Ultra Pro gonna hate me for that

[this article is not meant to offend anybody. Please, read it keeping that in mind. Read it… with tongue in cheek, as google translator suggest me]

I don’t use sleeves. I hate sleeves. I can’t believe that market for this product is growing and growing like crazy. Gamers, what’s wrong with you? Do you protect your table with some sort of plastic cloth? Do you put sleeving on your keyboard? Do you protect your chairs with stretch foil? Do you use shrink film on every item in your house?

So what’s going on with these slevees thing? Anyone?!


Yeah, I know, I am this thematic guy. I love old books, I love old furniture, I prefer pen over keyboard and pipe over cigarette. I visit every secondhand bookshop I can, I bring home items that have no use for me, but are old and look cool. I am the crazy one. I know.

I have the same with games. I prefer old games. I had so much fun when I discovered secondhand gameshops in Germany. Buying old copy of Tikal or Samurai was so much cooler than just purchasing online brand new box. I visit secondhand gameshops every Essen. Treasure shops! I have at home many these old boxes with faded colors, old fashioned wooden pieces and whole history behind.

Games from my collection slowly fade too. My copy of Citadels looks like it was lost in a rainy forest for few weeks. It is because we played the game more than 100 times. Without stupid sleeves. My copy of The AMEZing Labyrynth has adhesive tape all over the box and carcassonne meeples instead of original pawns because we were going with it for every holiday with our kids. My copy of Cash & Guns? Man, you should see that box. This is a mess!

And I love this mess. All those games with signs of spilled coffee and with signs of our kids having too much freedom with crayons and those boxes with my notes written inside, and replacement components in many games…

This is my history. This is something I want to stay with me. I want those games have reminder of all those great evenings I spent with them.

I don’t want to have my games kept like they are in lab environment, sleeved and clean. Blank.


But you sleeve your cards because you want them to be clean. Some of you are just this type of person who prefer things to be clean. I respect that.

But the rest? Do you all really need to sleeve every damn card in every damn box you have in your collection? Really?!

Do you really believe that after 30 games of Race for the Galaxy cards will begin to have some signs of use that will make it impossible to play? I tell you, I played RftG more than 100 games. Without sleeves. Nothing happened.

Do you really believe that after 50 games of 51st State cards will begin to have any signs that will help to recognize a card from back side? I tell you, I played 51st State more than 200 game. Without sleeves. Nothing happened.

And you know what? Here is the most important:

If you played one game more than 50 times… Let it be Citadels for instance. And if by any chance there is any sign o use that would ruin comfort of play for you, here is a deal.

Take your copy of Citadels and give it to charity. Let people in need have some fun in life.

Then buy new copy of Citadels.

And then send an email to Bruin Faidutti that says:

‘Dear Bruno,

I had a great time playing your game. We played more than 50 games having 50 amazing evenings full of laughter and bluff. My copy is ruined and I am so happy for all those great gaming nights we had. I decided to give my old copy of Citadels to kids in school and I bought new copy of Citadels. I plan to play another 50 games. Thank you, sir.’

That way you will do a good deed for kids and charity.

That way Bruno will earn 6 USD from Royalties instead of only 3 USD.

And that way Ultra Pro will contact me and kick me in the ass for asking you to get rid of sleeves in your life.

What do you think? 🙂

16 thoughts on “Ultra Pro gonna hate me for that

  1. I couldn’t agree more with you! It’s the same for books, what is more sad than a perfectly preserved book in a shelf…books I like are all torn apart because I read them so many times and carry them everywhere, these books have a soul and a history.

    I take good care of my games, but I mostly play with them. My collection is fills with secondhand games I bought in secondhand gameshops and gosh I like playing on game “that tells stories”.

  2. samwise says:

    There are certain games which justify sleeving. Consider Dominion:
    1) The base cards are used in every game.
    2) Other cards will be used in 5-10% of games, depending on your expansion lust.
    3) The cards are black bordered, and show white wear on the edges.
    4) The base cards will show wear 10-20 times faster than other cards.
    5) Knowing which cards are base and which are not, based on the backs, confers tactical advantages.
    6) Knowingly trying to counteract said advantages makes the game an exercise in intellectual dishonesty.

    Seriously, I don’t want to spend my game time trying to pretend I don’t have information about cards based on their backs. I will either fail or overcompensate – I’d much rather have all the cards stay unidentifiable, as the game mechanics assume.

