Welcome to Board Game Tables 101 where I will educate you on the features of board game tables so you can be knowledgeable in what you purchase.
The play surface is where the game board and components are placed and are typically made of some sort of cloth fabric with a little bit of padding. This makes picking up cards and other flat game components easier since there is some give when you press down on them which typically raises up an edge to grab hold of.
The Dream Table uses 3mm thick neoprene with a nylon fabric jacket (one side) as its play surface. Nylon covered neoprene has built in padding and a surface that doesn't attract dirt and dust. The neoprene has enough weight and along with its rubber back prevents the mat from moving when playing games. The neoprene can also be removed from the vault for easy cleaning.
The key feature that separates a board game table from a regular table is its vault. The vault is a "sunken" area in the middle of that table that contains the play surface. This sunken area gives players a higher view of the game. The walls of the vault are useful in keeping game components such as dice contained so that they can't fall of the table when rolled.
Vaults can range in depth. Some vaults are very shallow (less than 1 inch) while others are deep ( greater than 8 inches). The shallow vaults are typically used for Euro board games while the deeper vaults are used for games that require miniatures due to their height. The vault depth only comes into play if the vault needs to be covered.
Vaults can be covered with vault planks or large sheets. Vault planks are smaller and easier to handle and interlock together to create a flat looking table. Vault sheets are typically much larger and cover more of the vault with fewer pieces at the cost of being heavier, and more difficult to manouver by a single person, but result in less joints compared.
Make sure the vault floor is strong as board game tables will have players leaning on the vault floor moving game components. A weak vault floor can result in moved game board/components or even worse, the vault floor falling out.
Pros of a Vault:
Cons of a Vault:
The Dream Table has a vault depth of just under 2 inches (5 cm). This was selected as the Dream Table contains hidden drink holders that use up some of the tables thickness. The desire for safe drinking cup locations out weighed the desire for a deeper vault. See the drink holder section for more details. If the vault is covered, there is a clear vinyl protective cover that can be placed over it to waterproof and protect the table. The table can also have vault caps that integrate with the vault planks to create variations of vaults and upper play surfaces. For instance, using a single vault plank and two vault caps, two smaller vaults can be created on the table allowing for two separate 3 or 4 player games to take place on the same table. The vault also walls have a play surface channel cut out of them so that the play surface fits slightly inside the vault walls to hide any uneven play surface edges.
The table edge surrounding the play surface can be thin or thick. A thin table edge leaves no room for players to lean on but results in a table that is less wide which may be needed if the tableis in a small room (more player sitting space). If the edge is wide enough (3 inches (8 cm) or more), it is called a leaning ledge which a player can lean on increasing their comfort. A lean ledge with a vault enables the player to safely lean on the table without worrying about disturbing the game pieces as they are located lower within the vault.
Pros of Leaning Ledge:
Cons of a Leaning Ledge:
The Dream Table has a 5.5 inch (14 cm) wide leaning ledge. This width was selected to allow a large surface area to lean on, and it allows enough room for the hidden drink holders to be stored underneath the leaning ledge when not in use. If the vault is covered, the inner neoprene play surface can be moved on top of the vault planks giving you a table with no vault but still with a great play surface with leaning ledges.
Playing board games is a social event. Typically some sort of drink and snacks are present. The first rule when dealing with drinks is to protect the game as cardboard and liquids do not go together. Placement of the drink holders is paramount in preventing damage to the game.
Pros of Drink Holders:
Cons of Drink Holders:
The Dream Table uses 6 drink holders that are built into the outer edge of the table, below the leaning ledge. Its drink holders are built into the side of the table so they do not interfere with leg room and remain hidden until used. When they are popped out and used, they keep the drinks away from the leaning ledge and even further away from the vault. These drink holders are also interchangeable as they can convert between a regular glass/can/bottle holder, to a mug holder, or to a wine glass holder.
Board Game Tables are designed to fit specific amounts of players comfortably around the table. It is possible for the table to be designed to have some feature/benefit for the player sitting at their designated position. Possible player stations include, nothing at all (typically found on tables without leaning ledges), a small storage shelf typically called a cubby hole, actual storage compartment, or a fold out shelf.
Pros of Player Stations:
Cons of Player Stations:
The Dream Table allows the customer to select what type of player stations they want when they purchase the table. This flexibility allows the table to be configured with 4 different station styles: a) a wide leaning ledge with cubby hole storage, b) thin leaning ledge with cubby hole storage, c) wide leaning ledge with enclosed storage compartment (solid table look), and finally d) a wide leaning ledge with a fold out shelf that allows both the cubby hole look as well as a solid table look built into one. The fold out player station is unique in that it has a built in table edge flap that makes the table edge look solid when the shelf is not in use. It can be folded down to create a cubby hole storage if wanted. When the shelf is being used, this flap folds out of the way allowing the player full access to the extra player space. Since the flap is built into the table, you do not have to worry about storing it when not in use.
Game Tables can have the supporting legs positioned in each of the table corners, or a trestle table design which has the legs positioned underneath the table away from the table edge. If the legs are positioned right at the corners, the table will be very stable and almost impossible to tip without purposely lifting it. If the legs are offset underneath the table, it gives more leg room for the players but also increases the chance of the table tipping. Some tables also incorporate some storage system underneath the table.
Pros of Corner Table Legs:
Cons of Corner Table Legs:
Pros of a Trestle Table:
Cons of a Trestle Table:
The Dream Table has two choices for table legs: cost effective offset powder coated metal legs, or a trestle table design with built in storage. The trestle table design allows access all around the table so up to 10 people can sit around it. The storage unit positioned underneath the table is designed to hold 6 vault planks, 2 vault caps, and a large roll of table top neoprene which can be used to create a huge play surface by utilizing the whole table top rather than just the vault play area. Due to the weight of the Legs and Storage unit, the table is very stable is not easy to tip at all.