Thursday, April 19, 2018

My Renovated Game Room is Completed - Huzzah!

After Picture: The finished game room looking south. The table axis is now horizontal
(or perpendicular to the faux fireplace)


I decided that it was time to spruce up my wargame room with a new coat of paint and to reconfigure the layout and get rid of the clutter that had been accumulated over the years. The finished room is shown in the picture at the top of this page and compares to the old room shown in the picture below.

Before Picture: The old game room layout. Pardon the mess and clutter. The table ran vertical towards the fireplace and there was space to place back tables on each side of the main table. I decided that I didn't need the back tables all of the time.
I decided that I wasn't using my available space (and I have a lot of space as you can see) in the optimal manner and I resolved to do something about it. The room had a cramped feeling to it, due largely to having a pair of back tables that ran parallel to the main game table. The back tables took up a lot of space and left me a minimal amount of open area in the game room.

I decided to get rid of the back tables and turn the orientation of my game table from a vertical axis running from the South Wall to the North Wall (where the fireplace is) to a horizontal axis that is perpendicular to the North Wall. The most noticeable result is that this created a lot of open area around the fireplace and the adjacent corner that I call The Reading Corner, for obvious reasons.

As an added bonus, the new horizontal orientation of the game table also created new open space on the opposite side of the room - the South Wall. Here, I previously had storage shelves and stackable bins to hold all of my wargame buildings and terrain pieces. I kept the stackable bins where they were, but moved the storage shelves to the West Wall and thus opened up an area where I could place an auxiliary table 5ft by 6ft. I plan on using this as a Map Table where I can store the large South Carolina map of 1770-ish that I am using in my 1780 AWI Campaign. I also store my supplies for terraining and grassing the bases in my wargame units underneath this table. When I need to terrain bases, I simply pull the tables apart and work on a 2.5ft by 6ft surface, then push the two tables back together when I am finished terraining bases. If needed, these two tables could be added on to the main game table to form a "T-Shape" game table.

An added benefit of this project is that I was able to remove all of the clutter of half-finished projects and piles of unpainted/ partially painted/orphan painted figures, etc. and move them out of the room. Some of these figures will be chucked down the knucker-hole while the keepers will now be stored in small white cardboard boxes, labeled so that I can identify their contents in the future.

The painting project took about four days of painting the walls a cream yellow color to warm up the appearance of the room, and then to paint the contrasting white trim on the baseboards and doorways. I really like the way that the room turned out.  So come with me as I take you on a tour of the new game room, and then compare it with pictures of the sorry old room.

A Virtual Tour of the New Game Room
The game room is in the basement of my house, so one must take the staircase from the ground floor of the house into the basement (cellar). At the bottom of the stairs, I have stored bins to hold all of my Minden SYW and Fife & Drum AWI miniatures. There is also a 4-tier bookshelf that began life as a neat and tidy collection of books, board games and rules, but had morphed into a disorganized storage place that surely scared me, if not my guest.

So we descend into the basement, pass by the inventory stock and the now-tidy book shelves, and emerge into the open area that is my wargame room. Follow me as I take you on a tour of the game room, starting on the left side (East Wall) of the room, to the South Wall, then the West Wall  and finally the Reading Corner along the North Wall.

Looking towards the entrance hall from the game room.
Finished goods Minden and Fife & Drum inventory bins lay at the foot of the basement staircase.
After passing the entry hallway, we turn to our left and look at the game table, all set up for an AWI game in my South Carolina Campaign. To the left is an oak bookcase and further back are the stackable plastic drawers that hold all of my game buildings.

Walking into the game room and turning left. The next several pictures will walk you
around the perimeter of the  game room from left to right.
 We shall then pass to the left of the game table and take a look at a picture of Olde Bones Apart staring at us with a Mona Lisa like grin. This is actually a poster that I found at a Starbucks Coffee store in Chicago, some 10 to 15 years ago. I had the poster framed for mounting on the wall. Previously, Napoleon was covered over by two storage shelves, which I have moved to the right so as to open up a place for a work table/map table area. I also plan to set up a DVD player in this area.

The south wall holds stackable bins to hold my buildings. To the left of the bins is a table where I can terrain bases. To the right of the table is The Closet of Doom (you don't want to go there), and then the start of the shelves on the west wall where I store boxes of armies and table top terrain items (trees, roads, rivers).

An old Napoleon poster found at Starbucks about 12 years ago gazes over the map table. (6ft by 5ft). The large map is used for my 1780 South Carolina AWI Campaign.

The west wall terrain/army storage shelves to the left,
and then moving to the right towards the Reading Corner.
As we pass along the West Wall, now filled with storage shelves, we gaze upon my favorite partr of the room known as The Reading Corner. The plaid chair is very comfortable to sit in and it had belonged to my father, so it has some sentimental value to me, even though the upholstery is getting a little bit threadbare. The book cases hold my CD player for music and a few shelves of books and several shelves that hold a small part of my toy soldier collection. I wish that the fireplace was a functioning piece. I bought it circa 1985 after graduate school, at a used furniture store, and it has moved with me from house to house over the years. One day I might actually have it installed as the mantle over a working fireplace, but for now it provides a comforting focal point for the room. This part of the room is now more open than it used to be so I have effectively created a nice reading area for the game room.

