I suppose it could be argued that a big table gives the players more maneuvering room, and creates less opportunity for collisions than if they were crammed around a small one. The greatest potential for players to keep crashing into each other would actually be if they were all following the advice of that other Chinese sage, Sun Tse: “When we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”
Reaching across a big table is admittedly awkward, but a few techniques can help:
- Have a good supply of long-handled croupier sticks, a.k.a. war rakes, to help you reach across the table as needed. See here and here for inspiration:
Have a good snack table on the other side of the room. That will give people an alternate place to congregate, away from the gaming table.
A similar trick is to put together a big slideshow of WWII photos and videos and run them on a continuous loop on a computer near the snack table.
Here’s a deluxe concept that technically would require a split-level room, but which perhaps could be improvised on a more modest scale. The RAF’s plotting rooms had observation galleries…
…which gave analysts an elevated view of the plotting tables. Combining that concept with the simpler method of providing an array of chairs (as in the other photo above), what could perhaps be done – given a large enough gaming room – is to get a bunch of sturdy second-hand empty wooden boxes of some sort and use them to set up an improvised slightly elevated observation platform on which observer chairs could be lined up. That might get a few players away from the table itself. The boxes could be removed and stacked in a corner, or a garage, afterwards, to free up the floor space between games.