Burst of Insight-Inexpensive and Simple Gaming Table Mod

I have long wanted one of those super deluxe game tables with the recessed play space. Alternately, I’ve been considering options to instead elevate the play space. Given that we live stream some of our tabletop games the raised play surface offers the added benefit of putting the battlemat neatly over the mic cables and other wires. I’ve been looking at a number of options and most of the designs are taller than I’d like, not the right size for my table, or just more money than I want to spend.

This weekend I decided I’d build my own and document the process. My quick trip to the big box hardware store ended up taking a little longer than expected because I became a little sidetracked while I shopped.  If you don’t get lost in the aisles like I did, then you can be in and out of the store in under 20 minutes and $30. Better yet the build time once I got my hand full of parts home was still very quick and even the least project inclined should be able to handle it.

Parts List

24″ x 48″ half inch MDF. My cost $ 9.49.

two packs of 1 inch sink washers (need 12 washers in total). My cost $ 1.18 each pack.

6 door stops. These need to be rigid not the coiled spring variety. My cost 1.88 each.

My total with tax : $24.69


Before leaving the store I asked a store employee to cut down my MDF to the width I wanted for my table. In this case our table is about 3 feet across and I didn’t want to crowd players on either side so I opted for an 18 inch surface width. Note I didn’t take any pictures of the MDF until I was home so the above image is already cut down to the size I wanted.

Now I began to add the door stops as legs. at the corner I measured in 2 inches from the top and side and marked the board. Next I added two washers to the threaded portion of the door stopper. I didn’t want the sharp screw tip to protrude from the top of the table when I screwed the leg in place. A small wrench made screwing in the legs very simple.  Repeat for each of the corners. for the final two legs I again measured in 2 inches from the side but from the top I measured in 24 inches to the halfway point to add some extra stability.

And that was it. I may paint the table top black so that it matches the current table or I may wrap the top in felt and staple it in place on the bottom. most likely however will be to use insulation foam to create a removable gridded surface similar to what I made for my Ultimate Dungeon Terrain (above) inspired by this video: https://youtu.be/dQqhTiE7i84

My UDT features a non skid surface glued onto the back and a sport ring for extra stability both of which are elements I’d repeat at least in part for the table surface here.



Burst of Insight

Andrew Marlowe

placed in the Top 16 of RPG Superstar in 2012 and 2014, one of the few contestants to get that far in the competition twice. Since then, he has contributed to many Paizo and third party Pathfinder products, including one of the network’s favourite releases in the Pathfinder Player Companion line, the Dirty Tactics Toolbox. Every other Tuesday, he will be sharing his Burst of Insight, with design tips for would-be game designers from a decorated freelancer.