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View Full Version : Cheap, good-looking, effective tables.



AstartesWarMachine
27-08-2010, 08:09
So my club has some issues. Namely, we play in a local store that essentially has a public gaming area. It's open to any stranger off the street, and there we have several large 8x4 tables which are made out of your standard 2x6 wood boards.

A lot of these are in disrepair and my club wants to build new ones. We have a lot of strange constraints, however. I was wondering if anyone could help me out.

So first, our club charges no membership fee. We really can't -- the store does not give us any exclusivity to offer members. We have to operate within normal store hours, and all the stuff there is shared with virtually anyone who decides to come in and help themselves to it.

Second, the store has a lot of longstanding patrons who play games other than 40k, and our tables must be able to accommodate these people.This means they must be 4x8 and their surface areas must be flat (and, unfortunately, not textured or painted).

Third, the store's gaming space shares room with where the store staffers do their shipping work. So the tables have to be sturdy.

Our original idea was to build a "super table" using hinged doors that closed and locked, hiding a nice pink foamboard tabletop environment within and being flat and neat on the outside. But at over $140 a table, this is too costly for my group, which relies on donations.

We also have little extra space, so the maneuvering logistics of boards that have to be carried and placed into place each week isn't very good for us either.

Has anyone got any idea of ways to build good looking tables that can fit into these myriad restrictions? Maybe some kind of modular setup? Has anyone seen any table techniques they might recommend?

geeksquared
27-08-2010, 08:28
The first suggestion that springs to mind is to find a new venue. A lot of youth clubs and community halls will let other groups use their venues for peanuts. You could probably cover the cost by instituting a 'table fee' of 50p-1 per game depending on how many members you have.

Failing that you could try the old 'coloured cloth with books under it' approach. Ask for donations from your members and go out and by a few 6'-10' pieces of green fabric. Something hard wearing like drill cotton would be best.

AstartesWarMachine
27-08-2010, 09:02
Unfortunately, the space is really too good to pass up, despite what it might seem from my post.

We have room for 10+ tables, it's right next to a train station, there is a free parking lot across the street, lots of food places nearby, and it has no obnoxious rules for us to obey. They literally barely even pay us any heed while we are there, and that's the way I like it.

Most other venues that aren't already gamer-driven environments aren't going to like the idea of us putting 10 terrain tables and more than 100 square feet of little miniature terrain on the walls, hehe. As if all that weren't enough...the store we use comes pre-loaded with tons of great free terrain. We would lose every piece of it if we went elsewhere.

We decided to stick it out but to try and improve the venue instead. If we can pass this hurdle, we will be able to charge a bit of membership money, and use it to move elsewhere or deal accordingly. At least, that's the plan.

Bloodknight
27-08-2010, 09:11
Second, the store has a lot of longstanding patrons who play games other than 40k, and our tables must be able to accommodate these people.This means they must be 4x8 and their surface areas must be flat (and, unfortunately, not textured or painted).

Why can't they be painted? Who makes it a rule to build tables that can only look crappy?

Helicon_One
27-08-2010, 09:20
Why can't they be painted? Who makes it a rule to build tables that can only look crappy?

I guess the tables are used for lots of different game types. Can't really paint a board green and then play WW2 naval combat or a space battle on it!

Bloodknight
27-08-2010, 09:28
But on pink foam? ;)


Or do you use coloured blankets?

paulymath
27-08-2010, 10:00
I guess the tables are used for lots of different game types. Can't really paint a board green and then play WW2 naval combat or a space battle on it!

What if you built your own table from 2'x2' "chunks" and brought those along and placed them on top of the plain tables they have?

-Paul

Spyral
27-08-2010, 10:02
Paint the tables black.... its better than nothing...

AstartesWarMachine
30-08-2010, 18:09
Good call on painting them black. Also the 2x2 chunks thing could work if we build them with an appropriate lip -- the current tables don't have one.

I think I would do 2x4 sectionals; has anyone ever seen a table like this?

Dr.Clock
30-08-2010, 18:22
I actually think the best set-up is a series of 4x2 panels.... this is what I use to convert a simple folding table into a gaming surface. If you go with 2x2 sections, the table you use has to be much wider to avoid having the panels fall off due to the weight of terrain or heavy models. The panels are just your standard insulation foam - not even high density pink stuff.

I have never even bothered to paint any of my terrain: it's all or mostly white - this helps everything blend together. I find that once you paint one terrain piece, everything else looks unfinished by comparison... I like the contrast of the painted models and the white styrofoam and foamboard: it allows the models to stand out a little more.

