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game board

Would you like to play a game?

Whether it’s a lively card game or a quiet, thoughtful board game, these novelties have been used to pass the time for centuries. But where to play? Most games are much more comfortable played at a table, and so it didn’t take long before enterprising enthusiasts set out to make or find tables that were dedicated to their gaming hobbies.

Though there are certainly many ancient examples of gaming tables, the use of them really began to rev up in the 18th century, when delicate tables were produced with etchings, inlays and paintings depicting the game boards themselves. Designed for play right on the tabletop, these could often do double-duty as side-tables.

Modern game tables

Today, game tables have taken clever forms to fit into the decor of any home. Whether you live in a house filled with antiques or prefer the smooth, clean lines of the most modern abode, there is a game table that works for your space.

Fold-out tables

These tables were very common among those who aspired to middle-class status in the 18th century. Imagine a table that looks perfectly normal, but with a hidden hinge on one side. Lifting up the top expands the table and reveals the game underneath. Some of these even include small recessed circles that served to hold either drinks or tokens of the game — or even the winnings of a particular hand. Fold-out tables are available in a variety of decor options and sizes.

Murphy tables

You have likely heard of a Murphy bed — it’s a bed that folds into the wall when not in use. This technique has been employed with plenty of other household necessities, such as ironing boards or even storage shelves. So how about a Murphy table for games?

Employ the help of a contractor to figure out where to put it, and how to make it look when it’s folded up. Hanging a large piece of art over the area when it’s not in use could hide your table completely, or you could paint the game board on both sides to display the fun in all its glory.

Rolling tables

The family who loves to play together needs a table that can move around the house to wherever the fun is happening. These tables are on four sturdy legs with rollers on the bottom, and often have a variety of drawers underneath to accommodate all the games and pieces — after all, nobody wants to search the house for the things they need in the middle of a contentious game.

These rolling tables are also great for taking the games outside during summer evenings.

Cover-up tables

Have you ever wished you could do something with that fire pit when you’re not using it? Or have you ever wished that your Scrabble game board could stay right where it was, but not get any unsightly marks or scratches? These cover-ups can work wonders for that.

A sturdy board painted and cut to suit can fit right over the unused fire pit, offering anything from classic checkers to backgammon to Risk. Want to keep your classic boards visible all the time? Consider a piece of sturdy glass or plastic, custom-cut to fit on top of your kitchen or living room table. Put the boards underneath it.

Classic gameroom tables

Some homes have room for something more sporty, and that’s where these classics come into play. Billiards tables come in a huge variety of options, from the most opulent tables to those built with a nod to streamlined modernism. Felt-topped card tables are good for those who take their Texas Hold-Em seriously. Want to get athletic? The fun ping-pong table is available in every color you can imagine.

Create your own game table!

Not happy with any of these options? Remember that any table can be suitable for a game table — all it takes is a little imagination and maybe a few coats of paint. If you don’t find what you want out there, take the time to sketch out your own ideas.

You can make your own, or you can get in touch with a woodworker who can make one for you. Either way, it could be a good project to start on right now, so you can be playing those fun games while you are cooped up in the house this winter.

 

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Shannon Dauphin Lee

Shannon Dauphin Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.