Sometimes, the busy nature of a popular gaming store is too much. You may find yourself packed into a small store, with a dozen other people (some of which have poor hygiene). Or, equally as likely, the tables the store or club owns are in constant use, are too small, or the terrain is sub-par and boring. An answer which many gamers have to to have their own table: within the comfor of their own home. At home, you can combine the fun of war-gaming, and the ability to do what you like. Want to drink and game? Do so.
However, a number of facts need to be considered before you go about building your homely battlefield:
1) The budget
Money is often the pressing issue in any project. It's not possible to make a decent table for a fiver, so a suitable investment is needed. My work in progress table (shown throughout this post) has so far cost me around £20-25, in materials, tools and sand. This is probably on the cheaper end of the table scale, and I am tempted to redo it. You could get Games Workshop's Realm of Battle Board, but it is £175, which maybe too much for most casual gamers. A good starting budget would be around £40 (UK) , if you want good materials to build your table or gaming board, which can hold up to frequent use.
2) Your House
It's very important that you consider your house. This may sound odd, but I'll explain. It would be unwise to build a grand 8ft x 4ft masterpiece, only for you to remember that you live in a one room flat. You need to think about how much space you can dedicate to a gaming table, and who else needs the house. The above mentioned table would be unsuitable around small children, who could break its delicate form. If you can dedicate a room, go for it. If you have other needs, I would advise either a smaller table, making small modular 'mini tables' which slot together to form a bigger table, or something which folds away.
3) The Design
You need materials which can take regular use. Everyday cards, boxes and papers are unsuitable for a regularly used table, as they are very thin and flimsy. A solid wood base will do perfectly for a table. It doesn't need to be expensive wood, chip board would do just fine. For my boards, I actually used artist's canvases, which, when reinforced with strips of wood, are sturdy and light. Use of nails and screws is advised, to help make any joints or connections sturdy and able to take abuse. for folding tables, hinges, joints and locking pins will be needed, and metal ones would be the best to use. Don't forget suitable tools.