Dungeons & Dragons was introduced to me through my days of working at a local hobby store, but the true catalyst to me finally trying the game came after watching Harmonquest and Critical Role. I play as Nemeria, a tiefling bard who now spends her days adventuring, following her disgraced exit as a super-idol.
As the group huddles earnestly around a dining table, the Dungeon Master steadily weaves each of our characters’ backstories into the main plot. We feebly attempt to ward off some goblins, casting a d20 with anxious hands, only for it to make obnoxious tiak, tiak, tiak sounds before rolling off the table and displaying a natural 1 on its top face.
The immersion was momentarily lost as I got up to reach for the fallen dice. As appreciative as I was to the Dungeon Master for hosting the session in his condominium, I confess to fleeting thoughts of a bigger, better table for our campaigns. In between rounds, I have subconsciously developed a small list of requirements to make the perfect table for tabletop gaming.
First, in light of all the dice that make little clicky sounds when rolling and are prone to falling off the edges, I would want a felted table that is sunken with raised perimeters. The felted surface would reduce noise, and the raised edges would ensure that the die will always roll within the table. Second, cupholders are absolutely necessary, especially in Singapore, where cold drinks condense quickly due to the local weather. Third, little drawers would be perfect (much like the ones in mahjong tables) so we could stash our dice, tokens, and knickknacks when not in use.
As niche as these demands can be, tables designed for tabletop gaming have been bubbling in demand. The Indonesian brand Paling Gaming is one such company that specialises in them, and they have now entered the Singaporean market! I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they have models fulfilling the criteria listed out.
I attended their product showcase today at the Danovel showroom at Pasir Panjang. Here, I got to see two of the tables physically, the Knight and the Brave. The tables from Paling Gaming are mostly made of white cedar (mindi wood), a type of wood native to Asia. It is one of the more sustainable options available as mindi is known to grow fast, and its production process leaves little waste. Additionally, since mindi is native to Asia, it has an innate resistance to decay and fungus, issues that are very common in humid countries.
I had the pleasure of speaking with the representatives of Paling Gaming, CEO Joshua and business partner Mark. They shared some interesting insights about their production process, sustainability practices, and inspirations behind their designs.
Joshua married his family history in furniture making with his love for board games. Mark, on the other hand, has an established presence in building the traditional card game community in Singapore with his involvement in Dragon Shield. Both humbly expressed that they were open to feedback and would love to improve their existing products. Even to a layperson, it is clear that they are passionate about creating high-quality gaming tables catered to the players.
The first table shown for the event is the Knight, measuring 1150 mm x 1150 mm x 785 mm. It comes with a table topper (lid) and 4 smaller caps for each cup holder. With the table topper on, the Knight can be used as a 4-player board game table, a dining table, or a worktable.
When the table topper is flipped such that the underside is on top, a green felted suede surface is shown, making it ideal for mahjong and traditional card games. Below the table topper, a recessed area splits into four compartments, each with ample space for holding various board games. Along the four edges of the table, a small drawer is attached for stowing tokens and deck boxes.
The second display is the Brave, which measures 1663 mm x 1140 mm x 825 mm. Its hexagonal structure draws the eyes due to its unconventional shape. This arrangement allows all 6 players visibility to each other’s board states without revealing their hands to their neighbours.
Cup holders are built-in with a spring mechanism to hold cups in place, and each side has a flap to hold tokens and even character sheets. The Brave’s table topper is cut into 3 separate pieces to make it easier to remove when needed. When pieced together, the lines of separation between them are barely noticeable. This is a huge plus point for someone worried about spillage when using the Brave as a dining table.
Paling has two more tables for sale that should have been on display. The Loyal is their 2-player foldable table, which can interlock with other Loyal tables to increase the player count. The side-by-side interlocking would turn the Loyal into a longer table, making it suitable for local game stores to hold multiplayer tourneys. For example, a 2×2 or 3×3 arrangement would allow for board and war games.
The other model is the Initiate, their largest and longest table designed for eight players. The Initiate also looks the most elegant out of the existing models, and could double as a beautiful dining table – given enough space.
As introduced, these tables look promising to provide enhanced gameplay for anything tabletop – Warhammer 40k, Corvus Belli Infinity, Magic: the Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, Settlers of Catan, Splendor etc. However, I have two reservations before purchasing.
First, the price point is admittedly rather high. For instance, The Brave is priced at S$7,603; pretty steep for a table. However, CEO Joshua takes pride in his manufacturing process, stating that the tables are made from solid wood, ensuring each table’s quality and craftsmanship. Attention was also placed into the metalwork for the table legs, such that the visible corners were bent instead of welded for aesthetic purposes. However, if one is not inclined to the production process and the bespoke nature of Paling Gaming, the price would be a notable consideration.
Second, the aesthetics of Paling’s tables. The surfaces are undoubtedly attractive, but the metal legs look more industrial than what most medieval high-fantasy games can match. Understandably, this design intentionally discourages termites from attacking the tables from the bottom up. Hence, I would recommend the dark colour scheme rather than the bright one, where the white metal would be a stark look against the wood.
Another issue regarding aesthetics is the conspicuous branding. For example, the Paling logo is on the table toppers, the felt, and the metal legs. Rather than being constantly reminded of the brand, I would appreciate a more refined, minimalistic look. While they offer customisations, I wonder if they would be willing to remove the branding from their products.
My character, Nemeria, has a huge personality. In contrast to reality, my home is as tiny as any other HDB flat. Based on the constraints of Singapore’s housing, I personally recommend the Brave. While all their tables are multifunctional, the Brave is relatively compact and offers up to a 6-seater.
Its size can fit a BTO dining area nicely and already comes with built-in features like the cup holders and the token storage area, so you do not have to top up for additional customisations. Plus, 6-seaters are already ideal for a respectable number of games, while also having enough space for a hotpot.
Overall, I’m impressed with the dedication of Paling to their products – these tables are high-quality and designed to last in the Asian climate. Paling Gaming’s tables serve as a beautiful centrepiece while elevating the gaming experience for tabletop players. On top of that, they offer a neat range of accessories as well. If you want to purchase them, check them out at Paling’s Official Website here!
Photos by Luke Anthony Paglar of the DANAMIC Team.