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Subject: Dedicated Board Game table (plus dining table) for us Aussies rss

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Robert Dzuro
Australia
Newcastle
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Hello Everyone

My name is Robert and i am the owner/founder of Australia's largest PokerShop. We have been building Tables for 11 years now and have a strong following down here.

I come here today due to a large number of phone calls and email enquiries we have received of late about "Board Game Tables". The recent kickstarter "Duchess table" was not available to us Aussies down here so i have dozens of restless Board Gamers who want us to build a Game Table for them I was told by several customers to come here and introduce myself and ask as many questions as i can to make them the perfect table.

My family love playing Board Games but i had no idea there was a game table to suit. All these years we have been playing on our dining table...

My business has lots of experience in building Luxury Poker Tables. I would love your help and input on how to build the mother of all tables for our customers. We always put 110% into our projects so i want to get this right.

Several customers directed me to the Duchess Table as a great start to get ideas. Some feedback for improvements i received were;

1. Make it a little bigger.
What are your thoughts on this?
The 2 most common sizes mentioned for the playing surface area was either 5 1/2 foot by 3 1/4 foot wide or 5 1/2 foot by 3 1/2 foot wide.
What are your thoughts on this? Obviously if its too big its hard to pay the games, cannot reach to the other side....

2. Make it a little more affordable.
What are your thoughts on this?
Going cheaper means using cheaper materials. Is this a mistake? The Duchess entry price was $499. Do you think many customers were lost in the $300'ish price range? Any of you guys didnt buy because of the price?
What features could you sacrifice to get the cost down?
Drawers not needed right? Or would drawers be a welcomed addition for an added price? 6 drawers?

3. Offer the entry level table with folding legs (driving entry level price down).
What are your thoughts on this?
Is this something of interest? Solid legs to be an optional add on

4. 3 inch wide rail/arm rest.
Is this the ideal width?

5. 2 1/2 inch depth from the felt to the top of the arm rest / rail. Is this ideal or would it be better if it was another size?

6. Cup holders as an optional add on but positioned down below the playing surface. Is this ideal?

7. One customer asked if we could have the cup holders on the outside down below the playing area but as an accessory that joins to the table in a magnetic groove (like a race track - hope this makes sense) so that you can position the cup holder anywhere you like, its not fixed at one point. Any thoughts on this idea?

8. A few customers asked if we could make the arm rest a comfy vinyl material instead of timber. So that its more comfortable to lean on. Any one else think this is an interesting idea???

9. The table topper (dining top) to be built as 2 halves (split in 2 pieces).
What are your thoughts on this?
What mechanism to use to lift each half?
My initial thought is what about spills, water seapage to the felt. How to control this?

10. Where do you prefer the table topper to sit. Inside the playing surface in a raised lip so not touching the felt or to sit ontop of the wooden arm rest?

11. What material is preferred for the playing surface? What colours are most popular?

12. What timber is the preferred choice? Remembering this plays a part in overall cost.

13. Anything missing that could make the table perfect.

If we build the ideal table and get enough interest from the international community, we could get this project onto kickstarter early next year. It would need to be an improvement (if thats possible) to the beautiful Duchess or a cheaper table option to help those who couldnt afford the Duchess. I know we can build anything, we have over 10 years experience in the gaming and furniture building business. We have Luxury Poker Tables that become a 2 in 1 table with a solid table topper etc. We build LED Luxury tables for our Poker customers. We could build an amazing table with your help. We already have international fulfillment services in place worldwide so distribution isnt an issue, we ship globally every week.

I hope this email was not too long. Thank you for taking the time to read all of this if you got this far
Our website and facebook page is below if interested to learn more about us;
www.pokershop.com.au
www.facebook.com/pokershop.com.au/

Please help us if you can, guide us to make the ultimate Board Game Table.

Regards
Robert
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Murray Fish
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Interesting idea, Robert.

Are you able to supply the dimension of your tables in metric rather than imperial measurements?

