Welcome, GenCon!

Hello and welcome to Carolina Game Tables. We are a family owned manufacturer of the finest gaming tables out there. All of our tables are sturdily made of Indonesian mahogany. When not being gamed on, you can cover your table with a removable top and it becomes an elegant and functional dining or coffee table. These really are Game Tables for Real Life.

Our tables are available in sizes to fit any home, from the compact Coffee Table to the epic Tablezilla. You can view all of the options for table size, finish, and fabric below. We also make matching chairs and storage benches.

We also make a specialist table for streamers designed to easily give optimal camera angles and keep all of your players in the shot.

We’ll be hosting a virtual showroom tour and answering your questions on Saturday, August 1st at 12pm Eastern on Facebook Live. Click here to learn more in our Facebook event.

Thanks and we look forward to seeing you there!


How to Stream Tabletop Games Like a Pro, Part 2

An Interview with Dom Zook of Saving Throw Show

Savage Worlds Deadlands Saving Throw Show streaming
The WildCards crew getting ready for some Deadlands gaming and streaming

Streaming tabletop games has been popular for years, but has undergone a surge of popularity during the COVID-19 quarantine. We’re not able to get our normal gaming groups together in person, many members of the community are out of work, and we’re all looking for a way to connect. Some of us are spending more time watching streams, others are using virtual tabletops to keep our groups together, and still others are taking the bold step of starting their own stream. So we went to many of the leading tabletop streamers out there and asked them for advice for aspiring streamers.

Our second interview is with Dom Zook of Saving Throw Show.

Carolina Game Tables [CGT]: First, tell our readers a little bit about yourself, for those not familiar with Saving Throw Show.

Dom Zook: We started streaming in 2004. Savage Worlds and D&D are two of our biggest systems, but we’ve run everything from Edge of the Empire to Lasers & Feelings, Pathfinder, Cortex, Call of Cthulhu, Fate, and more!

CGT: Why do you think streaming is so popular?

Dom: It’s a way to connect with people that film and TV have yet to really take advantage of. There’s a personal connection and a level of interactivity that brings everyone to the same table, regardless of the distance between them.

CGT: What do you think makes for a great streamed game?

Dom: For Saving Throw’s part, I believe the best streamed games are ones where the players all have a common goal, rich characters they enjoy playing, and a GM who understands all of that and can weave it into a compelling story. It’s not easy!

CGT: What are some of your favorite streams (other than your own)?

Dom: My work with Saving Throw keeps me pretty busy and I can’t watch as many streams as I’d like, but I enjoy catching Rivals of Waterdeep, Scratticus, and Dragons & Things when I can.

CGT: What does a new streamer need to decide before they start streaming?

Dom: Chief among many things is “what do you want out of this?” Setting small goals and being prepared to take the time to get things right is hard, but ultimately will be a much more rewarding experience. Then it’s a question of whether you want to play locally, everyone around a table, or remotely with Zoom or another tool, and go from there!

CGT: What does a game session or campaign need to be a good stream that might be different than games that you run for yourself and your friends?

Dom: You’ve got to think of this as entertainment for an audience. Don’t make the audience play catch up. Simple things like cross talk, mic discipline, and camera awareness are all things that the average player never really has to worry about but are crucial to an audience’s enjoyment.

Saving Throw Show WildCards Deadlands Streaming Setup
A little look at the lights and cameras used by the Saving Throw Show crew

CGT: What physical tools do you need (other than a good table)?

Dom: If you’ve decided on everyone sitting together, you’ll need to determine camera and audio. The picture can be forgiving but the audio cannot. We use a multi-camera setup in our studio, but there’s no reason you can’t just have one camera covering the entire table.

CGT: Do you have any recommendations for cameras, microphones, editing software, etc?

Dom: The Logitech c920 is the gold standard for webcams. We functioned just fine with cheap camcorders to cover multiple angles, utilizing a Blackmagic Decklink card to capture all the separate video signals. The Rode NT1a is a solid microphone and it’s what we use around the table.

CGT: What technical skills, if any, do you find most important?

Dom: Being an editor helps, because most programs and sites for streaming have timeline elements to them. Understanding good timing (if you’re handling live-switching) is paramount to keeping an audience engaged.

CGT: What are some of the most common pitfalls for new streamers?

Dom: Tackling too much and trying to be like anyone else in the space. Find out what works for you and your cast first.

CGT: What do you know now that you wish you knew in the beginning?

Dom: An engaging story is worth more than a slick production setup.

CGT: How often should you stream new sessions?

Dom: Ideally, weekly. With so much content out there an infrequent stream can be hard to follow and keep track of. If you settle on no more than once a month, that’s fine, but you’ll need to work harder to keep bringing the audience back with you.

CGT: Do you have any thoughts on the ideal number of players in a stream?

Dom: I warn people away from any more than 7 people onscreen, including the GM. The ideal number, for me, is five: four players and a GM.

CGT: How is streaming different for you during the COVID pandemic, if at all.

Dom: We’ve had to shift from an entirely in-studio platform to entirely remote. A big change in dynamics, but luckily our players, stories, and setup transcend location!

CGT: What has surprised you most in your experience with streaming?

Dom: There’s always a new streamer out there that hundreds of people love that others have never heard of. The pool is very, very big!

CGT: It’s good to know that there’s a niche for everyone. When and where can our readers find your streams?

Dom: You can watch us live on https://www.twitch.tv/savingthrowshow, with new shows airing every week.

CGT: Thank you, Dom, for your time and for sharing your experience with new streamers.

Saving Throw Show Wildcards Deadlands Stream
Another angle on the WildCards setup.

Stay tuned, because there will be more installments in our new series on how to livestream tabletop games. You can also go back and read our first interview with Ryan Thompson of Fantasy Flight Games.

