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How to Repair Water-Damaged Board Games

How to Repair Water-Damaged Board Games

Warping. Discoloration. Flaking. Probably some funky odors, too. These are all unpleasant results that should be familiar to anybody whose board games have gotten really, really wet after some unhappy accident. When spillage occurs, your mind races, desperately hoping the effects can be reversed, and the board can somehow be preserved. Nobody wants to go buy another copy of Dead of Winter if they’ve already got a good one (which probably has plenty of memories wrapped up in it, too).

But is it possible, though? Can water damage be undone if you swiftly iron your pieces or throw them in a freezer? What about compressing them under heavy weights, like a stack of other games? Or is the best remedy to simply do nothing and let the pieces dry at their own natural pace? The Pumper Jones crew set out to bust a few myths in the video below, performing a controlled experiment wherein the techniques above are all employed and compared. Their findings are surprising. Salvaging a water-damaged game may actually be a lot easier than you’d expect.

Simply leaving the game alone is actually one of the best remedies. Go figure. It absolutely makes sense that ironing would be the worst approach–you’re adding heat damage to the water damage, really. The freezing results seem inconclusive, though making water particles inside the pieces expand would really have to contribute to warping, wouldn’t it? Conversely, the “compress” does make a lot of sense in review. The pieces can’t warp if they can’t move.

Again, the Pumper Jones crew stress that their test wasn’t the most conclusive (or scientific), but it does certainly offer a few options to try out the next time you get a little too excited and end up spilling drinks all over your copy of Smash Up. Prevention is always better than resuscitation, of course, so you might want to look at this other video they produced. Here, they test out different methods to water-proof a game.

What do you do to bring your game back after it’s drowned? Share techniques in the talkback.

Featured Image Credit: The Pumper Jones Tabletop Gaming Network

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