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Subject: Are Card Sleeves a Necessary Evil? rss

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Hank Arkin
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While the texture of the cards allows one to feel the game, does extensive play necessitate the use of card sleeves to protect the integrity of the cards?

Mayday is clearly profiting from the trend with excellent products and Fantasy Flight is entering the market with a complete line-up to fit all sizes of cards.

Are these entrepreneurial activities an attempt to garner additional monies from the gaming public or are these products life enhancers of gaming components.


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Are Card Sleeves a necessary evil?
Yes - Please Explain
No - Please Explain
      152 answers
Poll created by Oxybeles
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
Mayday saw a need and filled it - more power to them. I don't see them as doing anything other than providing something that people want.

As for whether or not sleeves are necessary - absolutely not. I'd rather play with unsleeved cards and if I'm lucky enough to play a game long enough that wear causes a problem, then I'll get another copy.
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
Cards have a good feel in your hand for about 3 games with a reasonable amount of handling. Afterwards, they lose their crispness and feel due to sweat and oils from your hands.

Cards in sleeves have a good feel in your hand after about the third game of playing. The oils from your hand actually makes them feel and stack better.

How many times are you planning on playing your games?
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
Quote:
Are these entrepreneurial activities an attempt to garner additional monies from the gaming public or are these products life enhancers of gaming components.


Both, and I'm glad Mayday has started a bit of a craze.

I don't think anyone can argue that cards with properly fitting sleeves will last longer than those without. I work at a casino and I can tell you that even WE discard CASINO GRADE playing cards after no longer than 12 hours on the floor from all the handling. Every time cards are handled, the pick up oils from players hands, then dirt and grime, including the shed skin cells. Card material is paper. Paper is also absorbent and it doesn't take much, depending on quality for the cards to wick the moisture from a spilled drink, sweaty palms, or even the humidity in the air. While sleeves won't help fight the humidity much, they can help fight the rest. They will also help protect against card marking, which can effect game integrity. If one or two cards are marked in a deck, you'll never know whether or not players take advantage of that knowledge or not. Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in this instance. Now obviously places like casinos and poker parlours are NOT going to use sleeves. Their cards WILL get abused and damaged and it's just much easier and cost effective to replace the cards at regular intervals. For those of us that CAN'T afford to buy new copies of each of our games, just for new cards when they get damaged or worn, there are sleeves from companies like Mayday, FF, and the few foreign companies in markets like Korea.

I hope Mayday's ventures spurs other companies to join the fray as competition should drive quality up and prices down.
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
My problem is good card sleeves aren't that cheap. Spending more than a game itself to protect a game that might get played once every 3 months isn't worthwhile for me. A few exceptions would be an out of print game or when excessive card shuffling is needed. Even then, I'd rather buy a 2nd copy of a game like Dominion that playing with card sleeves.
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Nicolás Mutis Mesa
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
Related question: How can you shuffle with sleeves? What kinds of shuffles can you use?
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Rishi A.
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
Dominion is the only game I have sleeved. Because of all the shuffling and the fact that certain cards (most notably the coppers and estates) saw more use, the problem was that certain cards eventually got "marked." I did buy a second copy of Dominion as the first one was unsleeved. The eye-opener was when I got the promo cards (after about 40 plays), and it wasn't difficult at all to figure out which were the new cards and which were the old cards.

In other games, where all cards have equal use, I don't see the point of sleeving. You really have to play the game a lot to make a difference, but if you do, I think it's worth the investment.

Also, when I used to play Magic: The Gathering, I would sleeve my cards as well, but only because the cards had more value if they had less wear and tear.
 
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
I voted "No" because I don't think card protectors are evil at all.

In my experience unless you are playing with extremely high quality cards, the nice texture of cards lasts about three games. Then they become gummy and sticky just from the oils on people's hands.

The only tactile element I don't like about card protectors is the non-rounded corners. Unless you are playing with textured cards, there is not much of a difference in feel. Otherwise using them is only marginally less practical than not and the cards last a lot longer.

