Running them through your fingers, you can feel the intricacies in detail of the pieces that are about to bring about your opponent’s demise.
There’s a calmness in the air.
Silence precedes the clank on the board.
The immediate feedback of the playing surface is why you get together with friends each week and why you choose closeness over distancing.
Your initial interests in board gaming quickly developed into a passion which, in turn, became an obsession.
Everyone talks about custom gaming tables, but no one talks about the best chairs, the furniture you interact with the most during the evening.
Why is that?
It’s going to change now…
Who Is This Tabletop Gaming Chair Guide For?
- Do you want to feel the ecstasy of winning without the neck pain?
- Have you fantasized about rolling around the gaming table to get a better look to help your strategic gameplay?
- Would you love to laugh with old and new friends whilst remaining free of lower back muscle spasms?
- Has sweating become a problem for you in your current board gaming chair?
- Are you a larger competitor that would like examples of chairs you can use?
- Is playing board games an important part of your life and you want to maximize all of the fun you can get from it?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then this guide could be the most exciting thing you read…
What Are Ergonomics?
This study, in The Journal of Craniovertebral Junction and Spine, states that up to 84% of adults will experience lower back pain during their lives, and up to 50% of them will have more than one episode.
Most of these people aren’t board gamers.
As a tabletop gamer, you’re putting your body at even greater risk of injuring itself from being in an unnatural position.
How can you prevent this?
Enter: the field of ergonomics.
What’s the definition of ergonomics?
Here’s what the dictionary says:
the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment.
In the board game context, your working environment refers to the strategies and tactics you use to wield your enemies as you see fit…
So, why is ergonomics important?
Ergonomic design improves productivity and raises comfort levels.
How can the ergonomic definition be adapted to chairs?
Ergonomic product design aims to produce chairs that map the human body to relieve it of pressure and keep it in its optimum configuration.
They slide, spring and lean in ways that improve the posture of their owners.
To some, these may sound like gimmicks and cheap thrills.
And to them, we ask: how many 8 hour board gaming sessions have you played with your buddies? Those pressure points easily become pressure daggers at around the 3.5 hour mark under the wrong circumstances.
Ergonomic Chair Features
The most critical features in a good ergonomic chair are:
- Lumbar support
- Seat height
- Seat width and depth
- Seat tilt
- Backrest recline
- Armrests positioning
- Chair swivel
- Headrest support
There are chairs designed specifically for their ergonomic mastery and will help you win at any board game you play.
The best rated ergonomic chairs are as follows…
- Herman Miller Embody
- Herman Miller Aeron
- Herman Miller Sayl
- Steelcase Gesture
- Steelcase Leap
- Furmax Office Chair with Armrest
- Eurotech Ergohuman
Would you like to be pain free?
The list above includes the best ergonomic chairs designed to help your body sit in tabletop playing positions for hours with no back twinges, tension in the neck or aching shoulders.
What about the ergonomics of video gaming chairs? These are spoken about as if they will save the world.
Is that true?
Video gaming chairs look cool.
Especially when you see someone on Twitch sitting on one, playing in a darkened bedroom with neon accent lights under their desk.
But are they going to keep you feeling ten years younger on a Tuesday night in a brightly lit dining room?
The video below is worth watching…
He emphatically states his ergonomic chair is more comfortable than his gaming chair.
Gaming chairs don’t conform to the body.
If gaming chairs don’t help your back or neck, why are they reviewed so highly?
Visually, gaming chairs are awesome.
They make you feel like you’re going to kick some ass.
Unfortunately, they’re going to kick your ass.
Video gaming demographics are invariably younger people, younger people rarely have back and neck problems like their older counterparts.
This survey by Meeple Mountain suggests that the largest demographic in table top gaming is 35-44 year old.
Next, 25-34 and third highest was 45-54 years of age.
The majority of people playing board games now are over the age of 30.
Not ancient, sure, but not getting any younger either.
Game Chairs With Wheels
As a board gamer, you need to think strategically.
You need to assess the board from all angles, you need to get above it and see it from the side.
You need to look both your friend and foe in the eye.
To pick the best chair for tabletop gaming, you need one that encourages you to move at pace and is, itself, highly maneuverable.
This can be achieved by making sure you buy a gaming chair with wheels.
What’s the difference between a wheel and a caster?
A wheel is the round entity that allows its cargo to roll over it, a caster is a wheel on a rotating mount.
Casters attach to the feet of the chair and are made of several components:
Are office chair wheels universal?
No, casters come in multiple sizes and are made from:
- Stainless Steel
There are also various types of caster:
- Breaking and Locking
Casters are made with ergonomic considerations.
