How to Stream Tabletop Games Like a Pro, Part 3

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.

Today is part one of our interview with one of the minds behind the Dungeons of Drakkenheim stream and the D&D YouTube channel Dungeon Dudes – Monty Martin. This interview was recorded live via Zoom, so it’s been edited down for clarity and space. This is part one – part two will focus more on technical aspects.

DM Monty Martin (top) with cast members Jill, Kelly, and Joe (l to r).

CGT: How long have you been streaming?

Monty Martin: We had done a few smaller one off things, but we really got started with Dungeons of Drakkenheim back in October of 2018. We had already been producing content on YouTube for over a year. Drakkenheim was something we started in response to people asking to watch our games. So we had no intention of doing a streamed game until the voice from our audience on YouTube was really loud asking for it. 

We were starting to see these comments on a daily basis and prior to that, we had not considered streaming. We really didn’t think there was going to be an audience to watch, we’re like “Who cares?” But then it became a viable thing and, by that time, one of the critical things that linked up with it is we became a YouTube Partner and our Patreon picked up steam and so we had the capital to invest in the equipment to stream properly. 

CGT: What is the appeal, in your mind, of streaming? Why do you think your fans so wanted to see your games?

Monty: First of all, I think that people are just ravenous for stories. And I think that for Dungeons and Dragons in particular, one of the things people love about watching D&D streams is that it combines three genres in a really, really interesting way. It’s part radio drama, it’s part improvised comedy, and it’s part sporting event. Rather than it just being us, you know, having fun rolling dice playing D&D, we knew we wanted to do something that was special.

Kelly [McLaughlin, the other “Dungeon Dude” – ed.] has a background in film production and I have a background in theatre production and I’m a PhD in Drama, Theatre, and Performance studies.

The thing that we know from listening to our audience that they love about our show is that we’re not professional voice actors; we’re not celebrities; we’re just regular people that happen to have a YouTube channel that some people started watching. And so our game feels very homespun. Our game is kind of like coming home for grandma’s cooking style D&D, whereas other streams have some big names involved and are very aspirational. A lot of our audience tells us watching our game is like a game you can actually imagine – it’s like my D&D game could be like this. People like that authenticity.

We were very deliberate in the way we set up our cameras as well. We want it to feel like, come over to my place and play some D&D with us.

CGT: What are some of your favorite streams by other people that you enjoy?

Monty: I have to confess I do not watch a lot of other streams; it’s by and large a lot of other D&D streams specifically. I actually find more inspiration from watching other content creators who are not doing D&D content, seeing what they’re doing, and applying that to our fields. So, as an example of that, I’ve spent a bunch of time watching Civ VI streamers, like PotatoMcWhiskey, trying to understand more broadly what is compelling and interesting about these things. I also watch a lot of games of Warhammer. It’s really quite interesting to see what the non D&D streams are doing. There are some ideas in the non D&D world that are really applicable, like how some of the Warhammer streamers do battle cams and dice cams.

CGT: Where did the idea for Dungeons of Drakkenheim come from? Was that something you came up with specifically in order to stream it or was that something that you had percolating already?

Monty: I had a bunch of ideas in my notebooks, and as I was looking through different ideas and discussing things with Kelly. I came forward with a couple ideas like, I think these will work well in a streaming context. And then it was really speaking with the other players about what they were most excited about. In Drakkenheim, even though the setting is so important, the characters are so much more important. So it was critical that the overall themes of the campaign that Jill and Joe and Kelly [the players – ed.] could all get behind and be really invested in.

It never really occurred to me at the time what the other potential for the setting was going to be. Part of the reason why I chose it, actually, was that I had other worlds and ideas I had been thinking of that I was a little more precious about. I chose Drakkenheim because it was one that I was like “If people hate this, I’m not going to be heartbroken.” (laughs) It was also one where I could very unabashedly say “These were my influences,” like Drakkenheim, the name, is an homage to Mordheim from Games Workshop.

We thought at the beginning we were only going to do like six episodes, maybe twelve. Then by Episode Five, I was like “No, we love this. We’re going to keep doing this and it’s not going to stop.”

CGT: Were there any choices you made or changes you made to the setting specifically with an eye to it being streamed? Were there any creative choices you had to make so it would be appealing to, not just your circle of friends, but a broader audience?