And don’t forget, we have the perfect table for aspiring streamers – our Streamer Game Table is shaped and set up for ideal camera angles while hiding wires and providing ample space for four players and a DM to all be in the same shot. If you’d like to learn more, email [email protected] to schedule a consultation. 

Editor’s Note: Some answers have been edited for clarity and format.


How to Stream Tabletop Games Like a Pro, Part 1:

An Interview with Ryan Thompson of Fantasy Flight Games

Streaming tabletop games has been popular for years, but has undergone a surge of popularity during the COVID-19 quarantine. We’re not able to get our normal gaming groups together in person, many members of the community are out of work, and we’re all looking for a way to connect. Some of us are spending more time watching streams, others are using virtual tabletops to keep our groups together, and still others are taking the bold step of starting their own stream. So we went to many of the leading tabletop streamers out there and asked them for advice for aspiring streamers.

Our first interview is with Ryan Thompson of Asmodee North America and Fantasy Flight Games.

Carolina Game Tables [CGT]: First, tell our readers a little bit about yourself, for those who don’t know you.

Ryan Thompson: My name is Ryan and I am the Media Department Manager for Asmodee North America and Fantasy Flight Games. I am the person who makes the tutorial videos seen on FFG’s YouTube channel, and I am also the director of FFG Live on Twitch.

FFG Streaming Star Wars Outer Rim
FFG’s Stream Hosts, Ready to Play X-Wing on their CGT Streamer Table

CGT: How long have you and Fantasy Flight been streaming?

Ryan Thompson: Fantasy Flight Games has a long history of live streaming our World Championship events, going all the way back to 2011 for our A Game of Thrones World Championship from that year. Since that time we have expanded to other events which naturally evolved into a twice a week live stream to show off our newest games, talk with the game devs, or just play a game and have a good time.

CGT: Why do you think streaming is such a phenomenon?

Ryan Thompson: I think streaming has become very popular due to the fact that the viewers can interact with “live television”. Live TV was always fun to watch because you never knew if there was going to be a mistake or how the actors would react in a live setting. But add in the addition of being able to talk with the people on the stream and now you have a bond with what you are watching. I think people like being able to interact with the people they are watching. It makes them feel a part of the action, in a way.

CGT: What do you think makes for a great streamed game?

Ryan Thompson: I think any game streamed can be great; dominoes, checkers, D&D, Twilight Imperium… if the players are having fun, smiling, engaging the chat audience, and generally just being themselves, then it will be awesome to watch. Looking at shows like Covenant Cast, Nerds of the West, and D&D’s YouTube channels have great content that is very different from each other, but all are just as fun to watch.

Fantasy Flight Streaming Star Wars Outer Rim
FFG Streaming Star Wars: Outer Rim on their Streamer Table

CGT: What do you need to decide before you start streaming?

Ryan Thompson: Getting started in streaming can be as easy as telling yourself that “today I start streaming”. Of course you need a platform to stream to, but places like Twitch and Picarto all offer free signups and you can use many free options for creating and broadcasting your streams. FFG currently uses Wirecast for FFGLive, but in my personal streaming I use OBS. There are so many resources online that you can google to find the answers to any streaming question.

CGT: What physical things do you need, other than a good table?

Ryan Thompson: The most important thing, to me, is the environment and the audio. Don’t sit in front of a blank wall; create an interesting background. Not only will it help be more visually interesting but by being away from the walls your audio will bounce less and have less of a “boom” or echo. And speaking of audio, if nothing else, invest in a good microphone. FFGLive uses Audio Technica shotgun microphones on set and Sennheiser lav mics when filming in different locations. Most people will accept lower quality video if the audio is good, but not the other way around.

I went to school for animation and film and specialize in motion graphic animation, so the live streaming process has been a learning curve of trial and error for me. I thought that more cameras meant more quality; it doesn’t. If the viewers can’t follow what is going on because of all your camera angles then your just fighting against yourself. One camera might be all you need for an RPG session. Two cameras (one wide shot of the players and one top down for the table) is all you really need to play a card or board game.

Fantasy Flight Game's Streamer Table Setup for Star Wars Legion
The FFG Streamer Table

You also don’t need to spend money on lighting when you are first starting out. If you own table lamps in your house then you probably have enough lights to live stream with. Old school filmmaking often used the lights they had available and used items like bed sheets and wax paper to diffuse the light for the scene. Having dedicated lights is great, but it is not necessary when you first begin. Your main scene (your players) gets the most light, but don’t forget your background. Just a little bit of light will help keep your game as the point of focus while filling in your background. Just remember not to film in front of a window in the middle of the day; your camera will struggle with the backlighting.

CGT: What are the most common pitfalls for new streamers? What advice would you wish someone had given you as a new streamer?

Ryan Thompson: There are really no hard and fast rules you “have” to follow. Have fun, make mistakes, learn, your streaming will grow and become better as you grow and become better at streaming.

CGT: When and where can our readers find your streams?

Ryan Thompson: FFG Live (when not in the middle of a pandemic) streams every Tuesday and Thursday at 1pm Central and we stream all things FFG; from the newest news and announcements, to showcasing and playing classic favorites of the FFG line of games.

CGT: Thank you, Ryan. We really appreciate your time and feedback and hope it’s useful to aspiring streamers.

Stay tuned, because this is just the first installment in our new series on how to livestream tabletop games. And don’t forget, we have the perfect table for aspiring streamers – our Streamer Game Table is shaped and set up for ideal camera angles while hiding wires and providing ample space for four players and a DM to all be in the same shot. If you’d like to learn more, email [email protected] to schedule a consultation. 

Editor’s Note: Some answers have been edited for clarity and format.