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Subject: To laminate, or not to laminate? rss

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Lyle T
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I have a small personal laminating machine, and I've been thinking of laminating some of the thinner components to games. For example, Coats of Arms for Shadows over Camelot, race sheets for Twilight Imperium, and the damage tracking sheets for Pirate's Cove.
I've been torn, though. Part of me wants to keep the components in their original condition, and part of me wants to take this protective measure.
What do you think?
 
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Mark Taraba
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I'm pretty sure they all have a coating on them to help protect from UV, moisture and general handling. The part that's not protected would be the edge of the card where the paper is exposed.
 
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Simon Hunt
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When I received my copy of the "Game Trade" magazine which included the "Sir Bedivere" figure, I was disappointed to discover that a coat of arms card of the style and quality of the game was not included - rather a "cut along the dotted lines" image was printed on one of the magazine pages, and, worse still, the other side of the page did not have the "traitor" side of the card, but some advertisement for some other game.

Visiting the Days of Wonder website I found and downloaded their pdf files of the Sir Bedivere coat of arms (and traiter reverse side). Printing them on my inkjet, gluing the pages back to back and trimming with an XActo Knife left me with an inferior version of a coat of arms card.

Being the perfectionist I am, I held my breath, took the plunge, and laminated the 7 coat of arms cards supplied with the game, and the 8th one I had just constructed. I am glad to say that the effort was worth the trouble, as now you can barely tell the difference between the Sir Bedivere coat of arms and the others. (If I had used slightly heavier paper, I don't think you would be able to tell the difference at all).

So, for me, it was worth the risk (and the ridicule.. my wife is always teasing me about my passion for laminating things!) But I would understand anyone who decided that they didn't want to risk damaging their game.
 
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Burke Glover
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My personal laminating experience was terrible. After many plays of Settlers of Catan, my resource cards had become downright nasty. So I decided to try laminating them. It turned out to be a huge mistake. At first it was ok, but after a couple games the corners began to peel... now my cards are a horrendous mess of peeling plastic. Just handling them makes a loud racket of crinkling sounds, and trying to just rip the plastic off makes things worse.

I guess my lesson from this is don't laminate components such as cards that are very heavily handled. Other items such as charts and player aids may be ok, but after my little fiasco, I wouldn't even try that.

--Burke nuclear
 
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Geo
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Laminating original components is dangerous:

Most cards already have a protective coating and trying to laminate them with a hot laminator may damage the cards beyond recognition!

I tried it with some spare Citadels cards... Most went fine but two of them were damaged (marks on the back side!)

Your best option is to use card sleeves (when possible) or to place paper charts (Letter or A4 size) in plastic sheets.

You can also substitute components from other games: use poker chips instead of paper money, wooden cubes instead of cardboard chits, e.t.c

Or you can create duplicate cards (scan, retouch with a paint program, print, cut, laminate) but it is a time consuming job...
 
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Brian Morris
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I laminate stuff all the time and it works wonderful. However I don't laminate the originals. What I do is I go into Kinkos and have them do color copies. Then I laminate the copies.

I've done this with games like Blackbeard where I did double sided copies of the ship cards. I then bought a set of dry erase pens. So now instead of having these little chits sitting on the cards people can use the markers to keep track of things on the ship cards. When the game is over the cards simply wipe clean. All the while the original cards are sitting in the bottom of the game box where they won't get messed up. I did pretty much the same with Circus Maximus. The chariot game logs are laminated and people simply use markers. Cost me all of $3.50 to make these laminated copies also so it's really cheap.

So lamination does work well. Simply laminate copies and keep the originals tucked away.
 
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J Boyes
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Laminated formula De car sheets are the keenest!
 
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Brian Morris
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I should add that I may do the same thing with the character cards on Arkham Horror. As it stands now you move little chits on the cards to keep track of the player's sanity, hit points and alike. I'm thinking to laminate copies of the character cards and use marker pens to keep track of all that stuff on the cards.
 
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Mark Mellott
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I've laminated the race sheets for Twilight Imperium III, the character cards for Citadels and many player aids that I've found here on BGG. I also use (and recommend) a rotary trimmer to insure straight cut lines. Everything I've laminated so far has turned out great.

On the issue of keeping original parts - since lamination only melts the two sheets together where they touch (not on what's inside) you can always cut off the lamination later on if you wish. I've done it on one card and there was no damage to the card.

Hope this helps!
 
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Chad Marlett
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Don't laminate wargame maps...

I have had a few laminated, and the lamination starts to bubble up, and you always have to have a poster carrier + the game box.

I have found the best thing to be a cheap poster frame. Just slide the map in the poster frame for the game.

BTW, Formula De laminated car sheets are the bomb, especially after pit stops.
 
