About this project
Thank you for your support!
If you missed out on this Kickstarter, you can order a Duchess gaming table at https://www.boardgametables.com/duchess.
Do you play a lot of table top games, board games, card games, or RPGs? If you do, then you want to check this out. Watch the video above.
I used to be skeptical. I mean, you can play board games on any table. You can even play them on the floor. Can a table really add that much to the experience?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Every year, more and more people are buying gaming tables because they use one at a convention or at a friend's house and they fall in love.
A game table really does put your game into an arena, taking the experience to the next level. It's a fun way to play. At the same time, there are real practical benefits:
- A place to rest your arms
- Bits don't fall off the table
- Cup holders!
- It's easy to pick up cards off the table
This Kickstarter is about to blow that up, because we are bringing those features to you at a fraction of the price.
A year and a half ago I started a company to sell board gaming tables. These are super nice tables. Each one is custom hand built by woodworkers with decades of experience.
Of course, when you're talking about custom woodworking, it comes at a price (generally $2500+). We've sold a bunch of tables, but I've also heard one repeating refrain. It goes something like this: "Your tables are amazing. I'm sure they are worth every penny. But it's a lot more than I am looking to spend on a table."
Your voice has been heard. That is feedback I cannot ignore.
The Duchess keeps the most popular features from our custom tables, but makes three changes to make them much more affordable.
1. Standardization - We're limiting the number of options available to streamline production.
2. Some assembly required - The table will ship in 12 pieces that you will assemble at home. This makes production and shipping cheaper. Don't worry, anyone can do it with just a screwdriver.
3. Bulk production - Economies of scale drive the price down if we build a bunch of tables at once.
Get your elbows out of the way and give your game some room to shine.
There is a 3" wide rail around the edge of the table.
When we were designing the first prototype of our first gaming table I was skeptical of the idea of an inset playing surface. It seemed a little weird and unnecessary.
Boy, was I ever wrong. It really is a game changer.
- You can see other people's player boards because their arms are out of the way.
- You don't drop bits on the floor and then have to crawl under the table or kick them with your feet to get them back.
- When you deal cards, you don't have to worry about them sliding off the table.
- You can roll dice like you're at a craps table instead of being afraid of how far they will bounce. Don't worry, the rail will stop them from falling off.
Now your games are taking place inside of an arena.
In every game I play with cards or tiles, I watch people struggle to pick them up. They can't quite get their fingernail under the card. Or they have to slide it to the edge of the table through a maze of other pieces.
The Duchess has a padded play surface. There is just enough flex that you can get under the tiles and cards. You don't really notice it while you are playing. You notice it when go back to a "normal" table and play without it.
Every game has its own challenges. Picking up the cards shouldn't be one of them.
The pad is made from durable nylon backed neoprene. Basically, it feels like a giant mouse pad. Easy to remove from the table and clean. This is a very popular material to play games on (it's what Magic: The Gathering playmats are made out of) for good reason.
Does your main gaming table serve dual functionality? Mine does, and so can The Duchess.
The topper hides the gaming surface and converts your table into a traditional dining room table. Your dinner guests won't even know that there is a half finished game of Pandemic just inches below their chicken parm.
When dinner is over, it's an easy job to lift the topper off so you can play another game.
Does having all that food and drink so close to your precious game make you nervous? Don't worry, we thought of that too.
The topper comes in two pieces for shipping reasons. During assembly you will screw together support beams that pull the two pieces of the topper together to create one solid, spill-proof piece.
On the edges, the topper goes all the way over and down around the outside edge of the table, so there is no way for the water or crumbs to get in there.
When The Duchess is a dining table, it is 100% dining table. When it is a gaming table, it is 100% a gaming table. No compromises.
Some people have a strict "no drinks at the game table" policy. I can respect that. No one wants their games to get ruined by a spill, but I also want to be able to have a drink while I play.
Problem solved. The Duchess has cup holders that keep drinks in easy reach, but down below the playing surface.
We've put these cup holders on the ends of the table. At first this might seem like an odd spot, but experience has shown this to be the most versatile position. Easy to reach for people sitting on the sides or the ends of the table.
The playing surface pad will be two sides. One side will be blue as shown in the video. The other side is up to you. Everyone who backs the project in the first week will get to vote on the color of the other side.
✓ Second stain color (black)
✓ Third stain color (blond)
✓ Reversible game pad
✓Upgrade wood from pine to rubberwood
Everyone says you have to have stretch goals these days. So I created the ones you see above.
But I wanted to offer you the very best table I could possibly offer right from the start. If you want a black table, I don't want you to have to come back later to see if it's available. I want you to back this project today and know that you are going to get the table you want.
So, I decided to just unlock all of the stretch goals. (I guess they aren't really stretch goals any more.)
I'm laying it all on the table. I'm not holding anything back for later. I'm giving you the best that I can right now.
I hope that you appreciate this directness and honesty, and back the table today, knowing that you are going to get the best possible table we can make.
This Kickstarter isn't a glorified pre-order. Making this table, at this price, is only possible if we build them in bulk. If this campaign doesn't fund, the tables won't get made. We need you to be part of this.
Secondly, I'm not sure what will happen after Kickstarter. We hope to be able to offer the tables for sale after the Kickstarter is fulfilled. However, it is far from being guaranteed. The economics of bulk production runs may very well mean that this Kickstarter is the only way to get one of these tables. If I can sell them after Kickstarter, the price will almost certainly be $100 - $150 higher, and the color options will be more limited.
