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How anal are you with your precious board games?

2010 September 20
by Michael Schroeder

“Hey – would you mind not drinking or eating while playing my board games?” As you may be able to tell, I’m pretty uptight about my games…I called them precious. Well, I certainly don’t raise them up before the important things in life, like God, my wife, my family and friends. But as far as hobbies goes – board gaming is my absolute favorite, and I want to keep them as long as I can and protect them.

I have my board games lined up on a shelf, like a lot of you have. Call me OCD (I’m not), but I have them lined up as best I can, so that the edges of the game box is lined up flush, with the edge of the book case. Now obviously I can’t do that with every game, but with the ones I can, I do. I keep my games high up on my book case, on the top 3 shelves to be exact. Why? I don’t want them getting ransacked when kids or relatives may come over. We know how kids can be. I leave my DVD’s and video games on those lower shelves. I’d rather them get tossed around, being protected in the snug DVD protector than having my board games get thrown about or get mistaken for a coloring book.  Now I sometimes worry about silly and things that probably just won’t happen. So I think of things like this. And I also wonder, gee, I hope a car never comes crashing through the front of my house and demolish my games. But then I think, well, I think I’d be OK, as those chances are slim, and that the curbs on our street are very high, so I think I’m OK there.

Keeping the original inserts of the game

Now, when I first get a game. I like to try and keep the inserts as they are supplied. I feel for the most part, that suffices, and that the inserts are created that way for a reason. But that’s not the case with some games, some inserts are just plain awful. Take Beowulf: the Movie Board Game for instance. Take Alhambra, the insert is great, but you cannot stand the game upright, as all the chits fall out of their respective inserts. So when you open the box next time, the chits are all over. Now some of you may say, “eh, who cares.” Well I care. When I open a box, I don’t want to have to go searching for the starter tiles and player markers! I like knowing where everything should be expected to be. Then of course, you have games with tons of smaller chits, like Agricola. Agricola, provides baggies. Too much room would be taken up playing Agricola with all the chits out or strewn again in baggies. Same goes for Battles of Westeros. For Agricola, I have a compartmentalized craft box. For Battles of Westeros, I have 2. There are simply too many chits. So, I “try” and keep the original inserts and things in tact when I get a game, but sometimes it’s just not possible. Some games I had to take out the inserts all together, like Call of Cthulhu: LCG and A Game of Thrones: LCG. For Call of Cthulhu, I cut out foam I purchased at Joanne Fabrics and stood the cards up next to that, inside the box.


I like to keep my board games in good shape, and the chits that are with the games. I also like keeping the cards and manuals in tact as best I could. Cards and manuals are often hard to keep in good shape, if you don’t have card sleeves. And some manuals are as large as the game board, like many of Fantasy Flight Games manuals, so sometimes they get a little bent and crinkled. I’m not so upright about those. I’ve played games though that the game was completely torn to shreds, the texture on the board and cards and even wooden pieces were worn out! Now that’s saying something great about the game, that it’s played a lot! But At that point, I’d want to buy the game again and resleeve the cards. I’ve seen people keep the game catalogs with the game and when the game was finished and packed up,  everything was neatly pushed to one side including the catalog. Throw the catalog out! It’s not part of the game! I use my catalogs as bathroom reading material!

Sleeving cards

I like to sleeve my cards. But it depends on the game. I certainly have Dominion and my LCG games sleeved, but that’s because they are CARD games. I have some other games sleeved that are board games, but not most. I actually must admit, I don’t have Race for the Galaxy Sleeved. The reason is, there are so many stinking cards, and they have to be shuffled in the beginning of the game, like a traditional set of cards, sleeving will prevent that or make it more difficult. I will sleeve games where you don’t have to shuffle as in a traditional set of card games. I will also not sleeve games where the insert is custom designed for the game, and if I sleeve all these cards, it will create a thickness where shutting the box will be a problem. I’d love to sleeve citadels, but I like having the gold pieces under the insert, as it was packaged, and having some separation in the cards. I’m afraid that if I sleeve all those cards, the box won’t shut. I’m in the mood to play Citadels now, never seem to have enough people together though.


I’ve had a few things spilled on my games in the past. I know some food has been dropped on my Agricola boards, wine has been spilled on my Game of Thrones board and some chits. Did I flip out? No. Severing friendships over board games is far from worth it. In both cases, the persons cleaned up, and I assisted, in a civil manner. I’ve talked to one guy saying that he was sleeving his cards, while his feet were in a foot bath… … anyways, he mentioned to me that some cards fell in the water and because they were sleeved, they were saved! Now, I don’t mind people eating and drinking while playing my games, but please, let’s be safe about it. Say someone spilled pop all over your game and cards, so it was basically destroyed. I’d hope that person would feel responsible and offer to pay for the game being replaced. I would not want someone playing my games at the same time they are eating say, greasy food with their fingers, pizza or chicken wings. Take a break and wash your hands. I know potato chips, Cheetos and Doritos provide residue, so bring a napkin with you to at least get the bulk of it off your fingers.

Your experiences

What was your worst spill experience? Did anyone act irrationally and uncivil towards other with a spill? What happened as a result? How do you determine if a game needs to be protected by such things as sleeves? I’m interested in hearing your stories.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Bri permalink
    September 22, 2010

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  2. September 24, 2010

    I’m fairly middle of the road here. I do try to take good care of my games and will stop someone from playing with obviously greasy fingers. For the most part, the groups I play with are respectful of games and tend to be careful about spillage, but I agree, if someone spilled soda on my game I would expect them to buy it from for the price I paid. I admit that I sometimes keep inserts, but never consciously. I’m also hesitant about lending out dice for games I’m not in, since they have the return-expectancy of a pen and I usually have specific sets that I would not want to see separated.
    That said, I can’t imagine throwing a friendship (or even a hey-its-that-decent-guy-I-occasionally-play-games-with …ship) over a marred or ruined game unless it was intentional or completely unreparated.

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