We’ve covered several gaming table projects recently that have proven to be very popular. And there have recently been a few Kickstarter campaigns for gaming tables that have done extremely good business. With the success of YouTube shows like Tabletop and Critical Role, board, card, and tabletop miniature games doing crazy business on crowdfunding sites (and significant and steady yearly market growth), and the critical and popular success of 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, we seem to be in the midst of an analog gaming Renaissance.
People who are taking their gaming very seriously apparently want a serious table upon which to gather around, one that’s purpose-built and optimized for immersive gaming. But while building or buying a table might appeal to many, having a dedicated gaming table is not an option for many of us.
Gamer Peter Hicks, of the Beer and Battle podcast, solved this problem in a decidedly 21st century way by building a gaming leaf for his regular dining room table that incorporates a flat-screen computer monitor. By serving maps, terrain, and other game materials to the monitor, the dining room table becomes anything Peter wants it be. This is a really clever and reasonably inexpensive (you can get very cheap flat screen displays these days) way to create a unique group gaming experience.
Peter built the frame for his gaming leaf at his local TechShop in Chandler, AZ. He used cheap Home Depot 2×4’s for the frame and built it based on the dimensions of the table whose leaf it was replacing. The display used is a Dell 27″ IPS monitor (which is not cheap). Peter says he chose that display specifically because of its use of tempered glass.
Above and below where the monitor sits in the insert, he added white board material to provide further area for marking up and playing on.
Test-fitting the insert and making sure that the leaf pegs that secure the leaf on either side properly line up.
The finished table in action, with a flotilla of tablets and future phones around it to provide additional gaming data to players and the DM. In terms of what software is used, Peter says that while several of the other DMs he plays with use other means to operate the display, he uses GIMP. With it, he layers the rooms and handouts so that he can show only what he wants to, creating a satisfying sort of fog of war vibe.
You can see more of Peter’s game table inserts on this Instagram #bettergamingthroughtechnology tag.