 years now and have changed many things so don't rush it! I've always personally liked the idea of an octagonal table except that it gets big very quickly as you increase each players side. I also rarely game with 8 people so it doesn't fit my gaming life style.

What about a hexagon shape? Would 24" sides be fine or would 30" wide sides be better?
A hexagon shaped table with 24" sides will be have a diameter of 48". For a 30" long side it will be 60" diameter (the diameter is twice the side length). Whatever side length you pick, it will also represent the half way mark across the table. Figure out what value works for you and then make a mock table out of cardboard or paper to actually see how big it will be. You might find it too large and have to rethink the size. Best to do that with paper/cardboard and not with a nearly finished table.

Another issue you can run into is what will the table stand on? Legs? A Pedestal? These will affect the leg room of course. BoardGameTables.com has a hexagonal table called the Hexus which has sides that are 25.5" long (dia. of 4'3"). It uses a pedestal. Nice looking table!
My current (cheap) octagon has a pedestal. It is a heavy beast (but I do not really need to move it around) and we have never had a tipping problem. It is the center of the game room so there is ample space.

If I go with a 24-inch side then I believe that the diameter is just under 58 inches. Which means that each player is 29 inches from the center -- which sounds about right (we also play on a rectangular table that is just over 29 inches across which seems to work fairly well for moving bits etc.)

A 30-inch side would give me a diameter of over 72 inches which makes the reach-to-the-middle 36 inches which seems a bit too far (and definitely way too far if I have foldout shelves). Was thinking that I should probably not exceed 32 inches from side to middle.
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Kaiyoot wrote:
Paladin82Y wrote:
Kaiyoot wrote:
Paladin82Y wrote:
I am very interested in some type of system to accommodate drinks, but not on a ledge at the lip or in the vault. Am not sure how to address with octangular design. (Especially when I would like to end up with something that accommodates my big Bubba mug).
Depending on how wide of a leaning ledge you go with, this idea might work for you:

Re: Wade Through My Babble about Designing and Building a Games Table

This is what I am doing on my table design except that I have replaced my original idea of using rough wooden slide rails with a nice set of small 9" long ball bearing linear rails. Its still in the design stage to be constructed next summer as I am just finishing the room right now. This idea keeps the cup holders out of sight until needed and in the event someone misplaces their drink into the cup holder and it tips, it will spill outside the vault saving the game.

This could be integrated into an Octagonal shaped table with a 5" or larger leaning ledge. It would interfere with a fold out shelf unless you got fancy and made the fold out shelves only on 4 of the 8 sides. You could then have two cup holders on both ends of the alternating sides to service the 4 fold out sides - if that makes sense!? It gets ugly since the cup holders extend into the table which automatically starts interfering with the neighboring sides. If you alternate the folding shelves and cup holders like this: folding shelf (side 1), cup holder left (side 2), cup holder right (side 2), folding shelf (side 3), cup holder left (side 4), etc... you could make it work. It all depends on your wood working skills and how well you plan the design...
I do not want to misrepresent. Just to be clear, I have zero woodworking skills. But I live in an area with quite a few shops that have extremely talented craftsmen. So, if I can come up with a plan (and a little bit of capital), I think that I could hire somebody with skills to build the table. But they probably do not have experience building such a specific product -- so I will need to feed them extremely detailed specs.


Kaiyoot wrote:
I've been planing my room and table for almost 2 years now and have changed many things so don't rush it! I've always personally liked the idea of an octagonal table except that it gets big very quickly as you increase each players side. I also rarely game with 8 people so it doesn't fit my gaming life style.
I usually game with 4-5 and often with 6. Eight would be the rare exception, but since I am only going to get one shot at this, I figured that I should build for the edge case.
Most of the stuff I talk about here I've thought up in my head and work the details out in my CAD program. Once I know the details and have worked out the dimensions, I build it myself which is easy since I know exactly what I want. I do not know how much success you will have going to a skilled woodworker with rough sketches - depends on the woodworker. If he is willing to listen to your requirements he might be able to figure out what you need and figure out the details himself (at your cost). Pictures may help but again that depends if the guy is visual or not.

Keep in mind to mock things out first (before even talking to a woodworker)! To use an Octagon table it has to be big so each players space doesn't result in bumping elbows. That said, the table will be huge so it may not fit in your room. Draw it out on paper or cardboard to visualize if it will fit or not.

I am current renovating my basement to create my games room. Once I had the new wall up, I taped out the rough dimensions of my predicted table size on the floor and asked the wife and kids what they thought. My wife thought it was too big while the kids felt it was fine. I know my wife isn't a visual person so I took some plywood and mocked up the exact size and placed my "flat" table on top of some saw horses to put in the room so it could be moved around. With that version, my wife was able to "get it" and after some spinning and slight maneuvering around, we found a position that fit the room but still allowed easy access around it to access the rest of the basement. It also resulted in our decision to shorten the table length by 2" for a better fit. I now need to update my CAD drawings for this correction. It is much better to figure these details out well before making the table as once it starts, it will be very expensive to make changes on the fly. A bonus of doing the mock up helped me identify exactly where to place my lighting in the room. I was then able to do the correct wiring and am now in the process of dry walling the ceiling <ugh!>. I am taking pictures of the whole process and will create a posting for it once I finish. While it's not about the table, it is about the room which is almost as important!

Hopefully you have some luck in finding a woodworker who can help you out and not break the bank.
Love the idea of creating a full-size mock-up top. Can probably use my current cheapo table as the base -- maybe I could use a couple pieces of mdf to create the mock top.

And you are right that I am at a significant (and possibly insurmountable) disadvantage by having to have someone else with skills build what I want. If I was an architect or designer with CAD skills, I suspect that my probability of success would be higher (but still not the same as having building skills/tools myself). This may end up killing the project entirely for me (especially since I already have a cheapo version (with no extra features).

I do think that 24-inch sides helps me avoid players bumping elbows. That is the minimum side length that you recommended above and since the players are not going to be side-by-side as they would be on a rectangle I feel like 24-inch sides on an octagon will feel like 28-inch player-positions on a rectangle (but I could be totally wrong).
 
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I rarely have over 6 players for a game, so a hexagonal table is ideal for me. Round would be fine, too, and it has a bit more table space than hex. Currently scanning Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and local thrift stores for a suitable table for conversion. I would remove the top, and create a vault with speed felt for the playing surface. The vault can be covered with the top, preserving a game in progress.

If playing a party game with more than 6 players, I have a large dining room table that can seat 8, and a 3-seasons room with 3 large sofas around a large dining room table I converted into a coffee table. It can seat 9 players on the sofas, and we could add a couple more chairs on the open end.

I'm leaning towards a counter height table (35-36"). I like this height because you can stand up if you wish, and you don't have to bend over as much to reach the board, as you would while standing and playing at a standard 30" table. With the higher seats, it is a bit easier to stand up and sit down. Since your legs will naturally go straight down from the seat, players are less likely to stretch out their legs and bump into other players' legs under the table.

A bar height table is too tall, in my opinion, unless playing a larger game (minis and war games) where people tend to stand much of the time, especially during their turn. Bar height tables are also not as friendly for children and vertically challenged adults.
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