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Subject: How long "board game" cards last? rss

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Justin Destry
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Deckbuilding games, easily beat up card (spot it) games, and board games that use at least 40% of the game are card driven. Most board games have cards in them, and companies seem to be doing more card only games now. How long will the cards last? Has the technology to improve a card's longevity gotten better or worse (crappy ink or paper due to greedy budget)? Considering my hands dont have food on them. I know dice wear out from use, so cards should too!

I am just hoping that 30+ years from now, I will be able to play these games; and not have to purchase them again because the ink has worn off or the paper turned too yellow.

Thank you
 
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Brie
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Cards most definitely wear out, faster than dice. If you are really concerned about longevity of your cards, then you may wish to sleeve them.

I don't sleeve mine, partly because the games don't get enough wear before cycling out of my collection and partly because I hate sleeves. I've bough backups of the couple of games in my collection that do see a lot of play.
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Walt
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It's going to depend on how often you play your game and what the print quality was. You might be able to extend their lives with acrylic artists' spray, but I haven't actually tried it on cards. The finish might impede shuffling or wear off quickly.

Also, some people just aren't very good at handling cards. They bend them in half, dog-ear the corners, nick the edges, etc.

I've gone through two Tichu sets, each with two decks. They're still usable, but uncomfortably worn.

If you really, really love a game, get a second copy. You'll probably be able to resell it at full street price if you change your mind.

For standard (French) cards, you can get Kem cards, which are plastic, but they're far more expensive than paper cards. I've never seen them in a hobby game.

Paper money is more often a problem, though the money from Saint Petersburg (I) seems to absorb hand oil and get a protective finish. The money doesn't look great, but it's functional and doesn't seem to get any worse.
 
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Matt Brown
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Depends on a number of factors. A big one being how often they are shuffled or used in general. If you are playing a gamer where you use a the small 60 card deck every time, then the wear on it will be much more pronounced versus games there different decks are used or those 60 cards are rotated in and out. I sleeve cards because I have worn out sleeves themselves although those were penny sleeves and I'm getting less and less of those so I can just use thicker ones.
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K J
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Quote:
I know dice wear out from use


How exactly do you WEAR out dice?
Have bunch of dices which are easily 20+ yrs old, have been used multiple tons of times and still perfectly fine to use. Even have CARDS that just as old and still in great shape.

Makes me wonder what on earth you are doing with your Dice and Cards.
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Justin Destry
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Because I have browsed online videos and read posts from people on other forums about how their game dice have faded or worn off. Its not a common theme, I know; but its also not incredibly rare either. Dicetower even mentions it for a few games too btw.
 
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Brie
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Rox4Games wrote:
Quote:
I know dice wear out from use


How exactly do you WEAR out dice?
Have bunch of dices which are easily 20+ yrs old, have been used multiple tons of times and still perfectly fine to use. Even have CARDS that just as old and still in great shape.

Makes me wonder what on earth you are doing with your Dice and Cards.


Probably printed dice rather than engraved ones.
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George Louie
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briezee wrote:
Rox4Games wrote:
Quote:
I know dice wear out from use


How exactly do you WEAR out dice?
Have bunch of dices which are easily 20+ yrs old, have been used multiple tons of times and still perfectly fine to use. Even have CARDS that just as old and still in great shape.

Makes me wonder what on earth you are doing with your Dice and Cards.


Probably printed dice rather than engraved ones.


either that or he's using a cinder block or concrete slab as a dice tray. laugh
 
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Robert Bennett
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Oh, yes, it really depends on the print quality. When I was a kid in the 1960s we played a LOT of Pit with a deck printed in the 1930s (I think) and for the longest time they played just fine--and Pit is not a game that is kind and easy on the cards. The Pit deck I picked up in the seventies is still in good shape. Would a new Pit deck hold up as well? I don't know.

Most of the games I've bought in the last five years have decently produced cards, but I don't play games anywhere near as much as I used to so I'm sure they'll last out my lifetime at least.
 
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Walt
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glouie wrote:
either that or he's using a cinder block or concrete slab as a dice tray. laugh
Or an electric dice tower.
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Steve B
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74 years on average. Then they start to look a bit worn
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Tom Bruno
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may cards are keeping in better condition now that I bought a squishy play mat. picking up cards from a flat polished table was hard for people with no fingernails, would end up with them worrying the edges as they tried to scratch at them, and me trying not to lose it as I said "just slide it off the table"

Can't say I am fussed enough to sleeve my cards, but for some games with cheap quality cards, if you are gonna play it a lot, they are gonna wear out otherwise. if you want to keep playing them for decades, I think either buy quality, or sleeve 'em
 
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Jim Patching
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The oldest games in my collection are my Games Workshop games from when I was a kid - 2nd Ed Talisman, Dungeonquest, Heroquest, etc. They're all 25+ years old, not a one of them been anywhere near a sleeve and not a one of them have cards that are 'worn out'.
 
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William Chew
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The general answer is as long as you want with the exception of some purely card games you play hundreds of times. Below are how I handle my games which is a fair balance of preservation and cost.

