Making a Gaming Room
Now, when you’re playing board games, there’s certainly no need for a gaming room. I had games in a closet and would take them out to the dining room table for game night, and that works just fine. But since we’re in a time where gaming in person isn’t always an option, maybe this would be a time to create a gaming room.
At a basic level, there are going to be two primary things that you’ll need for your gaming room. The first is a place to play the games, and the next is a place to store the games. However, you can certainly bling it out more than that, but let’s start by talking about those two things.
The table, and this includes the chairs is going to be fairly important as you think about setting up the room. Consider things like how large your games are, now many people you want around the table, and how much overall space you have. If you’re playing something like Gloomhaven, you’re going to need a bigger table than if you normally only play games like Santorini and Hanamikoji. Or even a game like Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, you’re going to need space to get a larger group around the table, even though the footprint of the game isn’t that large. So look at the largest game, numbers wise and space wise to determine how large a table you might need. Now, that might not work for the room you’re using, it could be too large, in that case, consider the games that you will be playing most down there, and you can move the bigger games elsewhere for playing.
With this also consider your playing surface. You can go out and find a lot of premium gaming tables that cost $1000+ and are going to be amazing to play on with built in cup holders, rails for holding cards, a sunken play and padding place surface and more fun things like that, but that’s probably overkill. Most of the time, an old dining room/kitchen table will do. What I’d consider when thinking about that is what sort of surface do you need for it? There are a few different options to allow you to be able to pick up cards easier, felt or neoprene. Both of these have a little give, and if you have trouble picking up cards at times like I do, it might be something you’d want to invest in. Felt works well because you can stretch it and staple it to the underside of the top of the table and it’ll give you a nice playing surface. That’s what I’ve done for the table that I use for Malts and Meeples streaming. This will give you a consistent top across the table, but it does pick up dust, another option would be buying a neoprene mat to put on top of it. This is going to be higher quality, and it’ll allow you to more easily swap out the surface of the table since you can just roll up the mat, but it’s a spendier option, but still cheaper than getting a premium gaming table.
Storage is another big thing to consider, how do you want to display your games. This could be for aesthetic reasons, but mainly it’s going to be so that you know what games you have. If you’re using a bedroom and you shove them into a deep closet, the ones in front will get played, the ones in back will not. This is just simply do to the visibility of the games in front versus the back.
The most common suggestion that you’ll hear are Kallax shelves from Ikea. Or Better Homes and Garden cubby shelves are basically the same things. The cubbies are basically the right side for a board game, in a normal sided square box, to fit nicely. They can be stored either vertically or horizontally. I have a Kallax and it works really well. You can even find them used, fairly often it’ll be the older version of the Kallax, Expedit, but basically the same thing and same sized cubbies. The Better Homes and Garden one I believe is slightly lower quality, but more readily available since it’s at Wal-Mart. But really, any bookshelf will do, it just might not store quite as neatly. And plastic shelving works well, as well.
That’s really it that you’ll need for storing and playing your games, but let’s talk about some other things to think about that you might want to do.
Some of these are going to be additional decor, I know people who hang box covers, especially for expansions they’ve fit into one box, on the fall, or Board Game Geek sells some amazing art prints for various games. Etsy is another place that has good art.
Lighting is another big thing to think about. Indirect lighting for the games are going to be best. By that, I mean having a big light on the ceiling pointed down is probably not the best. It’s going to create glare off of boards and cards and make them harder to read. Floor lamps where the light is directed up and can reflect down off the ceiling are going to give you an easier light to see the board and cards. But also having enough lighting is important as well so that you can read the cards without straining. So sit around the table from each side some evening and see how it is to see a hand of cards.
Now, finally, I want to talk about seating. I said that was implied with the table, but most tables you can cram more people around than chairs that come with the table. So consider picking up some folding chairs and test out the folding chairs to see that they’re comfortable. Folding chairs have definitely improved since hard metal ones to stronger and more supportive feeling plastic seats and backs. Find something that feels comfortable to you and that you think will be comfortable to anyone who might join in the gaming fun.
What else should you have in a game room? I mean, you need games, but I’m assuming, if you’re thinking about a particular game room, you probably already have a lot of those, like I do. Also, tweet pictures of your game room to me, for future inspiration.
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