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Subject: Laminating instead of sleeving rss

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Josiah Leis
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Hi, my name is Josiah and I"m a compulsive sleever . I sleeve an awful lot of games, quite often when they don't really "need" it.

Recently though one of my friends asked me if I'd ever tried just laminating the cards instead of sleeving them. Initially I laughed at the depths of my own OCDness that my friend would even suggest it to me. But then it got me curious, has anyone tried this? I have my own small lamination machine, and am now curious if it could be done reasonably cheap. The cards would obviously wear like iron and since I could do it myself at home it shouldn't be that terribly expensive (albeit a little labor intensive to cut them all out once they are put through on the sheet).

Any of my fellow sleeve happy geeks tried this? Did it work? Was it just cost prohibitive? Too labor intensive? I'm just looking for a little feedback from people who have tried it or considered it. Thanks.
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Cory J
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I've never tried that, though I'm not sure I would like it. I would probably get a touch OCD on the laminates making sure that all the corners and edges were cut to a perfectly uniform shape, and I'm not sure that I could accomplish it. Odds are there would always be a few cards you could tell just by a small nick in the laminate.
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Brad Fuller
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Never tried it and never would for these reasons.

I have used a hot laminator at work and the cards come out very stiff almost like a credit crd.

I own a cold laminator that I have used for many things. It is tacky and has an unplesant texture. Fine for boards or reference sheets, but a deck of cards would not suit it well.
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I wouldn't do it.

Worn out sleeves are easily replaced.

But even lamination sheets get scratches and suffer from (heavy) usage. And once laminated, you can't go back.
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Alejandro G.
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Kartigan wrote:
Hi, my name is Josiah and I"m a compulsive sleever . I sleeve an awful lot of games, quite often when they don't really "need" it.

Recently though one of my friends asked me if I'd ever tried just laminating the cards instead of sleeving them. Initially I laughed at the depths of my own OCDness that my friend would even suggest it to me. But then it got me curious, has anyone tried this? I have my own small lamination machine, and am now curious if it could be done reasonably cheap. The cards would obviously wear like iron and since I could do it myself at home it shouldn't be that terribly expensive (albeit a little labor intensive to cut them all out once they are put through on the sheet).

Any of my fellow sleeve happy geeks tried this? Did it work? Was it just cost prohibitive? Too labor intensive? I'm just looking for a little feedback from people who have tried it or considered it. Thanks.


DON'T DO IT. EVER.
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Matthew Tadyshak
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I have a couple of friends the laminated the player sheets for Ora and Labora, but cards seem like overkill.
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Jan van der Laan
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I laminated my No Retreat! Solitaire cards where I normally sleeve my cards. Because there were only a few cards in this expansion I decided to laminate them. Though the results were satisfying this experiment is the first and the last one. As said before, the cards become very stiff and hard to handle and shuffling isn't pleasant.
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Old Gamer
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I've laminated player aids from time to time, and did my Heroscape unit cards. While this worked fine, I would never laminate normal cards because:
PzVIE wrote:
But even lamination sheets get scratches and suffer from (heavy) usage. And once laminated, you can't go back.
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David
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Nope. I've laminated some self made "cards" because they were just regular paper and need some reinforcement.

I'd never do it for real cards. It's just WAY more work than just sticking them into sleeves. I highly doubt it would be cheaper too. And - like others said - you can always replace a damaged sleeve or go back to un-sleeved.
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Louise McCully
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We've got a card laminator at the games club, I think he won't buy games that have a large number of cards...
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Richard Morris
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fullerbd wrote:
I have used a hot laminator at work and the cards come out very stiff almost like a credit crd.


This. Cards are just too thick to end up playable when laminated.

On the other hand, when I am making PnP cards, I DO laminate them. But I start with a thin piece of card (too thin to be playable as is), and laminate and trim. That ends up with what feels like plastic cards that are bendy enough, and can be shuffled.
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A boy named Sioux
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Let me just chime in and say that laminate will discolour and shrink over time and unlike sleeves, you won't be able to replace it (or the cards). This comes up a lot for odd-sized cards but nowadays you can find just about any size sleeve you need. Here's an example: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/maydaygames/50-types-siz...
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Paul Dale
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I've done this for many games and the results are good. Once laminated the cards are immune to spills and wear. In fact you really see all the grease and other marks than would normally just soak into the card -- easily removed of course. Shuffling with laminated cards isn't more difficult but it is a bit different and you quickly get used to it.

I use card sleeves -- I wouldn't consider using larger sleeves and cutting them up. I've got an industrial card laminator that can happily take a thousand cards in a sitting.

The big downside is cost. The sleeves aren't very cheap. Then again games are insanely expensive here so it is still worthwhile for most.