I ask as when I purchased my dining table (with gaming more than a little in mind, the product was described in metric, as were the plans of my house, so I had a good idea how much space I had to play with (and in). I expect this would be a standard with your Australian customers as well as most (overseas except USA and Liberia-based) customers as well.

There's my initial two kopeks worth, hope it is helpful.
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Paul Mclachlan
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Hi Robert, I recommend a search on Youtube for Board Game table reviews. I know "The Dice Tower" (a board game review group) has done a couple of table reviews in the last 6 months.

You could probably get a lot of ideas from there. You might even be able to contact the building companies and get them to share their design specs.

One of their reviewers, Zee, did one in the last couple of days that looked much better than the table you mentioned. Unfortunately I can't give you an exact link from work as Youtube is blocked.
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Michael Alexander
Australia
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I've actually been talking to a cabinet maker about starting something like this, I think the way Canberra is there'd actually be a decent demand for this sort of thing. I've been researching a lot trying to get a table of my own, and there's a real lack of options.

I actually finished building my own table yesterday, bit of a coincidence. If I knew a company in Canberra was looking at making them in some sort of bulk I totally would have been on board (and still might be if it's better than the one I threw together.)

1. Playing surface area width is probably the most important measurement; at 3 1/4 feet (~99cm) you'd be able to fit the original Railroad Tycoon board which is a monster. It's also not crazy wide so you'd be able to reach right across. My table playing area is ~85cm wide and at times this feels a little too narrow.

2. Having a budget option would probably do well, but to be honest there are a lot of board gamers who are able to spend more than $300; the board games themselves can go for $100 each! If you were able to hit $3XX with a budget option, but also had some more premium options, I think you'd have a lot of people who would opt for one of the higher options.

3. Folding legs would only be an option if they were quite strong. Nearly everyone leans on these tables with rails around the outside, you'd want it to be able to handle 6 adults sitting down and leaning forward onto it.

4. My table has 90mm rests, I'm not sure I'd want to go too much smaller than that but that's pretty subjective.

5. This is okay as long as the playing surface isn't really bouncy. Mine's ~60mm, and my surface is speed cloth with 9mm upholstery foam underneath and sometimes dice bounce out if you roll them firmly. I probably got the wrong underlay though; neoprene foam is ideal and wouldn't bounce quite as high I think. If you had no foam underneath then 2.5" would be heaps.

6. This actually sounds cool, I'd prototype it though. I don't think I've seen a table with cup holders underneath the playing area (I've seen in the rail and off the side slightly under the rail.)

7. This is actually pretty common in premium tables; a rail system where you can attach trays and cup holders.

8. I'm happy with my wood rails and hard rails are definitely the more common of the two. I actually quite like the hard rails and they're pretty comfy even in long gaming sessions.

9. Most systems I've seen have had some sort of mechanism to push the topper up from below. Some have had a hole you push a peg through and that either directly or indirectly pushes it up. The systems I've seen that deal with spills have been a gutter around the outside where the topper sits in, and an interlocking system between the two pieces which also has a gutter. I don't think there's a perfect solution to this though so be wary of trying to completely solve it.

10. My table sits on top of the arm rail, and I actually don't like this as it makes the table just a little too high for me. Nicest solution would be to have a small recess on the inside of the rail that the topper can sit on without touching the playing surface.

11. The best you can have is some sort of cloth over neoprene foam, but the neoprene isn't cheap. I used speed cloth and I really like it; it's not crazy expensive but it doesn't stretch or pill and has a good texture for cards. Usually it'll come water resistant but it's stiffer than felts so might have a feel not everyone is into. Some neoprene suppliers will have an option of fabric already on one side, it's essentially one big mouse mat.

12. Go pine for the cheap option, it looks good enough I reckon (I just did mine in pine.) If you were going to do premium options then maybe you could let the customer select.

