I’ve heard it defended as “protecting your investment.” I’ve heard detractors say, “It’s like your mom covering the couch in plastic: it’s so uninviting and doesn’t feel like home.” So this Friday, we’re here to settle the question once and for all: Are you a sleever? To what extent? Answer in the comments below!
It’s probably leftover from my days of playing CCGs—when I spent lots of money on little pieces of cardboard whose only value was determined by the company publishing it—and from my days of being the hall’s unofficial activity director in my freshman dorm (when I spent my days playing video games and my nights wiping others’ grease off my controllers), but I am a sleever. Not for all games, mind you. But if a game is exclusively or even primarily cards, I will probably sleeve it. I should qualify that. If a game is cheap ( < $20), I probably won’t sleeve it. Bohnanza is a good example. If the game is expensive and primarily if not exclusively cards (like Dominion or 7 Wonders), I think it’s worth it to sleeve the game. And seeing the wear on my sleeves (and considering the play my games see over lunch periods), I’m glad I made that decision. I think it’s especially important to sleeve cards if the game is likely to have expansions, since uneven wear can become an issue. Board games that have cards but that are not primarily cards (like Ticket to Ride or even El Grande) I don’t sleeve since the other bits are the bulk of the cost. Usually in these situations the manufacturer offers some kind of replacement deck for just the card portion. By the way, I am a cheapskate, so I use the penny sleeves. These are a good way to protect your investment without breaking the bank. Honestly, I prefer the tactile feel of cards without their plastic coatings, but I’d much rather protect the game.
I’m not really a sleever, though it’s more out of laziness and/or cheapness than anything else. Dominion (and its expansions) is the only game I have sleeved… namely because it gets a lot of play, it consists entirely of cards, and there’s a lot of reshuffling – after only a year, the cards are noticably wearing down, so I finally had to give in. I also go for the ‘penny’ sleeves – it just doesn’t make any sense to me to pay $40 to sleeve a game that i paid $30 for. Okay maybe not every game has QUITE as many cards as Dominion, but still…
I would probably sleeve more games but it’s very frustrating and annoying trying to find sleeves that fit for each game you have. There are so many variations, and the size you need is always more expensive than the size that’s 4mm shorter. It is unfortunate that the cheap sleeves are so flimsy and also have a lot of variance in how snugly they fit. In the end i would almost rather buy new copies of a game if the cards got too worn out, although i suppose that sleeves would be proof against the game going out of print… Either way, it makes me greatly appreciate games that don’t have cards at all (I’m looking at you guys, Smallworld and Ascending Empires, two of my favorites).