Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Table

I've been wargaming for over twenty years now and I have a confession to make. A dirty little secret if you like. Listen closely, because it's just between you and me. Up until the start of this project, I have never owned a gaming table. Why? Well I have always been in the fortunate position of having very good friends with tables or been in close proximity to a very good club at which to play. If I have needed to play at my home, then it was a case of getting out some gaming mats and playing on the floor. In short, I have never needed one, or had the space to store the board and terrain.
That changed about a week ago. We have a kitchen table, which is three feet by five feet so all I needed was a board to put on the top and away we go. With this in mind, my initial plan was to buy an 8x4' piece of chipboard and get it sawn in half, to make two 4x4 boards, which would work nicely individually for LotR, or Warmachine. The boards could also be put together for larger games of 40K or similar, with a line drawn on them to make a 6x4 for standard games. Great plan, and off I trotted to B&Q (if you're in the UK, it is just the larger stores that have the cutting service).
Here's my first cautionary tale from this blog. A 4x4 board is quite a lot bigger and more difficult to get into a car than you would first think. No matter which combination of doors and hatch I used it just wouldn't go. And when I say just wouldn't go, I really mean just. By about a centimetre. Just enough to keep me trying to get the piece of timber into the car for about 15 minutes, scratching the interior in the process. So do measure up first. 
I did seriously consider abandoning the chipboard there and then in the car park, but instead made my way, shamefully, back into the store to get a bit more cut of each end. Now I have a pair of boards measuring 3 x 4', so they will still go together for a game of 40K, but aren't quite as convenient for LotR or Warmachine. The other cautionary note, is that the cutting process produces quite a bit more dust than expected, so don't do on the way back from work in your suit. Fortunately that suit did need a dry clean in any case.

I also picked up a tin of Dulux "Urban Obsession" for painting the Mines of Moria/ City fight side of the board, which is an amazing colour for a gaming table with a great name (almost as if they had an eye on the gaming market). So Junior and I had an afternoon painting the surface of the table together. I also had to make a difficult decision to not cover the table with sand. This was due to wanting to use both sides, one green and one grey and not wanting to risk the ire of Mrs Holdenstein when her kitchen table ends up with sandy divots in it.
The table is now complete. Time to get some games in!


  1. Hey chief - General Misdemeanour off the 'Throne here!
    Thought I'd comment here directly instead of distracting the GT community - hopefully we can foster some kind of group blog franchise or something!
    On the subject of terrain and tables, I find several 2x4 planks the most useful - easily stashed behind furniture or under beds and customisable for any size of game. This also allows you to draw roads and rivers on the boards with a bit of forward planning so that they'll match up however you place them...
    That's it the past though!
    You really ought to consider texturing a board and the bases of the terrain that goes on it - gives a much better look and feel. The simple solution for not scratching the table is to put a sheet down! I use an old, thick blanket, which I fold in between the boards during storage to stop them chipping when being moved.

    Anyway, get some photos up of your table, terrain and games! I'll do the same and we can be blog buddies!

  2. P.S. Texturing a table doesn't need to be hard - I cheat and use pre-mixed textured paint (which is usually red or white) and mix in pure black emulsion. This saves on having to re-undercoat it and having to gum up the texture with more thick paint, and also means that if it chips or dents then the damage is already undercoated or shaded so repairs can be fast.

  3. I feel you pain with getting stuff in the car, I now have a van so anything short of a pool table goes in whole. I second GM's comments. I went to B&Q and picked up two sheets of 2'x4' MDF, I have since cut them down to 2'x2' so they fit with my ROBB. I am building directly onto them for Inquisitor.

    For texturing you can buy spray paint that is textured, I have used some of this for painting my foam board buildings, it is very good but can work out expensive. I am now using PVA and water mixed 50:50 and then pour in as much fine sand as the mixture can hold. This paints on really easy with a big brush and leaves a great finish.