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Subject: Card sleves...why? rss

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David Murray
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So I'm pretty new to board gameing and own 12 games(and counting) with somewhat large footprints. I'm at that point of deciding if I should get sleves for my cards and I wonder if it's necessary. My cards are all in ziplocks now anyway. Why am I buying card sleves, to protect them when I spill my beer on the table? Won't my board and tokens be damaged anyway? It will cost me almost $100 to get all the sleves needed for my games and for that price I can get a new game with $ money left over....however, am I just building up the price for when I do get the card sleves? What to do...

Thoughts and opinions please...
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Greg Darcy
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I tried sleeving and gave it up after a while. Though the ones I sleeved still are.

Reasons to sleeve:
1. Expensive cards that are an "investment" Magic the Gathering comes to mind here.
2. To protect from, not so much the beer on the table, but the melted chocolate on the hands
3. Cards that get a lot of shuffling WILL get damaged/bent sooner or later. Sleeves will delay the inevitable.
4. If you want to add cards that are a bit different (e.g. home printed - PnP, or a different edition that are cut slightly different) then sleeves will help disguise the differences. Especially ones with opaque backs.

Reasons not to sleeve.
1. harder to shuffle. For the life of me I cannot riffle shuffle sleeved cards. That may just be me.
2. They are slippery - difficult to stack in a pile. This eases with use.
3. They may not fit back in the box. Sleeved cards are bigger than unsleeved ones.
4. Cost. Though a $5 box of sleeves is cheaper than a $50 game. $100 is a LOT of sleeves. I bet the games you are protecting cost a lot more than $100 to replace.
5. Time. It takes a significant amount of time to sleeve 100 cards.
6. Difficulty finding the "perfect" sleeve. Cards come in all sorts of different sizes and shapes. So do sleeves. But finding the exact right pairing can be a challenge. Though there is a geeklist that makes it much easier.

EDIT: Added link to sleeving geeklist.
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Norman L.
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depends on the game and quality/quantity of cards. If its a card based game that requires frequent shuffling (especially if the cards have black borders) then shuffling is a must for me. Also depends on what kind of sleeves you use. I use cheap sleeves that are enough to get the job done. If the price you pay for sleeves exceeds the amount you paid for the game, you are doing it wrong.
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Alison Mandible
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GregDarcy wrote:
Reasons not to sleeve.
1. harder to shuffle. For the life of me I cannot riffle shuffle sleeved cards. That may just be me.

Don't riffle shuffle sleeved cards, you'll just make the sleeves tear open at the corners.

I just "side shuffle" (split the deck into two halves and moosh one half into the other from the side) and it seems to go okay. Easier than riffle shuffling and, as a bonus, doesn't bend the cards at all.
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Pasi Ojala
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GregDarcy wrote:
Reasons to sleeve:

5. You are expecting expansions and playing the game a lot.

GregDarcy wrote:
1. harder to shuffle. For the life of me I cannot riffle shuffle sleeved cards. That may just be me.

You don't riffle shuffle cards if you cared enough to sleeve them in the first place. You mash-shuffle sleeved cards, and sleeves make it easier.
GregDarcy wrote:
2. They are slippery - difficult to stack in a pile. This eases with use.

Yes, it goes away quickly when you play and shuffle the cards. (There are about 3-4 reasons why sleeves are slippery at first.)
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Lang Bedang
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A few other reasons:

1) Some games depend on not knowing the card from the backs. Any nicks or creases that would make such a set of cards distinguishable could ruin the game.

2) Expansions. If a base game has gotten enough play, then trying to add a new set of cards would be difficult as there would be an obvious difference. Also see #1

3) Printing errors/tolerances. Some card backs will have different shades, or could be cut to different sizes. This can affect shuffling. Also see #1

4) Hobby-factor. I find sleeving meditative / therapeutic.
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Greg Darcy
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Normiyagi wrote:
If the price you pay for sleeves exceeds the amount you paid for the game, you are doing it wrong.


Not necessarily. The value equation should be based on replacement cost rather than purchase cost.
If you picked up the original for$1 at a thrift store, have fallen in love with it and would need to spend $100 to replace the game, then sleeving could be a good idea.

Of course, if it cost $100 but you don't particularly care for the game and won't replace it, then even $1/100 sleeves are a waste of money.
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Brandon Kosta
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GregDarcy wrote:

Reasons not to sleeve.
1. harder to shuffle. For the life of me I cannot riffle shuffle sleeved cards. That may just be me.
2. They are slippery - difficult to stack in a pile. This eases with use.
3. They may not fit back in the box. Sleeved cards are bigger than unsleeved ones.
4. Cost. Though a $5 box of sleeves is cheaper than a $50 game. $100 is a LOT of sleeves. I bet the games you are protecting cost a lot more than $100 to replace.
5. Time. It takes a significant amount of time to sleeve 100 cards.
6. Difficulty finding the "perfect" sleeve. Cards come in all sorts of different sizes and shapes. So do sleeves. But finding the exact right pairing can be a challenge. Though there is a geeklist that makes it much easier.


