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"Width for a Large Gaming Table" Topic

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Zoltar Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2023 8:34 a.m. PST

Hello all. Anyone with experience building a large wargaming table? We have a room that will allow a 20 foot long table and we intend to build to that length allowing for massive multi-player battles.

The question is how wide should it be. As it is allowing for grand scale battles, we want it wide enough to allow for that. However, we don't want the maximum width to exceed peoples ability to comfortably get to figures, especially at the middle of the table.

Any thoughts???

MajorB26 Sep 2023 8:49 a.m. PST

5 feet.
My arms aren't long enough to reach to the middle of a table that's any wider than that!

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2023 8:52 a.m. PST

My personal favorite width is 5-6 feet wide. My custom table is 5.5 feet wide. I've played on 6-foot tables, and that was a stretch -- I am 5'11' (I was 6', when I wore a younger man's clothes).

I tacked on standard folding tables to the end of my custom table, which was <4 feet wide, and that worked.

Played on a massive, 12 feet wide by 30 feet long table setup a few years ago. We had to put a 2-foot walkway up the middle! This was for a massive, 54mm, Army Men game -- the most incredible Army Men game I've played, to date!

I plan on making several (8, maybe 12, of them?) plywood tables for my 2nd garage: each table will be 4x8 feet, with the goal being to set up a playing surface to come as close as possible, to the 12x30 table used years ago. Cost is challenging, though. I hope to cover each sheet-table with green, indoor/outdoor carpet, as a grassy surface -- might need to use green paint, to save money…

There was an interview with the CEO of Geek Chic Tables, I saw years ago, where he said he had a custom order requesting a laddered arching platform, on wheels. The customer wanted to be able to climb up on the mobile ladder, laying down, over the tabletop, to reach the middle of the table! That, to me, is not feasible, nor practical: I am too old, and too out of shape, to climb such a ladder, let alone lay down on it, so I can reach the middle of the table! Cheers!

Titchmonster26 Sep 2023 9:00 a.m. PST

2 ping pong tables would give you 18X5

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2023 9:04 a.m. PST

I have a 5 x 9 foot ping pong table and while I would want more length the width is just about right for my 5' 11" tall reach. The two tables I often play on that are 6' are a bit of a reach. it might be useful to build your table in sections so that you could move part to create an "L" configuration. Good luck with your choice as it sounds like you have a great situation.

rustymusket26 Sep 2023 9:10 a.m. PST

6 feet is a stretch for me at 5'6" but that is what I have. I wanted the width to be decent looking for 28mm flintlock small arms and give artillery a half-way decent look.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2023 9:15 a.m. PST

A word of caution on using Ping Pong Tables for gaming… The understructure leg assemblies are not stable. I used a Ping Pong Table as my gaming table, for 20 years.

After four years, I replaced the understructure legs with two sets of folding table legs, per half of the 4.5x5 foot sections. I added two steamer trunk hasp sets, to lock the two halves together, which worked really well, but the top was so lightweight, that it still was a nightmare when players bumped the table, knocking figures and terrain over. The folding leg assemblies made it much more stable than the original understructure was, but it was still a concern.

This is also true with 4x8 sheets of plywood, with legs added to them, as I alluded to, above.

If you build a heavy, large table, with 2x4's, you will have sufficient weight such that bumping it will not knock over too many, if any, figures and terrain pieces.

A friend built a 6x10 table, using a 2x4 box frame, in two sections. It was solid, and bumping it did not cause too much havoc to the setup's. I believe he screwed the two halves together, once in place, to further stabilize the whole. I gamed on that table for nearly a decade, and it served the group very well. When the owner moved, he sold it to one of the members of our local group, so it lives on. Cheers!

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2023 9:27 a.m. PST

My table has a 5 foot width

A word of caution on widths – height of the table is also important – on a shorter table one can bend and reach further on taller table is more arms length

Having tables on the outside of your main table can give you some extra space for approaches if you need it

Final thought – scale has a lot to do with size of the table as well – 54mm versus 6mm on a 5 foot table are radically different based on type of game play (skirmish versus corps level action)

Dexter Ward26 Sep 2023 9:32 a.m. PST

6 foot is the maximum.

nickinsomerset26 Sep 2023 9:37 a.m. PST

Mine is 20 x 8. I use stools to get a boost up to reach the centre and it is strong enough to walk around on, being careful not to headbutt the model aircraft hanging from the ceiling!

Edited to say, I suspect for competition games width is an issue!

Tally Ho!

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian26 Sep 2023 9:48 a.m. PST

no more than 8 (and players will need to switch sides to reach past the center)

Titchmonster26 Sep 2023 9:58 a.m. PST

Reinforcing the middle of a ping pong table is something that you have to look at over time so +1 st slag

HansPeterB26 Sep 2023 10:11 a.m. PST

I'd agree with 5'. I played for years on a 6x12', and while it looked great, folks with shorter arms had trouble reaching the center. We had one game (Napoleonics) that was covered with troops except for an odd donut hole in the middle of the table.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2023 10:20 a.m. PST

I regard 6' as the practical max, and if you're going for 20' you'll probably want it. Real battles--absent sieges and trench warfare--tend to be more squarish than the average game table.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2023 10:36 a.m. PST

At least 5 feet, and no more than 6. 5.5 should be a good compromise.

