Have you ever used a table cloth? I've never been partial to them. It just seems easier to wipe the table top.
It probably doesn't help that most stores stock only the most stodgy and traditional styles.
But check out this Messy Table Cloth (apparently only available on this Polish-language site). I could actually see myself using something fun like this. And it's black, so it will be easy to get the inevitable red wine stains out.