Good luck, if you guys go for it I'll be keeping a close eye!
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Michael nut
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Robert, this is a great idea and something I'd potentially be interested in so more than happy to answer your questions.

1) size is important (in gaming), the issue with a custom built recessed table is there's nowhere to hang those oversized boards if they don't fit plus lots of games now come with a central board and then reasonable sized player mats. I'm pretty sure my dining table is 1800*900 and that's too narrow on occasion to comfortably fit some games so I'd go with 1800*1000.

2) Bear in mind the duchess was USD so you'd be looking closer to 650/700 for an AUD equivalent. for a flatpack style table (to minimise postage). Those blokes have a range of tables and sizes so you can pick for your budget, you may want to look at two options and see which has more interest, personally I'd rather pay $700 (about the same as a normal dining table) for a multi use item that was solid and looks good than $400 for something that feels cheap. If I'm heavily invested enough to shell out for a games table, I want the full experience.

3) Possibly a good option for a budget table which you can store out of the way.

4) No idea, I could comfortable rest my arms on that I'd expect.

5) Seems reasonable for leaving a standard minis sized game up. If you go with larger range, you could make a deeper table and option for those who play Cthulhu Wars...

6) Yes definitely! Drinks near my games is a constant worry and I've been witness to at least three incidents over the years.

7) Would be interested depending on cost and storage for when they're not in use.

8) I'm more about the aesthetics so not big on vinyl, I'd just bevel the wooden edges a bit.

9) You could have it as a shallow box without a bottom although this may make the weight an issue, if it's two halves you need the seal fairly tight!

10) Most of them seem to sit on top, realistically it'll get more use as a dining table so I'd want the topper to be solid and not move. Separation from the gaming surface would be best.

11) Pool table felt (which has a proper name) with a thin soft underlay would be best, given the recess you can't slide cards off the table to pick them up so you need some give in the surface (but not so much the game becomes unstable). Burgundy would be my preference.

12) I'm a big fan of blackwood but I'd recommend something hardy with a nice grain that you can easily stain into a range of colour choices so you can satisfy a broader market.

The exchange rate may help you with global distribution but you should definitely focus on your Aussie customers!

Good luck!
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Paul Mclachlan
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This is the link to the product: http://www.geeknson.com/?page_id=190

and the review https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVa3hnLKEr4

It has some interesting anti-leak technology built into it and customisation that isn't built into the base level.

 
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Tim
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Just want to add my voice to those that are interested in this venture =)
 
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Kayne Brookes
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I know that it's probably a given, but as someone with a non-gamer spouse (and one who is quite particular about interior decoration at thatshake ), I would like to request that the high end model also prioritise functionality and stylish design as a dining table.

I was more than a little disappointed in Australia being shut out in the cold on the Duchess, so I am very very interested in seeing this project develop.

Edit: grammar
 
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Robert Dzuro
Australia
Newcastle
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Hi everyone
You guys are amazing! A wealth of knowledge here. I am determined to make this happen. We have been making poker tables for over 10 years now so we can do it, its just a matter of learning a bit more from you to get it right. So thank you for all the ideas and keep them coming.

Metric sizes will be;
Playing surface length: 167cms
Playing surface width: 106cms
Overall table length: 182cms
Overall table width: 121cms
If i have gone for too big here, i can rectify after the first prototype.
I noticed that some people thought the Duchess table was a tad too small.

I double posted this topic in the ACT and NSW thread as these 2 pages had the most activity. I was advised that some people may not like that so can we continue this chat here> https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1611630/dedicated-board-gam...

Please reply there ^^^

Thank you again guys!!!



 
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Paul Bradley
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Make the others come to our thread. laugh

More contributors here, and Robert on the NSW thread is from Victoria.

This would be the time where we want an Australia forum.
 
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Robert Dzuro
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Im fine to continue here also if you guys are...

Ok next development announcement!!!

