We all enjoy entertaining at home this time of year. With short days and inclement weather it just makes sense to stay inside and socialize. If you are fortunate enough to have a bonus entertainment space in your home like a finished or unfinished basement then why not use it? If you don't have the means to get a high-end game room item like a pool table or home theater don't worry, here is a list of the most popular and economical game room activities:
Darts: This classic game was first seen in a modern form about 200 years ago in England. The first dart boards were made of cross cut logs featuring painted lines and numbers. Modern boards were invented by the Nodor company using packed together "sisal" plant fibers. This new construction made for boards that were "self healing" where the dart holes disappeared with use. Darts were a popular pub game going back decades, but many bars and clubs have banned steel tip darts due to injury liability. Electronic dart boards are more common in public venues, but that has not stopped the popularity of steel tip darts at home! A nice sisal board, wood dart cabinet, and a couple of sets of steel tip darts can be had for $300 or less, making it the top all around "cheap" game room game.
This Dart Cabinet by Legacy can be purchased with a Dart Board and Darts in-store for $299
Foosball: The iconic table soccer game has occupied the corner of many basements over the decades. A former staple of just about any men's club or recreation area, the Foosball table has fallen out of popularity in recent years. High tech alternatives like Golden Tee, Megatouch Screen Games, even Wii have sent Foosball to the back burner. The fact remains, nothing is as fast paced or as strategic as a well played game of Foosball. A decent player will pass the ball from line to line, setting up a shot on goal. Good quality tables allow this level of precise play because the men, the play surface, even the balls are made for control and durability. Pool quality sporting good store tables for under $200 have given this game the reputation of a "disposable" purchase. Good quality Foosball tables start around $500 and even a top of the line tournament table is still hundreds less than an entry level pool table, making Foosball another great investment on the Cheap.
The Kicker Foosball by Brunswick is the best built table available at the $499 price point
Ping Pong: Properly known as Table Tennis, this game originated in Asia and has steadily grown in popularity since the 70s here in the USA. It even became an official Olympic Sport in 1988! The key word being "sport", as ping pong requires quick reflexes, foot speed, and stamina when played well. Anyone with a decent sized room can setup a ping pong table and get anything from a elevated heart rate to a full bore work out. There are even robot ball machines that will serve up as much practice as you can bring dedication to the table. The best part of a folding/rolling ping pong table is the portability. When you don't want it in the way you can stick it in a closet, the garage, or even put it out on the deck or drive way if the weather is nice. Poor quality tables feature thin play surfaces and flimsy metal framing, so they tend to warp or break over time. A nice quality table with a steel frame, including net system and paddles, can be purchased for as little as $600, making this the best overall "cheap" gameroom option for active individuals.
The MyT3 by Killerspin offers a steel frame, tournament net kit, and paddle/ball kit for under $600 Shipped