Today we are going to explore the sancta sanctorum of game nights, which is the place where you develop the actual game play: the game room. If you usually meet up with your fellow geeks at a coffee shop or a game bar, then this post is going to guide you on how to best build a gaming space of your own. If this were a perfect world, in which I shower with dollar bills and put on a blue velvet robe, I would buy the best and brightest gadgets in the geek market and call my house The Gentlegeek Club and we’d be gaming all day long (with pizza breaks). But since I have to work with what my wallet holds for me, I’m going to give tips on how to maximize comfort and efficiency on your particular game dungeon (not the kinky kind of games though) with a low (looooow) budget.
First crucial item on your bucket list should be a decent game table and decent means enough space between players to play comfortably and big enough to play the hugest game on your collection, plus any snacks and beverages you’d like to serve. It’s like I always say: you have to adapt to the games you are going to play. If we are looking at a session that involves a game of Munchkin or Fluxx, then the amount of table space you need is minimum. Furthermore, if you are playing games like The Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow you don’t even need a table to begin with, meaning that you can play comfortably on your sofa. On the other hand, when playing games like Dojo Kun or Battlestar Galactica you might need to clear some extra space or even bring an auxiliary table, because the setup is going to spread out like wildfire. If you like to play games like Mega Civilization, maybe you should think about renting the nearest dinner hall or something like that.
So, if you have the budget to buy a new table, I would recommend one that allows you to increase or decrease its size according to your gaming needs. That way you won’t have a huge table to take up most of your living space when you are not playing. Consider investing on this kind of tables because they’ll allow you to adapt to the table size the situation requires. If you are on the maybe-I-can-afford-to-eat-meat-this-week kind of budget, then consider getting your hands on a wooden or plastic plank of considerable size to put over your current table and warn your fellow gamers not to lean too much on it (try fixing it with a non permanent solution, like clamps, so you will only have to use the plank on gaming nights). On the other hand, if you are not on a budget and have all the money in the world, then visit Geek Chic, take a look at their catalog and be amazed (if after that there’s some extra money left you can even buy me some plane tickets to come play with you, which would be cool).
Next on your bucket list is an obvious complement to a decent game table: chairs. Now, you don’t have to break a sweat when picking chairs, and they don’t even need to match with one another. A clear indicative that you have a decent set of chairs is the fact that your friends will not mind where they seat, simple as that. If you want to go cheap on your chairs, try yard sales, because there are always good options there. Important side note, when buying chairs (same as when buying a table) there is an unspoken rule known as “What would King Arthur do?, meaning that you cannot choose the better stuff for you and leave your fellow geeks with inferior quality furniture. When looking for chairs, just don’t pick a throne only for you to use, guide yourself by an equity principle. All geeks are equal on the game table.
At this point, we’ve covered table and chairs, which means that, if you have a game, you are set to go. Nonetheless, there are a few items that you might want to look at if you like and cherish tabletop games. First element is a cool shelve that allows you to both guard and show your amazing game collection. Being surrounded by games is an added value to a good gaming ambiance and allows your fellow geeks to see your collection and decide which game to play next. Another element worth taking into consideration for a perfect game session is light. It is a key factor for reducing fatigue and sight loss, which are really important elements to look for when playing tabletop games. You don’t need to go over your budget to assure a good lighting system, but be sure to include it.
Okay, so we are comfortably seated, with plenty of space to game and we see perfectly fine thanks to the wonderful lighting system we’ve installed, which allows us to see our amazingly organized game collection. We live like kings. It’s time to test our game room, with as many sessions and for as long as it takes. That’s what King Arthur would do.