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Subject: Wearing out games - does it happen? rss

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f s
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It is an ever-recurring topic and I know that here have been a few forum threads and geeklists on this.
Nevertheless.

We had a few threads in which people (me included) confessed that they have replacement copies for some of their games, in case the wear out.

Why I can totally see an accident ruining a game:

Have you ever worn out a game to the point of the game becoming actually unplayable, so that it had to be replaced?

From my experience, this seems unlikely to happen. I have a few card games that show signs of wear, but nothing serious. One copy of Wizard has been replaced after being played multiple times a days over a few months. Also, I have seen a few decks of traditional playing cards in need of replacement. But that is it.

It is thus my theory that wearing out of games rarely, if ever, happens. Can you prove me wrong?
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Andreas Pettersson
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They tend to get worn but even my copy of Onirim holds up after 100+ plays with each play having the deck shuffled repeatedly. It's worn, but in no way unplayable. Unless I start mistreating it it will hold up for quite a while yet.
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maf man
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It depends on how you define "accident" and "unplayable"
would you call a kid playing with a game an accident?
would you call a card becoming warn enough to see a mark on the back unplayable?

would you say carcassonne is unplayable after the tiles get enough wear to get to the point where some are frayed more than others and you know when you reach into that bag if you feel a more frayed tiles its more likely to be a monastery?
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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Depends who I am playing with. Some people bend cards a lot. People I have played games with. They don't realize they are doing it. So in my case, it would not be wear due to repeated play but damage due to one or two plays.

If I was pickier than I am about cards being indistinguishable, then I would have a couple of games that either need the cards to be sleeved or replaced. Right now, it doesn't really matter to me.
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Achim
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I do not have any replacement copies, but I had to order replacement cards for Catan - even though they had never been shuffled, the resources were in a pretty bad shape after ~25 plays.
Also, like you, I had a copy of Wizard which was worn out pretty badly after 10-15 plays. We would have replaced it, but instead we bought Skull King, which is pretty much the same game.
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Ryan Feathers
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I used to play Heroscape often during high school. My most used set of dice eventually became unplayable--the printed symbols on them for attack and defense slowly started wearing down over the course of dozens to hundreds of games, when it eventually got to the point some faces were so worn as to become unplayable.

Of course anyone who plays that much Heroscape likely owns several master sets each which comes with more dice, so I wasn't at a shortage for new ones. But I would say that really did get played enough to become unplayable. (I suppose you could get new d6 and say 1 = blank, 2,3 = defense, 4-6=h hit).


I've worn a few decks of playing cards down after thousands of hands of traditional card games. I have a nice deck of plastic playing cards that is essentially worn down to being unplayable for most games. This is because I used it heavily for Sheepshead which uses only 32 cards. So the 2-6 of each suit isn't used in that game. That deck of cards is now worn so that the 32 cards are quite obvious due to their wear, but the remaining cards are not, making it easy to tell which is which even from the backside. As such I only use that deck for Sheepshead (or Euchre).


My copy of Dominion is starting to get to the point where many of the Estates are quite worn. I don't think it is unplayable, but it may be possible for players to determine what is at the top of their draw pile if they were really caring that much.


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Oliver Dienz
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Love Letter: With the cheap card stock they used it only took about a dozen plays for the cards to show significant wear. Unfortunately, at that point you sometimes do not even have to guess anymore which card the other player is holding. The next copy will be sleeved. (For the first I lacked the time as I bought it as a "travel" game just before vacation.)

However, I agree with the overall sentiment that it is actually rare for a game to be worn out through normal use to be unplayable.
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Russ Williams
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ShaneOMac wrote:
I do not have any replacement copies, but I had to order replacement cards for Catan - even though they had never been shuffled, the resources were in a pretty bad shape after ~25 plays.
Also, like you, I had a copy of Wizard which was worn out pretty badly after 10-15 plays. We would have replaced it, but instead we bought Skull King, which is pretty much the same game.

Cards worn out and needing to be replaced after only 10-15 or 25 plays?!?!

That is bizarre to me. I have games with cards which we've played well over 100 times with no problems.
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f s
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mafman6 wrote:

would you call a kid playing with a game an accident?
would you call a card becoming warn enough to see a mark on the back unplayable?

would you say carcassonne is unplayable after the tiles get enough wear to get to the point where some are frayed more than others and you know when you reach into that bag if you feel a more frayed tiles its more likely to be a monastery?


yes to all these cases.

The case with the mark on the back of the card depends on circumstances. If it is visible without close inspection, I would say yes.
But even then - if it is one of those card sizes where you could find sleeves with opaque backs, you could use those.

Still, yes to all these cases.
 
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f s
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bwingrave wrote:
Depends who I am playing with. Some people bend cards a lot. People I have played games with. They don't realize they are doing it. So in my case, it would not be wear due to repeated play but damage due to one or two plays.


Reminds me of a group of Spanish (or Latin American?) card players I once watched in a cafe. They all had the habit of folding the card when they placed it on the table. Not bending it a bit, but folding it so hard that creases showed.

Creases on (all) the cards did not seem to impact their play.

That was interesting to watch.
 
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    My Shadows Over Camelot has significant wear to the cards now, likely after about 10 plays. Still playable, but they're starting to look beat.

    Games do wear out. I think most people overestimate how many times they've played a game so they don't appreciate the wear that occurs. I looked up my Shadows Over Camelot plays -- 5, likely all on my copy and I would have guessed double or triple that many . . . may have missed logging a couple early on.

    My buddy runs an educational gaming group where he provides all the games and he has to attend to maintenance and replacement. Games do wear out, especially with younger players.

    All of this assumes I have permission to post in this thread, of course. Russ?

             S.