- Pauli
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Michael Hyland

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I'm pretty sure you would scratch the laminent when shuffling. Sleeves can be replaced and sleeves resist scratching but on heavy shuffling even those scratch eventually. Some of the thinner player boards are probably fine to do though I prefer not to. I also think laminating cards would completely destroy the resale value of your game.
 
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Chung Chit Hang
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don't do it!!!

like it was said before, you can replace scratched sleeves but not laminated cards

lots of ppl used to laminate their cards, but the resale value of games droped greatly.
 
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Christina Crouch
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I laminated a whole copy of Agricola as I had it in German, so I laminated all the card translations to the original cards between plastic.

The laminated cards are very thick (much thicker than sleeving, and won't fit box any more), and inflexible, and all slightly bowed due to the heat and curvature of rollers.

I wouldn't recommend doing it again.
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Jonathan Warren
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While I use lamination when making up my prototype cards, I would never, ever consider laminating actual game cards.
 
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Julie Lemonde
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I use a self-adhesive protector for document.
I buy it at my local Staples stores.
It's a roll of self-adhesive plastic so you don't need to use laminator and the result is thinner.
You just have to put protector on the two side of the card and cut around the card once.
Not sure that the plastic protector offer a full protection against water (because the cut on the edge) but should gives me time to react. I use it to prevent loss of color and for protection against foods (chips, cookies).
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Richard Morris
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Verglas wrote:
I use a self-adhesive protector for document.
I buy it at my local Staples stores.
It's a roll of self-adhesive plastic so you don't need to use laminator and the result is thinner.
You just have to put protector on the two side of the card and cut around the card once.
Not sure that the plastic protector offer a full protection against water (because the cut on the edge) but should gives you time to react. I use it to prevent loss of color and for protection against foods (chips, cookies).
Over here, at least, that stuff is an order of magnitude more expensive than laminating.
 
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Alain Baum
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I have laminated 4 games' cards for different reasons.

RoboRally, Lord of the Rings, Catan:
I laminated these because the cards saw heavy use just by the way the rules of these games are.

Magalon:
This once had an accident happen to it: A moderate amount of liquid spilled onto the board and cards. The cards were now wavy and recognizable. After lamination, the damage was much less noticeable. Since the game saw little use, I sold it on eBay.

Cons:
Lamination is unreversible.
The cards become stiffer.
You may have to cut the sleeves.

Pros:
You can cut the sleeves, instead of having to hunt for the right size "normal" sleeve.
Shuffling is way easier than with sleeved cards.
You could pour a liter of cola over the cards, without damage.

All methods (sleeving, laminating, doing nothing) have their advantages and disadvantages. The question is, what is most important to you?
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Chris
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More than 20 years ago I laminated The Great Khan Game since the cards were thin cardboard. The cards are still great and usable today. My friend who also had the game, and both got played tons... His naked cards are trash and marked by extreme wear.
 
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ani
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DON'T DO IT!!!!

Once you laminate you can't go back. The cards will be stiff and still show wear over time. I make cards for games in my classroom and even laminated, the kids wear out the cards. The laminate sleeves are expensive. You would have to be super careful to place each card perfectly in the sleeves so that they are all straight. It is not worth the headache. If you must, stick with regular sleeves. Or, you could copy each card on thick paper and laminate those. But that would be really expensive and not worth it imho.
 
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David Bull
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I created a trading card game for my scout group on an "escape from colditz" theme - complete tasks to earn goods cards and then other tasks to trade goods for more complex goods. It ended up being about 60% live role play and 40% board game.

I laminated all the cards since a group of teenagers are going to trash anything they get their hands on, so best put in place a reasonable level of protecttion but it made the cards difficult to shuffle, stack and store. It also made them very heavy and I can see them getting scratched really easily.

Worst of all was the cost - I ended up hand laminating and cutting nearly 1000 cards. They are never going to be as cheap as sleeves, I suspect that it would be easier to not worry about the cards in a commercial game and just use the money you save to replace the game if it gets trashed.

 
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Richard Morris
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DukeOfEarl wrote:
Shuffling is way easier than with sleeved cards.
Depends on your sleeves. With cheap baggy 'penny' sleeves, quite possibly. With decent quality snug fitting sleeves, certainly not. Those you can shuffle more quickly, and almost certainly more efficiently by repeatedly squooshing two piles together.
 
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Josiah Leis
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Interesting, thanks everyone for the great amount of discussion, input, and personal experiences .

I think for now I will hold off, though I may be curious enough to try it again in the future. I am above all other things, lazy and cheap . Laminating looks like it would cost me more than the super cheap Mayday sleeves I always use (which I've always been happy with btw, except for a few very heavy use games which I use better sleeves for) and are way easier to do.

Thanks again everyone for the input.
 
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