For example, the difficulty with which you can move yourself and the chair may contribute to repetitive strain injuries.
How easy a caster is to move directly relates to tire hardness, tread width and shape, the length of the trailing caster, and wheel diameter.
A caster is easier to roll if it’s harder.
Will an office chair scratch hardwood and laminate flooring?
Smaller, thinner casters are more likely to damage laminate flooring that’s popular in games rooms and the rest of the home, however, any size of caster can easily impair the wood.
If you choose to buy office or desk chair with wheels, it will have casters already attached and, if/when the time comes, you can replace them.
Should you choose a chair without casters in place, you can add them yourself provided they have thick enough legs to support them.
Gaming Chairs Without Wheels
Although we recommend desk chairs with wheels, we’re aware that some people would prefer not to for reasons that we’ll leave for them.
Bell glides for office chairs are feet that attach to the bottom of the chair in place of casters, they don’t change the height of the chair.
You have three options:
- Buy a chair designed without wheels
- Buy a chair designed with wheels and choose the option of bell glides
- Swap casters for bell glides on your current chair
Herman Miller chairs with wheels, for example, all have the option to be fitted with chair bell glides.
During our research, we found the Eames Molded Plastic Chair to be recommended.
Height Adjustable Chairs
You need to alter the seat height to just below the knee using the cylinder on the underside of the chair. Keeping your feet flat on the floor, position your calves and thighs to create 90° angles.
Height adjustment ties in with ergonomic features of a chair.
Unless you’re the perfect height for your dining room table chairs, without the height adjustments possible with ergonomic office chairs, you’ll be risking your body to strain and injury.
If your chair is too low it can cause back pain and if it’s too high it can cause Golfer’s elbow.
Both of which, after long periods, may result in you pausing your board gaming fun indefinitely to stop being in pain.
Do you want to stop board gaming forever?
If you don’t want to stop board gaming forever then the video below very useful.
It explains how you should set up in a corporate environment but the same principles apply to board gaming arenas.
He solves everything with reams of paper.
Whenever possible, every player should be within arm’s reach of the board from a resting position (including the position they’ve rolled over to for an improved view of the game at play).
If your chair has armrests, adjust their height so when your forearms are relaxing on them they’re parallel with the table.
What if wheels aren’t your thing?
You can still buy height adjustable chairs without wheels, especially in the stool category.
Although, any game played over an hour in a chair without back support is really going to hurt you back, you’ll regret it.
Chairs with levers underneath are termed ‘pneumatic’.
Here’s an excerpt from Topaz Furniture explaining how the mechanism works:
a pneumatic office chair is built around a single acting cylinder (a spring that has been filled with air). The air chamber in this cylinder is connected to a piston that, when activated by someone pushing the lever, moves into the chamber. This action further compresses the air inside the chamber, resulting in a lifting motion that allows the seat to rise. When the piston is moved further out of the chamber, it expands the air inside and allows the seat to lower.
Now that you know about height adjustment, it’s time to understand the importance of chair tilt.
Set The Tilting Of Your Gaming Chair
What is tilt tension on a chair?
Tilt tension is a measure of how much you can recline in your chair.
But should you recline?
This Physiomed PDF suggests that reclining in the back of your ergonomic chair does relieve pressure from the lower back, especially the discs.
There are drawbacks though.
Removing the pressure from the lower back can transfer it to the neck, shoulders and arms, restricting movement in the torso and causing discomfort.
Depending on you or your opponent’s weight, the tilt tension mechanism can be tightened and loosened until the chair comfortably reclines to an approximate 135° angle.
What is tilt lock in a chair?
Tilt lock keeps the chair in the upright position, perfect for making your next killer move.
The Thigh And The Table Gap
Increasingly, there’s an improved awareness of proper sitting posture at a desk.
Correct seating posture techniques have already been discussed, however, there’s another that’s important but often overlooked…
Until it can’t be…
There must be enough space between your seat and the bottom of the table so your thighs slot in comfortably without any squeeze.
Have you ever sat at a table but couldn’t get your legs under?
It’s extremely uncomfortable and causes you to lean over the board game even further, putting stress on your back.
Part of avoiding thigh squash comes from the table you’re playing at.
The average height of a table is reportedly 30 inches.
If you’ve bought a custom board game table then this measurement could be different.
It’s surprisingly difficult to find a reliable source on the average thigh circumference but it seems to be around 24 inches.
One of, if not the, best aspects of tabletop gaming is the inclusivity.
It doesn’t matter what shape or size you are as long as you’re laughing, confused and feel the fury of the person sitting next to you start to beat you.
All within ten minutes.