I just purchased the domain name > BoardGameTables.com.au

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Murray Fish
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Just one more quick thought. Maybe make the (hard) table surface able to accommodate some of the popular miniatures games as well to maximise the appeal of this product.

Might be worth finding out the competition/standard playing area for Warhammer/40k, Flames of War (I don't play these systems so no self interest here, but they do seem to be the enduringly popular ones at conventions) and other 'mainstream' systems.

If it was a matter of adding a small amount of work and material to meet these requirements it might be worth it (that is, if your machinery is able to accommodate this change easily) but if not no worries. Can't hurt to find out though.

There's two more Kopeks for you.
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Peter Kelley
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I am planning on getting a gaming table for my 50th birthday in a couple of years. Here are my answers:

1. Make it a little bigger.
My criteria is "What is the biggest board I would need to put on it?" and for me this is Railroad Tycoon - the original edition not the Railways of the World version. I did some searching but couldn't find the dimensions easily. Basically 9 times the box size.

2. Make it a little more affordable.
As it will be a 50th birthday present I'm not looking for extremely low cost. I would think that there would be a market for tables between 2K and 3K as well as the budget end.

3. Offer the entry level table with folding legs (driving entry level price down).
Not for me.

4. 3 inch wide rail/arm rest.
Not sure about the ideal width but you need to look at function. Where are you going to put your individual player boards? On the rail, on the table surface or on a drawer/desk?

5. 2 1/2 inch depth from the felt to the top of the arm rest / rail. Is this ideal or would it be better if it was another size?
Seems OK to me

6. Cup holders as an optional add on but positioned down below the playing surface. Is this ideal?
You need a slot in rail system to allow for accessories to be added. Cup holders and wine glass holders are 2 possibilities. Desks, dice towers and other accessories should be possible.

7. One customer asked if we could have the cup holders on the outside down below the playing area but as an accessory that joins to the table in a magnetic groove (like a race track - hope this makes sense) so that you can position the cup holder anywhere you like, its not fixed at one point. Any thoughts on this idea?
Yes, see above. Also look at other gaming table designs. The slots don't need to be magnetic they can be mechanical. They should hold the accessories by gravity.

8. A few customers asked if we could make the arm rest a comfy vinyl material instead of timber. So that its more comfortable to lean on. Any one else think this is an interesting idea???
Interesting but impractical if you wanted to use it for a dining table as well.

9. The table topper (dining top) to be built as 2 halves (split in 2 pieces).
What are your thoughts on this?
What mechanism to use to lift each half?
My initial thought is what about spills, water seapage to the felt. How to control this?
I'd prefer individual leaves rather than a single piece topper but as you mention spills would be a problem. Maybe you could do some clever joints in some sort of "sideways S" shape so spilt liquids ended up in the joints rather than in the recessed section.

10. Where do you prefer the table topper to sit. Inside the playing surface in a raised lip so not touching the felt or to sit ontop of the wooden arm rest?
To sit flush with the lip rather than on top of it

11. What material is preferred for the playing surface? What colours are most popular?
I have heard that casino speed cloth is the best. As for color I'm not excessively fussy.

12. What timber is the preferred choice? Remembering this plays a part in overall cost.
No real preference.

13. Anything missing that could make the table perfect.
Rail system (see above) with lots of accessories.
Grooves to hold cards
Lighting options
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Peter Kelley
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yellek wrote:

1. Make it a little bigger.
My criteria is "What is the biggest board I would need to put on it?" and for me this is Railroad Tycoon - the original edition not the Railways of the World version. I did some searching but couldn't find the dimensions easily. Basically 9 times the box size.


I found some measurements. 3 * the box size is 119 * 96 cm.
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Michael Alexander
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yellek wrote:

I found some measurements. 3 * the box size is 119 * 96 cm.


The board is 36x45", or 91x114cm. It's listed at the bottom of the RRT description here on the geek.

