Board Game Tables: Getting Your Game On (It)

Games are getting larger, and let’s face it: we aren’t really doing anything to stop it. As games steadily take over our dining rooms, specialized board game tables are becoming more popular. It’s a rite of passage: you know you’re way, way too into board games when you drop a few thousand dollars on chit storage.

And you’re probably going to spend a few thousand dollars.

The Features of Board Game Tables

Why get a board game table, anyway? A modern board gaming table is really made for all tabletop games, including D&D and other miniature games. Features will usually include:

  • Built-in cupholders, so you don't spill your drink over a $300 big box game.
  • Recessed, felted play area, so your dice and chits don't go everywhere.
  • Drawers (and even hidden compartments) to organize your pieces. 
  • Advanced features (such as phone docks, charging stations, and map placement).

And these tables are almost always dual purpose. Most of them function as dining tables, too, with leaves that can fit into the recessed area and tuck everything safely out of sight. So you aren't really buying "just a board gaming table," you're buying a dining room table that can be transformed into a gaming table.

Premium Board Game Tables

Something you’re going to notice pretty quickly is that board game tables don’t tend to be designed by people who actually do furniture. Most board game tables are blocky and heavy. In the $1,000 to $2,000 range, you’re going to have essentially a giant chunk of wood in the middle of your room. Once you get into the $3,000 to $4,000+ range, they tend to have more flair.

  • Rathskellers. Handcrafted in Greece, Rathskellers has a wide variety of tables, ranging from flat tables with a lot of storage to D&D tables with brightly lit sections for maps. The Councilor (750 euro) doubles as a dining room table and opens to a recessed gaming area, with slide out trays and cup holders.

  • Geeknson. With a “winter sale” order form that ranges from $4,600 to $5,370, the Geeknson (GeekNSon?) product line is pricy. Tables include cup holders, piece holders, drawers, smartphone chargers, and a DM area.

  • Carolina Gaming Table. From $1,599 to $1,749, gamers can invest in a convertible dining table/gaming table, with upholders and a 3” recessed gaming area. The Carolina gaming table is a pretty simple setup, with a slat that fits above the interior.

Of course, the downside to these are that they’re in your home. A lot of board gamers don’t host their own game events. That’s where portable tables and table toppers come in.

Portable, Cheap Board Game Tables

If you don’t have a few thousand dollars to drop, game toppers or portable game tables may be a better option. These tend to range a few hundred dollars rather than a few thousand dollars, and tend to be far more beneficial for those who game in places other than their home.

Game toppers create a play area anywhere. And there are always projects such as ALPHA, a portable gaming table that failed to fund, and Game Anywhere - $399 tables that can be carried around with a simple tote strap.

Of course, board games have also been played on $50 collapsible picnic tables for as long as board games and picnic tables have existed. Most of the benefits provided by a premium board game table amount to maps, cupholders, and dice trays -- so your mileage may vary.