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Is there something anyone knows of that you can apply to the surface of a board game to protect it against wear so that it lasts longer?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 13 down vote accepted

I found this on a BoardGameGeek thread:

You can try this...clear wallpaper, avaliable at any home improvement store and even Walmart, if you're lucky enough to find it there; about $10 a roll and the roll will do the tiles and more. The clear wallpaper will have to be cut after application (it's self adhesive), will have to be trimmed with an craft knife. Hope this helps. I'll be trying this on my set and I've used the clear wallpaper on other games over the years to protect them and 20 years later a lot of them are still in mint condition.

Warning, don't buy the frosted clear wallpaper, you can't see through it.

While I haven't tried it myself, it looks like it might be worth a try. Maybe on a cheaper game first, so that if it doesn't work, you haven't screwed up you're favorite game.

I will go to the local Fred Meyer today and see if they have something like this, and if so, try it out myself.

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1  
I'm not familiar with the wallpaper, but there's 'contact paper' in the U.S., which is a self-adhesive plastic sold to line kitchen shelves with to make them easier to wipe up ... it also comes in clear. The only disadvantage would be in the size of the rolls -- contact paper rolls are typically 18" (45cm) wide, which will take more finesse when covering large boards (aligning the edges at a seam in the board). I haven't used it on game boards, but I have used it to 'laminate' reference sheets so I can use wet erase pens on them. –  Joe Oct 6 at 10:28

You could always use the original plastic shrink-wrap that the game shipped in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-s1p8Vnym0

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There are products like SprayFix, which cover paper with a protective varnish. It prevents dirt from attaching to paper surfaces. This is used often with games using counters, to protect them from wearing. I think you can apply it to board surfaces perfectly.

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This is probably a better solution than clear contact paper because you don't have a separate physical layer than the board material that will grow-shrink at a different pace than the board, might wrinkle over time, and might cloud/fade/yellow over time. I second this recommendation -- go to a good arts supply store and ask to learn about the various sprays that artists use to cover/protect their drawings and paintings. –  Viktor Haag Apr 14 '11 at 13:34

Following the answer provided by Egg of P'an Ku, try clear contact paper.

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The usual recommendation is to get a sheet of plexiglass (known as Perspex® in the UK) and lay that across the board when you're playing. It's an especially good solution for "board" games that don't actually have a board.

Well-made board-backed games don't really need any help, but many small-press games have the board printed on stiff card or even paper. Paper gaming surfaces go back at least to SPI's foundation in 1969, and so do plexiglass coverings to prevent them getting ruined.

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I was really hoping for something that would be more like a spray on adhesive instead of an additional piece of equipment (plexiglass). But, regardless... in your experience, do you just get a single piece and use it for all your game boards? Or do you get pieces to fit each board specifically? Just out of curiosity. –  kchau Oct 21 '10 at 22:11
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I have a few pieces in varying sizes. They don't need to be exactly fitted to the boards, but if you have a piece the size of a ping-pong table for a board the size of a sheet of A3 paper, then it looks slightly ridiculous. –  Richard Gadsden Oct 22 '10 at 7:33
    
I use this method and it works great for modular games like Mansions of madness. If you put the perspex over the game, people can't spill beer on it, and the tiles don't move around whenever someone gets a little too enthusiastic. –  anber Sep 29 at 3:29

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