View Full Version : Daboarderís How Toís: A Gaming Table on the Cheap(ish)

07-31-2015, 12:17 AM
Daboarderís How Toís: A Gaming Table on the Cheap(ish)

Ever talked to someone about how cool and amazing a game is, and how insanely cheap it is to get into, only to then be told, yeah but the terrain is pretty expensive?
It happens with every game, you inevitably end up playing on planet bowling ball or book hills etc. This is particularly jarring in infinity where the game is so visual that you not only need more terrain, that terrain plays as much a part in the game as the opposing armies.
So I am here today to tell you how you can go about getting your very own 4x4 table to game on for less than the price of most infinity armies (and WAY cheaper than most other game systems)
This is a table, therefore cost is relative. In Australia, a full 4x4 table and MDF terrain will set you back about 350 AUD, 450 if you want anything special for the floor like a gaming mat. Now donít get me wrong, these LOOK awesome, but they arenít within budget for a lot of gamers. So letís look at the alternative, paper terrain is stable, strong and easily replaceable in the case or irreparable damage.

1) Buy 2, 2 foot by 4 foot pieces of plywood from your local hardware store
2) Work out what style you want your terrain and table to be.
I personally have chosen to use the Hephaestus set recently released by Corvus belli, but you could also use the Mototronica terrain pack or the upcoming USAr army pack terrain. And if these do not fit your fancy, then there are a number of paper science fiction terrain printouts available online, merely save them as a PDF and have your local print shop print them out on A1 for you.

Or, if you dont like what CB currently has to offer, check out Topo's stuff at

These are just two sources of readily available paper terrain.

3) Take 4 A1 sets of our underlying ďmatĒ and have them laminated at your local print shop
This is to protect the surface during play, but if this doesnít suit you and you have a means of sealing the table after it has been affixed to the plywood then this step is unnecessary.
4) Determine how you the want the mat to sit on the table, line up any details etc, here I have 2 of the A4 pieces laying one ontop of the other such that the bottom half of the second is tucked under the first.

5) Now that you know where the overlay will be, take one (or two if you want the top half of the board to be a mirror image) and cut it in half.

6) Trim any excess laminate off the edges and glue the mat onto the top corner of the plywood, lining up the edges. You will notice that there is an inch or so strip not covered by the matt, donít worry as we will get to this later.
As for glue, the first time I did this I used liquid nails, but I think a glue more like tarzans Grip would be more appropriate.
Smooth out the mat with a damp cloth removing any lumps or excess glue as you go.

7) Take one of the large pieces of A1 and trim the laminate off the edges. Then glue this down on the plywood. You will notice that it overlaps the half piece of A1, this is a good thing as it will result in the joint being less noticeable. Line up any details on the mats for the best looking results.

8) repeat this with another half A1 piece and a whole A1 piece on the other section of plywood, I recommend lining up the details so that the large sectiosn sit flush with each other and the bar playwood strips are on the outside edge of the table.

9) Next take the spare A1 mat and cut it into thin strips. You need to make sure that one side of each strip is a straight line and matches up with the details of the larger section of board. Donít worry about the other edge of the thin strip it can overhang the board edge a little. Glue them in place being careful to line them up flush.

10) Once you have done this down the whole strip (3 sections should be all) flip the board over and take a sharp hobby knife. Cut off the excess strip.


11) Complete this with the other board, flip them back up and allow them to dry.

12) Finally, take you cheap paper terrain and place it on the table, This is where the 4 packs of CB terrain comes in handy as you have plenty of nice looking terrain that can be readily reinforced by placing CB cardboard boxes in side. That being said other companies sell plans for or provide freely, buildings with which to game on that would require minimal gluing to be playable.

To put this table in perspective the whole thing (buildings and all) cost roughly 130-150 AUD, thatís less than half what an equivalent terrain density and mat would cost me in MDF, and while not as sturdy as MDF, it saved me a lot of time in that it comes pre-detailed and is ready to play on after a few hours or a day at most.

Furthermore, it is going to be a simple task to add buildings and special features to this table as I go, such as customizable road segments or an ITS mission room that I will be working on next.