There’s nothing better than bringing home a brand new board game, peeling off the shrink wrap, and pulling off the box lid for the first time. The smell of freshly cut cardboard fills your senses as you pull out punch boards, rulebooks, and cards, and begin to discover the secrets within. That game is yours, and you can’t wait to get it to the table. However, the tabletop is a potential minefield of different threats to your new precious. How are you going to get to enjoy it and still keep it in its pristine condition?
Everybody has different approaches to keeping their games safe. Some people (weirdos) even like a game to have some wear and tear, like a book with well-worn pages. It lets people know it’s been played. But if you’re concerned about a game’s well-being, this week’s CMON Feature Friday has some tips for you.
We Were Told There Would Be Pie
Good game night hosts provide food and drink for their guests. Even just a bowl of chips and glasses of water are a nice thing to offer to people who have traveled to play games with you. However, where there are snacks, there are potential spills. The first item is to consider what food you’re going to offer. Sure, you’ve been dying to break out that fondue set, but maybe save it for a night you’re not trying to save the world in The Others. Other treats to avoid are sticky fruits like watermelon, pineapple, or mango. It’s great to go the healthy route, but aim for nature’s self-contained flavor bombs, grapes, if you want to protect the integrity of your cards. Even something as simple as a bag of chips has the potential of leaving people’s fingers greasy, and that spells disaster for all your new bits. Have some paper towels on hand and make sure people are using them. It will extend the life of your game.
The Drink Problem
Everybody needs to wet their whistle while playing games. But if you’re like me, the sight of a drink on the same table as a board game fills you with anxiety. Every quick movement, every roll of the dice, every bump of the table spells potential disaster for your new pride and joy. There are a couple simple tricks that can make you stop worrying and learn to love the game night. Side tables are great! If you can strategically set up a few around the main table, you can effectively make it a no-drink zone. Clearing the table of drinks will greatly reduce the level of stress you feel when gaming, and allow you to concentrate on crushing your opponents. Another route to go, and stick with me here, is sippy cups, or at least cups with lids. Now, you’re not saying your guests are children, simply that the very nature of board games involves a lot of passing cards and rolling dice and hand gesturing in general. A lidded chalice will allow players to flail their limbs akimbo, without fear of repercussions. And before you say that’s crazy, I know two different game groups where that’s their policy.
An Ounce of Prevention
You can’t really sleeve your board, but you can sleeve your cards. You can also make print-outs of personal boards or even sleeve them as well. Sheets can be laminated, as can reference cards and rulebooks. I’m not suggesting that you become one of those people who covers their couch in plastic before anyone comes over, but there are some proactive steps you can take to extend the life of your games. Of course, sleeves aren’t foolproof. Getting liquid in them can be a nightmare for cards, but at least they’ll be in better shape than taking a direct spillage of a Shirley Temple. When it’s possible to get your hands-on plastic upgrades of cardboard components, it’s often a good idea to go for it. A small-time investment can be worth the piece of mind it provides.
Games can be damaged by more than just food or drink. I’ve seen many a box cover severely damaged by sun fading because of where it was stored. Cigarette smoke can take its toll on games inside and out (there’s a reason people list ‘non-smoking home’ when they’re selling their games). Children represent another potential threat. It’s great to introduce games to kids, but a three-year-old can tear up cards when you turn your back for a moment. All of these can be avoided by thinking ahead; store your games out of direct sunlight and away from anywhere someone is smoking, start kids off with games they can’t easily destroy and keep an eye on them while you’re playing.
These are just a few tips and trick for the paranoid gamer that worries about the dangers lurking for their games around every corner. What actions do you take to keep your games safe? Reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #CMONFeatureFriday to let us know.