As September is in full swing, we wanted to share a new project on which we’ve embarked.  We’re very excited about it, and we hope you will be, too.

Why Now?

We’ve spent the bulk of 2020 reacting, as best we can, to the situation at hand.  We’ve pivoted to create our online store, and recently added nationwide shipping.  We’ve retooled the shoppe to improve the safety of our staff and guests.  But, ultimately, everything has been a reaction to the health crisis, which we have very little control over.

As you know, that has been exhausting.

And so we’ve decided to be proactive, and look towards 2021 with bright ambitions.  We know we’ll have to continue to react to the challenges of the day but, darn it, we’re not going to wait for “normal” to start building for the future.

The Apothecary Room

Recently, we installed a handcrafted table for the Apothecary Room, designed and built by Allan of Volinar’s Workshop.

Designed in cooperation with Dustin and Devan of the D4 D&D Stream, it provides an ideal RPG table for folks who play or even stream online from the room.  It’s a spectacular piece of craftsmanship and is designed to be mobile and modular so that we can use it at remote events and conventions in the future.  

The table is a stark departure from our other tables – it’s a natural wood, heirloom-quality table that’s purpose built for Role Playing Games.  It even has purpleheart dowels accent pieces (that are also integral to the build method) that really make it unique.

While we’re not quite ready to open the room up to RPG groups, we’re looking forward to our guests being able to enjoy all the room has to offer.

Table 2.0

With the arrival of the new table, we turned our eye to the rest of the shoppe.  Our existing tables have served us well for the last five years, but we’ve received a lot of feedback on improvements you would like to see.  From more comfortable arm rests to lower vaults, we’ve taken much of this feedback and incorporated it into new designs. 

Today, we’re happy to announce that we’ve commissioned Volinar’s Workshop to build our new tables, and create a new gaming experience at the shoppe.  It will be a lengthy process, as each table is made by hand.  Along the way, we’ll be providing video and pictorial updates of all the work going into the tables, so everyone will be able to follow along.

Our hope is that, when we introduce these tables back into the shoppe, we’ll also be opening them up for guests to use.  Our full ambition in this project is that, by the time the last table is delivered, all the new tables will be available for use and we’ll be back in full swing.

The First Tables

As we’ve already removed the four Red game tables from the shoppe, we’ll be starting the project with two tables design with our card and board game players in mind.  These will have play vaults approximately 38-inches wide with a length of 8 feet.  They’ll have wider, beveled armrests along the perimeter, and will be built entirely from natural woods.  Our first tables will be Wheelchair accessible to make sure they’re usable by all of our guests.

Allan has been able to redesign the tables so they offer identical clearance for knees (and wheelchairs) while lowering the overall profile of the table dramatically.  How dramatic?  Take a look at this comparison.

Don’t let the drawings fool you – the armrest edges will be smooth and comfortable; the sharp angles in the drawing are just there for simplicity sake.

Of course, while these are ideal for Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon tournaments, the width of 38” is also well-sized for many board games, so we believe they will be quite versatile.  The width even makes them usable for many of our Skirmish miniature games.

The Second Wave (and Third, and Fourth. . .)

After the first two tables arrive, Allan will work on the next pairs, which will provide playing surfaces for our largest miniature games.  These tables will feature 48-inch wide vaults with a full eight feet of play space.  The exact mix of table sizes may evolve along the way, but we’re committed to creating a more comfortable in-store gaming experience for 2021.

Our plan is to have the entire play space transitioned by mid-2021.  Viral science willing, we’ll continue to open every new table as they arrive.

You’ll be able to follow along as Volinar’s Workshop swings into production, so stay tuned to our Twitter feed for links to in-progress videos and other updates.

Out with the Old

For those interested in helping to fund this project, and who might want to take home a little bit of Meeple Madness history with them, we’ll be selling our existing tables as the new ones arrive. 

We’re currently selling the four red tables, since they’re already in storage due to the shoppe reconfiguration.  We’re selling them for $200.00 each.  Delivery is not available, so if you’d like one, you’ll need to arrange for it to be picked up.  These tables, of course, have seen some wear and tear over the years, so they’re being sold as is with all the dings and scratches that come with years of loving use.

Want to help with the project but don’t need a table?  Just continue to be the awesome customer that you are, and we’ll take care of the rest!

Back to the Now

Now that we’ve plotted a course for the future, it’s time to return to where we are today.

As you know, we’ve been at DEFCON 2 in the shoppe for quite a while.

We wish we could say we’ve made progress down the chart, but things have not changed significantly.  While we understand there is vigorous debate about current health situation, there are two things clear in the latest Georgia Executive Order:

  1. All citizens are required, by law, to practice social distancing.
  2. Businesses cannot host “Gatherings” (Basically, more than 50 people in the same space)

Now, we know that every Georgia citizen is not necessarily practicing social distancing.  While it’s easy to implement on paper, it’s a pragmatic nightmare.  Just walk down a grocery store aisle, and you’re likely to violate the basics of the order.  Incidental close encounters like that are inevitable.  Additionally, many guests in our shoppe have established, “trusted groups” – friends or extended family that they’re comfortable with.  For those groups, six feet of social distancing feels unnecessary, and so they operate as if they were a shared household or, as some call them, a Quaranteam.”

In spite of that, we do not feel comfortable encouraging people to violate the social distancing requirement. To that end, we keep the bulk of our table space closed.  

That means we still do not offer organized play events.  We still limit table time to three hours, and have only four tables available through our reservation system.  

We confess it makes the shoppe a bit lonely.  At times it can be overwhelming to be in the shoppe with so many games in our Library, and so many tables, knowing we can’t host as many guests as we once did.  Halloween – which is traditionally one of our largest parties of the year – is fast approaching.  This will be the first year since we’ve opened that we will unable to celebrate with food, games, and friends.  It’s heartbreaking for all of us.

Of course, we appreciate all of you who come in to spend time with us.  Whether it’s for a quick purchase or some quality time at our tables, we are grateful for all of you that continue to make Meeple Madness a part of your lives.  We love staying connected with our all of you.  Even though our masks may hide them, your visits bring a smile to all of us.

And, as we’ve written above, we hope for a brighter future and we are preparing for it in a big way.