The Dungeon Dudes’ Logo

Monty: The biggest thing was that we avoided homebrew player options and stuff like that. We wanted things to be very by the book, D&D 5E rules wise. One of the other things conceptually that I did on purpose was that Drakkenheim is an urban setting; the whole adventure happens in one city. It meant I didn’t have to go ahead and design an entire world; I could be really vague about the entire world because everything was just focused on what was happening in this one location. So as a dungeon master, it kind of put a container on how expansive the whole thing could become, which I find is a generally great conceit. I really like that focus and the campaign really benefited from having a really, really focused metaplot to it, but that’s a principle I don’t think is unique.

CGT: I feel like, as a viewer, you really get to know the city in a sense and get invested in these factions. You can follow what’s going on, even when the map isn’t on screen. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve started learning, okay, I know roughly where the clock tower is, I know roughly where the gardens are. 

Monty: It just works so well. I think containing the world in this way prevents the pacing problems that other streams can run into, especially around things like downtime and travel time. In Drakkenheim, I really like to minimize the amount of time it takes for players to get control of the game’s flow and get control of the action. My style as a Dungeon Master and, I think, a style that works well for streamed games is that, the more control the players have over the flow of the narrative and the course of the action, and the more awareness everybody has of the pacing of the action, it really is to the benefit of the stream as a whole. I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from streaming D&D is just how important pacing is in the end.

We have this framework in our streams of, like, we have a fifteen minute break halfway through the stream, and the stream is three hours long. So in my mind, I have to have something exciting in the first half. In the second half, we need to get through that exciting thing. Streaming has really taught me a lot about how to keep the pacing of the game session interesting. Within twenty to thirty minutes, we want something interesting happening in the stream to get the audience excited, but that actually translates to excitement at the table, because nobody’s waiting around for a bunch of things to happen. We get right into it.

CGT: So, you’re pacing it almost like a TV show where you’re trying to have your cliffhanger or something right before the commercial break, and kind of pacing around that.

Monty: Every episode, every session has to move this plot forward in a meaningful way. I have the benefit of a group of players who are really aware of that too. And so they’re co-conspirators in that regard. We don’t cheat by talking about what’s going on. We don’t do anything like scripting, but everyone knows we have to get the gas burning, you know.

CGT: Do you tell your players in advance some of what’s going to happen this session or are they going into it as blind as a player in a normal game?

Monty: After the camera stops, at the end of the game, we usually chat for about half an hour about what will happen the next week, just so we have a rough idea and orientation – let’s get oriented with what’s going on, let’s look up any rules we might be worried about. It’s not like “I need you guys to decide to do X, Y, and Z” – never. But we usually will leave the recaps and that kind of social stuff for when the camera is not rolling, to help focus what is happening in front of the camera.

It’s especially relevant at some moments in the campaign where the episode ended with a very clear plot resolution, so that’s where we would have a more intense discussion afterwards or on Discord throughout the week where I’ll ask “So what do you guys want to do next time?” It helps us avoid a lot of the situations that I think are very common at a lot of game tables, where people spend an hour deciding what their character wants to do tonight, we would kind of let that decision making happen off screen.

We always play on a case by case basis, but because we use maps, miniatures, and terrain, I always need to have some knowledge of what’s going to happen that night so that I can prepare a few things. And I think all the players are used to a little bit of railroading in the sense of “OK, we can’t go totally off the map because he’s going to have something in mind.”

CGT: I did notice that a lot of the bookkeeping stuff is very much off screen on your stream. It’s like “OK, we’re not going to spend half an hour bickering about ‘Do we buy half plate or full plate armor.’” You seem to be handling it off screen and when they come in, OK, we know what we bought. We know what we leveled up this time. In listening to other streams, sometimes it gets bogged down in the way it would with a normal game and normal players.

Monty: In the Drakkenheim setting, the merchant type NPCs were major NPCs. The meant that whenever the party members were buying a major magic item, it was a significant role playing event and part of the story as well. I did make some handouts to give to the players so they could just read them and think about their decisions a little more in advance, but we did that so rarely that when it did happen on the stream and because it was roleplayed out, people enjoyed it. Viewers are like “Oh, this is how Monty does this. This is how the group does this.” I think that’s a big part of why people watch our stream, too. It’s like “How do the Dungeon Dudes actually walk the walk?”

