Running your fingers over the intricately designed game pieces, you can’t help but feel a sense of anticipation and excitement. There’s a certain calmness in the air as you prepare to take on your opponents. The click of the pieces hitting the board signifies victory. This is why you gather with friends every week, choosing closeness over distance, and immersing yourself in the world of board gaming.
As a board gamer, your passion for the game has grown into an obsession. You’ve heard people talk about custom gaming tables, but what about the chair you spend the most time in during these gaming sessions? Why is no one discussing the importance of a good gaming chair?
Well, that’s about to change…
Who Needs a Tabletop Gaming Chair?
If you want to experience the sheer joy of winning without the neck pain, or if you’ve ever fantasized about rolling around the gaming table to strategize better, then this guide is for you. Are lower back muscle spasms preventing you from fully enjoying your gaming sessions? Do you struggle with sweating in your current board gaming chair? Are you a larger competitor in need of chairs that can accommodate your needs? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then keep reading.
The Importance of Ergonomics
Did you know that according to a study published in The Journal of Craniovertebral Junction and Spine, up to 84% of adults will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives? For tabletop gamers, who often spend extended periods in unnatural positions, the risk of injury is even greater.
That’s where ergonomics comes in.
Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment. In the context of board gaming, it refers to the strategies and tactics you employ to outmaneuver your opponents. However, it also applies to the design of chairs that can relieve the pressure on your body and keep you in an optimal and comfortable position.
Ergonomic chairs are designed to alleviate pressure points, improve posture, and enhance productivity. They offer features such as lumbar support, adjustable seat height, seat tilt, and backrest recline. These features may seem like mere gimmicks to some, but during those intense 8-hour gaming sessions, they can make all the difference.
Features to Look for in an Ergonomic Chair
The most critical features to consider in a good ergonomic chair are:
- Lumbar support
- Adjustable seat height
- Seat width and depth
- Seat tilt
- Backrest recline
- Armrests positioning
- Chair swivel
- Headrest support
Chairs specifically designed for their ergonomic mastery can help enhance your gaming experience. Here are some of the best-rated ergonomic chairs available:
These chairs are carefully crafted to ensure that you can engage in hours of gameplay without experiencing back twinges, neck tension, or shoulder pain. But don’t just take our word for it. Jim from boardgaming.com suggests, “We usually sit at the dining table of whoever is hosting. I will say this… you need some cushion on your seat… sitting on solid plastic, metal, or wood just isn’t pleasant for anything longer than 30 minutes, in my opinion. If I was to have a dream game room scenario, I’d love to have a nice office chair for each player, so they can adjust seat height and back tilt to their liking.”
Now, let’s address the question of video gaming chairs…
The Truth about Video Gaming Chairs
Video gaming chairs may look cool, especially when you see someone on Twitch playing in a darkened room with neon lights under their desk. But will they keep you feeling comfortable during those long gaming sessions in a well-lit dining room?
According to a video review, an ergonomic office chair is more comfortable than a gaming chair. Gaming chairs may have visual appeal, making you feel like a badass, but they often fail to provide adequate support for your back and neck.
It’s important to note that video gamers are typically younger and less likely to experience back and neck problems. On the other hand, the majority of people playing board games are over the age of 30. As you age, your body becomes more vulnerable to strain and discomfort.
Game Chairs with Wheels
As a strategic thinker, you need to assess the board from different angles, make eye contact with your opponents, and position yourself for the best view. To achieve this, you need a chair that encourages movement and offers high maneuverability. That’s where gaming chairs with wheels come in.
What’s the difference between a wheel and a caster? A wheel is the round entity that allows you to roll, while a caster is a wheel attached to a rotating mount. Casters are designed to improve mobility and can be made from various materials such as rubber, plastic, nylon, aluminum, or stainless steel.
If you’re concerned about compatibility with different flooring types, consider the size, material, and type of caster. Smaller, thinner casters are more likely to cause damage to laminate or hardwood flooring. However, if you’re purchasing an office or desk chair with wheels, chances are it comes with casters already attached. If not, you can easily add them to a chair with sturdy legs.
Gaming Chairs without Wheels
While we recommend chairs with wheels for the flexibility they offer, we understand that some gamers prefer chairs without them. If that’s the case, you have options. You can buy a chair designed without wheels, choose a chair with wheels that can be fitted with bell glides (feet that replace casters), or replace the casters on your current chair with bell glides. The choice is yours.
Height Adjustable Chairs
Proper seating posture is essential for a comfortable and pain-free gaming experience. You need to adjust the seat height so that your feet are flat on the floor and your calves and thighs create a 90° angle. Height adjustment is another crucial ergonomic feature to consider when choosing a gaming chair.