As an avid sleever, I definitely think some thought should be put into this decision for everyone but definitely understand if it's not for you. Here are my thoughts on these points.

1. It is indeed harder to ruffle shuffle, but if you're sleeving, that's no longer the most effective method. Sleeves make it so much easier to mash shufflup. Just take half of the deck, but it side-by-side with the other half, and shimmy them together until they're mixed. You can get as good as a riffle shuffle with some practice.

2. This is the one I don't have an argument for and the reason I don't sleeve "every" game of mine (just the vast majority). This issue can be a serious PITA. Certain sleeves (with textured backs) don't suffer from this as much as ones like KMC Perfect Fits.

3. This is also a consideration and the reason I prefer KMC Perfect Fits (despite issue #2).

4. Hmm... these are good points, although you can find bundles and bulk orders of sleeves that really cut the prices.

5. Maybe I've been sleeving for too long, but I wouldn't say significant. I can sleeve a small box expansion of Legendary Marvel (100 cards) in less than 10 minutes.

6. I consider this more of an inconvenience. The different sizes are usually so easy to find on Amazon or individual company websites. That geek list is a life saver though. This is what causes sleeving to be expensive because you may only need a half pack of a weird size of sleeves, but you obviously can't buy a half pack.


Sleeving is definitely something I would consider. Maybe get enough of a cheaper brand sleeve for one of your games to try them out and see if they're for you.
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Jonathan Schindler
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I play mostly at lunch, so sleeving is a must for most games, even though my friends are careful players.

I also sleeve to protect resale value. A game that is in good condition will sell for more than one that is in poor condition, and I'm frequently trading or selling.
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UP Games
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If you play a game for more than 5 times, it would be better to get card sleves for that game to protect cards.
 
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Carl Frodge
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You don't need sleeves.

The only time I would recommend them is if the cards getting damaged can ruin the game (like in bluffing games, if you know "oh, the werewolf card is damaged, so I know you're a werewolf.") Otherwise, they're not necessary.

As a game designer, I use sleeves for prototyping.

The only other time when they'd be especially necessary is if you play TCG/LCG/ECG's, as they are required for tournament play, and the cards themselves (at least in the case of TCG's) have market value, and lose that value if they get damaged.
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Greg Gresik
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I only sleeve cards that are from games that would be hard or expensive to replace. I also sleeve cards where the "anonymity" of the card is important over time (hidden role cards, etc.)
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Martin Larouche
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I use opaque sleeves when expansion cards don't have exactly the same back color than the cards from the base game. Many of those you can tell if the next card coming from a pile comes from an expansion or not.

Takenoko chibis vs the Takenoko rectangle first printing box comes to mind.
The old Talisman 2nd edition had drastically different colored backs...

The opaque sleeves solve that issue.
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Greg Darcy
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a1bert wrote:
GregDarcy wrote:
1. harder to shuffle. For the life of me I cannot riffle shuffle sleeved cards. That may just be me.

You don't riffle shuffle cards if you cared enough to sleeve them in the first place. You mash-shuffle sleeved cards, and sleeves make it easier.

Yes I quickly discovered that mashing is pretty much the best way of shuffling sleeved cards. That and xx card pickup.

However, I disagree that riffling damages the cards if you do it properly.
Yes the big showy ones you see in the movies will damage cards in short order, but a minimalist bend causes next to no damage. And the slight curve in the cards can be overcome by regularly turning the deck upside down. I find a combination of riffle and overhand is the most effective shuffle. One breaks runs. The other breaks order.
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Greg Darcy
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Mrnemo636 wrote:

6. I consider this more of an inconvenience. The different sizes are usually so easy to find on Amazon or individual company websites. That geek list is a life saver though. This is what causes sleeving to be expensive because you may only need a half pack of a weird size of sleeves, but you obviously can't buy a half pack.


You're in the US. Not a problem for you.
Here in Australia, you can be hit with a $50 shipping charge on a $5 order. It doesn't happen all the time but it DOES happen. You have to REALLY want that $5 item to not abandon the trolley.
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K S
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GregDarcy wrote:
You have to REALLY want that $5 item to not abandon the trolley.

Things I learned: "abandon the trolley" is apparently the Australian equivalent of the US expression "jump ship".
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lizzie j
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You don't have to sleeve every game (though I know some people do). I have sleeved some games in my collection for various reasons and in retrospect some were good choices and some were not.

1. King of Tokyo - first game I sleeved. Waste of time, the cards aren't used nearly enough to warrant the cost or effort. Plus the cards didn't fit in the insert any longer. But I was lucky cos I managed to use those sleeves for another game.
2. Sheriff of Nottingham - I stole the sleeves from my King of Tokyo cards and put them to use here. Since Sheriff of Nottingham is a bluffing game, any marks could let you know what the card is. In all honesty I probably still didn't need to sleeve these cards but I like them as they are.
3. Summoner Wars: Master Set - I wasted heaps of time sleeving this one. I couldn't get sleeves that fit perfectly so cut each one to size. The main purpose of sleeving them is cos you can grab two decks and the paper map (from one of the earlier packs) and take them tramping/hiking.

4. Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game - some cards get used way more than others so I chose to sleeve. I could have used normal sleeves but went for branded ones instead. They're very expensive but I love them. They make shuffling so easy, they look good and I can't tell if it is a Shield Agent at the top of my deck or some epic card. Totally worth it cos I love that game.
 
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Tor Iver Wilhelmsen
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GregDarcy wrote:
3. Cards that get a lot of shuffling WILL get damaged/bent sooner or later. Sleeves will delay the inevitable.

Only because 99% of hobby card game publishers don't make the effort that regular playing card manufacturers have made for ages, with quality card stock and proper finish that protect them. Sleeves is a duct tape solution to a problem that adding the $20 you spent on sleeves on better card quality would have avoided.
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After two years of playing I began to sleeve cards.

It can become expensive .. it did for me.

But I looked at your list. The only game there I'd suggest sleeving is Viticulture. The cards are small and held in hand. I played this game 20+ times last year.

Why sleeve? My criteria includes projected frequency of play, potential number of people handling them (I take /teach a local convention... could add 12 unknowns in a weekend), and finally size/construction. Some cards are more easily damaged.

I only have one game I wished I had sleeved: Oh My Goods!
I played it 12+ times in 3-4 months, each time teaching new people. The cards already feel dirty. By the way, I disagree with the comment above me. The cards in Oh My Goods are on proper card stock and nicely finished, but they are frequently handled in the course of a single game. More than an average deck.
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Ad Astra Per Aspera
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I sleeve almost all of my games.

A lot of the cheaper games such as Love Letter get sleeves because we play the hell out of them. And 16 sleeves for love letter is cheaper than buying Love letter every time the cards get grungy.

The only games I don't sleeve are typical family games where the games are cheaper than the card sleeves (Uno, Skip-Bo, etc.).

Ultimately, the choice to sleeve is yours.

I don't think sleeves will ever save you from a spilled beer. They're not really meant to. They're meant to keep a card clean from grubby hands and to stop them from being trashed by repeated riffle shuffles. They're not mean to be used as spoons for chocolate pudding or to prevent spilled liquids.

Better yet, don't sleeve anything. It's cheaper that way. When and if you find yourself needing to replace cards/games, then you can consider sleeves.
 
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Ben Bosmans
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I think we sleeve too much.

If you play a game less than 10 times a year, there really is no need to protect those cards if you shuffle the cards a few times per session.

Only when the game is very intensive of shuffling and you play it on a weekly basis, it is absolutely needed.

Games I am not using sleeves for: Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game. Too few times played.

Games I only sleeve on actual playing the active cards (cost effective) The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

Games I started to sleeve and really shouldn't have ... Eldritch Horror

Games I am happy to have sleeved because of extensive wear Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game, Elder Sign (Tarot sized sleeves are beautiful).

Perhaps games that are rare or expensive should be sleeved too like Up Front.


 
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Ian Rose
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Only game I've sleeved is Arctic Scavengers. The card stock is crap and noticed damage to cards after a couple of games.
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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David murray wrote:
Why am I buying card sleves, to protect them when I spill my beer on the table? Won't my board and tokens be damaged anyway?


Use beer funds to buy sleeves, problem solved .

Quote:
It will cost me almost $100 to get all the sleves needed for my games and for that price I can get a new game with $ money left over....however, am I just building up the price for when I do get the card sleves? What to do...

Thoughts and opinions please...


Yeah, don't buy premium sleeves except for cards of specific size. Quick look at your collection, Eldrich Horror has those specific size cards, in typical FFG fashion. But for a game like A Touch of Evil, penny sleeves all the way. To me, FFP game cards are almost too thick to shuffle properly, I constantly worry about the corner scuffing quickly, plus they are really sticky-icky fresh from the box. Sleeves solve both those issues and being standard size cards, won't need to get gung-go with expensive sleeves, probably sleeve that game for $2-3 total.

For games like Eldrich and AToE, especially if you plan on getting expansions, would suggest sleeves ASAP, that way your base game cards won't have crazy amount of wear and tear by the time you add fresh cards from expansions to their decks. Also true for deck-builders, not sure you had any of those yet.
 
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Zsolt Lengyel
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I sleeve all of my games i always calculate the FFG sleeves into the buying price.
The main purpose of doing it is that once i bought a game i don't want to buy them again because they are damaged.
The second and maybe the more important reason is that the games are available now won't be in the future. Usually only the top bgg games get frequent reprint so damaged part which needs replacement means you must find it in the second hand market.
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Erik G
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I never sleeve anything. Some of our games looks worn down (7 wonders, hanabi, pinguin party, great dalmuti) since we played them a lot, over 100 times each. But since all the cards look the same, there is no need to replace the game, it still plays fine.
 
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