The Duchess table has a 3 foot by 5 foot playing surface with a 3 inch rail all around it. That makes it 3.5 feet by 5.5 feet total.
Did we pick this size just because it is a nice round number? Not at all.
I did the hard work :) of playing lots of games on lots of tables to find the perfect balance between giving plenty of room for big games and still making it easy to reach the board.
It's standard table height at 30.5 inches tall. With the topper on, it will add about an inch to the height and two inches to the length and width.
With four players, I recommend sitting two players on each of the long sides. Even with five or six players, the ends are close enough to the action that those players can read cards and reach the middle.
A dinner time, six people can comfortably eat at the table.
This table isn't something I invented out of thin air. It comes from selling tables to gamers for a year and a half. Traveling to conventions to talk to gamers. And, of course, gaming myself, for years and years.
All that feedback was used to build the prototype table you see in the video. Then I took that table to conventions and game nights to get fine tuned feedback.
The edges on the prototype table are just a little pointier than our arms would like. So they will be more rounded in the final version.
The prototype table was finished with a super glossy finished. The final table will use a satin (less glossy) finish. This will better hide fingerprints and any minor scratches that might occur over time.
Seams on the final table will also be smoother than what you see in the prototype table because revisions during the prototyping process led to some oversanding.
Almost everyone we showed the table to remarked about how sturdy and rock solid the table is.
I've added extra padding in each of these steps so that this can be one of the rare Kickstarter projects that delivers on time.
The Duchess Table is made from Rubberwood. Also commonly known as Parawood, Hevea brasiliensis, or Malaysian Oak.
Rubberwood is really cool. It is planted so that the sap can be harvested to make latex. After 25 - 30 years the tree stops producing sap. Instead of burning down the field at this point to replant, furniture is made from the rubber tree.
It is a hard, sustainable wood, that is now being used for multiple purposes.
This isn't my first rodeo. BoardGameTables.com has been selling custom gaming tables for a year and a half. This has let me see how different gamers use the tables and it has let me talk to many of you.
Over email, at conventions, or while playing a game, I've learned how different game groups and families play games and what they need in a table (not just in a gaming table, but also in a table for their dining room or kitchen).
That is why I am confident that The Duchess has the most popular features that every gamer (and home) needs.
The custom tables that we sell now are built to order. In this way, they are very much like Kickstarters. Customers pay for their table and trust us with their money. Then they get their table about 60 days later. We have a history of:
- Respecting the trust that people put in us when they give us their money months ahead of getting their table.
- Accurately estimating product and shipping costs so that we can deliver on time.
- Accurately describing what you are getting so that you are happy when it shows up. There are plenty of reviews out there and they are all very positive.
Your choice. You will make your selection in the backer survey after this campaign is finished.
Please note that it is very hard to show accurate colors on a computer monitor. These images show the color as close as possible. However there will be some variance based on your monitors configuration, natural variation in wood, and the lighting in your home.
Tables will be shipped from inside the the US, Canada, or the EU depending on where you live, so you will not be responsible for any import duties or taxes.
Of course, there is no magic way to make taxes go away. We are still paying them and that is why prices are different for different regions. This is no different than the VAT or sales tax you pay on any purchase.
Some assembly at home is required for us to fit this table into a box that can be shipped at a reasonable rate. Don't worry. Assembly is straight forward and easy.
The base table is just 12 pieces (four legs, four rails, two support, and two base boards). The padded playing surface sits on top of those base boards.
Line up the holes and twist a machine screw (bolt) into a metal threaded insert. Anyone will be able to do it. Only takes a screwdriver, and allen wrench, and about twenty minutes.
The topper is four pieces (two top boards and two support boards) and each cup holder is just three. The table is easy to assemble, but the topper and cup holders are even easier.
Every beautiful picture deserves a beautiful frame. The Duchess ups the atmosphere for your game night, and it brings real features that make it easier and more enjoyable to play table top games.
Turn each game into an event.
Risks and challenges
Manufacturing difficulties are the biggest risk to this project. We are taking several steps to minimize this risk:
1. I already have excellent knowledge of what is possible and required for building this table and will accept nothing less.
2. I am working with a factory that has extensive experience in producing furniture.
3. I have repeatedly communicated with the factory that meeting deadlines is important but that quality is more important. During the prototype construction process they demonstrated that they value doing things the right way.
4. The prototype table that the factory has provided has convinced me that they can and will produce a quality table within the timeline that I laid out above.
5. A member of the BoardGameTables.com team or a third-party quality control company specialist will be onsite when the tables are being built to verify their quality as they are produced.
Another challenge is shipping. Tables are big. Considerable time and effort has gone into making sure shipping is a non-issue.
1. We are charging for shipping. Tables are heavy. We are making sure we have enough funds to pay to get them to you.
2. We are working with fulfillment partners in the US, Canada, and Europe. This is a job for the experts. They have been able to provide us with accurate shipping quotes. Working with these partners also allows us to offer US, CAN, and EU friendly shipping. You won't be billed for duty.
3. The table was designed from the beginning to stay under the size for the UPS large box surcharge. This is keeping cost down and helping us avoid surprises.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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