The reading corner and faux fireplace in the NW corner.

Another view of the Reading Corner and fireplace.

The Painting Table is located to the right of the fireplace and next to the hallway where the Minden/F&D  inventory is stored. I downsized the painting table from a 6ft long by 2.5ft wide  area to a smaller 2ft by 4ft table. I still have plenty of room to paint figures, but less area to accumulate the clutter of partially painted figures or one-off finished figures that always seem to grow on the table
I had wanted to tackle this project back in January, but with so many things to do for preparation of my game and dealer booth for the Seven Years War Association Convention April 6-7th, I postponed the project until after the convention. The initial task, which was quite Herculean, was to move most of the furniture away from the walls so that the painter could do his work. Some of the shelving could be shimmied away from the wall by two people, but in a lot of other cases it required removing things from the shelves and piling them up on my game table and other parts of the basement.

The Olde Gaming Room
So here are several pictures of the old gaming room so that you can compare the old messy barracks to the brand spanking new, in Bristol shape, gaming room.

The faux fireplace and the older/larger painting table. Note the clutter on the floor.

Looking the other direction from the fireplace towards the South Wall. The two shelves to the left of the flag were later moved to the West Wall on the right, so that I could have all four shelves along one wall.

And looking back from the South Wall towards the North Wall fireplace. To the right you can see the entrance hallway where I store the Minden/F&D finished goods inventory.

The old version of the Reading Corner.

And Now for the Transformation of the Room into a New Swan
The following pictures illustrate the mess and discombobulation of the game room during the painting phase of the project.

Everything has been moved away from the West Wall and piled onto the game tables in the center of the room. This shows the white walls before the new cream-yellow paint was applied.

The Painting Table was carefully moved away from the wall so that the painter could do his job. Off to the right, you can see the bookshelves from the Reading Corner and the faux fireplace, which have also been moved back from the walls.

The new Reading Corner begins its rehab.

Tons of stuff is piled onto the game table in the center of the room while the painting work is done.

I think that the room turned out as I expected that it would. Afterall, I have been planning it for a couple of years now. It is now a brighter, cheerier place to be  in the house and offers a quiet getaway place if needed.

Turning the axis of the game table was a great idea. It eliminated a lot of table space that quite frankly I was not using on a regular basis. Less table surface equals fewer places to put clutter. Empty tables seem to attract clutter likes bees to honey.  If I need more table space for a game, it is easy to add another 2.5ft by 6ft folding table to one of the ends to increase the overall length to 15ft. I don't really have that many occasions for the use of a 15ft long table, but it is nice to know that I can do it if I need it. Getting rid of the tables also opened up the space and made it a comfortable place to be even when it is not being used for war games.

On the whole, I am quite pleased with how the project turned out. Please feel free to leave any comments or ask questions in the comments section.

Now I have to come up with a game for the grand reopening of Der Alte Fritz's Wargame Room.


  1. What a fabulous games room. I particularly like the reading corner...a wonderful spot to nod off while making plans for future games!

  2. Wow! What a transformation. The space is so much better than before. I particularly like the reading area.

  3. Officially green with envey...

  4. The dream of every wargamer, love the atmosphere and the reading corner, nice touch!

  5. Bravo, the epitome of style and comfort. May all your dice roll high.

  6. What a stunning improvement. Your very own Wargaming Holiday Centre (downstairs) and then some. Enjoy it!

    Best Regards,


  7. Looks great Jim! Mine is almost ready for a digital walkthrough as well.

  8. A really fascinating post which I have really enjoyed looking at. Many wonderful years in your new Den!

  9. Great Man Cave, I wonder if it will stay that tidy for long!?

  10. An excellent renovation of your marvellous space, Jim. The reading corner is also my favourite and the quintessential component of a useful man-cave. The storage boxes for buildings are a great thought. I look forward to the "baptismal game"! Cheers, Rohan.

  11. Looking wonderful Jim. It is so satisfying to have such a fine space for your hobby and to be able to leave games set up and ready for the next meeting of friends.

  12. That's not a mere room Jim, it's a Lair.

  13. It looks splendid! I particularly like the corner with armchair, for retiring with Port and a book!

    Regards, Chris

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  15. Hey, it looks fantastic! Great work:). Our game rooms do tend to collect clutter... it is so important to keep them clean and organized if we want to really relax and enjoy them. Great transformation... wish I could get a game in there! Hey, if you have an iPhone, you should take a panoramic shot!

    - Lord Ashram

  16. You have enough light for painting? The table lamp seems inadequate to me, and the corner a bit dark.

    1. I use two lights: the blue table light and the brass pharmacy lamp. Together they provide plenty of lighting.

  17. It looks absolutely wonderful and I look forward to many more battle reports set within. That big chair is too comfy though, I'd just fall asleep instead of reading!