This is where having a height adjustable chair comes into play, it’s easier to change the height of the chair than the table to accommodate all players.
Avoid Sweating Whilst Sitting Down In Your Chair
Sweaty Butt Syndrome.
We’ve all been there and most of us don’t want to go back.
Not easy when you’ve been travelling the dangerous paths between cities in Merchants of the Dark Road for 2 hours.
These are the materials that chairs are made from:
If you’re susceptible to sweating in your chair, which material should you look for to avoid it?
Your chair should be covered in a breathable material.
What is a breathable material?
This definition for a breathable material is for the apparel industry but it’s fair to transplant it atop the chair industry:
The measure of how quickly (or how slowly) moisture passes through a fabric
You need to speed up evaporation of the sweat.
Not going to help evaporation, we’ve all sat on a leather couch on a summer’s day and stuck to it.
Very good for allowing air through and evaporation to take its course, leaving you condensation and sweat free.
A respectable level of moisture can pass through ‘fabric’ chairs, although, the term fabric is generic.
Important note: if you have children, fabric is going to get messy quickly.
Vinyl is a type of plastic, it doesn’t let moisture pass through and can be a treacherous chasm to cross on the path to sweatlessness.
Solid plastic isn’t going to let moisture pass through and is bad for Sweaty Butt Syndrome, very poor at conducting heat (heat transfer coefficient of 0.003, the same as air).
Although not permeable, most metals are considered good heat conductors (copper has a heat transfer coefficient of 92).
This may help lower the temperature of the seated area and reduce the amount you sweat but at the cost of comfort.
Wood chairs don’t let moisture through and they’re poor at conducting heat (heat transfer coefficient of 0.003).
If you choose to go with a material that isn’t suited to allowing evaporation, there are mats you can buy to place on top of the chair.
This article shows you 5 options of cooling seat cushions for office chairs, mostly made from foam or cooling gel.
This Flex One Folding Chair on Amazon was recommended for anti-sweating properties but it’s a wheel-less chair.
If you’ve read from the beginning, you’ll know that wheels are an important ergonomic feature.
Ergonomic Office Chairs For Big And Tall Competitors
Board gaming is for everyone.
Some of those are larger people.
If you’re big and tall, you deserve to sit comfortably and safely as well.
There are some things you should look out for to spot the appropriate ergonomic office chairs for the big and tall.
What do you need to look out for?
- Higher weight capacity
- Wider seat
- Sturdier cushioning
The average ergonomic office chairs are reportedly designed for those below 6ft and 300lbs, although, we did find this useful Herman Miller Aeron chart that tells you what model of Aeron chair to buy based on your height and weight.
Size-C is the largest of the chairs and it suits those who are up to 6’7″ and 350lbs.
For other brands, you may have to compromise on style for improved function but if it enables you to play board games for hours each week in a big comfy chair again, it’s worth it.
What other office chairs can you buy if you’re at or over 350lbs?
Reficcer Office Chair
- 400 lbs weight capacity
- Seat dimensions: 22.8″ W x 24″ D
- Backrest Dimensions: 24.8”W x 31.9”H
- Height Adjustment: 19.3″ to 22″
- Item Weight: 61 Pounds
Sadie Big and Tall Office Chair
- 350 pounds weight capacity
- Seat dimensions: 2’’ W x 22’’ D
- Backrest Dimensions: n/a
- Height Adjustment: 20″ to 23”
- Item Weight: 44 pounds
Anda Seat Kaiser
- 441 pounds weight capacity
- Seat dimensions: 18″W x 20″ D
- Backrest Dimensions: 22.3″W x 34″H
- Height Adjustment: 20″ to 23″
- Item Weight: 73 pounds
YAMASORO High-Back Chair
- 350 pounds weight capacity
- Seat dimensions: 20.5″W x 19.7″ D
- Backrest Dimensions: 20.5″ W x 27.6″ H
- Height Adjustment: 20.1″ to 23.3″
- Item Weight: 47.4 pounds
Flash Furniture Reception Chair
- 500 pounds weight capacity
- Seat dimensions: 24″W x 21″D
- Backrest Dimensions: 24.5”W x 22.5″H
- Height Adjustment: 19” to 19″
- Item Weight: 40 pounds
Board gaming is your passion.
Everyone talks about which table to buy but rarely about which is the best chair for tabletop gaming.
The important things to look out when buy your chair are as follows:
- Wheels attached
- Height adjustable
- Tilt settings
- A gap for the thigh
- Avoid sweaty butt syndrome
- Choose correct dimensions for big and tall competitors
Some features will be more important to you than others but we’ll let you decide which.
We hope you found this guide useful.