Building a LED Powered Gaming Table

overhead tables game

Like most of you, I have played Warhammer on everything from dining room tables, ping pong tables, to the floor.

When I recently moved to a larger place I finally had the room to have a room that can be dedicated to nothing but the grim dark, so instead of going out and just buying a dining room table or some kind of make shift “it will work well enough” product I decided I wanted something that looked the part of a 40k table and gave players a sense of awe when they saw it.

So this is the first part of my project log for producing said table. I have never made anything out of wood or tried to make any kind of furniture before, so it has been quite the learning experience.

I knew I wanted a larger table as my local group tends to play larger games with super heavies regularly. The biggest the room could support was 8x4ft, so that is what I went with. I also wanted it to be counter or bar height as I feel it will be much more comfortable to play with out having to lean over all the time.

I wanted LED lighting and also really wanted to have some kind of fog effect but have thus far not been able to come up with a viable solution. Fog machines get very hot and the liquid they work with can leave an oily residue, not good for painted miniatures. I also looked into ultrasonic foggers but they don’t seem to work very well from what I have read. In the end I decided to just build some terrain at a later date that would be able to hold dry ice and produce fog that way.

The Makings of a war gaming table...
The Makings of a war gaming table…
Construction begins
Construction begins
basic frame of the battlefield
basic frame of the battlefield
frame onto of legs with my beautiful Jessica for scale
frame onto of legs with my beautiful Jessica for scale

The height of the battlefield is 40″, the railing sits about 6″ above that leaving enough room for terrain with varying heights to fit nicely.

Sides and railing added
Sides and railing added
Posts being constructed
Posts being constructed
close up of molding
close up of molding
LED lighting being installed
LED lighting being installed
And it can change colors
And it can change colors

The LED systems are independent of each other and can be set to different colors or patterns. The control boxes are mounted in the posts and can be controlled wirelessly via remote.

The only thing better than a servo skull...
The only thing better than a servo skull…
Is 4 servo skulls!
Is 4 servo skulls!

The Servo skulls open to hold dice, laser pointers, measuring tapes and anything else you might need in the heat of battle.

Staining finally begins
Staining finally begins
Detail of the railing
Detail of the railing

The railing is inset with screws ever 3″ mostly for visual detail, but is also works great for quick distance guesses.

Top stained with game boards
Top stained with game boards
Starting to set up the battlefield
Starting to set up the battlefield

The city half of the board is made up of Secret Weapon Tablescapes and the desert is a good old battle of the ream board.

Battlefield photo shoot!
Battlefield photo shoot!
Battlefield photo shoot!
Battlefield photo shoot!
Battlefield photo shoot!
Battlefield photo shoot!
Battlefield photo shoot!
Battlefield photo shoot!

I will post an update once I get the legs of the board finished up with shelves/drawers and stained to perfection.

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  • Wow, man. That’s pretty impressive!

    • Jonathan

      Thanks man!

  • Henry Faulkner

    what is the purpose of the LED lighting? takes away from the realism in my opinion.

    • BlasterCA

      Yeah, I don’t get it either.

    • Jonathan Morrow

      The LED lighting is not meant to be the main focus of the table, it just is used to add mood lighting really. It is mainly lit from above using halogen track spot lights on a dimmer to represent the sun. The LED lighting does actually add greatly to the immersive experience if set to the right color (or at least everyone that has played on it including myself thinks so). The pictures were taken before the brighter halogen lighting went in and because the room is dark I think the strength of the LED lights looks much more overpowering than in person. But it could also just be that it isn’t for everyone.

      • Henry Faulkner

        didn’t mean my comment to be so negative! sorry dude, obviously a lot of work has gone in to it and each to his own etc etc, i suppose an orangey red glow would simulate flames and explosions in the distance and a greeny or purply glow an alien world with different light conditions. i’m a bit of a stick in the mud when it comes to realism, i dont even like bases cos they detract from the scene! so it was never going to tickle my fancy but good job none the less!

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