Cheers,

The Good Doctor.

Bunnahabhain
30-08-2010, 18:34
From the constraints above, about your only option is cloth overlays.

Assuming you have a little space to store them, 4X8 boards, painted and textured are very cheap, probably cheaper than decent cloth overlays. You can ask for a one off donation from all regular users to pay for them, depending on numbers it will probably work out to the cost of a drink or two each.

To really minimise costs, use cheap cloth overlays, and stipple, brush and airbrush them with a bit of pattern, so they're not too plain. With a bit of trial and error, you can use cheap and cheerful paints for terrain, such as left over household emulsion paints, as the finish doesn't matter to the same degree as with models...

Erwos
30-08-2010, 18:35
The way that my FLGS handles this is to use 2x8 tables shoved together with a 6x4 cloth cover thrown on top of. The cloth defines the gaming area, and you get a bit of extra space for putting your stuff down (not a small issue with 6x4 tables!). This suits both the tabletop crowd and the CCG crowd (the latter of which dispenses with the cloth cover).

Plus, if you ever do an Apoc game, you can quickly assemble a 6x8 playing field with minimal hassle.

Askari
30-08-2010, 19:11
The way that my FLGS handles this is to use 2x8 tables shoved together with a 6x4 cloth cover thrown on top of.

This is also how my Society does things, it's just the most convenient and cost-effective way.

AstartesWarMachine
30-08-2010, 19:23
That is convenient, but we haven't got a lot of space to move things around. I was considering sectional foam tops on rails to sit on 2x8 folding tables as an alternative.

The idea is to drum up some membership, and to give our group something that the store won't just give to any person off the street, but it's tricky to say the least.

I really want to just leave the space, but there is nowhere else to go. We want to start our own place, but the odds of that are slim to none.

Erwos
30-08-2010, 19:51
That is convenient, but we haven't got a lot of space to move things around.
How much is being moved around? You take a folded up piece of textured cloth off the terrain shelf, toss it on the table, and spread it out. It requires _zero_ space to move around, outside of the table itself.

Damage,Inc.
30-08-2010, 23:10
You could get large pieces of felt for throwclothes over the top of the tables. Green felt makes a great base for 40K stuff, is cheap, and easy to carry and store. I think you might be able to find other colors too, so you could get grey for urban or even tan for desert. Maybe once the owners see this work, they might consider helping out with it as lots of other game systems could use similar- WWII, naval games on blue, space games on black, etc.

A second suggestion, provided you have some storage room, is to build an entire table top from pink foam and paint that, then set it on top of the existing table. We used tables like this at Dragonflight GT this year, and they went over the convention center's existing tables perfectly. Being foam they are light and easy to take on and off, and can store upright against a wall. Also, you can carve rivers or trenches into them as well as adding modular hills on top, adding more dimension to games.

grey knights rock
30-08-2010, 23:23
why not make 5 of the 10+ tables textured, and the rest just regular tables. i mean are there really more than 10 people that will be using the textured tables at one time? and this shouldn't be a problem with the store because now they can boast 5 really nice tables and might bring them more business. its a win win.

AndrewGPaul
30-08-2010, 23:44
Do you mean 10 8x4 boards?

At our club, all our boards are 2' x 4' sections of 12mm MDF. They're all painted on both sides, in a mix of green, brown, grey, blue and black, so there's plenty of flexibility for playing different games. There's even a few which are half-and-half, to allow joining green boards with grey, for instance. B&Q will do 6' x 4' sheets for 16, and they'll even saw them up if you want smaller sections.

If you go for wooden boards, I actually recommend 9mm plywood. It's what I have at home. It's as stiff as the thicker MDF, but much lighter.

burning crome
30-08-2010, 23:52
what about making some (pink/blue) form board terrain e.i trench works/rolling hills/ shallow cannons ect but use the dimetions that they come in. Here (uk) they come in strips of about 4" deep,18"across to and 4'long (it's nearly 5' but cut to size) if you hard wood the bottoms and add a little soft padding under that (I using bath mats) they stack very neatly with out any damage. The trick is to keep the edges about 4" in form the the short sides clear and at their full height and then go down for any details or features. You may still need to add a few bits since nothing is going to be more than 4" high is way but it give a grate base for very little cost.

