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Subject: Why do board games warp? rss

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Whitby
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I have been through the posts and the over simplified answer is humidity.

People are saying they store their games horizontally instead of vertically for fear of warpage. I like to store vertically.

What is the physical mechanic causing board to warp when stored vertically?
If I keep the board sitting vertically in the box does that help or maybe I need pressure on the board itself?
 
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BG.EXE
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It's a difference in humidity between where the board was created/assembled and your local humidity. The components just need to adjust to their new normal conditions. Taking the board out and gently bending it back to the correct position, sometimes weighting it down for a bit in said position, will fix it. Storage approach doesn't affect this.
 
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maf man
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a typical board is made up of layers of different materials. Glue, paper, ink, matboard, all those make the board what it is. Each layer responds to the environmental conditions differently. Most notably each layer (or material) expands and shrinks at a different rate due to how much moisture it can absorb. Yes, temp plays a part, but we shorthand it to "humidity" because its really on how that moisture is interacting. This makes one layer larger or smaller than the layer its attached to and that difference is what pulls the board as a whole, warping it.

You can fight this impact by applying force.
the idea that how the game is stored has an impact is related to giving that board space to warp. typically when it is stored horizontally there is pressure holding it down; while vertical storage tends to be more loose. But that is just in general and can be changed.
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boardgamesdotEXE wrote:
It's a difference in humidity between where the board was created/assembled and your local humidity. The components just need to adjust to their new normal conditions. Taking the board out and gently bending it back to the correct position, sometimes weighting it down for a bit in said position, will fix it. Storage approach doesn't affect this.
I hear soup cans work.
 
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No One
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Kyle
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mafman6 wrote:
a typical board is made up of layers of different materials. Glue, paper, ink, matboard, all those make the board what it is. Each layer responds to the environmental conditions differently. Most notably each layer (or material) expands and shrinks at a different rate due to how much moisture it can absorb. Yes, temp plays a part, but we shorthand it to "humidity" because its really on how that moisture is interacting. This makes one layer larger or smaller than the layer its attached to and that difference is what pulls the board as a whole, warping it.

You can fight this impact by applying force.
the idea that how the game is stored has an impact is related to giving that board space to warp. typically when it is stored horizontally there is pressure holding it down; while vertical storage tends to be more loose. But that is just in general and can be changed.


Whether the board has 'space to warp' or not is irrelevant, are the fiber size will change due to humidity regardless. It will go to warped shape regardless when not constrained.

In other words, the answer is still humidity, storage has nothing to do with it. You live in southern ontario, wild swings in humidity will need to be reality.
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Mr Pavone
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My mother used to press flowers with a small press she had. It was two pieces of MDF with carriage bolts, washers and wing nuts on the corners. It was about 8"x10". There were multiple layers of newspaper to absorb moisture.
Maybe you could make the same sort of device, only large enough to fit a game board?
 
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Mary F
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I have been weighing down my warped Lords of Waterdeep board for 3 weeks with big books that cover the entire (folded) surface of the board. Took it out and it's actually a bit worse. Then did what my husband does (and always make me cringe) and physically applied pressure with hands (bent) the board. Perfect in 10 seconds.
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Jeremiah Power
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The player mats (beakers) from my copy of Potion Explosion were badly warped, so I laid them out underneath Gloomhaven for a week or so. They were fine after that, but have recently started to warp again.

I live in Arizona, and it hasn't rained for months, so it's made me wonder if there are other possible factors in addition to the humidity.
 
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Humidity is often the culprit but I'm confident that some of mine have warped because of storage. If humidity is the cause, all the boards will warp the same way, regardless of how they are stored (flat, upside down, right side up, sideways, etc). Some will even look wavy like rolling hills. If they are prone to moisture warp, some boards are so susceptible that they will warp when the are sitting flat on the table while you are playing.

However, if it is due to storage, the boards will be bent in the direction of gravity. I typically only see this if the boards are really really thin or pliable (bendy) and then given the room to tilt and sag or if heavy content is set on top of them with an uneven surface under them.

My preemptive measures to prevent both kinds of board warp:
1) I keep the little anti-moisture packets from shoes, etc. and put one in each game box.
2) I keep some cardboard on hand and cut fitted pieces putting as many as I need under the insert to keep everything snug in the box when it is fully closed.
3) Keep mostly even pressure against the each side of the boards when possible.
 
