How to Buy the Perfect Board Game Table for Your Game Room
If you're a board game enthusiast, then you know that having the perfect table is key to playing and enjoying your favorite tabletop games. A board game table can provide the perfect surface for playing your games, and it can also add a touch of style and functionality (hello spilled drinks!) to your game room. In this article, we will discuss some things to consider when buying a board game table for your home game room. We'll also provide some recommendations for some of the best game table manufacturers in the business today.
Why do I need a board gaming table?
Technically, you don't need a specialty table for your tabletop gaming activities. Most people in the hobby play their games perfectly well on a coffee table or dining table. But, a dedicated board game table can be an extremely nice quality of life upgrade for a lot of folks.
With a table made for board games, you get a few common advantages over other playing surfaces. For example:
- Most gaming tables have a softer neoprene or felt surface for the primary play area, which is subtly softer then a hard table surface, and makes it easier to pick up cards, tokens, and other game pieces.
- A recessed table surface makes it easier to roll dice and keep pieces from falling off the table. Plus, the raised edge that having a recessed surface creates provides a convenient arm rest and place to attach accessories or store active game components.
- Many popular gaming tables allow you to buy and attach accessories, like cup holders, component trays, mini-tables, and even wine glass holders, to further improve your gaming experience.
- Some gaming tables even offer the ability to buy a special topper that covers the recessed gaming area, turning your gaming table into a more traditional table surface, and allowing you to save a game in progress and come back to it later.
Many in the tabletop gaming hobby report that once they've made the decision to upgrade to a dedicated board gaming table, they rarely look back.
Can I just use my dining table or coffee table?
Of course! Don't let your playing surface determine how and where you enjoy your board games. A dining table, coffee table, kitchen table, or even just the floor, all work just fine for lots of gamers. But if you want the best game playing experience and some choice quality of life upgrades like a recessed playing area, cup holders, and more, a board gaming table is the way to go.
What are the different types of board game tables?
When you start researching tables for playing board games, you'll notice that most tables are simply variations on the same standard design.
For example, see this table, the Jasper from Board Game Tables.
It has many of the same core features as other tables on the market, like:
- Recessed playing area
- Neoprene playing surface
- Space for accessories like drink holders and shelves
- Ability to add surface toppers that cover your playing surface
- Sized appropriately for most popular board games (though if you tend to play large, sprawling games like Warhammer or Arkham Horror with all the expansions, you may want to look at a larger version of the table you have your eye on.
Other types that you may see on the market are usually different shapes (like a hexagon), built for a specific use case (like the Streamer Game Table from Carolina Game Tables), or built to be placed on top of an existing surface (like The Holmes from Game Toppers LLC).
This is the Streamer Game Table from Carolina Game Tables. It's designed for live streaming board game play on channels like Twitch, so that the camera can be set up in front of the players, and people watching the stream can see all of the players and the game in a single frame.
This is the Holmes table from Game Toppers LLC. You can purchase this game topper without legs, and place it on an existing table in your home.
Many table makers will also take custom orders, so if there's something specific you're looking for in your board game table, definitely look to see if your preferred manufacturer offers custom options.
Of course, there are plenty of specialty tables for other sorts of games, like your classic poker table or chess & checkers tables, but that's not really the focus of this guide!
What dimensions are good for a board game table?
Gaming tables come in all sorts of sizes, so it totally depends on your needs. That said, most gamers recommend a minimum playing surface (the recessed area) of about 6' x 3' or sometimes 5' x 3' if you tend to play less intensive games that have fewer pieces and components.
With those dimensions you can typically fit 4-6 players comfortably for a gaming session. If you like to play larger, more sprawling games, or if you tend to play with a lot of people, you may need a larger table. Keep in mind that anything wider than 3' or longer then 6' may make it harder to reach areas of the game board by some or all players.
Can I build my own DIY gaming table?
If you're handy and have access to tools and a woodshop, you can certainly find plenty of guides and plans for building your own DIY gaming table. Building your own table can be a great way to save some money and show off your DIY skills. Building your own table also lets you get creative with your customizations, enabling you to create a table 100% customized to your needs.
But there are tradeoffs, like the time it may take to build vs buy, the craftsmanship of the finished product, and potential limitations of your own DIY skills.
If you're interested in building your own gaming table, here are a few sources to take a look at:
- DIY Gaming Table for $150 (YouTube)
- Make Your Own Gaming Table With Built-in Game Storage (Instructables)
- Downloadable Gaming Table Plans (Etsy)
Who makes the best board gaming tables?
If you do some research online, you'll find a lot of different opinions on who makes the best board game tables. Like many things, it can be a very subjective thing, and sometimes comes down to the individuals ordering or customer support experience. That said, these are some of the manufacturers (focusing mostly on domestic United States manufactures) that are mentioned the most when it comes to producing high quality gaming tables.
Wyrmwood is known for making high quality, solidly constructed gaming tables. While they share a lot of common features with other game tables on the market, some features do really stand out. For example, their table is engineered with a hand crank on the side that allows you to raise and lower the recessed playing surface as needed. There are other cool features like a magnetic accessory rail, reversible playing surface (felt on one side, hard surface on the other), and custom seating with storage that you can get to accompany your table.
