Friday, October 26, 2012

Board Games - Some Questions Answered

I received an email with LOTS of good questions about games. I will try to answer all the questions in a series of blogs.

Here are the first set of questions I was asked:

Board games:
- How to protect the stickers/etc. you put on the file folders. Do you laminate the whole thing? Cover the whole face with contact paper?
- How do you organize all your game boards so you don't spend hours
looking for them?
- Where do you buy spinners? And do you buy one for each game? Or can you change/modify/reuse them?

One point at a time....

How to protect the stickers/etc. you put on the file folders. Do you laminate the whole thing? Cover the whole face with contact paper?

To protect the stickers or pictures I have put on a gameboard I usually use clear Contact paper. Many of my games are over or nearly 20 years old. They have been used in our home, loaned to friends, used in a classroom (I taught in a private school for a few years). I would cut the Contact paper and just cover half of the file folder at a time (and just the surface with the stickers). I found if I covered over the fold it would often form puckers that I found undesireable. The negative: Some markers will react with the Contact paper and bleed slightly over the years. We still use these games as it was not severe. Also, as we are using some of the older games I have noticed that the Contact has shrunk some (maybe about 1/8")--this is slightly noticeable to me, but again does not cause us a problem.

I have laminated a few games while I was working in a teacher store and had ready access to a machine. The games turn out wonderful. The colors are bright and the game is well protected.

I got in the habit of using Contact paper before laminating was easily available. I always had a large supply of Contact on hand and I could complete my game right away. In those days the only place I knew for laminating was a print shop. It was not handy or inexpensive. So Contact won by default.

I still use Contact. I know several people who have purchased personal laminating machines and would go no other way. I have not made a price comparison. The laminating would likely be faster and easier (it takes a little patience to get Contact on smoothly every time.)

So I guess the answer to this is one of personal preference. I will likely stick with Contact paper.

NOTE: I would just love to know how many rolls of Contact I have used over the years???? Actually, I probably do not even want to know...LOL

- How do you organize all your game boards so you don't spend hours looking for them?

I will do a whole blog about organization soon as I have gotten lots of questions about that one.

I store my file folder games in milk crates and have since I started making games back in the early 1980's. The file folders fit perfect, standing up so the tabs are easily readable. The games stay neat and in order. The milk crates are easily stackable which helps conserve space.

Right now my games are not in their best order. Most of my games were stored and many others were loaned out. I have gotten most of them back and have begun sorting through my games to find the best ones to be using with my grandchildren. So right now my file folder games are sorted into four milk crates. One each for: Math Games, Reading, Phonics and Language Arts Games, Science and Bible Games, History and Geography Games. This is only a temporary solution as I continue to go through all my games. This is really more a of sorting process and reaquainting myself with what games I have on hand.

Years ago I had a spreadsheet of all my games. Each game was numbered, named, assigned a skill and level, type of game, how stored.  I could print this out with each item being the sorted topic. It made it so easy to find any game I was looking for in the hundreds I had. It helped me to see how many of each type of game I had. I know this sounds excessive, but I was teaching workshops showing other moms how to make games for their children. So I would have to be able to pack up several boxes of games to take to these workshops. Then, after, I would have to UNPACK (yucky!!) and put all the games back where they belonged so I could find them again. I am again hoping to do some workshops as I love teaching about game making. However, I am thinking that I would like to have all the games for workshops separate from what we that means I will probably be remaking many of the games in order to have two copies. Many of the games are showing their years, but my grandchildren do not seem to mind using them. They love the idea that their mom and dad played on these exact game boards, or with these exact cards...and it reminds me to tell them stories of how the games came to be or the fun we had playing them.

OK...I am really rambling...I do that when I get talking games. And I am just talking to you all now. I am not trying to write in a most elegant way. I am not a writer...I am a that is what you are getting here.

- Where do you buy spinners? And do you buy one for each game? Or can you change/modify/reuse them?

Spinner have caused more people to give up on games. I have tried all kinds methods to make spinners and make them move more easily.

Now I have a winner. It is some spinners I have purchased. They are clear plastic and can just be set on any drawn spinner and work well. I actually use a paper fastener and attach them too the spinner while we are using it and them remove the spinner when we are finished with the game.

This shows a spinner that has not been attached to any drawn spinner. It comes with the arrow attached to the plastic and it spins so smoothly. I use a paper fastener to attach it to a drawn spinner.

Here are some examples of these plastic spinners being used on games:

This drawn spinner was attached to the file folder. It is under the clear Contact paper. The plastic piece with the arrow was fastened just for the time we played the game - then removed and returned to its storage box.

Here the spinner is completely separate. You can easily see the attached plastic spinner.

I got these spinners at a teacher store. They came in a package of 3 for around $5. They are worth every penny.  I got a couple different kinds, but they are basically the same. I have seen them also used on overhead projectors.  I store my spinners in a pencil box. We have another pencil box that is loaded with a variety of dice. Another pencil box holds all kinds of small items that we use as playing pieces on the gameboards....

You never know if you would like to be a fuzzy bunny, an army man, a jeep, horse, or dinosaur when you play a we have a large selection. I have been known to buy a game at a garage sale just for the cute pieces or the dice it contains...or even the spinner!

Coming Up Next: 

Card games:
- How thick does the card stock need to be to make the cards durable?
- Is it faster to laminate or contact paper the cards?
- How do you organize/label your cards so you know what ways you can use them?

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