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Kim Williams
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My base game of Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game, should probably be replaced. The cards that get used in every game (start cards, scheme twists, master strikes etc) are so much more worn than the other cards that you know when one's coming up (both in your hero decks and in the villain deck).

We have played 132 games, though, so the contrast between a card that's played 132 games vs one of the proper heroes, that may have had as little as 5 games, isn't too surprising. Of course it's still playable, but you have knowledge of what's coming next that you shouldn't have, that can often be to your advantage. (I suppose we could also draw from the bottom of decks instead of the top, but that's cumbersome).
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Sagrilarus wrote:

I think most people overestimate how many times they've played a game so they don't appreciate the wear that occurs.
(...)
Games do wear out, especially with younger players.


Both good points, which I think are true. One of the reason our games do not wear out is that we do not play them enough. (I also do sleeve most cards, so I have little first hand experience).


But: Visible marks after 10 plays seems really quick though.
 
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Jamie Hankins
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I've seen copies of games at board game cafes get pretty beaten up and worn, but a combination of treating games with respect and sleeving would have prevented the kind of damage I've seen from heavy use (and even 'heavy wear' might not render a game unplayable).
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I have Why in my collection. It's from the early 60's. The board, pawns and cards are still original. The dice got lost somewhere so those are replaced.

I got this when my grandfather died. My father played this games with my uncles and aunt, I played it with my nieces and sister growing up. And, even though very rarely, I play it with my gamegroup.
This game has been through alot but it is still not worn out.

Also, we used to play Tsuro at work during lunch break. We played this 3 times per day, 4 days a week for over a year. 3 x 4 x 52(at least) = a minimum of 624 plays. You can see thatthis game has been played alot but it doesn't show 600+ plays.

Nowadays we play Straw at lunch. We didn't quite hit the 200 plays mark but even though I riffle shuffle between rounds. The cards are still not worn out.

edit: typo
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maf man
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Si Fei wrote:
The case with the mark on the back of the card depends on circumstances. If it is visible without close inspection, I would say yes.
But even then - if it is one of those card sizes where you could find sleeves with opaque backs, you could use those.

well I think your splitting hairs then.
If you have to sleeve a game isn't that a sign that the game is unplayable?

There will always be something you can do to prolong the life of a game so you can make the argument that a game can last forever but the real reason it can is because you can replace all the components. Or is that the concern, the point of replacement? I assume thats always up to cost of options. I tend to try to buy decks of cards from garage sales near a casino, so I can replace those on a whim.
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Kjell Wiqvist
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Not today.
But back in time, we didnt have many games.

Our Finans game was played bilions of times, and, more or less, fell in pieces after 40 years.
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mafman6 wrote:
Si Fei wrote:
The case with the mark on the back of the card depends on circumstances. If it is visible without close inspection, I would say yes.
But even then - if it is one of those card sizes where you could find sleeves with opaque backs, you could use those.

well I think your splitting hairs then.
If you have to sleeve a game isn't that a sign that the game is unplayable?

There will always be something you can do to prolong the life of a game so you can make the argument that a game can last forever but the real reason it can is because you can replace all the components. Or is that the concern, the point of replacement? I assume thats always up to cost of options. I tend to try to buy decks of cards from garage sales near a casino, so I can replace those on a whim.


I agree. Except on the splitting hairs comment. I was trying to a) cover that case and b) make a potentially useful remark.

Oh, now that I remember it: I have put the combat cards of my copy of Drachenhort into (badly fitting, over-sized) opaque sleeves, since they were easily identified from their backsides.
 
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Sadly, I just don't know. I have yet to get any of my games to the table enough times to know. Granted that is in large part my fault. I hate playing games frequently within a short time span.
I like me some gameplay variety.

In particular, I don't have enough play sessions to get my games played in high enough frequency to test this. Plus I sleeve everything due to some unfortunate food/drink accidents and some cards getting ragged edges just by unpacking the game / during first use.

Of the games with the highest play count, these seem to be doing just fine. Some of my oldest (and highest played) games did a good job of surviving without sleeves (Fluxx, Munchkin, standard card decks, Coup, Ascension, etc.). All of those games mostly involved cards. The quality of components differ depending on the source (and sometimes age) of the game. I do not have too many people who are particularly punishing to the games (and if I notice anything concerning I put a stop to it).
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Joe Salamone
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I've never worn out a game. But I've seen worn-out copies of other people's games. For example, a copy of Catan in which the resource cards were pretty worn out.
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Forgot to add: what I constitute as 'worn out' is when the cards/tiles start getting sticky or difficult to shuffle due to age or use. The surfaces of the components are marred or warped to the point of having distinctive marked cards or scuffing that makes the components look terrible or hard to read. If there are missing pieces that are not easily replaced.

If it's a deck of standard cards it basically has to be completely mutilated because I don't really care what those look like. But if the game is very thematic and supposed to be visually compelling, lots of scuffs and damage would be unappealing. I use my games to entice new people to try gaming and I like to enjoy their artwork while I play. Both get diminished with damaged components.
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I have "worn" games, but I've not seen a worn out game. The cards maybe lived in, but it still plays fine.
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Michael Banta
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I had a copy of victory in the pacific that we had played so many times that about half the counters had the ink so worn that you had a hard time reading some of the numbers especially the red on the Japanese counters. I had to replace the counter sets with one of the ones from Camelot games.
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Si Fei wrote:

I agree. Except on the splitting hairs comment. I was trying to a) cover that case and b) make a potentially useful remark.

I just mean to say the difference between needing to replace a game and needing to do something to preserve it mind as well both be called what you do at the point of unplayable.
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We have lost 2 canasta sets, one scrabble game, and shredded a copy of clue.
Monopoly was also replaced. Can you tell what were my childhood games?
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