CGT: Is there anything else you want to talk about as far as story content, creative decisions, or anything else you’re doing differently on the creative side of it to make this work as a stream as opposed to just gaming with your buds?

Monty: Thinking about the campaign as narrative arcs and thinking about the campaign structurally, in the way that television shows and films are structured, is really valuable for a streaming show. One of the big decisions that we made was that Dungeons of Drakkenheim ended after 52 episodes. We had a very clear narrative stopping point and that model of keeping our seasons to about 40-50 episodes is something that we want to continue going forward. I do think about the game in terms of arcs and storylines and plots, because I think that one of the things D&D games suffer from in general is stories that drag out way too long, where the players don’t get any victories or hit any real milestones. Streaming has really made me think a lot about how to structure a campaign in a way that meaningfully progresses a story in nice chunks. And that’s actually a really rewarding gameplay experience for the players.   

. . . .

Thank you again, Monty. That’s it for Part 1. Watch this space in the coming weeks for Part 2, where we’ll get more into the technical aspects of how the Dungeon Dudes run their stream. You can also go back and read our first interview with Ryan Thompson of Fantasy Flight Games or our interview with Dom Zook of the Saving Throw Show.

The Saving Throw Show gang around one of our Streamer tables. To read our interview with Dom Zook, click here.

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. 


#ManyMiniMadness Contest Winner and #TrickOrTable Photo Contest

We’re excited to announce the winner of our September customer photo contest, #ManyMiniMadness: John!

John certainly brought all the minis we could ask for and more in his WW2 collection – even an entire U-Boat! Bravo, John, and enjoy the Visa gift card that will be winging its way to you soon.

We’re also all hyped up for gamers’ favorite holiday – Halloween. This year’s Halloween may be a little different, but we can still get in the spooky spirit. Our October contest is #TrickOrTable – use minis, scenery, spider webs, or whatever spooky stuff you have to set up a horror game or RPG scenario on your Carolina Game Table. Just email your entry to [email protected] with the subject #TrickOrTable or tweet it with the hashtag #TrickOrTable.

This month’s prize is something new – winners will get $50 gift cards to Norse Foundry Dice – enough to buy you a set or two of their lovely premium dice. We have sets of custom CGT dice and we love them.

Our custom Carolina Game Tables dice from Norse Foundry.

Thanks and we look forward to seeing all your spook-tacular entries!


#IndulgeYourSelf Contest Winner and #ManyMiniMadness

First, congratulations to Michele, who won our #IndulgeYourself photo contest with this photo of her husband and boys having a grand time playing Gloomhaven around her Banquet table. Congrats, Michele, and enjoy the $100 Visa gift card!

Second, we’re excited to announce our next photo contest: #ManyMiniMadness!

Is your table getting lonely in quarantine? Are your minis collecting dust on the shelf? Get them together! Load that sucker up with your mini collection or set up a gameplay scenario or scenery tableau and snap a picture. Just tag it with #ManyMiniMadness on Twitter or email us at [email protected] for a chance to win your own $100 Visa gift card.

Thanks and we look forward to your entries; we’ll announce the winner in early October. Terms and restrictions apply, please email [email protected] for details.


Gold Cup Holder Giveaway!

To celebrate Gen Con 2020, we’re giving away free gold cup holders with every table* ordered in August. You’ll still get the normal aluminum black cup holders, too, and can swap them out anytime, but sometimes you just have to feel fancy. Check out the gallery below to see how these receptacles are fit for the hoity-toityest of beverages.

You can always customize your table and all the other options – fabric, finish, and height – here. Have questions? Contact us for answers.

*Table must be ordered with cup holders to qualify for free gold cup holder promotion. Gold cup holders are made of aluminum.


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.


Express Program: Two Week Production Time for Select Game Tables!

We’re thrilled to announce Carolina Game Tables’ new Express Program! These game tables are pre-built and ready to ship once your desired fabric color is applied to the play area. Shipping is invoiced separately.

