So Frankly...

So Frankly...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Game Storage and OCD

Tuckboxes by mrkaf
Lately, I have started making tuckboxes for my games.  Everyone who has ever played cards with a traditional deck of 52 cards is familiar with tuckboxes; they are the cases the cards come in.  My niece, who thinks 200+ games is obsessive anyway, would probably say this is an OCD issue.  (Feel free to weigh in on this, Ang.)  What are the alternatives?  There are three that I know of, but they all have their issues: free floating cards, rubber bands (ouch!), and plastic baggies.  Let’s examine each of these, and then I will explain how I go about getting tuckboxes for my games.

The easiest way to store cards, and the easiest was to dismiss, is just letting the cards lie loose in the game box.  That’s because it is the easiest way to lose cards.  There is only one time when I will do this, and that is when the box insert has a well for the cards that will be covered by a heavy game board.  Even then, I stick some tissue paper on top of the cards, so they can’t travel to the top of the well and slide out.

Rubber bands are the ruination of card decks.  Applied across the deck, the cards tend to fan out at the ends, creating some cards that are warped in one direction or the other.   Of course, one could run the rubber band one way, give it a twist, and then run it the other way, so that the deck is bound both in width and length.  This is certainly better, since it keeps the cards from warping.  I don’t do this because there are games, Like Fury of Dracula, that only get played at certain times of the year.  After a year of storage, the rubber bands tend to either break (see above!), or worse, melt.  There is also the problem of the Rubber Band Gremlins in our house, who always have stolen the exact size of rubber band I need at the moment, leaving behind only the ones that won’t work.

Plastic baggies are the best solution of these three, but can also have their issues.  Common kitchen baggies will keep the card from getting lost, won’t warp cards, and don’t melt or break.  However, the cards can slide around within the baggie if it’s too large, allowing the small possibility of card damage from heavier game components during transport.  For several years, I used 3” x 5” (76mm x 127mm) craft baggies.  They work great, but won’t hold many cards, so a deck has to be split amongst several baggies.  That’s really the only downside, which admittedly isn’t much.

So, why did I convert to tuckboxes?  First of all, all of one type of card goes in one container, rather than several.  This allows for faster setup and cleanup of the game.  How to put the game away is now clear to those helping, and even more so to anyone who borrowed the game and is cleaning up on their own.  Secondly, there is the Awesomeness Factor; it just looks much better.  Lastly, it gives me a way to work on my collection without spending money buying new games.  (I know; it’s pretty sad.) 

How do I get the designs?  Tyson Manwarren has created a tuckbox creation website.  After providing the needed dimensions for the tuckbox, and uploading jpg artwork for it, the website creates a pdf of the tuckbox to be cut out, folded and glued.  Prior to going through that process, however, I check the file section of that particular games page on BoardGameGeek to see if anyone has already created one to download.  The Fury of Dracula pattern was created by BGG user Helen Holzgrafe; I just downloaded it. 

I use 110 lb paper in my printer.  The boxes aren’t very solid, but they are going inside the game box, so they really don’t take a beating.  Besides, I can remake it if I have to replace it.  My wife is taking over making them for me, since she has craftier hands.  (No, she is not OCD. She is a loving supporter of my hobby!)

So, I guess the final thing I have to say is: FOR THE LOVE OF HEAVEN, PEOPLE, STORE YOUR CARDS RIGHT! 

Umm, sorry…

Rather, for the sake of your games’ longevity, decide on a good way to store your cards.  Use baggies as a minimum.  Unless you have another idea, of course, which I would love to hear about.  While you are deciding that, you can also decide on whether I need a twelve step program or not.  Feedback is welcome – in the meantime,

It’s Your Move…

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