I sleeve deck builders since they get shuffled the most and starter cards would otherwise get uneven wear.

Most other games it doesn't matter if the card quality is decent. Cards will wear some, but the wear should be even so cards will still be indistinguishable. If I played TI3 until the action and politics cards were worn out I'd happily buy a new set. I doubt that will happen in my lifetime.

I sleeve rare and OOP games like Glory to Rome and StarCraft though since they can't be replaced very easily.


Most of the time the cards in games won't wear out with the exceptions above.
 
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Justin Destry
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Thank you to everyone who has posted. But, cards from 20+ years ago were usually made by companies that valued their customers. I know some still exist today. But companies have changed over the years, and a lot now use crappy ink/paper/laminate in order to save money on costs. Its all about the profits, and not loyalty to their customers. This is the reason why I was asking, because people have experienced more problems over the last 10 years with quality; and more games with cards. So are their experiences anecdotal, or are companies now using more inferior components?

Also, dont sleeves stick to ink over time and peel the ink off, or not protect much from ink wear. Are they really my best option short of buying a second game, which would be expensive?
 
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Chris Skelton
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givemeInfoplease wrote:
Thank you to everyone who has posted. But, cards from 20+ years ago were usually made by companies that valued their customers. I know some still exist today. But companies have changed over the years, and a lot now use crappy ink/paper/laminate in order to save money on costs. Its all about the profits, and not loyalty to their customers. This is the reason why I was asking, because people have experienced more problems over the last 10 years with quality; and more games with cards. So are their experiences anecdotal, or are companies now using more inferior components?


As long as there has been money to be made, there have been people and companies whose sole purpose is to make money. That was true 20+ years ago and it's true now. I would argue that there are more companies producing products with amazing quality now than ever before. The fact that there is just more of everything in this industry unfortunately means there are more bad apples, but there is so much good stuff out there. So I think people's 20+ year old games stand as a testament to the quality possible that very much still exists to this day.
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Greg
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I think card quality is something that's improving on average. There might be a race to the bottom for manufacturing costs, but that's balanced by a steady improvement in manufacturing techniques.

I've not had any cards become unusable in 20 years of gaming and I don't sleeve. Except the one from In a Bind that a player must keep "In a (thing named by person playing card)"

That card has inevitably been damaged, but frankly I believe that may be for the best.
 
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Matt Brown
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panzer-attack wrote:
The oldest games in my collection are my Games Workshop games from when I was a kid - 2nd Ed Talisman, Dungeonquest, Heroquest, etc. They're all 25+ years old, not a one of them been anywhere near a sleeve and not a one of them have cards that are 'worn out'.


This doesn't take into account how often they were played, and I doubt they got shuffled much compared to more card based games.
 
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Daniel C
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There is absolutely no easy answer for your question. Here's why.

Not everybody uses the same manufacturer.
Not everybody uses the same card stock.
Not everybody is going to use premium cards.
Mostly everybody coats their cards.
Not all games play the same, some may use more shuffles than others.
Not everybody treats cards the same way, from owner to player.
Sleeving cards can extend it's life, but the argument there is penny sleeves vs premium.
Not all games gets the same play time as others.
Some game designers wants all premium quality.
Some game designers goes for what's in their budget.
Some manufacturers are good, bad, crappy, excellent.

Lots of games are going for quality, which shows in the pricing. But some print runs can be better than others as well. It's hard to pin down an easy answer, but for the most part, no one wants to use low stock quality cards. It makes their game look cheap, it often leads to bad reviews.

So for a designer to survive in this small business, they do their best to put out the best. Though sadly there are a number of games out there with great quality products, but horrible games.
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Pete
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As long as I keep them out of the hands of one of my players, who "knows how to shuffle," my cards will last a very long time.

If that guy gets his hands on them, I give them 20 plays, tops.

Pete (doesn't let that guy play his card games)
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Ben Rubinstein

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I'm kind of shocked that people expect such remarkable quality (20-year life span? really?) from a tiny industry with low print runs and profits, when that's not something we see in, well anything else, including tremendously more expensive products. Do you demand 20-year lifespans on your computers? Cars? Clothes?
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Chris Skelton
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epilepticemu wrote:
I'm kind of shocked that people expect such remarkable quality (20-year life span? really?) from a tiny industry with low print runs and profits, when that's not something we see in, well anything else, including tremendously more expensive products. Do you demand 20-year lifespans on your computers? Cars? Clothes?


computers? yes, why not? they might not be fast enough or have enough memory to run anything modern but they should still work. Your NES still runs does it not?

Cars? absolutely. You might have to put a little work into it, but there's no reason they can't.

Clothes? sometimes, but like cards, cars, and everything else the amount of use matters. Clothes usually stop fitting long before I wear them out, unfortunately
 
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Matt Kruse
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Sleeves are not going to protect your cards from time. In fact, as you say, they can actually ruin your cards over many years because they will eventually stick to the ink. Talking about 20-30 years from now.

If you're really anal about preserving your game your safest bet would be to get acid free folders and store each card separately in a folder in a dark, low humidity, cold temperature environment. But, I'm sure you're not that concerned.
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