Having said that, I only use card protectors on games where cards get handled. In games like Talisman where you don't hold a hand of cards, protectors are unnecessary. Games where a few cards get handled much more than any of the others but still need to remain hidden in hand almost require card protectors just to keep the cards from getting obviously marked.
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
I don't think they are either necessary or evil.

I just like them, especially for games like Bohnanza, Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot and San Juan, which despite countless hours of playtime, still all look brand new.

Oh, and I pile shuffle my sleeved cards.
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Andy Van Zandt
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
no, absolutely not. having played a ton of Magic The Gathering in my life, I think a lot of board gamers don't realize that sleeves start showing heavy wear/markings or start splitting SOONER than the cards will. Additionally, with most games, you will not play it enough to generate extreme wear anyway. Of the very small percentage that you do play enough, as long as all the cards get about the same use, they will wear roughly evenly, and thus the wear isn't relevant. So if you sleeve a game in any of those situations, you'll ALMOST always end up paying more in sleeves than you would for a new copy of the game.

The only time you should sleeve is when you've got cards that very specifically do not wear evenly AND see heavy play AND see heavy handling in the game AND where the backs are up on the table for a big chunk of the game (most "cheatable" markings are easy to hide if the cards are constantly in player's hands)- one of very few examples i can think of are the role cards in citadels, because of the expansion ones.

or if the game is exceedingly rare.

That said, lots of people are overly concerned about the condition of their games anyway, so i don't expect quantifiable reasoning to stop them from being over-protective.
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
Sleeving cards is its own reward. Fire up a Seinfeld DVD, and start sleeving your way to a Zen state. Empty your mind, pick up a card pop in the sleeve, tap it down to the bottom of the sleeve, pick up another card...

Bliss...

Ooooooohhhhhhhmmmmmmmmm.
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
The problem I'm having is finding sleeves for varied card sizes, like Lost Cities and especially Queen's Gambit (considering the latter is out of print). Am I just not looking hard enough? (very likely)
 
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Jesse Murphy
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
If I had a game I loved to play, and absolutely could not get another copy of, I'd sleeve the cards. Otherwise, I don't find sleeves to be a good solution. Terrible 'hand-feel,' irritating to shuffle, increased deck size, pointy, painful corners (try taking a sleeve to the eye...). Plus, as mentioned above, sleeves do tend to age poorly. The plastic stiffens and cracks, whether the cards are used or not.
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Pete Belli
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
Neither necessary nor evil...

...but extremely useful when creating prototypes because any scrap of paper -- including old business cards from a nearly defunct board game design studio -- can be slapped into a card protector and used as part of a game.

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Steve Wagner
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
jmmurphy wrote:
If I had a game I loved to play, and absolutely could not get another copy of, I'd sleeve the cards. Otherwise, I don't find sleeves to be a good solution. Terrible 'hand-feel,' irritating to shuffle, increased deck size, pointy, painful corners (try taking a sleeve to the eye...). Plus, as mentioned above, sleeves do tend to age poorly. The plastic stiffens and cracks, whether the cards are used or not.


Couldn't say it any better. I also played Magic in the time before sleeves when players had to use the Power 9 in their decks without sleeves or proxies. I did use sleeves for some other games, but never again!
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
I don't sleeve everything, it's not generally worth it.
Where cards are likeley to take a pounding (Dominion, Race for the Galaxy), or are expandable and nbeed to not be marked by play (Runebound, Race for the Galaxy), I'll sleave them as it typically saves me money.

I'm only sorry I didn't sleeve RftG sooner.
 
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Chris Blakeley
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
Necessary? No. Occasionally useful? Sure.

I just sleeved my copy of Race for the Galaxy (I'm sensing a theme here!) because if my friends and I have our way, it's going to see a lot of play. I don't really like them like this, but it's a pretty good investment for the base and an expansion. I'd probably even take a set of sleeves for Lost Cities.

But I have a lot of card games and, honestly, I expect damage. I won't be crushed if my copy of Guillotine gets a little dinged up or Munchkin or Chrononauts. And after watching a friend buy a copy of Dominion on impulse and then drop an equal amount for the sleeves, I find the idea of going that far overboard to be kind of extreme.

