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Subject: My BCW sleeving experience rss

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Jon W
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I rarely sleeve my games, but I finally decided to sleeve Dominion to speed up the shuffling. I don't riffle shuffle any game, preferring to pile shuffle (mostly to prevent clumping, but also because it's gentler). But that gets tedious in Dominion. In good sleeves, a few mash shuffles and overhands is fast and nice.

Premium sleeves are an expensive proposition with ~3,500 cards. The only other sleeves I've ever used (other than penny sleeves, which I despise) are Dragon Shields, and they're great. But they're expensive, and they don't come in this size. FFG sleeves have a good reputation, but I've seen complaints about inconsistent lengths, and they've also got a lot of extra room at the top, perhaps 5mm longer than the card. Ultra-Pro's stupid hologram ruled them out. Even apart from well-documented quality issues, I'm disinclined to support Mayday if alternatives exist (and maybe even if they don't).

In the end, I took a chance and tried BCW (mostly on the basis of a couple of posts here, and a couple comments on reddit and the dominion strategy forum). In bulk, about 40% cheaper than FFG purples (at best discount I could find). I ordered these: http://www.bcwsupplies.com/cat/board-game-sleeves-59x92.

I got 4,000 sleeves. About halfway through, I noticed variances in sleeve length. Each pack was fine, but pack to pack they differed. In the end, about 1,500 measured 62 x 93 (approximate external measurement, not with calipers), the rest 62 x 94. Customer service was helpful, but the replacement set was also inconsistent, with some 93s (though fewer, as I believe they were looking for them), some 94s, and most of them ~93.5 (which I had not seen in the initial order).

Otherwise, they are high quality: thick (4 mils/102 microns), no splits, straight cuts. And really, in play, the 0.5mm difference is barely felt. The 1mm difference can be felt, and is annoying. They mash shuffle easily, not quite as nicely as Dragon Shield but nothing to complain about. The longer/correct ones leave about 2mm above the card, which is just right (FFG's 5mm is excessive, to me).

So I'd say that they are not a bad value if you don't mind (or notice) minor differences pack to pack, but overall it's hard to fully recommend them, or to fully warn against them. Testing each pack against previous packs, unsleeving, resleeving, etc., was tedious and time-wasting. And yet in the end I'm reasonably happy with the result and the value. I'm still not sure what the best option is, but I thought this might be helpful for anyone researching sleeving options.
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Conan Meriadoc
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Thanks for the advice !

Ultra Pro's hologram isn't that bad if you sleeve them the opposite way (hologram on the back). They're a bit on the expensive side, though, so sleeving thousands of cards may not be worth the money and effort.

I ended up not sleeving, buying a few base cards sets, which, seeing the base cards see the most play and other cards are only shuffled once in a while, evens out the wear and tear.
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Jon W
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Dystopian wrote:
I ended up not sleeving, buying a few base cards sets, which, seeing the base cards see the most play and other cards are only shuffled once in a while, evens out the wear and tear.

That makes sense. But in my case, my main motivation is to make shuffling faster and easier. Reducing wear is just a nice side effect. Since I've only pile shuffled (before sleeving), my base card wear isn't too noticeable anyway. And now there won't be any wear at all, even with the much faster mash shuffling!
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Aaron Jensen
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I hadn't heard of these sleeves. I've ordered an evaluation pack.

I bought a pack of the Fantasy Flight sleeves a few weeks ago and mine were also several millimeters taller than the Mayday sleeves I've used in the past.

Thanks for the recommendation!
 
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Henry Swantner
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After trying Mayday, Fantasy Flight, Ultra Pro, and even contacting SleeveDominion.com I decided on Ultra Pro. By the way, SleeveDominion.com sells very tight fitting penny sleeves for premium prices. I guess I discounted BCW because I didn't realize they made anything premium thickness and/or quality. Plus they always seemed to sloppy in their sizing. Like on their page you linked to they say "Sized for European and American board game cards" ... ?!? B^%l$h%t! No single sleeve can properly sleeve both sizes.

I concluded Ultra Pro Euro sleeves had the best size for Dominion cards. That hologram you mentioned doesn't exist on the Euro size. Well not like they do on their standard sleeves. It's a transparent mark and placed where it doesn't matter for Dominion cards. They've changed their design, but it doesn't seem that updated pictures have made it around the Internet yet. Even the old marks are out of the way or can be placed on the back.

As far as cost goes, if you look around and find someone to buy in bulk, you can get them for $2.09/50-pack. So, it will still cost you $150 to sleeve everything, but think about how much you paid for all those expansions. And it's well worth it for uniformly sized sleeves.
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Jon W
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Thanks, good to know about the Ultra Pro. I don't like any mark, but it's good that it's more subtle than before.

Also a good price, though for 4,000 cards, it's $167. I got that many to cover possible expansions, but technically I think you only need 3,300 (?). Anyway, I paid $1.41 $1.61/50 from BCW.
 
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Henry Allen
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Just curious, anyone tried Ultimate Gaurd supreme?

I haven't tried the Dominion sized ones yet but I bought a few standard card game size packs to try out and they seem very promising so far. They have a nice snug fit (addressing my only complaint with FFG sleeves) and they shuffle smoothly so far. Time will tell on the durability bit but I'm curious if others have more experience with them I can learn from.
 
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