How to Find the Perfect Sleeves for Your Games
by Serban, Quartermaster @ The Guild Hall
December 10 2020
A wise man once said: always use protection. While you might think that doesn’t apply to board games, we’re here to teach you why it does. After all, you don’t want your friends to spread their vanilla iced late all over your precious 100$ magic card. What about that fun game of Root? You should, of course, want to protect all of these experiences. And this is why we’ve come to give you a beginner’s guide into sleeves!
What exactly are sleeves?
In case you’re brand new to board games (or have been living under the board gaming rocks that are Monopoly and Catan), sleeves are small pockets of plastic that you can slide your cards into, protecting them from the outside elements.
In the most basic sense of the word, that is what they are. From here on out, however, it gets a little more complicated. You can’t just buy a bunch of sleeves and make them fit for every game.
Nope, for some reason, cards come in PLENTY of sizes. Because of this endless variation in dimensions, you might need someone to explain the differences, as well as how to pick them out.
Types of sleeves
Let’s find out what types of sleeves there are, and after this, we’ll tell you how to see which sleeves you’ll need.
These are the ol’ reliables. They are usually 63.5x88mm. They are generally used in card games, such as Magic: The Gathering or Exploding Kittens.
Standard European/American Sleeves
Although they are also named standard by most, these are not used in card games, but rather games with some cards and other components. These have small differences in size. The main difference is where they are made. Americans used Letter-size stencils, meaning their sleeves are slightly smaller.
Mini European/American Sleeves
These function by the same rules as their standard counterparts but are, as you probably guessed, smaller.
Perfect Fit Sleeves
These sleeves are made very thin and are used for double-sleeving. Double-sleeving is for when you REALLY want to protect your cards. They’re also for you paranoid folk.
Special Sized Sleeves
Not all of us fit inside norms. And the same goes for sleeves. Special sleeves are a whole different shebang, but you need not worry, they are coming to your rescue for those weirdly sized cards in your games.
Once you’ve understood what all these sleeves are, it’s time to tell you it doesn’t matter. Why? Because you can check out what sleeves you need for most of your games here. This website’s sole purpose is to ensure you don’t buy useless sleeves. It’ll recommend to you what you need on a game to game basis. After you see what you need, you can buy them from our online shop!
Pro Tip: Watch out for Quality!
While yes, the difference in size plays a significant role in choosing your sleeves, the difference in quality is also worth noting. If you intend on giving your game the best protection possible, we recommend either Dragon Shield, Gamegenic or Fantasy Flight sleeves, as they are the cream of the crop. Ultra Pro also make decent quality sleeves, at different price ranges!
So why do I need sleeves in the first place?
See, board games are like organisms. Just like your body degrades in time, and your back begins to ache from all the time you spent playing video games, cards will slowly deter. Their corners will, slowly but surely, bend, and they might get exposed to the elements. To best prevent the unyielding passage of time (and your friends’ clumsiness) from damaging your precious board games, all you have to do is sleeve them. It is that easy, and it’s not that expensive either!
And that about does it! You now know everything you’ll ever need about sleeves. The only thing left for you to do is buy some from our online shop and make sure you’re taking the best possible care of your games!
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