If your chair is too low, it can cause back pain, while if it’s too high, it can lead to discomfort and even conditions like Golfer’s elbow. To ensure your chair is at the optimal height, follow the guidelines in the video below. Although it focuses on a corporate environment, the principles apply to board gaming as well.
If your chair has armrests, adjust them so that your forearms are parallel to the table when they’re resting on the armrests. Keep in mind that if wheels are not your preference, there are height-adjustable chairs available without wheels, such as stools. However, it’s worth noting that playing a game for over an hour in a chair without back support can lead to back pain and discomfort.
Set the Perfect Tilt for Your Gaming Chair
Tilt tension refers to the amount of reclining allowed by a chair. While some may argue against reclining, a study suggests that reclining in the back of your ergonomic chair can relieve pressure on the lower back and discs. However, reclining can also transfer pressure to the neck, shoulders, and arms, restricting movement and causing discomfort.
The ideal tilt tension depends on your weight and personal preference. You can tighten or loosen the tilt tension mechanism until the chair comfortably reclines to an angle of approximately 135°. Additionally, many chairs offer a tilt lock feature to keep the chair in an upright position for moments when you need to make your next killer move.
The Thigh and Table Gap
When it comes to proper sitting posture, there’s an often overlooked yet crucial aspect to consider: the gap between your seat and the bottom of the table. It’s crucial to have enough space for your thighs to fit comfortably without any squeezing or discomfort. Leaning over the table due to inadequate legroom can put unnecessary stress on your back.
The average height of a table is around 30 inches, but this may vary if you have a custom board game table. While it’s challenging to determine the average thigh circumference, it’s estimated to be around 24 inches. To accommodate players of all shapes and sizes, it’s essential to have a height-adjustable chair that allows you to adjust the chair height instead of altering the table height.
Stay Cool and Comfortable
Sweaty Butt Syndrome is an unfortunate reality for many gamers. Sitting for hours on end can lead to perspiration and discomfort. When choosing a gaming chair, consider the material it’s made of and its breathability. Leather chairs, while visually appealing, tend to trap heat and moisture. Mesh chairs, on the other hand, allow air to circulate freely, keeping you cool and dry.
Fabric chairs offer a good balance between breathability and comfort, although they may be more prone to getting dirty, especially if you have children. Vinyl and plastic chairs don’t allow moisture to pass through, making them less suitable for those prone to sweating. Metal chairs conduct heat well, but they may compromise comfort. Finally, wood chairs are poor conductors of heat and moisture.
If you choose a chair made of a material that doesn’t promote evaporation, you can invest in mats or cooling seat cushions to place on top of the chair. These cushions are typically made of foam or cooling gel and can help regulate your body temperature during long gaming sessions.
Ergonomic Office Chairs for Big and Tall Gamers
Board gaming is for everyone, including those who are larger in size. If you’re big and tall, it’s important to find an ergonomic office chair that provides both comfort and support. Look for chairs with a higher weight capacity, a wider seat, and sturdier cushioning.
While many ergonomic office chairs are designed for individuals below 6ft and 300lbs, there are options available for those who exceed these dimensions. For example, the Herman Miller Aeron chair offers a Size-C model that is suitable for individuals up to 6’7″ and 350lbs.
Here are some other office chair options specifically designed for bigger and taller gamers:
- Reficcer Office Chair: 400 lbs weight capacity, adjustable seat height, and sturdy construction.
- Sadie Big and Tall Office Chair: 350 lbs weight capacity, wide seat, and reliable support.
- Anda Seat Kaiser: 441 lbs weight capacity, comfortable dimensions, and high-quality materials.
- YAMASORO High-Back Chair: 350 lbs weight capacity, ergonomic design, and adjustable features.
- Flash Furniture Reception Chair: 500 lbs weight capacity, spacious seat, and durable construction.
Remember, gaming is for everyone, and it’s important to find a chair that allows you to sit comfortably and enjoy the game.
Board gaming is more than just a hobby. It’s a passion that brings people together and provides hours of entertainment. While most people focus on the gaming table, the chair you choose is equally important. By considering ergonomics, aesthetics, mobility, height adjustment, tilt settings, thigh and table gap, sweat reduction, and specific needs for big and tall gamers, you can find the perfect gaming chair to enhance your gaming experience.
So, whether you’re strategizing your next move, laughing with friends, or feeling the competitive fury of your opponents, your gaming chair will support you in every way. Happy gaming!