Crypt Monkey Studios
Crypt Monkey Blogs
The "Rat Rod" Gaming Table
September 14, 2015 01:44 am CDT
As anyone that has been following our blog posts can tell you, Crypt Monkey Studios is a small shop. We have two games in beta testing right now, House of Possession and the more recently acquired Jack the Ripper, and a tiny staff to get our work done. That means we all have to wear different hats, and tasks that are not directly related to building and testing the games become in-house DIY projects. Or as I like to call them, the "this won't end up the way you're expecting" projects. And more often than not, these projects end up taking too long! But hey, that's just one of the realities of starting a new company.

So let me tell you about another reality we've been dealing with since our first prototype tests for House of Possession. Every time we sit down to play, we have to find a place to sit down and play. We haven't had a dedicated table in the office for this so we sit at someone's kitchen table or the coffee table in my living room. At this point, we can visit our local game shops with HoP and JtR for public testing but what about when we are running through internal testing for our "super-secret" projects? What are we going to do for our first tabletop RPG, codename: Project Moonbow, which we'll be focusing design on heavily in 2016? It's a tabletop RPG so certainly it will require much more time for in-house testing!

These are the questions I asked Dawn, the Crypt Monkey Studios President and my wife (so she's the boss at work and at home!) Dawn instantly provided a fix while simultaneously assigning me to one of those "this won't end up the way you're expecting" projects.

We've had this giant dining room table for years and it always seemed to have family projects on it a lot more often than dinner. The table has had paint spilled on it, pots that were too hot set on it, and I think some strange science experiment gone wrong may have eaten through the surface in one spot! So she gave it to us!

Now the table is a great size, we can fit about twelve people if needed, but with the scratches, bubbles, spilled paint and other blemishes it wasn't very comfortable to sit down at with pen, paper and dice. Clearly we couldn't just wipe it down and haul it to the office, so I set to refinishing the top. As you may have guessed, I have never done this before.

For our purposes, it was important that gamers would enjoy sitting around it again but it was not necessary to recreate a beautiful dining room table. And thus was born the idea of The Rat Rod Gaming Table. After all, we won't have family over to eat Thanks Giving dinner at this table. We'll roll dice, shuffle cards, and pass notes to the GM about stealing coin from our party member's while they sleep! And since orc heads will roll over its surface, I thought the table should say, "Hey, you just killed an orc, and that's OK. Why don't you ask the barkeep for another ale?" And that's the view we took for the entire project.

The table had a real mahogany wood veneer and I sanded right through it. Originally I thought that I would get to the plywood and just stop... did I mention I hadn't done this before? So when I over sanded and cut through the top ply in a few places, I just decided to go with. I even made some of these spots bigger to give it an even rougher look.

I know this look isn't for everyone but I have to say we are very happy with it. After sanding, staining, and applying the protective clear coat, we have a one-of-a-kind, Rat Rod gaming table that's perfect for our uses. And I think it fits us and our style pretty well too; we like to get things done and have a finished product but there's always that gritty story just under the surface.

I hope you enjoyed getting a peek at the Crypt Monkey Studios rat rod gaming table and, as always, we want to hear from you. Let us know what you think, whether you believe this table was a great idea or a travesty! We also look forward to telling you guys more about our roleplaying game codenamed Project Moonbow next summer. In the meantime, I'll get a new HoP developer's post out soon and you can look for the Jack the Ripper game site here next month.

Thanks for reading and happy gaming!
by Ty Rucker
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