Chaz Marler from Pair Of Dice Paradise here, and when I’m spending an entire Wednesday waiting on a phone call, I find there’s no better way to manage the monotony of minutes than by methodically combing through my board game collection and cleaning up components. Components!
Whether they’re meeples, movers, money, minis, cards, cardboard, counters, or coins; they’re the fiddly -- sorry... deja vu.
When tidying up piles of playing pieces, the first approach I take is to move bits into bags. So let’s talk about plastic bags, since nobody else has... as long as you ignore Jared Whitley's segment on the this very topic from Board Game Breakfast episode #64.
Which I am. I am ignoring that.
Prior to entering the board game hobby, I couldn’t have told you the difference between an everyday ziploc sandwich bag and a 5 inch, Eco Clear Low Density Ethylene Lay-Flat Poly. I know, unbelievable, right?
But it’s true, not all plastic bags are not created equal. “What’s the difference?” you probably didn’t just ask. Well, since I’m not currently tied up on the telephone, I guess I have time to elaborate. One indicator of a plastic bag’s quality is it’s thickness, measured in something called “mil”.
Common thicknesses are 1, 2, and 4 mil. 1 mil bags are a flimsy embarrassment to the industry. When I find a game that comes with a 1 mil bag, I drop whatever I’m doing, and ridicule them immediately. 2 mil bags are mid grade, and they’re what many games include, and most craft stores sell. They’re the world’s most common bag, after paper grocery. But my favorite type is 4 mil bags, which, compared to 2 mil, are slightly, but noticeably, thicker. It’s the type of thing that, once you start looking for it, you’ll never go back to 2 mil.
After I decided to become a component baggie snob, a problem I discovered is that the only place I’ve been able to consistently find 4 mil bags is online (such as at uline.com) where they’re typically sold in batches of a thousand. So, they may not be worth the investment, unless you have a really large board game collection. Or, if you have a friend who’s also into board games from whom you can “permanently borrow” a bunch of bags from when he’s not looking. (Note: Pair Of Dice Paradise does not endorse stealing from your friends, nor does it endorse not returning phone calls on Wednesday.)