Is there room for a Microtable?

A while back, I mentioned that I had created a “24 Hour” section on the “On the Workbench” page. This was where I’d post ideas that I was rattling around in my head before actually committing any time to them. Well, I think one idea is about to make the leap from “24 Hour” to actual reality, and that’s the Microtable.

This has been a idea that I’ve been fussing with a big longer than just 24 hours, and it began with Chainmail, a game that I might have some passing interest in. Chainmail was designed not to be played on a 4′ by 4′ table, but instead on these cardstock tiles that would later appear in Chainmail’s reincarnation, D&D Miniatures. In fact the game is built to represent a “typical” dungeon encounter, with two small mobs slugging it out, rather than guys shooting bows and marching around a giant field.

The second impetus for the microtable came from Gloire by RatTrap Productions. I’ve gotten very interested in Gloire, which is this mini-wargame set in a quasi-Musketeer setting and focuses on scenario-driven games with a lot of “cinematic” action. Each side gets literally a handful of miniatures and you play on a 2′ by 2′ board. The “argument” for the small board is that it gets you into the action more quickly, and favors HTH, which is more dramatic and flavorful than just sniping at each other. Gloire has a nice, low-crunch ruleset that I liked, but I sometimes like a little more fantasy in my fantasy. Then, up pops Chaos in Carpathia, a horror minigame that looks like it might satiate that desire (although they suggest a 4′ by 4′ table). I’ll let you know after I snag a copy.

Anyways, my idea is to build a 2′ by 2′ wargaming “microtable.” The Microtable would be sort of halfway between a real wargaming table and a large terrain piece. Theoretically, it would have the best of both features: the ability to play a game on it without it taking up too much space. I could also fulfill my desire to do a large project without overcommitting and spending all summer doing it (and stressing out my Hobby-related ADD). I already have both a 4×4 and 4×8 table in my home, both in storage in the boiler room, so I don’t really need to do a whole table anyways.

The other thing I could do with a Microtable is construct some “realistic” scale buildings. Or rather, one realistic scale building, like a manor house or the deck of a ship, both of which tend to be under-scaled for playability. In fact, I was thinking of just doing a section of a ship, like the midpart, where all the action would take place.

I suppose I could combine several microtables into one, although at that point I should probably just drop terrain on a table for versatility. In the back of my head I’m wondering about a market for microtables as a gaming option for the dormitory, apartment, or just someone who doesn’t have the space allocated for something larger. In any case, I think I’m going to just shoot for one microtable to start with and see if it takes up more space than I think it will.


  1. I LOVE the idea of a ‘microtable’. I’ve been toying around with the idea myself–either for mordheim or (sci-fi wise) for necromunda.

    I think the idea of a particular set-piece (i.e. deck of a ship, on the docks, in the town square, the ubiquitous ‘dungeon’) is also an excellent idea…a little reminiscent of PVP fighting games for consoles (streetfighter and mortal kombat come to mind) but in a good way.

    The real question is: can you just do ONE?

  2. Right now, I’m just trying to figure out which Microtable to do. I’m torn between three options:
    1. a “true scale” manor house with interior rooms, like Shelldrake Manor from WWG.
    2. an “outside” fantasy village, perhaps with lots of levels and walkways.
    3. a sci-fi layout, sort of a “hiveworld” kind of thing.
    Part of the deliberation is what would I actually use, what would be fun and innovative to share, and what won’t take up too much time. But, if it is a success, it would definitely be the first of several.

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