Express Program Options

Customers purchasing an Express Program table choose from Carolina Game Tables’ most popular designs—the Dining Game Table and Banquet Game Table—and the two most popular finish colors of Sagamore Hill and Cherry. Express Program tables are at dining height and have cup holders.

All fabric color options are available for your Express Program table play area: Black, Burgundy, Dark Blue, Dark Brown, Emerald Green, Grey, Purple, or Tan. The fabric under the dining top is Black.

All dining tops in the Express Program have Black fabric underneath and are in two pieces.

A Little Background on the Express Program…

Let’s be clear. We say “Two Week Production” but it takes a lot longer than two weeks to make one of our tables. The Express Program tables are pre-built and only need the play area fabric added before final inspection. So it’s more like “two week production at this point from the time you order” but that’s not great for advertising. 🙂

Last year about this time, the factory we contract with to build our tables came to us. We apparently give them more business than they expected us to—in an age when furniture manufacturing is a dicey business to start. They wanted to help us grow.

In our build process there’s a lot of wait involved, especially when it comes to the drying time of finishing. The main expense in adding the Express Program tables to their build schedule—which fills up spare employee time—is the added warehousing. We said YES.

The Express Program is a win for all involved. For our customers who want a table ALMOST IMMEDIATELY. For the factory to keep their employees WORKING.

Then COVID-19 hit. This pushed us back in launching the Express Program by about four months. Our first concern was for our current customers’ tables before continuing to build these tables. At this point, we feel we can commit to both our usual “build to order” customers and continue to build Express Program tables as the factory can.

This does mean the pre-built supply of tables is limited. But the factory is always building more! If we run out of Express Program tables we’ll announce when more are ready via social media.

What Happens After an Express Program Order is Placed?

These pre-built tables only need the customer’s chosen fabric to be applied to the play area, and the table inspected. While that is happening, Carolina Game Tables staff confer with the customer about shipping. For the latest shipping information during this pandemic, please read this page.

Once the Express Program table clears final inspection, we invoice the customer for shipping. After that’s paid, the table is on its way! Delivery can take anywhere from a week (Curbside or LTL) to nine weeks (White Glove). The longest delivery time is for customers in rural areas farther away from North Carolina, and using the White Glove Delivery service.

Another Option: “As Is” Tables

As fast as the Express Program is, we do have some tables available immediately! The tables available on our “As Is” page change depending on several factors, so email [email protected] for information.

When dealing with the volume of tables we make and deliver, every now and then something goes a little sideways. A table is damaged in delivery, or a table doesn’t clear final inspection at the factory (but it’s still in pretty decent shape). These are our “discount” tables!

You Can Still Order a (Normal) Carolina Game Table!

#RealCustomerPhoto of a Tablezilla in Elm and Burgundy from Jeff!

The Express Program is not all we do–just the latest thing. You can order a “large and in charge” Tablezilla, “fits pretty much anywhere” Coffee Game Table, or even a Banquet or Dining Game Table in the finish colors of Elm or French Couture, which are not included in the Express Program.

We estimate the production time on these table orders at six months. Part of that is because we still don’t know what’s going to happen with the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re settling into the routine of spread apart workstations, reduced staff, extra cleaning, and other precautions. But there’s still a lot about this virus we don’t know about, and we would rather under-promise and over-deliver.

If you have any questions, email [email protected].


Tax Free Tables in April!

It’s tax return season! Up your game and order the Carolina Game Table you’ve wanted. Just order your customized game table or any of our seating options (like Storage Benches or Chairs) through May 1st to save up to hundreds off your order. We pay your sales tax!

Minimum Deposit Amounts

The payments below reflect our Six Month Payment Plan option available on our site.

Another option is PayPal Credit, which is a one-click checkout button on each product page. We encourage customers to try PayPal Credit and see what terms are offered. Some customers receive 0% financing over 12 months!

Check out our pricing options for your budget, and don’t forget to plan for shipping after your table is complete. Our estimate for production is currently six months due to the COVID-19 crisis. Read more about that here.

Tax Free Table Options

Coffee Game Table at coffee height. Minimum payment using Six Month Payment Plan option: $219.78. Choose from four finish and eight fabric options. Also available at dining height. Includes a one piece dining top.

