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Many board games have a special deck of cards and over time get worn out.

When they start to get worn out, they get "sticky" and difficult to shuffle.

Is there a way or a product that can be applied to a deck of cards to make them "slippery" again?

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3 Answers

up vote 21 down vote accepted

You need deck sleeves.

They should be available at your local game store, or from any number of online suppliers. They are available in various sizes, so be sure to bring a sample card along while shopping (or measure it precisely before hand).

Online you can find lower quality sleeves for around 1 cent apiece in bulk. Higher quality sleeves may cost upwards of 10 cents/sleeve. The higher quality will give you a sleeve that shuffles much easier and can optionally have an opaque back. (An opaque back is desirable if some of your cards are marked or bent due to heavy use).

Ultra-Pro and Fantasy Flight are two high quality well known manufacturers to ask for if you want somewhere to start.

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I only have experience with the cheapest sleeves I could find, and while they are great for protecting my cards, they actually make it harder to shuffle. So if you want ease of shuffling, then follow Pat's advice and go for the slightly more expensive ones. –  Erik P. Oct 26 '10 at 22:20
    
Aside from laminating your cards, card sleeves are your best bet. If the sleeves are rigid enough they also make it a lot easier to shuffle the cards. You can simply split the deck and push the two stacks into each other. –  Kempeth Oct 27 '10 at 7:15
    
The only problems with the more expensive (and thicker) card sleeves is that it may make your deck no longer fit in its packaging. I'm thinking more of Dominion cards than anything else here, but it applies to other card types as well. P.S. I'm still kicking myself for missing a sale on deck sleeves at Amazon a few weeks ago. –  Powerlord Oct 27 '10 at 15:26
    
Yes. They are gonna get thicker but that's the price you pay. You can still work around that by not using the inlay and storing them directly in the box with elastic bands. Or if you have the time resleeve & unsleeve before & after games... –  Kempeth Oct 28 '10 at 20:48
    
I finally got around to buying some sleeves. I'm surprised I've never heard of them up until I posted this question. I was skeptical, but they are actually much easier to shuffle with then I expected. –  Chris Persichetti Jan 24 '11 at 15:49
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The stickiness of cards is typically just due one of two things, the surface of the card becoming rough or warped due to actual wear, or the build up of oils from contact with the fingers. In the case of oils, which you can tell thats what it is because the cards still have a reflective surface, you can just use a damp rag (not wet) with soap on it, and give it 2 fast light swipes on each side, making sure to hit the corners and dry it off with a paper towel afterward. You can also just take a hair dryer to them, in a spray paint motion where you never stop moving the airflow, then wipe them with a dry paper towel immediately.

I don't know of any products to return them to slippery state, but most games you can buy replacement parts for through the manufacturer, right down to individual cards that may have been damaged or destroyed.

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There's an easier solution available for those who don't want to invest in new cards or sleeves which might not even match in size:
- When cards get sticky, put them in a plastic bag.
- Add some baby powder to the plastic bag.
- Shake vigorously for 5-10 minutes.
- The baby powder (be sure to use the kind made from only the highest quality babies!) will absorb the moisture and oil that has built up on the cards.
- Remove cards from bag, wipe individually with a cloth.

And that should fix ya!

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