May 20, 2009

Gaming Setup 101: Not-So Famous Gaming Table - Option 1

How to Create a Not-So Famous Gaming Table

Buy yourself two, large folding tables. You don’t need a nice table for gaming but you do need a big table. Yes, boys, size matters (even in Dungeons & Dragons). Even if you have a small gaming group, you’ll likely need a large gaming surface. In addition to needing room for the battle map or game board, you’ll need room for polyhedral dice rolling, players’ books, drinks and snacks, and, of course, your broad sword. Assuming you have the space, I recommend picking up two tables. This will provide you with ample playing area. Even if you have a small group, one table probably won’t be enough to accommodate everything and everyone. Also, gaming groups have a tendency to grow, so think about the future. Buy the largest tables you can afford (and, obviously, that you can accommodate). I recommend your tables be at least 72” x 30” (6’ x 2.5’).

In addition to large tables, I recommend folding ones. Why folding? This allows you to use your gaming area for other things than, well, gaming. For example, although I game in my unfinished basement, it’s nice to be able to fold up the tables and put them against the wall so my kids can run around down there on a rainy day. Also, if you ever move, it’s much easier to fit a folding table through the door than some mammoth one-piece table.

There are two ways you can go about getting your folding tables:
Option 1: The Fancy Pants Method
Option 2: The "I May Not Want to Eat on It, but It Will Work" Method.

Option 1: The Fancy Pants Method

If you have the cash, you can get nice folding tables from places like Office Depot, Costco, or Sam’s Club. I’d recommend going to Sam’s Club or Costco. If you don’t have a membership, ask a friend who belongs to take you. By and large, you’ll get more for your money. For example:

These tables run from around $40.00 to $80.00. Obviously, the bigger the tables, the higher the price. Again, I recommend you get the biggest ones you can afford.

Naturally, you’ll need chairs to go with your tables. Like the tables, I suggest getting folding ones that can be stowed. The price of chairs varies a lot. For example, you can opt for the Steel Cage Match 4-Pack at Office Depot for about $30.00:

However, since you’ll be sitting for hours at a time, you’ll likely want something at least a tad more comfortable. Sam’s Club has a four pack of plastic chairs for about $80.00.

Assuming you don’t opt for the Steel Chairs of Torture, here is the price breakdown for the cheapest stuff from both Sam‘s Club and Costco:

Two folding tables (72” x 30”): $50.80 x 2: $101.60
Two 4-packs of folding chairs: $104.99 x 2: $209.98
Costco Total: $311.58

Sam’s Club
Two folding tables (72” x 30”): $39.88 x 2: $79.76
Two 4-packs of folding chairs: $81.37 x 2: $162.74
Sam’s Club Total: $242.50

Sam’s Club is about $70.00 cheaper and appears to be the winner here. However, keep in mind that the Sam’s Club prices I used were based on my location (I had to enter my ZIP code), so your results may be vary. Also, obviously, your price will be cheaper if you don’t need as many chairs.

Personally, both of these totals are a bit rich for my blood. If you’re married like me, you might have a hard time convincing your wife that such an investment is worth it. (Although, I should point out, these tables and chairs are handy for parties and that kind of thing in addition to gaming, so you might be able to work that angle).

However, if you’re like me and have a tight budget, I suggest you try Option 2: The "I May Not Want to Eat on It, but It Will Work" Method.
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