It's the same with books, comics or music: I want to read or watch or play, not encase an object in Lucite so it can last for eternity just out of my reach.
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Karl
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
Necessary for a very limited number of games. Namely these are Dominion and Citadels (character cards only) for me. I don't mind worn out cards at all as longs as they don't hinder game play.

The only other reason I sleeved cards so far was when I was goint to play with them in a bad environment (bar, ...).
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
Sleeves are really only necessary if:

* You play a game where cards see a different frequency of use - so many CCGs fall in this category, those clutch cards you play every game start to be 'marked' when the wear on them is greater than the less used cards.

* You play a game where the cards are handled constantly and passed around (eg. Citadels) - unless you don't care having beat up cards.

* You play card games in languages you can't read and use 'paste ups', its easy with sleeves, just insert a bit of paper in front of the card showing the translated text

* You play valuable out of print card games and really don't want to see it get damaged (eg. Up Front)

* You have a game that has marked cards - using sleeves with coloured backs means your cards aren't marked anymore

* You play a game like Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game and have cards from a different edition/version that have different backs (Call of Cthulhu: Collectible Card Game) you can mix the two.

* You play in an environment where the cards might get damaged (a bar or club etc)

* You have a game which has really bad card stock, using a heavy weight sleeve for those helps.

Shuffling with sleeves is more difficult, sleeved cards take up more room, so often won't fit in the insert.
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
I have partially sleeved one game. One set of cards in my Perry Rhodan is sleeved with english translations. I've also used sleeves for prototpye and/or print and play games. I do have other games for which I've traded that came sleeved.

If I play a game enough to wear out the cards, I"ve gotten enough enjoyment from it that I don't begrudge the publisher and author another royalty. I have "had" to re-acquire games when expansions came out if there was enough wear showing on the original cards.

I prefer the feel and look of unsleeved cards. I find them easier to shuffle as well. They also store and stack better.
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
I sleeved Agricola, as I had the English pasteups for the German version of the game. Otherwise, I don't bother. If my game gets worn down, I'll live with it.

But, I don't blame someone who does.
 
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
If you love a game enough to wear it out to unusability - support the company and buy another.
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Ryan Powers
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
Geosphere wrote:
If you love a game enough to wear it out to unusability - support the company and buy another.


I would if they were still available. Most of the games I've bothered to sleeve are fairly small runs (which also often have poorer card quality) that aren't likely to be made available again anytime soon. Not in a way that supports the company anyhow.

If I figure I'm likely to be able to buy another copy, I don't sleeve them, as I prefer using non-sleeved cards. And as you say, if I've gotten that much use/enjoyment out of them it's worthwhile. It's the games where replacement will be difficult to impossible that generally get sleeved. (And the role cards in Citadels)
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Sean Todd
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
Necessary? No. Evil? No.

I happen to like sleeves. It took a while to get the knack for pile shuffling in sleeves (you have to do it side-to-side instead of end-to-end). You can also shuffle sleeved cards by pushing one corner of a stack into the side of the other stack. Much easier for beginnning shufflers which makes playing Dominion with sons ages 12 and 9 more practical.

There are games I don't intend on sleeving and others I wouldn't be happy playing without sleeves.

If you don't like sleeves, no one is going to twist your arm and make you use them. Personally I like the tactile feel of good sleeves, but I don't like penny sleeves which don't hold the cards tightly enough for my taste.

For CCG's sleeves are also good for deck building training for kids. Kids tend to want to put all their good cards into a deck until its about six inches high. Sleeves force some discipline since they need to take a card out to add a new one.
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Mik Svellov
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Re: Are Card Sleeves a Necesary Evil?
I don't like card sleeves, but use a lot of them!

Reasons?
Cards are easier to handle without sleeves, so I prefer to buy a second (or third) copy of a game in order to avoid sleeving the cards.

However, some games are either impossible to find, or very expensive, or simply played so much that sleeving the cards make sense.
 
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