|The table in all its glory in my room|
You can buy things that are necessities. You can buy things that make your live comfortable. And you can buy absolute luxury items. This review is about the latter category. As you may know, I'm an avid boardgamer and also a sucker for cool consumer articles, so when I heard that there were tables made specifically for boardgaming, my interest was peaded. These things have a vault in which you play that you can over up with boards, so you can cover the game to eat, for example, or simply for storage until nex gaming season. They also have a ton of other extras.
|Table with the boards removed. You can see the rim.|
They're also pretty expensive, so I started saving up, you know, just in case. Last year I started shopping around in earnest to find a manufacturer I wanted to trust with the job. While I first heard about these monsters from Geekchic, their location in the US basically ruled them out, so I was settled with the two European manufacturers (there are also some others producing simpler and cheaper versions, but only two getting you want I will talk about): Geeknson (UK) and Rathskellers (Greece). I finally settled for Geeknson, mainly for reasons of price and because I didn't get a good argument on why to spend 1000€ more on Rathskellers. So, on to it: what does this thing do? And does it work?
|Table with boards and velvet removed, acrylic layer and gaming mat added.|
To settle the most important question first, yes, they do. This is some high quality work we're talking about. These tables are all hand-made after your specifications (which also means months of waiting time between ordering and receiving). My specifications were that they're large enough to field the Star Wars: Armada miniatures game, so this was going to get big: a 3x6 inches playing area, plus change, plus the rim (around another half inch in each direction). The rest was asthetics: I wanted a dark table to match the cupboards and because it looks good, green velvet because really what other color can velvet have on a fucking gaming table, a drawer on each side and a ton of extras.
|The boards and the silicon things.|
Before we get into that, a bit more on quality. These guys use real hardwood, not the stuff you get with your Ikea furniture. That makes the table durable and freaking heavy. It took us four people to get it in my room in the basement, and that was down one flight of stairs! Everything is well crafted and fits well, and it looks gorgeous. One exception to the rule, and my first major criticism, is the acrlyic layer that you can use to cover the gaming area (you see it in the picture above, that's why it's so glossy). It fits VERY tight, which means that if you get it out (which is easy), you scratch the inner rim of your table. - There's also a bit of extra geeky construction in the boards that cover the table. They have a silicon buffer that's also hollow, so when you spill a drink on these, the drink goes through these hollow silicon things into the rail at the side of the table into tiny canals vertically downward and drips to the floor, leaving everything in the vault intact. At least that's the theory. I wasn't brave enough to try this out yet, but I have the feeling someone will conduct an involuntary field test of this sooner or later. So, where was I? Extras.
|EXTRAAAAAS! You can hang them in the rail at the side.|
The table comes with a kind of rail that runs along its long sides, where you can click in extra stuff like cup holders, token holders, bins, etc. What one needs in a gaming session. Here comes my second major critique of the thing: a fact that's neither advertized nor communicated particularily well is that the rail only runs along the long edges, and that the drawsers take away a lot of its complete length, which means that you'll lose a lot of space where you could put in all these neat extras. When you seat four people at the table, you'll lose even more space, so I basically ended up with a lot of extras I can't use simultaneously. Fault's on my as well of course for not making proper research, but it would've been nice had they pointed that out in advance.
|Simple, neat, cheap.|
Funny enough, the cheapest of those extras - the puny, simple acrylic bin - is actually the most useful of all the additions, as I can put it in the inside of the table as well, and sees more use even than the cupholders.
But when you can actually hang these things in without taking seating space away from someone, these things are awesome. They are holding everything you need without the need to have boxes or piles in the playing area itself. Clearly, one can't live without this.
|Hold this, please.|
Another detail that shows just how much tought went into the construction is the small rail on the inside of the table, in which in the image above the acrylic bin is hanging. You can also use this to put in your playing cards, and I can tell you, this is really great. If you play something like Twilight Struggle or Star Wars Rebellion or any other game where you have a large hand of cards to manage, this is pure gold.
So, after all these nice features are laid out and all is said and done, is this something you need? Not at all. Is it something you want? Likely. As I stated in the beginning, this is a real luxury item, something you can live without just fine. But if you have the extra cash and need a new and well-made table anyway, you might want to think about these.