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Karl Fritz
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Interesting this topic came up, I had a few things laminated. The Pirate's Cove player mats were a given, as were the Age of Steam mats (although I liked the ones on the Geek better, so I did those as well). I am considering doing the same to the Shadows Over Camelot character cards as well, for the same reason as the person having trouble with the Belvidere card.
 
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Jody Ludwick
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Simon-

The .pdf file of Sir Bedivere offered on the DoW site is meant to be printed on both sides of the same paper. The image lines-up perfectly. I laminated my copy as well.
 
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Simon Hunt
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jody wrote:
Simon-

The .pdf file of Sir Bedivere offered on the DoW site is meant to be printed on both sides of the same paper. The image lines-up perfectly. I laminated my copy as well.


Hi Jody,

Yeah, that would be great, except my inkjet doesn't do two sided pages. I'm not grumbling, as I've got quite adept at gluing, carving and laminating stuff from two slices of paper. (And the extra thickness means that the image on the other side doesn't show through).

When I said "inferior version" what I meant was I now had a coat of arms card composed of two pieces of 90gm paper glued together - which was thinner than the cardstock that the coats of arms from the game were printed on. Laminating everything reduced that descrepency.

After reading the comments posted after my first response though, if I had to do this exercise over again, I would copy (scan and print) the original cards from the game and laminate the copies, rather than laminate (and potentially mess up) the originals. Fortunately, everything worked out for me this time.
 
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Brian Morris
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Yeah, laminating the originals isn't a good thing because if something doesn't go right it's suddenly an "oops!" and you've messed up the original. Kinkos can do color copies that are perfect reproductions of the originals and with the lamination they're pretty thick and strong. Storms over Camelot isn't such a big deal mind you because I think the cards in that game are pretty sturdy and you don't have to do much more than keep track of hit points with a die. Arkham Horror on the otherhand might be a different story as you keep track of hit points, sanity and I think experience or something so doing laminated copies of those might be worthwhile.

The best recommendation however is don't try and do a home job on it. Kinkos can do a lot better job copying and laminating than I think most of us can do at home. I did 10 chariot racing logs for Circus Maximus and it cost me $3.50 for the copying and lamination. For something like Storms over Camelot or Arkham Horror the only difference in price would be the copies would be in color and perhaps double sided. In which case you're talking around $6 most likely. That's nothing and worth it when you know you're going to get a final result that is something you will be very happy with.

simonh wrote:
jody wrote:
Simon-

The .pdf file of Sir Bedivere offered on the DoW site is meant to be printed on both sides of the same paper. The image lines-up perfectly. I laminated my copy as well.


Hi Jody,

Yeah, that would be great, except my inkjet doesn't do two sided pages. I'm not grumbling, as I've got quite adept at gluing, carving and laminating stuff from two slices of paper. (And the extra thickness means that the image on the other side doesn't show through).

When I said "inferior version" what I meant was I now had a coat of arms card composed of two pieces of 90gm paper glued together - which was thinner than the cardstock that the coats of arms from the game were printed on. Laminating everything reduced that descrepency.

After reading the comments posted after my first response though, if I had to do this exercise over again, I would copy (scan and print) the original cards from the game and laminate the copies, rather than laminate (and potentially mess up) the originals. Fortunately, everything worked out for me this time.
 
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Lyle T
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At Office Depot, color copies run about 70 cents a copy, and 1.30 for lamination. You're talking 2 dollars per sheet at that rate, 20 dollars to make laminated copies of the TI sheets. That's outrageous. And Kinkos is even higher.
 
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Terence Martin
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simonh wrote:

Yeah, that would be great, except my inkjet doesn't do two sided pages.


Can't you just print out one PDF, then put the paper back in upside down and backwards, then print the other PDF?
 
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Brian Morris
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Lamination is indeed something like $1.30 but Kinkos have rather large lamination machines. In the case of my Circus Maximus chariot sheets, they laminated I think 6 seperate sheets at a time so you have one big lamination sheet with 6 chariot sheets in it. Then you simply cut them apart. Very easy and like I said, I did 10 sheets for $3.50 and I did 8 doublesided pirate ship cards for Blackbeard for about the same price.

If Kinkos is doing just one sheet at a time and charging you $1.30 each time then you're getting ripped off and need to try a different Kinkos. I've now laminated stuff for 4 games and never paid more than $5 any other those times. Mind you I haven't done double sided color copies so I expect the color will add a bit to the price but I know they will not be even close to the $2 a sheet you are describing.

donkeystyle wrote:
At Office Depot, color copies run about 70 cents a copy, and 1.30 for lamination. You're talking 2 dollars per sheet at that rate, 20 dollars to make laminated copies of the TI sheets. That's outrageous. And Kinkos is even higher.
 
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