Q: I just bought a new Fluxx, and the cardstock feels really cheap and flimsy! What’s up with that?

A: It’s true that of our cardstock has changed over the years, as we’ve changed printers and different stocks have been available to us, but for all standard playing-card core decks, it’s been the same for the last ten years, starting in 2008 with Fluxx 4.0. It’s important that nothing fundamentally change about the cardstock because all of the safety testing needs to hold up from batch to batch. Our printer reports that we use Stoplight black-core 11pt paper.

Here are a few words from our contact at the printer about our current stock:

Most casino cards are around 10.5 to 10.8pt, our stock [at 11pt] is very slightly thicker than that on average.

I’ve been a nerd about the relative density lately. For the thickness of stock we are using, this density is hard to beat. Which means it’s real good stuff. For years I’ve been trying to find either a cheaper same quality alternative for you, or a better quality for the same price. No luck so far. You’d be surprised at how much time has been spent on this project. I’ve even worked with paper scientists to engineer a completely new type of paper. What we are using now still outperformed those efforts.

Just for clarification, 11pt /.011″ is not the relative density. That’s the thickness. The relative density is 302 gsm. While there are things out there with a higher gsm (they just make the card thicker), at the casino card thickness, this has one of the best/highest actual densities out there. I’ve only seen one stock that’s better, but it costs more and we’d have to ship it in from France.

We find that the reason new decks card spin and slide on the table more is because they’re often a little slicker than older, more well-worn cards, not because they weigh a different amount (differences would be infinitesimal for one single card compared to another). They do certainly bend easier than some of those older stocks from back in the day, but we find that they hold up to play just as well.

Given the wealth of information we just got from the printer it seems likely that the relative density they are so excited about doesn’t necessarily make the card stiffer, and the lack of stiffness (increased bendyness) is what’s making the cards seem less substantial. I’ve often wondered whether the cards don’t stiffen with age, but that’s just a personal speculation.

We hope this has all been informative, at the very least. We are sad that you are disappointed with the perceived cardstock quality, but we hope this will not detract from your enjoyment of playing the game itself.