Buying a game table for your family game room can be a daunting task. But after reading this article you'll be up to that task!
Let's talk about the tables and features and which table or combination of tables would be perfect for some good old fashioned, family fun!
Air Hockey Game
An Air Hockey Game gives you what every sports fan wants, high-speed and intense competition. It's arguably the fastest table game played even more so than table tennis. But is it the right choice for your family?
There was a "basic" air hockey tabletop game in my home growing up. It did get some use and it was fun for short periods of time. Needless to say during get-togethers the table was put away to play pool and not seen again for weeks at a time. Though if we had a standalone air hockey table then I'm sure it would have been used more often.
Each manufacturer offers something a little different in their tables. One example would be the width, is it 2-player or 4-player. Also the tabletop colors and designs vary. Usually they're blue or white and the table may or may not be painted to look like a real ice rink. Another fun feature is electronic scoring. Some cheer and boo while others only tell the score and have overtime play features.
In my opinion air hockey game tables are a plus to any game room. But they are not good enough to be the "only" game if you'll be having a lot of large get-togethers.
Billiard Tables in recent years have improved. The designs and colors can be custom made to suit your desires and to match your home game room.
I grew up having a pool table in our home game room. It was a basic 7-foot bar room sized green felt table. Nothing too fancy but it didn't matter because it was used often especially on the weekends.
Some billiard features are really neat. For example some manufactures will let you decide the color felt you'd like. If that's not enough you can also get a table that has a University Logo, MLB Team Logo or NFL Team Logo in the middle and you can get matching billiard balls.
When it comes to designs you can find solid wood tables, laminate tables and other contemporary table designs. There are indoor and outdoor styles available also. If you want something really different you can buy a black light pool table, a Harley Davidson themed table or even a NASCAR themed table among others.
But they're not just about looks they're also about family fun. With a pool table you can play a wide variety of games. Also children learn how to make cuts and bank shots. And there's a thought process involved with every shot that only Shuffleboard comes close too. It's a strategy game that's fun for the whole family.
In my opinion pool tables are a game for the whole family. They can also be the only game in your game room. Because of the skills involved and the variety of games that can be played, a pool table is a great choice for good old family fun get-togethers.
Foosball Game Table
Foosball Game Tables are great for kids of all ages. Not quite as fast as air hockey or as strategic as billiards, foosball is still a great game. It does however have a speed value that billiards doesn't have. It basically has a bit of everything in it.
I never had a foosball table but a friend of mine did. We'd play for hours and the good part was that it was big enough for 4 players at a time. You can be the goalie/defense or the front scoring line or both if playing by yourself. You really need quick reflexes to be tops in this game.
What does a foosball table offer you? The quality of the wood or player colors can be changed but you basically just have your four legs and the table. Some tables are oval instead of rectangular and this makes it safer for young children. Also look for tables that have raised corners on the playing surface so the ball won't get stuck like in the older versions.
Are they great family fun? In my opinion it depends on the age of the players. For older kids and adults they can be a lot of fun but definitely not for younger children. It's too hard to switch handles and younger children need something to stand on to play. It's easier to swing at a puck or hit pool balls. If you're children are older then a game room sized foosball table would be a great addition. If you have a pool table already then foosball would be a great second game.
Shuffleboard Game Table
Now here's a game table that has been overlooked for years. So let me be one to say that shuffleboard is a game for everyone.
When it comes to the designs and colors of shuffleboard games there are only a few differences. One difference is table length ranging from 9 to 22 feet. There are also features like bumper rails, which make the game easier to play for children. Plus depending on the table you may have a triangle scoring zone or a basic 3 or 4 line, scoring zone. This game does have some nice family friendly features.
The playing of the game offers up strategy. You can use your pucks to block shots, score points or to knock opponents pucks off the table. Also you can play one on one or with teams.
In my opinion this is the only other stand alone game for a home game room besides a billiard table. It's similar to pool in that strategy is used to win. Also it's easy to play for all ages, although adults seem to enjoy this game more than kids. Kids tend to get bored from the slow action. Definitely find a place to try this game out with your family before purchasing.
Table Tennis / Ping Pong Tables
A Ping Pong Tables is great fun. Adults love to play, kids love to hit the balls around and everyone has a laugh. But is it the best table game for your family? No.
I don't hate the game of ping-pong. We had a tabletop version in our home growing up. We played it more in our teenage years but as children we'd just end up chasing the ping-pong balls. If you're a professional player then you'll disagree with me but for the average family player it's a game for older children and adults.
The features are all pretty much the same including the size of each game. You do however have a choice of tabletop colors, (green, black or tournament blue). And you can buy fold up tables to give your room more space when not using the table. Also paddles can be different colors and balls come in many colors and fun designs but that's about it.
In my opinion ping-pong is a challenging and fun game. It can be a very fast game for more advanced players and it definitely takes a lot of good hand-eye coordination. Is it a good stand alone game for your game room? Obviously I think not but it is a great third game. Wait until the children are older before adding one of these unless it's your game of choice.
In closing a combination of a billiard table or shuffleboard table, air hockey or foosball and ping-pong would work well. You'd have a nice selection of games to please everyone. Also the skills needed to play each game are different, from making bank shots and using strategy to using quick thinking and reflexes you'll get a bit of each with a combination of games.
If you're still undecided have a look at "combination game tables". Just remember that no matter which you choose you'll have hours of fun and game tables only add and never take away from your home game room!