    There are other cases where wear on cards has a deleterious effect on gameplay. And the cost of sleeving is an order of magnitude less than the cost of replacement.

    • Franzee says:

      That’s why I am not fond of games with tons of expansions. The only reason to sleeve my cards is to keep them indistinguishable from expansion cards. Once I gather all the expansion I will be sure that it’s safe to remove the sleeves. But that is never known for sure.

      Also, cards are shuffled more easily with sleeves.

  3. Love this. Sleeving your cards denies them the mark of history, of your history, of careworn memories, of the possibility to tell their own stories, the stories of playing the game, from outside of the game.

  4. Kristo Vaher says:

    I guess you don’t know about people who have sweaty hands problem which can destroy a deck of cards in a couple of plays.

    I organize weekly gaming events and I have players like this. And it is a huge issue, since even the sleeved cards stick heavily after every gaming night.

    And since I want to play these games for years, beyond print runs and out of stock issues, sleeves are a must.

  5. Roland says:

    Your example of Citadels is perfect, because I really want to sleeve the character cards since they are starting to show wear. So much of the game is based on guessing the characters other people pick, any clues could give people unfair advantages, ruining what can already be a stressful game. I no longer enjoy to play the game anymore myself, but other people enjoy it so I don’t mind bringing the game to game nights and teaching others.

  6. Jeremy says:

    Yes, Bruno gets 3 more Euros if I buy a second copy, but since most of us gamers are on fairly limited budgets, my money is being spent on old games instead of new games. Which means the market for new games is smaller. Which means I can’t afford Robinson Crusoe because I’m buying a replacement copy of Robinson Crusoe. Which means the market favors established designers like Uwe instead of new designers like Ignacy. =)

  7. Jeremy says:

    Ooops: previous comment should read: “Which means I can’t afford Robinson Crusoe because I’m buying a replacement copy of Agricola.”

  8. Techno says:

    For some games, I agree – having sleeves is mostly silly. You’re denying the feel of pulling out that old, weathered copy of your favorite game, and having at it like the good ol’ days.

    But when game prices are high, such as with Cash and Guns or Betrayal at House on The Hill, or when the game requires that all cards be identical at all times such as The Resistance of Shadows over Camelot, sleeving those cards may be necessary. I want to get the most bang for my buck with those games, and when you can tell who’s a traitor and who’s loyal just by seeing the back of the card, or know who played a “BANG BANG BANG” versus a click in Cash and Guns, it changes the way the game is played and that causes some problems.

    Certain games need sleeves, but most don’t.

  9. reaperza says:

    Games are expensive here, mostly have to be imported too. Personally I want to avoid the hassle of 2-3 months shipping as much as possible on top of that as well so yeah I sleeve and will always do so >.<

  10. wolfkin says:

    I carry my history. I don’t need it written on my cards. And board games tend to run out of stock. You never know when some game is going to be last printed. I kinda want to buy another copy of Boom-o. It’s a silly little game but I love it. I’d buy a copy for my nephews if I could but I can’t find it. It’s out of print. That’s the ball game on that.

  11. Vance says:

    I agree with the sentiment, but if your copy gets destroyed and its a game you love that maybe wasn’t a huge release, it’s not always possible to simply buy a new copy. Board games have this knack of going out of print.

  12. futurewolfie says:

    People do use table cloths, plates, coasters, etc. to protect their tables from damage from food and beverage. There are keyboard covers, although I don’t use them. And for furniture people do get cushions or covers to protect the wood or fabric of the couch.

    So I guess the point is, some people do want to protect their stuff, not just their cards. Cards are just the most vulnerable of the bunch (usually).

  13. It’s easy to neglect sleeves in countries where board games are much cheaper to replace. As if high shipping costs weren’t enough, in my country we usually wait for months for a game to arrive, and pay of the highest customs taxes of the world! I definitely see no problem making an effort to sleeve cards so I can avoid making any marks which could ruin what is expected to be hidden information.

  14. macacobr says:

    *Buy a new game* yeah, here in brazil a game cost 3x more than the rest of the world and it may be eaten by our postal service…

    • trzewik23 says:

      In Poland Imperial Settlers cost 149 Polish zlotych, which is 7.5% of average month salary in Poland. Average person in Poland could buy 13 copies of Imperial Settlers for their month salary.

      Yes, I know that games are very expensive in some countries. 😦

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