For the first post of my new blog, I thought I’d approach a subject that a lot of people are interested in, which is how to build a game room on a budget. If you go to local stores, you’ll see big price tags and wonder how you could ever afford all the things in there. Hopefully I can provide some information on how to build a nice game room with limited resources.
The biggest key in obtaining items on a budget is:
- monitoring craigslist or other classifieds for deals
- when you find that deal, be prepared to act on it immediately. Having cash on hand is key a lot of times, things are usually listed on the weekends and banks may be closed.
- if it’s a great deal, don’t bother trying to barter it lower, just tell them you’ll take at the low price they’re already at.
One of the easiest things to acquire at a discount is a pool table. Unlike a lot of other game room equipment, pool tables are very hard to move, which makes them excellent candidates to pick up used from craigslist or other local advertisers. Often, home owners who are trying to move will list tables that are thousands of dollars new for free if you’ll move them out of their house. With a little bit of sweat equity, you could have a pretty nice table for minimal money.
Second on this list would be foosball tables. Now there are two types of foosball tables that you can pick up used, there are the mostly junky ones that were kind of cheaply made to begin with, and then there are the tornado ones which are way beyond everything else. I would recommend getting a used tornado foosball more than the other ones, the price difference usually isn’t that great and if you have to sell down the line, the tornado one will hold it’s value much better. I would look for a 50% or better discount on one. Tornado Whirlwinds are the ones I see pop up the most often, they may be a few years old but they all play roughly the same. $350 to $400 would be a decent price to obtain one of those at. Occasionally they’ll pop up for really cheap, but to get those you’ll have be pretty quick.
While looking for these, you may also air hockey tables for sale at good prices, which may be tempting. I would recommend staying away from those for the most part, the play on home air hockey tables is poor compared to the commercial version you play in arcades. Pool tables, foosball, pinball, ping pong, are all the same as in arcades, but air hockey isn’t.
Another thing you can pick up cheap is ping pong tables. While not very expensive to begin with, $50 used is still cheaper than $300 new. If you’re really lucky you can get one for free, but I wouldn’t count on that. There will probably be a ton to choose from if you’re anywhere close to a major metropolitan area, ping pong tables are sold quite a bit.
Past those items, things like pinball machines are much more expensive. I’ll write a post on buying those later. 🙂