Greetings gang, I’m back in the booth to bring you another hot one, straight from the presses. Today’s musing will be about whether or not to sleeve the cards in your board game collection (and perhaps not a moment too soon with family circling around to play games on the eve of Thanksgiving). On the one hand, protecting your investment seems like a no brain-er, but I can attest that board game companies do not make it easy to buy the sleeves you need! However I think that despite the difficulty, I’d still rather have sleeves on all my board games than not.
Lets start with the positives. Putting sleeves on cards increases their life. Not everyone may be a stickler like me when it comes to minute scratches on cards, but sleeves protect against wear and tear that come from play. Sleeves also facilitate shuffling, making it easier to get a better mix of cards when playing. Not to mention, sometimes you get a board game straight out of the box with a damaged card. I recently got a copy of Tiny Epic Western with a damaged card right out of the box. But I was undaunted! A quick trip to my local game store later and I had enough sleeves to cover all the cards. This ensure that you cannot tell which cards is which based on the damage, as well as protects the card from future damage.
So what negatives are there? Well for one, price can be an issue. To sleeve up the four hundred cards for my copy of Boss Monster, it will cost me as much as buying one of the base games. Add to that, some board games use very obscure card sizes. Lets take for example the new 7 Wonders duel expansion. This game includes several cards that are slightly bigger than standard cards, some that are mini-euro sized, and some that are larger taro card sized sleeves. Buying sleeves for this expansion alone is a logistical nightmare, as not every company makes sleeves of these sizes.
So this begs the question, when to sleeve and when not to sleeve. For ease, I’ve broken the question down into a few simple rules that most board gamers I see follow. Sleeve when: the cards stock used for the game is thin, when there is any hidden game play components (such as Battlestar Galactica or Twilight Struggle), large amounts of shuffling, or a game you play regularly. Also don’t forget that your friendly, local game store has all your sleeve needs covered. We can also order those pesky odd sizes too, so don’t hesitate to ask!
On a final note, happy Thanksgiving all, may you be blessed with the exact right amount of turkey for your desires!