Multi-Game Table

I wanted to make a table because I had an idea about a certain kind of table I wanted. I wanted something like a small café table. I like the cozy feeling of small things. Plus, it would be so small that we couldn't store all our crap on top of it.

We had a couple of ideas for fun things to do on the top of the table. I latched on to the idea of a "Multi-Game Table". Tables with checkerboards painted on the top are nothing new, but I wanted to be able to play American Checkers as well as International Draughts. I didn't stop there, I tried to make a grid on which you could play anything from Tic-Tac-Toe all the way to Go.

Game Surface Design

Graphical Plan for Multi-Game grid layout

This was the final plan for the grid.
This image is a scaled bitmap, not just any old bitmap.
Each pixel represents 2 square millimeters.

Because I wanted to have a spacious Checkers board, and because the table is small, I had to create a grid within a grid. I thought of several different designs, and tried to pick the best one (see image—the chosen one). The 20x20 grid is delimited by the heavy black lines. The 10x10 grid is delimited by light and dark squares. Both grids can easily be seen and distinguished, and neither one outcompetes the other, at least that was the intention.

How the Multi-Game layout painting turned out

Here is how the graphic looks painted on the table.

Painting the grid on the table was not too difficult. The hardest part was probably lightly scoring the surface of the wood, so I could still see my marks after the first few coats of paint went on.

I didn't do a very precise, laser-like job of painting. The painting has a loose, sketchy feel. The lines "wiggle" a little.

Mostly Finished

Multi-Game Table in use

Here is the table in action, nice and cozy.

The colored parts of the table were painted with "oops paint"1 from a big-box store. You'll see that a lot of my projects are painted pink. That's because I like bright colors, and pink is sometimes the only bright color available as oops paint. And once I've bought a can (or two) I need to use it up!

For this project I had two shades of paint, and I thought it would be fun to alternate the colors. Each facet of the table is painted an alternating shade, top to bottom and all the way around the table. No two adjacent facets have the same color, except for where the top pink color touches two of the sides.

The paint took some time to fully dry. Good thing this table was parked right in front of the heater.

Multiple Games

A multi-game table needs multiple games, is that not true? I wanted to make notes about some of the more fun things that could be played on a table such as this one.

  • Tic-Tac-Toe (3x3)
  • Gobblet (4x4)
  • Quarto (4x4)
  • Captain's Mistress (6x7)2
  • American Checkers (8x8)
  • Chess (8x8)
  • International Draughts (10x10)
  • Ludo (15x15 cross)3
  • Halma (16x16)
  • Go, Gomoku, Goroku (18x18)
  • Nine-Board Tic-Tac-Toe (18x18)
  • Pachisi (19x19 cross)3

You could play everything that is 8x8 or smaller on a standard checkerboard without going to any kind of effort. My main concern was being able to play 8x8 checkers, 10x10 checkers, and Go all on the same board. The other things are bonuses or why-nots.

In addition to the board, you have to have a lot of different pieces of appropriate size and shape to play all of these games. I am still on the lookout for more game pieces, in order to play the above listed games.


  1. "Oops paint" is where someone goes to a store, picks out a color, and has the store mix it up. Then they try it out, decide they don't like it, and take it back. The store then sells it at a discount. In the past I have found oops paint to be a good deal. But these days it seems like stores have made it a lot more expensive. Make sure to check the price.
  2. Captain's Mistress is another name for Connect Four. Maybe it's called Captain's Mistress when it's horizontal? ;c)
  3. Ludo and Pachisi require an overlay of some kind. We played Ludo with a paper overlay and it was kind of unsatisfying.