Kitchen Game Table at dining height. Minimum payment using Six Month Payment Plan option: $307.78. Choose from four finish and eight fabric options. Also available at coffee, counter, or bar height. Includes a one piece dining top.

5×5 Game Table at dining height. Minimum payment using Six Month Payment Plan option: $395.78. Choose from four finish and eight fabric options. Also available with cup holders (choose four or eight) and at coffee, counter, or bar height. Includes a two piece dining top.

Dining Game Table at dining height. Minimum payment using Six Month Payment Plan option: $395.78. Choose from four finish and eight fabric options. Also available with six cup holders and at counter or bar height. Includes a two piece dining top.

Banquet Game Table at dining height. Minimum payment using Six Month Payment Plan option: $483.78. Choose from four finish and eight fabric options. Also available with eight cup holders and at counter or bar height. Includes a two piece dining top.

Streamer Game Table at dining height. Minimum payment using Six Month Payment Plan option: $505.78. Choose from four finish and eight fabric options. Also available with six cup holders and at counter or bar height. Includes a two piece dining top.

Tablezilla Game Table at dining height. Minimum payment using Six Month Payment Plan option: $527.78. Choose from four finish and eight fabric options. Also available with eight cup holders and at counter or bar height. Includes a two piece dining top.

Tax Free -Matching- Storage Benches and Chairs!

We also make Storage Benches and Chairs with the same high quality construction and finished to match your Carolina Game Table. We do not offer payment plans on seating options, but PayPal Credit is available.

Storage Benches

$699 Single Storage Bench. Choose from four finish colors.

$999 Double Storage Bench. Choose from four finish colors.

Our Storage Benches link together, end to end, in any combination of Single or Double. Discounts automatically applied for orders of two or more.

Chairs and Benches

We’ve offered these sturdy and classically styled chairs and benches since our first Kickstarter in 2015.

Single Bench $349. Set of Two Benches $600. Choose from four finish colors.

Single Chair $549. Set of Two Chairs $900. Choose from four finish colors.

If you have any questions, please email [email protected] We know not everyone is in a position to take advantage of this promotion, but we appreciate your help in spreading the news. Small businesses need your help at this time. Thank you!

Explore Ordering Options Now!


#COVID-19 Updates

We use this page to post updated information about changes in our business practices due to the #COVID-19 pandemic.

Update 10-1-2020: Our staff wear masks at all times, including for showroom appointments and delivery pickups, and it’s now mandatory for customers to wear them as well. This is in compliance with the Governor’s orders.

North Carolina is currently in Stage 3 until October 23rd (here’s a link to the Governor’s order detailing what that means). Our Hickory, NC showroom continues to operate by appointment only. Average production time on new orders is estimated to be six months (from the date you place the order until the date we contact you to pay for shipping). If this changes we will announce it here. Thank you for understanding the difficult situation, and for your patience.

You can read more in the following links:

  • Assembly of a Carolina Game Table,
  • Cleaning a Carolina Game Table according to CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of disease and protect your investment,
  • our Shipping Calculator (read below for special shipping considerations at this time,
  • and a page about our Construction, including a Spec Sheet you can download with all table dimensions and options.

Production Concerns

Production continues in our manufacturing centers (both the factory and the office). Neither facility has any positive COVID-19 illness at this time. Cleaning according to CDC guidelines, masks, and increased distance between workstations are just two of the measures taken to prevent the spread of disease.

We try to be as transparent about this as we can. We never had to shut down. During the lockdown, the factory was issued an “essential” letter due to their production for another company (remember, we share this facility with other small companies like ourselves). We cannot share any details about the production process because it affects other companies.

Our biggest challenges at this point are labor and supplies. Childcare is the biggest hurdle allowing staff to work. The supply chain for everything from cup holders to delivery options has been interrupted.

Customers may ask for an update on their order at ANY TIME by emailing [email protected]. Otherwise, we find a “hands off” approach works best for most customers. Emailing customers too often results in our emails flagged as spam, customer complaints, and crucial emails go unread. Thanks for understanding.

Delivery Options At This Time

10-1-2020 Update: White Glove Delivery has resumed to most areas of the United States. Delivery personnel wear masks and spend as little time as possible in homes if delivery is allowed. In some cases, our White Glove Delivery service uses a third party service in your area to handle final delivery, and the quality of those parties may vary. If you encounter a problem during delivery, you must note it in writing before the delivery team leaves.

