The Beginning – An Idea
As many of you frequent listeners and viewers probably know, over the past several years I’ve been working on building my Ultimate Game Room to play Pathfinder and other traditional games in. Though… mostly just Pathfinder. And while many people have created some fantastic game rooms over the years, mine has a very unique twist: It is portable!
When I first started working on the room, I was just getting started in my day job careers, and was moving from company to company. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time and effort creating a room that I would have to abandon when I moved to my new home. So making it portable was key. It isn’t designed to be rolled around on a frequent basis, but it is designed so that when I do move, it can be loaded up and hauled to my new home wherever that may be.
For the Theme, I wanted to go with a medieval tavern feel. So plaster textured walls and Tudor styled boards inside were a must.
Construction, Costs, & Delays
Originally we set out a budget of a $1200, and estimated we could finish the construction of the Game Room in a mere 3 months! We were very, very wrong. Like most projects I get involved with, I always overestimate my free time and underestimated the challenges involved. By the time the Game Room was done, it had taken the better part of 4 years of on and off work, and well over $5,000 in costs. If I had the chance to do it again, though, I wouldn’t have changed much. The final product was well worth it.
Once I figured out the space and floor plan I needed, I went to a local portable building company in my area and had them build the outer shell of the building to my measurements. These are the same outbuildings that you seen in many home yards. Key features included double doors, cut outs for the air conditioning, and a space reserved on the outside for the tavern sign.
But when you’re inside the building things change dramatically. The walls are fully insulated and plastered to home standards, a massive center beam hangs overhead, the central part of the Tudor style framing used to evoke the tavern feel. And hard wood flooring. A fireplace is in the far center of the room, and while I wanted to include an actual bar at first, when it was decided to also include a pod-casting station into the room, that had to be cut from the project.
Finishing and Decorations
Now, once we had a nice big empty room, it was time to actually put the gaming part into it! I managed to get an old banquet table from one of our historic hotels in the city while it was closing down. I don’t get to use most of it’s leaves in it though, but I can make the table longer when more than the usual 5 players show up.
I also wanted my players to have easy access to any dice they’d need in play, so wooden set of bins holds all the dice they could ever need no matter how big the fireball or fall damage roll is. Most players prefer to still use their own dice of course, but this helps when the number of d8’s or d6’s gets out of hand, or when we have guests or someone forgets their dice bag.
The fireplace is electric, and actually functions as the heater for the game room. It sometimes does way too good of a job. Since I didn’t want my electric bill to be insane, the game room is fully insulated top to bottom. It doesn’t take much to keep the place nice to play in.
The swords are Lord of the Rings movie replicas, Glamdring and Sting respectively. And most of the art in the room is commissioned art of the player’s characters. Though some prints are simply fantasy art I enjoy. I wanted to avoid posters and such, even Pathfinder ones. Wanted the art to feel like art.
Some other decorations include a magic wand, some decorative boxes to keep my personal set of dice and Harrow Cards in on the fire place, and a wood carved dragon shelf for the corner.
The computer area was put in mostly to do the podcast from the room, and next to it is my library of Pathfinder material and miniatures. On the other side of the room I have a small desk I use to do writing and to paint miniatures. A nice barrel serves as the room’s trash can, and fold out tables are available should we need extra space for books and such.
Now that I have it, I love it. I spend most of my time in the room, honestly, either working on my computer, playing games, or prepping the next session. The atmosphere really helps with getting into the mood, and the freedom to just leave the game set up between sessions takes a load off my mind.