A Gaming Leaf.


People who are taking their gaming very seriously apparently want a serious table upon which to gather around, one that’s purpose-built and optimized for immersive gaming. But while building or buying a table might appeal to many, having a dedicated gaming table is not an option for many of us.

Gamer Peter Hicks, of the Beer and Battle podcast, solved this problem in a decidedly 21st century way by building a gaming leaf for his regular dining room table that incorporates a flat-screen computer monitor. By serving maps, terrain, and other game materials to the monitor, the dining room table becomes anything Peter wants it be. This is a really clever and reasonably inexpensive (you can get very cheap flat screen displays these days) way to create a unique group gaming experience.


Peter built the frame for his gaming leaf at his local TechShop in Chandler, AZ. He used cheap Home Depot 2×4’s for the frame and built it based on the dimensions of the table whose leaf it was replacing. The display used is a Dell 27″ IPS monitor (which is not cheap). Peter says he chose that display specifically because of its use of tempered glass.


The finished table in action, with a flotilla of tablets and future phones around it to provide additional gaming data to players and the DM. In terms of what software is used, Peter says that while several of the other DMs he plays with use other means to operate the display, he uses GIMP. With it, he layers the rooms and handouts so that he can show only what he wants to, creating a satisfying sort of fog of war vibe.

There’s much more, article and photos at Make. You can see more of Peter’s game table inserts on this Instagram #bettergamingthroughtechnology tag.


  1. pensnest says

    My kids’ housemate has created just such a table -- at least, it’s not a leaf but a separate table (they have a vast expanse of sitting room) -- with an inbuilt screen which I think he acquired for free. And it is indeed excellent for gaming, plus can be written on if necessary, in large wipeable marker pens.\

    It’s a very cool piece of furniture. Arguably, creating a ‘gaming leaf’ is *even more cool*.

  2. says

    Pensnest, that sounds very nice! At the Make article, there are several links to making dedicated gaming tables, which would be great if you have the room and all that.

  3. says

    That’s mighty cool!!! Good idea.

    Though, I have to say I am seriously underwhelmed by hipster gamers who want to bring back cardboard and hexagons. Sorry, but there’s a reason that we grew out of that in the early 80s. He’ll get it the first time his cat charges through the French cavalry around La Haye Sainte, and stomps 5 hours worth of playing-time into a disordered mass.

  4. says


    He’ll get it the first time his cat charges through the French cavalry around La Haye Sainte, and stomps 5 hours worth of playing-time into a disordered mass.

    Oh, ouch. I once was stupid enough to leave a 3/4 done 1,000 piece puzzle out, with a puppy and kitten in the house. When I got home, it wasn’t just in pieces, half of them had been thoroughly chewed up.

  5. says

    There’s a reason miniatures died out. The hipsters just haven’t caught onto it, yet.
    Seriously, I remember us sitting around wishing the computer could print finer lines so we could stop having to use miniatures because then we could do stuff like save games and “undo” and … all the great features that make gaming delightful now. Going back to miniatures is like a writer choosing to wedge away at clay tablets because it’s closer to the essence of what writing is. Ugh.

    Battle chess. When we first saw battle chess (the 256 color version with animations) we knew it was over for table top games. Ha.

    Puzzles getting chewed is bad! At least it wasn’t lead miniatures. That was another nail in the tabletop coffin (that and: you don’t have to PAINT your digital miniatures!) There was a guy in a gaming group from down in Virginia who wound up in a wheelchair from licking the paintbrush he was using to paint lead miniatures…

  6. says

    Huh. I’ve painted miniatures for years, but I long ago trained myself to keep brushes out of my mouth, because of various media I work with not being overly healthy. That’s a bad fucking habit to have.

  7. Crimson Clupeidae says

    You can have my D&D miniatures when you pry them from my cold, dead hands. ….and I’m way too old to be a hipster.

    I started playing D&D in ’78. Started collecting (lead back then) miniatures in the mid-80s, and started painting them around ’87 or so. I haven’t really had a studio space for painting in a number of years, but I want to get back to painting them again soon-ish.

    I probably have 350 or so painted minis. Mostly fantasy, but sometimes I’ll see a cool looking sci-fi mini (space ships, aliens, whatever) and paint them just for something different.

    I think they stopped making them with lead in the early 90s or so, and the newer resin based minis can get some really fine detail.

    Pre painted minis…. I get the appeal, but I prefer to get them unpainted.

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