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How long should it last?

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Anonymous

The question about a spinning indicator made me wonder what the general consensus is on the quality of parts, and how long they "should" last.

So, how long (many plays?) should one be able to shuffle cards before wear or needing replacement? And if you make cheap cards, is it okay to "fess up" and recommend people put the cards in protectors from the start?

Chits, how long should those last? Does it depend on the thickness, or the printing quality if they are going to be shuffled?

Do pieces in general wear better when the box has a special insert to hold them, or when you bag them yourself.

Do plastic pieces and wooden cubes ever "wear out"? (I've had certain plastic bits break, like a bomber's wing in Axis and Allies, but I blame carelessness)

Any thoughts on this, and examples would be interesting. I suppose everyone wants their games to last forever, but I've read plenty about people buying "backup copies" for when their favorites get worn out. So we as designers should know what realistic expectations are.

Anonymous
How long should it last?

I think the box is the most important component for the longevity of a game. Even if you play a game 400 hours a year that means that it is being stored for 8,360 hours during the year.

The 7 hours a week is on the high end for an adult gamer but as a kid I remember playing a game over and over and over and the 400 hours seems low. It wasn't the components that wore out. The mass-market games used cheap boxes that were not designed to be stacked. These boxes broke down over time. As a result many of the components for the game were lost.

I also have several games/components that are over 100 years old. None of the old games have the original packing material. For some games I don't even have the instructions, since they were printed on low-grade paper. It is kind of sad that I cannot play these games, but I wouldn't even if I could. For one, the games are fragile. Also, the games are boring. The targets for many of the late 19th century games were the parlor or children.

As a game player, I want the games that I am currently purchasing to last for my lifetime. They don't need to be heirlooms and last for at least two-generations but it wouldn't hurt. This is especially true when a game is at least $30. I can forgive cheap games for being cheap.

Jonathan

trnardo
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Joined: 12/31/1969
How long should it last?

Quote:
The question about a spinning indicator made me wonder what the general consensus is on the quality of parts, and how long they "should" last.

This is a tough one. My impulse answer is, "The parts should last as long as I enjoy the game," but some games would have to be nearly indestructible to fulfill this goal!

I'd say, though, that part quality shouldn't rapidly become a source of frustration for the players. If the game uses specially painted dice, for example, the custom designs shouldn't start flaking off on the very first roll. This was my gripe with Battle Masters, where the dice started losing their designs after a very small number of game plays.

My personal view is that facilitating sustained game play can trump visual appeal, but the two goals aren't mutually exclusive. (Hence my "arrow" thread - I wanted to see if others here felt that pieces of this style were holding up in game play. I can recommend the parts upgrade if these pieces add to game enjoyment, or at least do not detract from it. I wouldn't recommend them if they are likely to become "pretty plummage" that gets in the way of the game being played.)

Quote:

And if you make cheap cards, is it okay to "fess up" and recommend people put the cards in protectors from the start?

I'd sooner see someone "fess up" up front than be surprised. But I wouldn't be surprised if marketing showed that honesty is the best way to lose sales. :-/

Seriously, my view here is that card quality should be on par with the other game components. If everything else in the game looks like a high-end production, and the cards look professionally printed on proper card stock, I expect the cards to hold up to more than a dozen or so games.

As for parts storage, it depends on the parts. Bags are fine for parts that don't easily break but are prone to scattering, falling out of the box, etc. Fragile pieces fare better if they have less room to rattle.

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