If White Glove Delivery is not available, Threshold Delivery is the next best option. You can also choose to wait until White Glove is available, with no fees for storage.

Since March 15th, all White Glove Delivery customers were offered “Threshold Delivery” for the date of their original delivery. The delivery company generously waived all storage fees for orders awaiting a return to full White Glove Delivery service. Each order is stored in the carton it arrived in from our factory.

Threshold Delivery

There is no reduction in price for Threshold Delivery. If you agree to Threshold Delivery, here’s what you need to know:

  • They call you to arrange a day and time for delivery.
  • They place the box in your home in the first room they can enter, or a garage. Check our Assembly page for dimensions of the cartoned table to see where the box can be safely placed—and try to make room for you to work around the box, too!
  • They photograph the closed box and its placement in your home as verification of delivery, so you are not signing for it. The intent is to minimize their exposure to your home (and vice versa).
  • We recommend YOU photograph each stage as you unbox the table so YOU have documentation of the table at arrival. This means showing the table top still in the box, the table base still in the box, and later the table legs out of their box. Please note they are NOT assembling your order at any point like they do for full White Glove Delivery, so any problems require this documentation.
  • You will need to assemble the table and arrange for trash and recycling of cardboard. We recommend four able people to assemble any dining height or taller table.

We have detailed instructions on our Assembly page. If you have any questions before delivery please email [email protected]

If you have any questions during assembly, text a photo to Jodi’s cell phone at 828-409-0959.

White Glove Delivery

Please note we cannot offer any timeline for this. If White Glove is available in your area trips are being scheduled. If not, then they warehouse your table until it is.

Here’s what we know will happen for customers choosing White Glove Delivery:

  1. Once your order is complete, we’ll email you to ask which delivery option you want. After you reply “White Glove” and that you understand the current situation, we’ll invoice you via PayPal.
  2. Once your invoice is paid we contact the shipper to pick up your order from the factory.
  3. They’ll call you to schedule a delivery day and time once it is safe for delivery to your area. It may take up to two weeks for them to enter the order in their system prior to calling. You can email [email protected] for an update during this time.
  4. They’ll open the carton and assemble the order to check it. If it’s not perfect, they work with our factory to fix it. You will be notified if there’s any delay here. Pieces are padded and packaged for delivery.
  5. They’ll arrive on the day and time agreed upon, set up the table and any chairs, benches, or storage benches, and remove all trash. You’ll be asked to sign that the installation went smoothly (if it did not, please note that in writing and let us know). You can text Jodi Black at 828-409-0959 if you have any concerns at delivery (don’t call–it’ll go to voicemail).
  6. Play games!

Curbside, LTL, or Pickup from Hickory Showroom

Curbside, LTL, and Pickup options are still available without interruption at this time. We will update the White Glove Delivery page if changes occur.

Curbside Delivery

Curbside Delivery is significantly faster than White Glove Delivery. We crate all Curbside Delivery orders due to the potential for damage because of how fast it is shipped. We recommend White Glove Delivery (or Threshold) for the safest shipping option.

Email [email protected] for a more precise quote.

Refer to the Assembly page for instructions. You will need to uncrate your carton first, so have a crowbar handy!

LTL Delivery

LTL (Less Than truck Load) Delivery is only to a loading dock. If you have access to one and can then move it into your home, email [email protected] for an LTL quote.

Pickup From Hickory, NC

As long as we are healthy, we will make arrangements to meet you for local pickup from our showroom in Hickory, NC. Some customers have made their own arrangements for pickup and delivery, like through Uship.com. We do not charge for the service of meeting you to pick up your order.

Please arrive with two people to help us move the carton.

Also, make sure any driver picking up for you knows the dimensions of the carton. It must fit *through* the opening of the vehicle. Plenty of people only measure the interior space and not the door’s opening! You can find these dimensions on our Assembly page.

Our location is 940 Tate Blvd. SE, Suite 108, Hickory, NC 28602.

Thank You

We feel so blessed to have wonderful, understanding customers especially in light of the current situation. Thank you for understanding!