After 35 years of wargaming I think I can assume it is not a passing fad. So, when we decided to move into a larger home, a wargaming room was pretty high on my priority list. We hit paydirt. The house we chose provided us with a large finished family room in the basement. Heh, heh, heh... we don't have any kids. My days of crouching over a dimly lit, crowded hobby desk in a dirty, cobweb infested, underground cubby hole are over. And, since a furniture upgrade was in the works, too, I had the perfect spot to 'store' our old sofa and recliner.
The question was, "How to build the table"? I already had the top, a 4x8 piece of 5/8" mdf cut in thirds which I had formerly placed over our dining room table for games. So I ended up buying four 36" high wire shelving units, overlaying a framework of 2x4s and then laying the mdf over that. Actually, I obtained another sheet of mdf--also cut in thirds--thus increasing the 4x8 table to 5.5 x 8 feet. If I invest in some saw-horses the table could be extended to 5.5 x 12 feet.
The shelving units provide plenty of storage. I'm slowly moving all my gaming supplies from cardboard boxes to plastic bins. Smaller plastic cabinets fit on the shelves themselves and larger bins easily fill the gaps between the shelves. There's additional room underneath the table for storage of larger terrain pieces. I have to admit that I'm not satisfied with the overall look of the table. Some curtains or blinds would go a long way in hiding the messy storage boxes. All in due time, I suppose. I'd also like to put a lip around the top to prevent figures from toppling off too easily.
Most of the time the table does duty as my painting/modeling desk. Oddly enough, I've found that it's more comfortable to stand when painting rather than sitting on a stool. So, I invested $15 in a cheap lamp to throw some light on my projects and stand at one end of the table, paintbrush in hand. I've yet to run out of work space--a novel experience for me. The house came equipped with three rather cheaply built bookcases in the room. That was convenient since I'd run out of book space. I've got another five bookcases stashed around the house. You can never have too many history books! The space between the bookshelves will eventually be filled with display cases in which I can store figures. Sadly, the constrained space requirements have prevented me from finding any pre-built cases for this so I'll have to build them.
The large room enables me to display some of the prints I've collected over the years which were never mainstream enough to warrant displaying in the house proper. There are a number of ironclad prints from 'Leslie's Illustrated' as well as a series of 1747 infantry drill illustrations and a contemporary print of Ogelthorpe's attack on St. Augustine. At the far end of the room I've placed a computer desk and television. Above the TV are shelves displaying a collection of WWI Austro-Hungarian medals. So much memorabilia, so little time!
There is a downside, however. My painting buddy, Apollo (aka 'Mr. Mischievous'), has discovered that if he can get under the table, he can push open the drawers and help himself to the contents in the drawer below. I became aware of this when I spied him running out of the room with a mouthful of 54mm ECW musketeers. No major damage done but he's developed a taste for toy soldiers. I quickly bought enough plastic containers to block access to the underside of the table. But being a persistent little pup, he's discovered that he can occasionally open the drawers from the front. So my toys are under a constant state of siege. I presume he won't be able to open the display cabinets. At least I hope not!