Things of No Interest: Review of Sleeve Kings Card Sleeves
Welcome to 2019! I am here to start the year discussing card sleeves of all things! If you want to know why I care about sleeving - go check out my article from last year about To Sleeve or Not to Sleeve.
Full disclosure: I was provided with two packs of card sleeves from Sleeve Kings for review - I was not otherwise compensated.
Sleeve Kings ran a Kickstarter during 2018, which was fully funded. They should be fulfilling pledges sometime this month, and then their web store should start accepting orders. The premise for their sleeves (straight from their homepage):
- Arcane Tinmen: All sleeves are 80 microns.
- Artipia: Standard sleeves are 40 microns. Premium sleeves are 90 microns.
- BCW: Board game sleeves are approximately 100 microns. Other sleeves vary.
- Blackfire: Most sleeves are 40 microns. Premium sleeves are 100 microns.
- Docsmagic: Regular sleeves are 50 microns. Premium sleeves are 100 microns.
- Dragon Shield: All sleeves are 120 microns.
- Fantasy Flight: All sleeves are 105 microns.
- Kaissa Games: Standard sleeves are 50 microns. Premium sleeves are 80 microns.
- KMC: Standard and Mini sleeves are 100 microns. Perfect Fit sleeves are 45.5 microns.
- LaTCG: Perfect Size sleeves are 63.5 microns. I have no information on their other sleeves.
- Legion: Unknown thickness, but comparable to Fantasy Flight.
- Mage Company: 100 microns.
- Mayday: Standard sleeves are 40 microns. Premium sleeves are 90 microns.
- MTL: Soft sleeves are 40 microns. Thick sleeves are 90 microns.
- Paladin (NSKN): All sleeves are 90 microns.
- Sleeve Kings: All sleeves are 60 microns.
- Swan PanAsia: Standard sleeves are 40 microns. Premium sleeves are 90 microns.
- Tasty Minstrel: Unknown thickness, but comparable to Fantasy Flight.
- Ultimate Guard: Classic Soft sleeves are 40 microns. Premium Soft sleeves are 50 microns. Supreme sleeves are 115 microns. Master sleeves are 160 microns.
- Ultra-Pro: Deck Protector sleeves are 110 microns.
On their second point - nearly all of the brands sell themselves in packs of 50 or 100, so you do indeed get more. Does it matter that much? Depends on how much of a MAGO you are... I will say this, if you are doing a lot of sleeving, the cost point paired with the amount of cards you get is really good.
|Sleeve Kings on the left, FFG on the right|
As for their next point - clarity. I found their sleeves to be slightly clearer. What I can't actually say is whether this was due to the reduced thickness or or the material or whatever, but they are slightly less cloudy than the FFG card sleeves (not that I find FFG sleeves to be particularly "cloudy"). Also, please don't try and judge the clarity based on my inability to take great pictures with my phone. In the picture above, you can't tell much difference and it really isn't that different in person either - as I said, it is slight.
|Sleeve Kings' sleeves are a hair wider|
While we are looking at the above pictures, I'll take this opportunity to point out size differences (as opposed to thickness). Now, the Sleeve Kings' sleeves are all 0.5mm wider than most of the competition. Honestly, it isn't super noticeable. If you are sleeving a heavily shuffled card game (Star Realms or a deck builder like Thunderstone) and you only had one or two of the wider ones, you might be able to pick them out on width - I have noticed size differences in other brands before and in other games I've sleeved and it hasn't bothered me or been advantageous in any way I've seen, but if you are a MAGO, it might bother you if your sleeves are not uniform.
Interestingly and despite the width difference, the sleeves are actually snugger than the FFG ones. The are also shorter, leaving less extra sleeve at the top. Does any of that matter? Not that I can tell - it doesn't seem to make it easier to shuffle (you'll still have to avoid bridge shuffling since you will still catch cards in the opening). I honestly hadn't ever noticed the extra space on the sides of the sleeves using the FFG brand, but for whatever reason, Sleeve Kings do fit better (ie less space between the card and the sleeve edge). Sleeve Kings has made a point of stating these are not Mayday sleeves, but if you use Mayday sleeves - these fit a lot like their premium ones.
If you put a couple fingers in FFG cards and pull, they rip - right down both sides and without too much effort. These aren't bad quality sleeves, so don't get the idea that FFG sleeves rip if you look at them wrong, but it didn't take much effort to try to rip them.
|FFG small||FFG standard|
|Sleeve Kings||Sleeve Kings||Sleeve Kings|
For boardgames with non-magic sized cards that I want to sleeve, I typically use FFG sleeves. For deck builders or LCG/CCG (anything "Magic" sized) I use Ultra Pro card sleeves. I don't think they are necessarily the best or that they are my favorites, but the price and availability are decent. I can find either brand all over the place - I can get Ultra Pros at Walmart if I want. FFG sleeves are pretty readily available at any FLGS and on Amazon. I long time ago, I compared Mayday premium sleeves to FFG and preferred them over the FFG ones for many of the same reasons I like the Sleeve Kings' sleeves (which I'll state here in a second). The only reason I don't use Mayday premium sleeves now - I couldn't get them. My FLGS carried them, but they couldn't get them back in stock, so they never had them and they were constantly unavailable online as well. I eventually decided that the (small) differences didn't matter as much as being able to actually get sleeves easily.
- Sleeve Kings fit the cards better and they are shorter (less gap at the top of the sleeve.
- They are 40% thinner than most premium sleeves without feeling cheap
- They are stronger on the seams than thicker sleeves
- Their cost is good. 110 sleeves @ $2-3 is a really good price. FFG sleeves are more than twice that cost.