You'll pay a bit of a premium price for the Wyrmwood experience, and the wait list can be months long, but if you want the highest quality table, it's hard to find a better option then this.
Board Game Tables
Board Game Tables are probably best known for their Jasper line of gaming tables. The Jasper has pretty much everything you could ask for in a game table, at a comparatively affordable price point. Board Game Tables offers some of the standard accessories like cup holders and table tops, plus some other customization options like wood color and table size.
Carolina Game Tables
Carolina Game Tables are unique for offering probably the most variety of game table options without needing to go for a fully custom order. Carolina Game Tables all offer clean lines, so if you're after a more minimalist or modern style, this could be a good option for you.
A lot of people rave about their Uniquely Geek gaming tables, and it's easy to see why. Solidly built, with a range of style options. If you're look is more contemporary, rustic, farmhouse, traditional, or coastal, then they have a table for you. Uniquely Geek also has more surface options available than most, from custom recessed area height to acrylic and dry erase surfaces.
Uniquely Geek also offers some of the best side rail accessories on the market, like a tablet holder, bins, dice rolling trays, and more.
Rathskellers are another company with a quality reputation for their gaming tables. Offering styles from modern to monastery (think medieval castles and knights) and a few different sizes and shapes. Other features that stand out from other manufactures mentioned here include options for integrated LED lighting, wireless charging options, and a bevy of different storage and side rail accessories.
Game on Tables
If you subscribe to the idea that the Amish make some of the highest quality wood furniture in the country, then you'll want to take a look at the offerings from Game on Tables. According to the manufacturer, each table is built by Amish artisans using sustainably harvested wood.
Game on Tables offers a variety of table types, sizes, and accessories for your board game table.
Game Toppers, LLC
As mentioned previously in this article, Game Toppers LLC is unique for offering mostly table toppers designed to be placed on top of an existing table, instead of building a full table with legs of its own. This can be a great option if you're looking for something a little more affordable or if space is at a premium in your game room. Their toppers provide many of the same benefits as a full game table including a recessed playing area and side rail for accessories.
If you need more options, check out this great thread on Board Game Geek.
What should I look for in a gaming table?
When it comes to finding the perfect board game table for your game room, it's important to find one that fits your personal style and design aesthetic. After all, you'll be spending a lot of time around this piece of furniture, so you want to make sure you'll love the look for a long time to come. Try to avoid any short term fads if your plan is to move on and sell the table in a few years.
Try to buy from reputable sellers, like some of the table manufacturers listed above. Where budget allows, prioritize tables that use solid woods and that are manufactured or produced in high quality, small production facilities. As much as possible, try to avoid anything that's cheaply made or mass produced. Look for reviews and testimonials on Board Game Geeks, Reddit, or other board game enthusiast communities online if you have any questions.
Choosing the right board game table for you is a big, sometimes costly decision. So before pulling the trigger on your new purchase, make sure the manufacturer you've chosen provides all of the customization options you'd want in your table. For example, some will let you choose the type and color of your wood, adjust the size or shape of the table, choose different playing surface looks, and all kinds of add-on accessories.
This goes alongside "table craftsmanship" in what to look for, but make sure the company you're buying from has been reviewed well online and generally has a good reputation. Keep in mind that not everyone will have a perfect experience 100% of the time, but generally, if the reviews are more positive then negative, that's a good sign. Look for experience where people received the product they paid for, on time, at the agreed-upon price, and with minimal shipment and delivery headaches.
Fits your budget
Don't spend more than your budget allows on your tabletop gaming surface. Based on what is on the market in 2022, you can probably earmark about $2,500 for a standard high-quality gaming table. Of course there are offerings across the price spectrum, like Jasper's $799 entry point or Wyrmwood's Prophecy table, which starts at $8,500 for the Cherry wood line and goes up to a staggering $31,500 for the Macassar Ebony edition.
Fits your games
For most gamers, a standard recessed play area of 6'x3' will cover the majority of your gaming needs. However, if you tend to play a lot of larger games that use more complex setups or a lot of game pieces, you may need to consider something larger. Try setting up a few of your favorite tabletop games and measure the space they require. Keep in mind any personal space your players may need for a comfortable gaming experience.
Fits your people
Don't buy a table larger then you need! If you mostly play with a group of 4-6 people, with the occasional 8-10+ person gaming session thrown in, then size for your standard group. A table that's too large can be more inconvenient then one that's too small as it requires people to reach or make awkward movements when playing the game. However, it's easy to add on a secondary table or play area for the rare larger play session.
Where can I buy the best board gaming tables?
The best places to buy a board gaming table is typically directly from the manufacturer. That said, for gaming tables in particular, you can also find a few quality options on Etsy, and many of the builders mentioned in this thread got their starts with Kickstarter projects.
Finally, don't ignore some of your favorite used marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, where you may be able to find a high quality used table from someone getting out of the gaming hobby, moving, or upgrading their own table.
What kinds of accessories can I buy for my gaming table?
Every company is a little different, but think about extra storage options, drink holders (including stemware), accessory tables, table toppers, even chairs that match your table's design.
When it comes to board game tables, you want to make sure that you get the perfect one for your needs. That means taking into account things like the customization options, company reputation, budget, and games that you play. We hope this post has helped you figure out what to look for when making your purchase. And as always, happy gaming!