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Sep 2023 10:40 a.m. PST

Definitely 6' is the max, though keeping the table no higher than, say, 30" allows pretty easy access to the center.

I also applaud Sgt. Slag's recommendation of 2 x 4's for the supports--stability is really as important a consideration as length and width of a table.

I worked up a plan for a 6' x 12' table with shelving space, etc, that could easily be increased to any length. If you (or anyone) would be interested, PM me and I'll send you a single page PDF for consideration.


Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2023 11:50 a.m. PST

Another thing to keep in mind, is the type of wood used, for the surface, and the outside edges of the surface.

Pine is a soft wood, and it is easily dented, chipped, or otherwise damaged.

Hardwoods vary in actual hardness, with wide margins. The harder the wood, the more durable it is.

American Black Cherry is 900, and Black Walnut is 1,010, on the Janka hardness scale. Oak is around 1,230.

Hickory, my personal favorite, is at 1,820 -- harder than Oak; Hickory has smaller, finer grain patterns; takes stain of any color, so it can be stained to appear as Cherry, Black Walnut, Padauk, Bloodwood, Purpleheart, or even Wenge. This is what my table is made out of. Slightly more expensive than Oak, but not much.

If you go with plywood sheets for the top, you can use inexpensive chipboard, if you plan to always have it covered with some sort of ground cloth. If the chipboard is too rough for your ground cloth, you can get a 1/8"-1/4" thick sheet of MDF, to lay over the top of the chipboard, to smooth it out nicely. Be aware that MDF needs to be sealed, with wood sealer, before you apply any type of paint to it -- otherwise it will absorb the paint, making it very blotchy, and ugly, requiring 3+ coats of paint to make it look decent.

Whatever you do, please share photos when it is built! The Hive Mind of TMP can learn a great deal from your work. Cheers!

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2023 1:02 p.m. PST

6 feet max in my view – people's arms are only so long

JMcCarroll26 Sep 2023 2:20 p.m. PST

Agree with the 5' size. If you have the room, you can form a L shape by turning a table sideways. Had to do that for the battle of Wagram. link
As stated earlier the height of your table can help avoid wargamers back. I have used the 4" black plastic raisers with great effect.
Hope this helps!

45thdiv26 Sep 2023 4:53 p.m. PST

6' is the width of my table. I found that I can reach the center, but depending on the terrain and types of armies, pike units can hurt, 6' can be a stretch,

Stoppage26 Sep 2023 6:48 p.m. PST

A couple of flush internal doors?

In UK they are 6'5" x 2'8" (1982mm x 838mm or 67in x 32in).

Mount on trestles and connect with case/trunk hardware.

In UK King-size beds are 5' x 6'6" (1500mm x 2000mm) – so not having massive garages or basements – we can use our bedrooms instead.

korsun0 Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2023 9:07 p.m. PST

Also consider the need for balance. Most use one hand to lean on as the distance widens. This can cause substantial damage or displacement to adjacent items.

GatorDave Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2023 2:09 a.m. PST

I have 2 5'x6' tables on casters. I can make one 5'x12' table or one 6'x10' table. You can set up the table to match the needs of your game easily whether you need a 5' or 6' width.

Lascaris27 Sep 2023 4:38 a.m. PST

Mine is 6' and I like the width. I built mine using particle board screwed into kitchen cabinet bottoms. It's solid and has a ton of storage space.

BTCTerrainman Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2023 12:17 p.m. PST

6' is perfect for me. For those of you that cannot reach the center, surround yourselves with some taller gaming friends.

Mad Guru27 Sep 2023 7:49 p.m. PST

As already said by many, 6' wide is the way to go IMHO. Wide enough for big battles but not so wide it's difficult for most gamers to reach the middle of the table.

Simo Hayha27 Sep 2023 8:58 p.m. PST

do not make it 7 feet. I regularly play on a 7 foot table and it hurts my back. i;m 6 feet tall and people shorter can't reach the center. Also the height of the table effects depth. the higher the table the hard to reach.

Doug MSC Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2023 10:28 a.m. PST

I use 6 folding tables that are 2 1/2' x 5' each.
I put them together giving me a game table of 5'x 15'.
They are also just the right height to be able to reach the middle from either side. If you put 8 tables together you would get a table 5'x 20'. The folding tables can be taken down or you can store terrain underneath them.You can also sit on chairs around the table to game if you wish.

T Corret Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2023 5:30 p.m. PST

If you have the woodworking chops, you can put evey other 4 x 6 foot deep section on shelf rollers and stagger them at least 2 feet. It looks a little odd, but it really helped a wheelchair user to game for several years. Just mounting each board separately will allow the same thing.

steve dubgworth01 Oct 2023 6:21 a.m. PST

i had a table 12ft by 5ft and the 5ft was the maximum to reach across comfortably. you should also leave a 3ft strip between the table and any wall or obstruction to move about safely without damage to yourself or other things. I dont see any proble with one 5ft end being against a wall but not the 12ft side or both ends.

rampantlion03 Oct 2023 5:24 a.m. PST

Mine at home is a few inches over 5 feet. I can reach the middle fairly easily and I still have a fair amount of maneuver room for the armies.

TheDreadnought04 Oct 2023 12:24 p.m. PST

5' wide.

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