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Table thoughts

August 4, 2017

Some time (quite accurately a year) back, I had problems with my gaming boards. I eventually got around those, but I’m now faced with another. While I quite like the look of my current two boards, they’re causing me all sorts of problems. They’re difficult to store, for one, plus there’s a nasty gap between them. They’re the wrong shape, and making some more would only increase the storage problems. Soooo, I’ve decided to get rid of them, and start over. Yeah.

Now, I made it sound a tad more dramatic than it actually is. I have a renovation of my gaming room coming later this year, and as part of that, I sort of want to get rid of the “all corners filled with junk” chic that’s fairly prevalent at the moment. As such, I’m looking to build a more permanent gaming table that can be neatly stored when not in use.

Crafting a gaming table isn’t an easy task at this point in my hobby career. For one, it needs to be really nice. No more random junk strewn over the dinner table. Second, it needs to be gentle on miniatures. I used to have these big Warhammer boards, coated with a mixture of PVA and fairly coarse sand. Yes, it could withstand a hammer (I assume), but it also chipped every single miniature that was knocked over, or placed lying down and accidentally touched. Third, as mentioned above, it needs to be able to be stored fairly easily.

I was thinking that neoprene/mousepad mats might be the solution. Having seen a few very nice ones, I figured I’d just buy one of those and be done with it. Gentle on minis, easily stored, looks nice. The only problems are lack of a suitable print and flatness. There just isn’t a Caribbean beach gaming mat. The few beaches there are, are more Normandy, so they’re too dark. Flatness is also something of a problem, as I definitely want to create at least a small level difference so I can have a beach with some piers on it.

I’m currently experimenting with different materials for covering a gaming table. These are a bit out of the box, as I’m trying a yoga mat and a camping pad. Both have a good balance of softness and firmness, and can hopefully be textured decently with sandpaper. It remains to be seen how well they take glue, paint and static grass. If they do, that’s my gentle-for-minis problem solved. Plus they’re dirt cheap when compared with some craft materials. I’ll let you know how the tests turn out! If you’ve tried this, do tell.

What I’m looking to build eventually, is a loose MDF sheet that I can place on a separate simple table stand. To solve the storage issue, I intend to drill in some discreet holes so I can hang it on the wall. As a terrain board isn’t the nicest decorative element, I’m thinking of attaching a nice print or some lovely printed fabric on the backside of the board. This means that when it’s on the wall, it’s a nice, large piece of interior decor, and can swiftly be taken down for some gaming. It won’t take up floor space either, and should actually look pretty nice. At the risk of tooting my own horn, I’m quite proud of this idea. Even my fiancée was sold on it, which is no mean feat when it comes to interior design…

One of the nicer things about being an adult is that you can actually make something like this. I wouldn’t have dreamed of anything of this sort when starting out as a teenager. Oh, glorious(ly approaching) middle age!

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14 comments

  1. I’ve also been pondering gaming boards (or mats) lately. Haven’t reached a real decision yet though. Have you ever tried to work with a grass mat as it is sold in DIY stores for balconies etc.(not a model railroad grass mat, but one of those study things people walk on)?

    I really like your idea with the decorative fabric on the back side of the board.


    • I haven’t, but I’ve considered those as well. As soon as you start looking outside the most obvious choices, a world of interesting textures and fabrics seems to appear.


  2. You could also purchase a water/sea mat and then make your islands the modular pieces to place on top? Obviously it depends on how much land/beach/water you require. (and how modular they would need to be.


    • I was thinking of water mats! Then again, I only need a fairly small bit of coastline, as it’s mostly ground. I’ve also wanted to try out water effects for years, this might be the chance…


  3. I love the storage, terrain board hanging on the wall idea!!

    However, I’ve got your sorted brother

    https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.pinterest.com/amp/pin/578360777116804306/


    • Hahah, glorious! That’s my problems gone.


  4. Ah, the eternal conundrum… I’ve found Adrian’s Walls boards to be durable but still fairly forgiving when it comes to minis, snd I think they do coastal stuff as well… hella costly though, and storage is always a ball ache. These days I mostly just chuck a matt down (for shame!)


    • Lovely stuff there! They’re pretty similar to what I have at hand at the moment, though. I did some test paints of the camping mat, and so far it looks really, really promising!


      • Cool! Looking forward to seeing the results!!


  5. After being moaned at for nicking my wife’s paste tables (she uses them for dressmaking!), we made 4 cabinets on castors, each half the size of a paste table (only because I had tailor made a gaming cloth. At the moment, one of them houses all my terrain, including a slide-out drawer for the boxes of miniatures but there is room for expansion if I turf out some more board games.

    They wheel together to whatever size I am after and go back against the wall when not gaming.


    • That sounds brilliant, I love it when people come up with clever solutions. Lack of conjugal friction is a plus too!

      I made my first tests with the camping mat yesterday, and it’s a brilliant material!


  6. I just recently got a mat for sci-fi, but it was a roll of black automobile head liner material (the material you touch when you touch your car’s roof on the inside). Very inexpensive compared to a mat!



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