A friend was telling me about how he’s been trying to get his wife to play video games with him, apparently without very much success. It’s not the first time I’ve heard that from someone. However, I haven’t had any problems getting my wife to play games with me. Of course, the difference is that we play board games instead of video games.
The foundational thing that you need to play board games with your spouse is, obviously, some kind of table. You need a table. You just do.
When we first got married, we were living in a condo and we didn’t have a board game table. We occasionally used our dining table for games, but that was kind of a pain because we would have to move all of the things that are typically on our dining table (placemats, coasters, centerpiece, pea-pod-shaped salt and pepper shakers, etc.). So we often found ourselves just sitting on the floor in the living room instead.
Carpet is not a good playing surface—especially for games that involve dice. You’re playing King of Tokyo and the dice land in the carpet and it’s like… it’s sort of a claw but also sort of a three… it definitely looks like a claw to you but it’s definitely a conflict of interest if you say it’s a claw because you really need a claw… So you end up re-rolling a lot, hoping that the dice land with one face unambiguously up. The floor does work okay for card games like Fluxx or games without dice like Ticket to Ride… at least for the first ten minutes until every single one of your muscles cramps up and you realize that you are too old for sitting on the floor.
When we moved into a house, we decided that we wanted a separate area for playing games. However, we didn’t have a whole room to devote to it. We also didn’t want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a custom-built gaming table, but we still wanted something that looked reasonably classy. Basically, we needed a wooden card table.
We did some research and found the table of our dreams: the Meco Straight Edge Folding Card Table. (Note: the reason it’s called “straight edge” is because there’s also a “scalloped edge” version—although it does appear to be living a drinking and drug free lifestyle, as well.)
The tabletop is 32 inches square. This is enough space for most medium-to-large board games, including Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, Risk: Star Wars Edition, and Stratego: Waterloo. However, it is too small for Memoir ’44.
At first glance, most people probably don’t even realize that this is a folding table. It looks furniture-y enough for any room in your house without projecting the “did you borrow that from the senior center basement” ambiance of many other folding tables.
The table is made out of hefty solid wood, not MDF or particle board. It feels just as rigid and reliable as a non-folding table. You can use it for dexterity games like Animal Upon Animal or Jenga without worrying about wobble.
It depends on where you buy it and what finish you get, but basically it costs about $100. That might sound expensive, but consider this: you could buy this table, two chairs, and several board games for less than the cost of an Xbox or Playstation. Also, you can fold it up for easy transportation next time you move. Also, someday you can make the kids sit at it while the grownups are eating Thanksgiving dinner at the big table.
I’m not the first person to bring this up, but board games are a great way to disconnect from our technology-saturated lives and connect with other people.
I’ve definitely found myself thinking, “Man, I can’t believe we wasted all that time watching TV.” Or, “Man, I can’t believe we wasted all that time playing video games.” However, I’ve never found myself thinking, “Man, I can’t believe we wasted all that time playing board games.” That’s just never how it feels.
These days, there’s nothing we enjoy more than sitting by the front window with mugs of tea, playing a board game on our folding card table.