One thing I learned through the process of making my own table was that it's dangerous to try to make the table arbitrarily big to handle everything. My proto surface I used which was actually designed for RRT was so big that it actually made some games worse because the width made reaching towards the other side a bit of a stretch. In the end I decided to replace my RRT with RotW and am very glad I went for a slightly smaller table, it has an impact on how all my other games play.

Robert, it sounds like you're keen to prototype and I think that's incredibly important, but you'll definitely want to find some board gamers in your target market local to you (you guys Sydney?) It might be worth us coming up with a list of games with some unique space requirements too so you might be able to track down a copy, lay them in the table and see how comfortably it fits.

Some examples off the top of my head:

* Railways of the World (the original Railroad Tycoon is larger but no longer printed, but for a segment of the market being able to fit RRT it will make or break the table)
* Caverna (lots of player boards and a central board)
* Tabletop wargames (like Murray suggested) like Warhammer 40k, Warmachine etc.
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Des Lee
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beefsack wrote:

Robert, it sounds like you're keen to prototype and I think that's incredibly important, but you'll definitely want to find some board gamers in your target market local to you (you guys Sydney?) It might be worth us coming up with a list of games with some unique space requirements too so you might be able to track down a copy, lay them in the table and see how comfortably it fits.


And by extension, I think it would also be a good idea to track down some gamers to come in, have a look at the table prototype and try playing some games on it. It might give you feedback that you haven't even thought about and that's hard to quantify until you're sitting down at a physical table.

Things like is the surface easy to roll dice on? To pick up cards (sleeved and unsleeved) from? If dice and tokens get in the corners of the vault, is it easy to lose them? Is the height of the drop comfortable to game on? Or does it mean that you lose visibility of the side closest to you? Do the cup holders fit a variety of drinking implements? Does the surface grip enough? or too much?
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Tim
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RE: Table size

For me it has to be able to accommodate War of the Ring Anniversary Edition, with space around the edges for cards, armies, etc...

The dimensions of the game board itself seem impressive - two gameboards, approx. 60 x 84 cm each (http://ks.aresgames.eu/product/war-of-the-ring-2nd-edition-a...)

I wonder if this is already too large to fit on what you have in mind...?
 
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Robert Dzuro
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Thanks for the info guys.

Great idea Des. I will try to do that.

Tim, this table is larger than the 2 that are on kickstarter, by half a foot in width and half a foot length. (half a foot is 15.24cms)

A big brother will come in the not too distant future, if there is demand.

Am i able to make a poll on this forum somehow so you guys can vote on your preferred size?
 
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Tim
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pokershop wrote:
Tim, this table is larger than the 2 that are on kickstarter, by half a foot in width and half a foot length. (half a foot is 15.24cms)

A big brother will come in the not too distant future, if there is demand.


Apologies for not understanding, but does that mean that the table wont be big enough to play the anniversary edition of WotR (1680mm x 1200mm), with additional room around the edges for armies, cards etc (say an extra 200mm - 1880mm x 1400mm)

??

edit - duh, read up in the thread and noticed you put in the dimensions, which means that unfortunately it wont be big enough to play WotR.. soblue
 
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Robert Dzuro
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Mossquito wrote:
pokershop wrote:
Tim, this table is larger than the 2 that are on kickstarter, by half a foot in width and half a foot length. (half a foot is 15.24cms)

A big brother will come in the not too distant future, if there is demand.


Apologies for not understanding, but does that mean that the table wont be big enough to play the anniversary edition of WotR (1680mm x 1200mm), with additional room around the edges for armies, cards etc (say an extra 200mm - 1880mm x 1400mm)

??

edit - duh, read up in the thread and noticed you put in the dimensions, which means that unfortunately it wont be big enough to play WotR.. soblue


Hey Tim

We will make you a bigger table. Dont worry. We will finish the prototype and then improve it in the 2nd run and i will make you a bigger one. Can you in the meantime decide on your perfect playing surface size.

