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I am a big fan of deck building games including the Legendary games. I own 4 of the 6 Legendary base games and a couple of expansions. Due to an unknown cause the cards in my games have an oily residue that mysteriously appears on them between plays. I have no idea if the cards are losing their finish/coating/ink. But this has happened enough times now that it's driving me crazy. When I try to wipe the substance with a clean, dry, soft cloth it smears and smudges. A stain is generally left like a grease or oil stain after cleaning. The worst part is that if this residue goes unnoticed (and sometimes it does) since the game requires a lot shuffling and mixing of cards this residue gets smeared and smudged onto additional cards.

During my very first game of Alien I noticed this substance on maybe 15-20 cards. After cleaning them as best I could I shelved the game for a little bit. The next time I went to play I found more of this oily residue on different cards. I assumed these were cards I overlooked prior. Once again I cleaned them up. However, future plays have resulted in the same: more oily residue on cards. This continued to happen multiple times. I thought perhaps I just got a bad production copy of Alien and somehow the cards were losing their ink or what little finish they have. But today the same thing happened when I played Villains! I couldn't believe it. I'm at a complete loss how to explain this. I've played a ton of card games including other deck builders and never seen anything like this before.

Of course the logical response is to wonder if somehow I am getting this oily residue on the cards. Some possible causes I have considered but believe can be ruled out are:

1) The environment where the games are stored. This shouldn't be a cause as all my games are stored in the same place. They are properly stored on a shelf, in their respective boxes, in a climate controlled room (not in an attic or basement), and away from sunlight.

2) Natural oils or something on my hands. This unlikely to be the cause as I treat all my games like precious objects. I always wash my hands before playing any game, never eat/drink while gaming, don't use my phone while gaming (phones can get oily and grimy), etc. My wife does the same. We are a true gaming couple as we are the only ones who play our games. So, it's not due to others handling the cards.

3) The gaming surface. This shouldn't be a cause either as we have a dedicated "dining" table which we use only for gaming (not for meals). We are careful to keep this table clean. We also have a towel like cloth which we use as a playing surface. We wash the cloth in the laundry weekly.

4) The dividers in the game box do not seem to be transferring anything onto the cards. I have checked them closely and do not see any oil/smears of any kind.

5) As best I can tell there is no issue with the play mat either in this regard. I've taken one of the blank cards and slid it all over the mat pressing down to apply a little bit of pressure. If the mat were the source then something would show up on the back of the blank card when I do this. But it always comes up clean.

Here are some pics for reference (you will probably need to chose the large view to see the substance clearly):

You can see the residue on Venom's arm/shoulder.


You can see the substance on a card back in the form of a blot near the top.

If anyone has any theories what could be causing this then I would love to hear them. As I said I've never seen anything like this from any other card/board game other than the Legendary line of games. As you can probably tell from this post we are very cautious to keep our games in excellent condition. Certainly if anyone else has experienced the same issue I would love to hear it.
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Brian T
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I don't have any theories about what might be causing this, I just wanted to say this is weird and I'm very curious about what the cause could be. Good luck on finding a solution.
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James Buchanan
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First off, that stinks! Legendary is one of my favorites. Do you touch your face or hair at all during a game? I have a beard and tend to fiddle with it while playing but haven't seen anything like this. What do you clean the table with?
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Darth Ed
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Never seen or heard of anything like this before.

I suggest you send email to qa@upperdeck.com with pictures and see what they say.
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Michael Denman
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It's because the cards are crappy. We noticed that after just a couple of plays too. When I eventually bought my own copy, it went straight into sleeves.
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Scooby Wan wrote:
I don't have any theories about what might be causing this, I just wanted to say this is weird and I'm very curious about what the cause could be. Good luck on finding a solution.
I appreciate the well wishes. Just having sympathetic ears here at BGG makes this frustrating situation a little more tolerable.