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Pete
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Cardboard (or really just about anything) warps because one side contracts faster than the other. Things contract because they dry out, and the function of humidity is that the side of the board exposed to humidity will contract less than the side not exposed to the humidity. So typically, when a board is exposed to high humidity, such as a damp basement, it will tend to warp toward the fold, because the exterior of the folded board will be exposed to moisture and thus not shrink, while the interior is denied moisture. If a folded board that has absorbed humidity is later placed in a very dry environment, including a well air-conditioned or heated interior space, the opposite will happen, as the exterior will dry faster than the interior.

I don't see how storing a game horizontally or vertically will affect that at all. I do recommend using desiccant packs (which you can get from vitamin or pill bottles or from various other purchases, or just buy them outright) because they will tend to absorb moisture more readily than your board will, preventing the imbalance in the first place.

I should note that for some boards, if they are incorrectly constructed, warping is inevitable. Different materials shrink over time at different rates, and if the wrong combination is used by a publisher, the bend is unavoidable. The last time I encountered this was with Deadlands: The Battle for Slaughter Gulch. The construction of the tiles was a kind of plastic sheet over the cardboard, and that virtually guaranteed warping over time.

My best solution has been to put warped boards under something heavy on a hot, humid day (my garage gets particularly nice and sweltering in the summer). After a few hours the whole combination is nice and expanded. Then you just have to make sure they dry out evenly, so I bring them into the air conditioned house and let them lie flat for a few days before stowing them.

Pete (pockets desiccant bags whenever he sees them)
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Mrs. "I pity the fool" T
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You can also buy big containers of dessicant at the store, usually in the laundry department. It can also be found at the hardware store in closets/storage.
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powerhouse wrote:
The player mats (beakers) from my copy of Potion Explosion were badly warped, so I laid them out underneath Gloomhaven for a week or so. They were fine after that, but have recently started to warp again.

I live in Arizona, and it hasn't rained for months, so it's made me wonder if there are other possible factors in addition to the humidity.


Obviously some areas in the world will be humid regardless but if not, it doesn't have to rain to cause humidity in a house. A family breathing in a house without enough air circulation is enough to cause condensation/humidity etc. I'm lucky to live in a really well ventilated old house so never have a problem even though it rains all the time. Houses need to breath and unfortunately, more modern buildings with air tight double glazing etc are doing the opposite and sealing things off meaning stale and humid air inside or sometimes just in certain corners where new fresh air just can't quite reach. Things like trickle vents in windows (opening windows for a little while each day if not), extractor fans in kitchens/bathrooms, not drying clothes indoors, maintaining even temps inside will help. But even tiny things like not putting furniture directly onto the wall and leaving an inch or so make a huge difference to the air circulating around the games so just in case, if your game shelf is in a well ventilated room with little changes to air temperature but against a wall with no space at the back, try and move it forward a little so air can get behind. If it's on an outside wall (especially if no cavity) and the temp is often different outside which will cause the wall to have more moisture, try relocating to an inside wall or simply putting it somewhere with more air circulation - where you get a draft maybe lol. Try and leave a small space around the games also if so jammed packed. It's surprising what tiny things can do
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Wilbert Kiemeneij
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I started out storing everything horizontally. The only trouble I had with warping boards was with the player boards in scythe and Gaia Project. When I ran low-ish on shelf space I started storing vertically. But then one day I noticed my Indonesia board had warped, where it had previously always been nice and flat. I then went back to storing most everything horizontally.
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Jimmy Smith
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prestoForresto wrote:
Why do board games warp?


To get to the other side
 
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Jens Witgeers
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jmsmith2434 wrote:
prestoForresto wrote:
Why do board games warp?


To get to the other side


Well, yes, but only if they have enough deuterium in their warpdrive for the matter-antimatter reaction...
 
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I love that there are actual answers to the why in this thread. If only we could have a standard way to fix the things!
 
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boardgamesdotEXE wrote:
It's a difference in humidity between where the board was created/assembled and your local humidity. The components just need to adjust to their new normal conditions.
This is partially accurate. It can also be the conditions in which the game was assembled and glued, period. In cases of extreme cold/dry and/or extreme humidity the gluing process can be compromised such that really no amount of trying to fix it will work--or at least will work entirely.

Book publishers occasionally have this issue with books assembled during extreme weather conditions. The books warp and can't really be fixed by customers or even in the warehouse when stored. The gluing conditions just weren't right for it.
signed, book editor who has dealt with this issue at work.
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