Our prototype will be bigger than the Duchess and Taylah. But even bigger versions will follow if you guys want it
 
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Sam
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pokershop wrote:
Am i able to make a poll on this forum somehow so you guys can vote on your preferred size?

If you hit "Reply" instead of "Quick Reply" you can insert one using the toolbar icon that looks like a green tick.

If it's too much trouble just post the options you want and someone can add it for you. It's possible to reference the same poll in multiple threads too.
 
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Tim
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pokershop wrote:
...Can you in the meantime decide on your perfect playing surface size.

Our prototype will be bigger than the Duchess and Taylah. But even bigger versions will follow if you guys want it


Most games are of a pretty standard size. Exceptions for me are games like 'Chaos in the Old World" and (to a lesser extent) Risk.

SO with that said, the size you are considering would probs be perfect =)

Not sure if I will hang out for a monster table to fit the WotR on, or just follow along with the prototype for now and pick up on that, but thanks for considering all options!! =)
 
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Chris Horscroft

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G'day Robert,

I tried to buy the Duchess table and was disappointed to see it not shipping to Australia. Definitely in the market for a locally made gaming table designed to be genuine dining table quality with games table capabilities built in. I think that very likely rules out folding legs.

My dining table has a playing surface of 1740mm x 1020mm. With armrests around it a game table with that play area would be a little larger, and I think the surface is about as big as could be conveniently used for most games while still fitting into a dining room readily. By the time armrests and external cupholders etc are built in, some potential customers might need to build a new games room if the table gets much bigger. Definitely agree with the idea of prototyping something to test it. Scythe (which has a rather large map) and Eclipse (which spreads out) would offer testbeds for larger size games.

I think drawers would interfere with the 'attractive dining table aspect', but I am willing to be proven wrong. Cupholders (options for wine glasses and tumblers/bottles - could mugs be accommodated?) strike me as the most useful accessory, and I am inclined to think some kind of gravity rail system the most practical way of providing these and any other options. That way you could add whatever anyone can devise, rather than having to think of it all first. A matching dice tray (also padded for noise reduction) might be nice?

Three inch wide armrests seem about right to me. I wouldn't pad them or do them in vinyl, but I would seriously consider cutting an angled groove to hold cards into them. That might mean the topper or leaves should sit over the armrests (I can imagine trying to clean spaghetti or rice out of the card rails). Would a topper that sat within the armrests rather than on them reduce the horizontal playing surface area a little? It would surely mean that the recessed playing area would need to be deeper to handle a given height upright playing piece. I'd think it simpler to sit the topper on the armrests, in which case spillage and height / size issues would presumably diminish.

I am initially attracted to the single piece topper, but accept that this might not be practical. Interlocking leaves might solve the spillage problem - but I'd be initially nervous about it.

In terms of colours, I'd guess green, blue and burgundy are likely to be reasonably safe bets.

Timber - my dining table is pine, stained with dark mahogany. I think the same considerations taken in designing a regular dining table would apply.

Options of LED lighting and USB chargers seem to exist on the really fancy tables. Not sure what demand (or cost premium) they'd create. My guess is that starting with a design that did not build in a bunch of expensive extras would allow you to keep the price down, and letting accessories be fitted to rails would give you a customisable table. Adding the premium features that have to be built in to create upmarket versions once the standard version is proven could only expand your market.

Your poker tables look amazing. I am very keen to see how this develops, and I wish you all the best. If you need anyone in Canberra to test a prototype, let me know (this city has 'CanCon', a long-standing games convention in late January each year, and this year I believe something is being organised for November as well under the name 'Looking For gamers Canberra').

Cheers
Chris Horscroft
 
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John Gosland
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These cup holders may be of interest, at least they seem easy to accomadate and are designed for mugs.

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?type=4&cam...gwf4AAOSwFEFXJCIv

https://www.amazon.com/Cup-Holders-Plastic-Holder-Cutouts/dp...
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Chris Horscroft

Amaroo
Australia
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Clever design - the slot for handles is a great idea.
 
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