The bespoke gaming table is often considered the epitome of gaming surfaces: a luxurious rectangle of velvety goodness. However, there’s a lot to be said for playing games in a circle, especially as player count increases. It feels more social, and some games just seem designed to be played “in the round”.

That said, many of these more circular games require access from multiple angles, which can mean having to get up and move around the table (the humanity!), or awkwardly rotate the board.

The answer for the lazier gamer is of course, the Lazy Susan, and by using such an idle strumpet, you can get to all areas of the board from the comfort of your chair, plus if you lose your temper, instead of flipping the board you can simply use centripetal force to fling components to every corner of the room.

Vikingar

Publisher: Jackbro Games
Price*: Unknown — Release Imminent!
No. of players: 2–6
Play time: 90–120 mins
Age: 10+

This was from a Kickstarter campaign in 2017 that quietly launched, funded, got on with production and then delivered bang on schedule with a product that looked and played beautifully.

In Vikingar each player takes the mantle of a Viking leader commanding a fleet of longships, exploring the world of men whilst searching for a doorway to Asgard and the Gods.

The most striking thing about the game is its circular board, its modular design making it a different map every game..

With all the board accessible from the central “open sea” and vortices that can be used to jump from one side to the other, a Lazy Susan means you don’t constantly have to stretch across the board, or even rise from your reclined, mead-soaked semi-stupor.

Mission: Red Planet

Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Price*: £46.99
No. of players: 2–6
Play time: 45-90 mins
Age: 14+

Actually the board for Mission: Red Planet isn’t that big, but it is circular, and you do move your units all over it, so that’s good enough for me!

This is the perfect blend of hidden role cards and area control. It all seems so simple and lacking in any real drama when you look at it on paper, but cut-throat shenanigans abound once you start playing.

There’s a reason this has been around for over a decade, and the second edition polishes an already great game. All it needs is a Lazy Susan to make it complete.

Don’t let the Red Planet spin too fast on its axis though. That’s a LOT of tiny astronauts to pick up.

Santorini

Publisher: Roxley Games
Price*: £49.99
No. of players: 2–4
Play time: 20+ mins
Age: 8+

There’s few games that look so pretty, but those lovely little white buildings and their chibi-style builders require some adept placement if you’re to avoid nudging things all over the place.

When I late pledged this on Kickstarter, I was actually under the impression the plastic base to the board rotated in some way, so was disappointed to find it was merely eye-candy.

Although not the trickiest of boards to rotate without one (one of the easiest in fact), a Lazy Susan gives you easier access and a different perspective on the construction plans of your opponent(s).

Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb

Publisher: Games Workshop
Price*: Out of Print — eBay price approx £50-£90
No. of players: 1–4
Play time: 120 mins
Age: 12+

Produced way back in 1988, you won’t be finding this in stock at your local games shop, or any other retail outlet beyond eBay, where despite it’s fairly mediocre score on BGG it still commands a fairly hefty price tag.

CotMT suffers most from arriving at the end of a decade that saw some great titles from Games Workshop, so this huge luck fest with its aggressive brand of ‘take that’ mechanics put a lot of folk off.

It does have great minis though, and that awesome 3D pyramid. The Lazy Susan is just the trick too, as you can move other players’ characters all over the pyramid as well as your own.

If you get the chance to play it then you should, as it can still be a giggle, and it’s fantastically produced for the late 80s, but it was always going to struggle in comparison to Fury of Dracula, a hit released the previous year by the same designer.

War Room

Publisher: Nightingale Games
Price*: $149 — Kickstarter pledge
No. of players: 2–6
Play time: 120–360+ mins
Age: 12+

This game, from Axis & Allies designer Larry Harris, is huge in scope and proportions, so you’ll be needing a similarly supersized Lazy Susan to accommodate its 42″ circular board. No, you didn’t read that wrong. The board is almost 4 feet wide.

In fact it’s so wide that you can purchase special “command staves” to shuffle your units around, just like real military planners did in WW2. Even so, the ability to rotate the map would be even better.

The game’s designer Larry Harris, belatedly wishing for a Lazy Susan. (Image: Nightingale Games)

What’s more, for a game this epic you might wish for every opportunity to take the weight off your feet during the 6+ hours that a full compliment of experienced players might take to play the game.

Twilight Imperium, eat yer heart out.

The Climbers

Publisher: Chili Games
Price*: £47.99
No. of players: 2–5
Play time: 45 mins
Age: 8+

Like Santorini, The Climbers sees players gradually building higher and higher, although in a significantly more abstracted way. This isn’t just a race to the top either — the colour of the uppermost face of blocks is just as important.

Both games benefit from being able to view the construction site from all sides, like a kind of reverse-Jenga, where you’re adding blocks from all sides instead of struggling to remove them.

Image: José San Miguel @ BGG

So a turntable is good to have, although you’ll need to make sure your Susan’s bearings roll smoothly, or your lazy way of viewing the opposite side may end in disaster.

Quarriors!

Publisher: Wizkids
Price*: £55.99
No. of players: 2–4
Play time: 30mins
Age: 14+

A game for players that love both their dice and their words unneccessarily (and relentlessly) starting with a Q, Quarriors is also a game that lends itself to Lazy Susan gaming.

Although on the face of it, there’s no reason not to set up the game as illustrated in the rule book, in a boringly conventional rectangular fashion, after a few games you soon realise that for three or four players, a Lazy Susan is a far more accessible (not to mention pretty) way to organise things.

Image: Joshua Muscat @ BGG

Or should that be Quazy Qusan? Hopefully not.

Okay I’m sold. Now where can I buy one?

  1. EBay — Possibly your best bet. You can find plenty of indoor and outdoor varieties, new and used. The size you’ll need will depend on the games you want to play. The largest we’ve found for a reasonable price is 80cm/31.5″ across.
  2. DIY — Buy a turntable bearing (Amazon, eBay, hardware store), then choose your material (glass, wood, plastic, metal… hell, marble if you want!) for the top and base (you can skip the base if you don’t mind the bearing ring sitting on the table top). Screw/weld/glue together and job done.
  3. Bespoke Furniture — If you shop around you can even find circular coffee tables where the entire top rotates. Then there’s always the Jigsaw Spinner… but at $130 you’d definitely have to consider the DIY route.
  4. IKEA – Yes, the manufacturer of the ever-popular Kallax shelving system we boardgamers adore so much, also produces a Lazy Susan for a typically cheap price. It’s only 39cm/15″ across but at the price it would be crazy not to pick one up. You can find them here: UK/US (thanks José San Miguel for the heads up on this one!)

*Listed prices are RRP/MSRP only. Shop around and you WILL find the games cheaper, sometimes far, far cheaper!

[Also on Medium]

 

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