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Saturday, May 26, 2012

History Of A Gaming Table Part I

Hey there Chaos fanatics! Old man chaos is back in (somewhat) fine form today with a story about my own gaming table- a story of inspiration, vision, hard work, teamwork, and a lot of fun.

In May 2005, my friend Pete and I went to Games Day in Baltimore. There, we saw some great, great stuff. Besides all the great models and really cool people and games, I was intrigued by the battle tables. Now, up to this point, I had a green gaming mat, and Pete had made a great desert table, but that's it. As I looked around at Games Day I saw all kinds of terrain. Then, I saw something that I fell in love with as a gamer...

I saw an urban war zone, complete with roads, overpasses and very large buildings. When I inquired, the guys there said the buildings were provided by Gale Force Nine. As I looked at the beauty of that table, the gears began to turn in my head. That evening, back in the hotel, Pete and I began to bounce plans back and forth, and Pete whipped out his graph paper and began drawing... We thought of all kinds of crazy things we could never do (removable roads with sewers underneath, for example). Finally, we came up with a reasonable plan for it. It would be huge, have a bisecting road in the middle and have 3 roads going across the width of the table. There would be 8 (!) city blocks in which to put buildings, rubble, and whole armies. It would be a masterpiece.

In June, we began to build this dream table. Pete selected the heaviest, best wood to build a sturdy, heavy table (he has a tendency to over-engineer). We also bought white card to make the sidewalk sections. I called up Gale Force Nine and asked for several buildings. They said that they don't just make them like that- but I begged and they relented. They buildings were pricey, but oh so worth it. It was Pete, Joe, my brother, and another friend Brian building this in my basement in the heat of June. Just so you know, my basement has a boiler that emits a heat of like a billion degrees, so you could well imagine.

We had some laughs in that heat. Pete hammered everything into place. Joe decided to stop working and play with my vintage Scorpinok base from Transformers- since then he has been obsessed with it. Brian came to the house not realizing he was going to be pressed into service... I can still see him and my brother cutting little lines into the white card to denote the slabs for the sidewalks. I remember pouring a ton of Gorilla Glue and then putting the hab-blocks into place.

Then, when it was built, I began the painting process. At this point it was just me- this was now up to me to complete. I used paints from Home Depot to paint this huge table. I painted the roads black with yellow hash lines. I painted the hab-blocks dark grey, and then stippled lighter greys on top, to give it a textured effect. I also painted a ton of terrain pieces from Armorcast (at this point, there was really nothing from GW).

It took a full summer, but when all was said and done- the table and accompanying terrain came out wonderfully. Truly this is the biggest single project I had ever undertaken, with all of my friends lending their considerable might to it (except Joe, who is STILL playing with Scorpinok). The table was exactly what I wanted it to be- a table large enough for a huge city battle that could fit like 4 armies on it. It inspired Pete to build his own huge lava table (which is breathtakingly intricate and detailed).

We played some great games there. We played our "Gryphone IV Campaign" on that table (which my brother won with his Imperial Guard, by the way). The table has seen Plague Marines, Traitor Guard, Daemons, Imperial Guard, Ultramarines, Black Templars, Eldar, Tyranids, and Orks fight there. I bought new pieces of terrain for it as time went on (some from others, but certainly the GW Cityfight stuff were welcome additions). Good times at that table. Good times.

But, like all gaming sagas, this one must come to an end. It turns out that there were some problems with my table, or rather, my table's location. My basement was always too cramped to play in comfortably to begin with. It is an unfinished basement, and quite dusty (no matter how much I clean). The basement is also used for storage, thus cramping it further. And then there is the boiler- or as Pete calls it, the "gateway to hell". It is old and throws off so much damn heat that playing down there in the summer was next to impossible.

Finally, when my wife moved in last year, she needed to put her stuff down there too... As we cleaned and threw out old basement stuff we realized that the table was taking up too much room, and that it was always a hassle to play down there. So, we decided that the table would have to go. It took a lot of soul searching on my part, but I knew that this would be the right decision. So, I asked my friend Joe (STILL playing with Scorpinok) if he could take the table... He just bought a new house, and the table would fit comfortably in his garage. So, a few weeks ago Pete and Joe showed up and hauled away my table. A bittersweet end- I don't have my table, but at least my friend Joe has it which means I'll get to see it anytime I want...

But, this whole ordeal has left me with two questions:

First, I still want a gaming table of some kind, even if it is less opulent. But what should I do? I like the GW Realms of Battle- it is storage-able, but quite pricey. Pete suggested that I get two thin boards and paint them. It'll be cheap enough, and if they are lightweight I can store them (unlike my table, which weighed a ton). I'm not sure what I'll do... but I do know that, one day, I will have a gaming table once again...

Second... where the hell is Scorpinok? What the... I think Joe took both the table and Scorpinok with him... Damn him!! How did he pull that sleight of hand?! Now I have to find a way to get it back from him (I told you that he was obsessed with it!!).

Until next time Chaos fans!

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