The big day finally arrived on Friday this week when I took delivery of my purpose built wargaming table. Its been a goal for many years with lots of planning with countless design ideas considered and then discarded until I finally hit on what I thought would be an ideal design a few months back.
Finally the days of lugging fold away trestle tables look to be over and I’m looking forward to setting up a game soon. This weekend has seen me finally get the majority of my figures out of the storage box that they’ve been in for what seems an eternity.
The whole idea was to design a wargmes room with a functional table with built in storage space and for this to be the centerpiece though surrounded by display cabinets allowing easy access to figures and scenery required from these or nearby cupboards.
Because this room is effectively a spare bedroom, all along we’ve planned for a room that will have a look that is both functional and attractive and be compatible with the decor in the rest of the house and so add something to its value. Hence the reason why I had this manufactured for me and was not something that I tried to complete myself with my poor joinery skills.
The table design: –
The first consideration was the table width. When I first started gaming I adopted the usual width of 6 feet and used the ubiquitous 6 foot trestle tables. However I soon discovered that I generally preferred to play larger games with room for manoeuvre on the flanks – so I soon added another trestle table to make the table wider. Even though this perhaps flies in the face of recent trends where smaller games and skirmish games seem to be increasing in popularity I decided to stick to my guns and opted for a table width of 8 feet.
The second consideration was my height – I’m somewhat vertically challenged and I struggle a bit to reach the middle of a 6 foot table. I’ve always preferred to play on a table of 5 foot in depth. However of late I’ve started to collect more 28mm figures and felt that and extra foot in depth would be wise. Another factor is my enjoyment of a game of “Pony Wars” and though played with 15mm figures, it’s best on a 6 foot wide table. End result I wanted both options even though this added a level of complexity to the table designs!
Now third consideration is where I have to confess to my megalomania and love of very large games that can be left up for a number of days, or weeks even, if needed. I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve seen wargamers try their level best to add a foot or two in width to their tables. The room would take a 12 foot wide table with enough space for comfort around it so the ability to expand to 12 foot was another essential aspect.
The list of demands gets even longer when one begins to think about storage! I wanted space under the table for essentially like terrain and even figures if needs be along with a place to store my terrain boards. When I moved to NZ in 1999 I brought my old TSS 2 foot wide terrain tiles with me. That’s why in the decimal age I’ve been talking about feet and inches and not metres and centimetres. The need to accommodate these out of sight under the tabletop was a must along with the various hills I’ve made over the years.
The final consideration was of course that the room should, as mentioned above, look presentable to anyone coming along to the house. With this in mind I took my ideas to a local company called Vision Office Furniture http://www.visionofficefurniture.co.nz/ for their input and with advice and a little tweaking we came up with a practical answer. Kim Hake the owner was probably more excited about this than I was I think an tackled the project with consummate professionalism and huge enthusiasm!
In summary what we decided on were 2 base units of 4 foot in width and 5 foot in depth as below. These were to be divided into 2 parts with drawers at the front and shelves at the back. The picture below gives the front view and the one below the back view.
Pushed together they give the basic 8′ x 5′ basic table or playing surface. An additional insert of 4 x 5 between these when pushed apart would give the larger table
The back view shows the additional foot of depth currently hanging down, but put them up and it becomes an 8 x 6 table
The initial difficulty was to decide on the the most suitable arrangement for adding in the 4 foot extension. Now the clever bit was to make the tabletop on each base unit a little smaller that the base as below and so slot in the spare board and its an 8 x 5
Push the base units apart and add in a larger central board and it becomes a 12 x 5 table, the picture below shows the small board needed for the first option and one of the two half boards for option 2 (these were too heavy at 5 x 4 so were cut in half)
Simply add a 3rd extension board at the back on the brackets and its a full size of 12 x 6 and will take plenty of weight
The base units are on casters as in the picture below so can be pushed around
This is the only design problem I’ve encountered so far, the table is of heavy material and its not as easy to push around on the carpet as I’d hoped and expected – and that is with it empty!
The front drawers and back shelves were designed so that there is plenty of room for 2 x2 TSS terrain boards at the back
So in effect a variable table with lots of table size options and plenty of storage though not quite as easy to push around as planned!
So these and other tiles and hills go at the back
Lots of space at the front in drawers for other game essentials
With the bulk of the figures in the display cabinets and a a few more in a wall unit and it looks like a functional wargames room at last
All I need now is to set up a game and get a few prints on the walls!