Hunger
31-08-2010, 00:57
How about a couple of these 2x4 Zuzzy mats (www.zuzzy.com/)? They're made of latex, so you can roll them up for neat storage, and they come unpainted. The only issues might be that they are textured, and you'll obviously need a flat surface for them to go on, but you can take them with you when you've finished so nobody else can use them without your permission, and the flat surface you leave behind can be used by the other gamers. You can get them in 4x8 too.

(No, I don't work for Zuzzy, I just think they look like an excellent solution, and plan on getting one myself in the near future.)



Edit: My mistake, they come in 4x4 or 4x6.

AstartesWarMachine
31-08-2010, 11:03
Eureka!

Those things look great. Odds are that is the route we'll go. Thank you!

Hunger
31-08-2010, 12:27
No probs, glad to help.

Spyral
31-08-2010, 12:49
Just for reference you can get a 4x8 piece of 12mm mdf in Wickes (UK) for ~12 and they will make 3 cuts in it. So you can get 4 x 4x2 pieces and use 3 of them to make a 6x4 and have the other piece to extend it for bigger games (you loose about 4mm due to the 3 cuts)

Erwos
31-08-2010, 12:51
No probs, glad to help.
Actually, I'm getting a new gaming table for the house (Geek Chic Spartan), and I very much like those mats, too. Thanks for recommending them!

Hunger
31-08-2010, 13:09
Just for reference you can get a 4x8 piece of 12mm mdf in Wickes (UK) for ~12 and they will make 3 cuts in it. So you can get 4 x 4x2 pieces and use 3 of them to make a 6x4 and have the other piece to extend it for bigger games (you loose about 4mm due to the 3 cuts)

B&Q is about the same price, they will do you 4 free cuts, any others are 50p up to a maximum of 10 cuts, and the blade on their timber saw is 3mm wide. That said you can easily blag that some of the pieces are offcuts by removing the sticker they put on to say how many cuts you have had done.

Sometime ago I built my modular Necromunda towers, and had the guy cut my 8foot sheet of MDF into about 200 2cm wide strips (for the legs and struts), then walked straight out the door claiming them as offcuts. When I went back there last week to get some wood panels cut for my transport box I noticed that they had introduced the 10 cut limit, that they stickered every individual piece I had cut (rather than just one like last time) and that they would now only cut a minimum 4-inch wide piece.

I asked the staff member about the changes, and he told me that some jackass had a mountain of wood cut a while ago that wrecked the saw. I shook my head and made a disapproving noise before leaving with my offcuts...

Sir_Lunchalot
31-08-2010, 13:16
If you're stuck with flat tabletops, I'd recommend you check out zuzzy (http://www.zuzzy.com)mats. a little over $50 will get you a mat you can paint and roll up when you're done with the table. We've got a bunch of them at my local club and they're awesome. when we're done we just roll them up, and hang them on a rack in the back of the store. If you're going to build tables with storage underneath, you could just as easily fold the mats and slip them on a low shelf underneath the terrain shelf. The mats last, our club's had some of the mats for at least 3 years and none of them are showing any signs of wear. The one piece of advice I'd give is to stick to the Despoiled Reaches or The Ruined Lands mats - the Verdant Fields mat is just too bumpy to roll dice and place minis on.

Raven1
01-09-2010, 00:14
What if (and i may be in left field) you got the GW tables painted them as you pleased and brought them to play? Would that not work. You could do them how you wanted and if the staff hardly notices your existence would they care if you brought in tables too?

AstartesWarMachine
01-09-2010, 01:10
Money-wise, it would be foolish to get a realms of battle board, if that's what your referring to.

Especially when, for the cost of one, I can get FIVE Zuzzy mats.

Damage,Inc.
01-09-2010, 07:10
How about a couple of these 2x4 Zuzzy mats (www.zuzzy.com/)? They're made of latex, so you can roll them up for neat storage, and they come unpainted. The only issues might be that they are textured, and you'll obviously need a flat surface for them to go on, but you can take them with you when you've finished so nobody else can use them without your permission, and the flat surface you leave behind can be used by the other gamers. You can get them in 4x8 too.

(No, I don't work for Zuzzy, I just think they look like an excellent solution, and plan on getting one myself in the near future.)



Edit: My mistake, they come in 4x4 or 4x6.

Thank you for that link! I think I'm going to get some for my FLGS so we can have more than just green tabletops!

Hunger
01-09-2010, 15:17
I should ask Zuzzy for some commission for this thread...

JollyGoodChap
01-09-2010, 20:11
Chip in a bit of money each to get this set ( http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/productDetail.jsp?catId=cat440158a&prodId=prod730814 ) Then just take the pieces back home with you when you're done?