BlackJackGeary wrote:
First off, that stinks! Legendary is one of my favorites. Do you touch your face or hair at all during a game? I have a beard and tend to fiddle with it while playing but haven't seen anything like this. What do you clean the table with?
Yes, I am obviously a big fan of the Legendary games too! I will admit that I naturally have a very oily face. modest But that is something I've been aware of all my life. And as such I am intentional to never touch my face (or hair) when playing a board game. I'm not a thinker who rubs his chin/face while making decisions. Good suggestion for a potential cause, but I am 100% sure that is not it.

DarthEd wrote:
Never seen or heard of anything like this before.

I suggest you send email to qa@upperdeck.com with pictures and see what they say.
That's good advice. In fact, the first time I noticed this with my Legendary Alien game I contacted Upper Deck and got all the cards replaced. UD was super nice and replaced the cards right away. I was certain that was the end of it. But as you know it was not. I feel like if I contact UD support again saying I've got the same issue now with another different Legendary game that they are going to say it's somehow my fault and refuse to replace the cards. I guess there's no harm in trying though.

Trump wrote:
It's because the cards are crappy. We noticed that after just a couple of plays too. When I eventually bought my own copy, it went straight into sleeves.
Wow, at least I'm not the only one who's seen this happen! I feel better now... I'm not going insane. laugh I'm sorry this also happened to you (or if I'm reading your post properly to a friend). Yeah, unfortunately the cards in the Legendary game are of low quality. Because of the quality I expected the cards to show edge wear and ding easily. But this is shocking and frustrating. Sleeves are definitely the easiest answer. But whew... sleeving that many cards (around 3k) is kinda pricey. That's something I was hoping to avoid with games like Legendary that contain a ton of cards. I would rather spend that money on more games.
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I went with ultra pro on all my Legendary cards. I'm only missing the FF expansion. I bought all of the sleeves from Amazon in bundles. It wasn't too bad. Good luck!
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Trump wrote:
It's because the cards are crappy. We noticed that after just a couple of plays too. When I eventually bought my own copy, it went straight into sleeves.


Hmmm. Ive had my copy of Legendary and Dark City for over a year un-sleaved and no sign of anything like this (or any other damage, really). I play regularly too.

Not to be alarmist and I could be wrong of course, but to me it looks a bit like it could be mold spores starting to form. Do you live in a humid area or store the game in a humid area like a basement?

ETA One way to fix mold issues is to put a silica pack in the box with the cards.

ETA 2 I re-read your post and see you store the game well.


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Wooden Meeple Eater wrote:
Trump wrote:
It's because the cards are crappy. We noticed that after just a couple of plays too. When I eventually bought my own copy, it went straight into sleeves.


Hmmm. Ive had my copy of Legendary and Dark City for over a year un-sleaved and no sign of anything like this (or any other damage, really). I play regularly too.

Not to be alarmist and I could be wrong of course, but to me it looks a bit like it could be mold spores starting to form. Do you live in a humid area or store the game in a humid area like a basement?

ETA One way to fix mold issues is to put a silica pack in the box with the cards.

ETA 2 I re-read your post and see you store the game well.


I appreciate the thoughts! I do take very good care of my games both while playing and shelving. So, I don't think this is mold. Also, the substance is oily/greasy and smears when I wipe it. I've never seen mold do that before.

I too have owned Predator for over a year and it's been unsleeved the entire time without issue. I still cannot come up with anything I could be doing to cause this.

When I have time (probably this weekend) I'm going to go over every card with a discerning eye in my Villains base game to see how many are damaged by this oil. Then I'll photograph the cards and contact Upper Deck once again. Not the way I intended to "play" this game!

EDIT: Fixed typos.
 
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How about children? I've noticed that children of certain ages seem to have what I call, "chronic sticky hand syndrome." Do you play with any of those?

For the younger children, usually if you have them wash their hands they're fine for at least a little while. But I have a teenage son who can thoroughly wash and dry his hands and they will still feel sticky. I don't know if it's a hormone thing or what?

EDIT: Oops, just noticed that you and your wife are the only people who handle the cards, so not likely this. Unless you married really young
 
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