Our big gaming table has cupholders that rotate out from underneath. No drinks are on the surface. It's one of the better features of a gaming table, but you can simulate it with small cocktail tables for the players to keep snacks and drinks away.
Interesting idea to use a riser to prevent spills. I supposed if you're concerned, you could elevate the board a half inch on some cardboard, but you're right, that doesn't help satellite parts, and soon it all just becomes one big surface again.
And those ice cube trays were pretty funny.