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Mayday Card Sleeves Review

mayday card sleeves

In essence, Card sleeves (or Deck protector sleeves) are thin sheath of plastic into which a card is inserted. In reality, they are much more as they not only protect trading cards, game cards, and collectible card game cards from wear and tear but as they also ensure you could still enjoy playing with the same cards. Here, we will be speaking specifically about the Mayday card sleeves!

In fact, the first deck protector sleeves (“Top-loader”) were quite rigid and designed only to protect collectible cards from wear. Top-loaders are still available for those who focus only on collecting the cards but the sleeve design evolved a lot since the late 90s. The main drive for the change was the increasing popularity collectible card games had since the late 90s. These games require sleeves flexible enough to shuffle the deck repeatedly but strong enough to protect all your rare cards.

In recent years the amount of different types and manufacturers of sleeves has grown considerably as players have also started to use them in boardgames. Considering the amount of different products now available on the market, choosing which sleeve brand or product fits better your needs (and wallet) is not an trivial task. Hopefully this review will be beneficial to assess if Mayday products are good for you.

To Sleeve Or Not To Sleeve

The very first question you should ask yourself before purchasing any card sleeve is if sleeving your cards is a sensible choice.

If you are playing a collectible card game like Magic: The Gathering or Digimon or anyone else, sleeving your cards is a must. Not only sleeving will improve shuffling your cards but you really don't want to be in the position to have a very rare card in your deck and watch it getting damaged a bit more every time you play.

When it comes to boardgames, the choice is less obvious. Some games may have a HUGE amount of cards or perhaps multiple set of cards with different size in the same box. In some cases, your boardgames may also not be expensive or rare enough to justify the additional costs of adding sleeves to your cards. Last but not least, the card holders in your boardgame box may not be big enough to store sleeved cards.

Personally, I always prefer sleeving my games as I hate when a card is accidentally damaged or get “sticky” during a long game night. Moreover, no-one really knows when your favourite game may go out of print or when you would be willing to pass it on to someone else. Sleeving will ensure your boardgame will always be ready to be played as the first time and it will also not lose its value over the years.

The real question I always ask myself therefore is “how do I get good sleeves without spending too much?”

Anatomy Of A Sleeve: How Mayday Product Line Is?

When it comes to purchase card sleeves, I think a good list of criteria to consider includes:

1) Thickness. Sleeves thickness is measured in microns. The thicker the sleeve, the more the card inside will be protected. Mayday sleeves come into two formats: Standard (40 microns) and Premium (90 microns). The lighter version is quite cheap (around £0.02 per sleeve) and it is a great choice when budget is tight and the game is not played frequently. The thicker version has a very good quality to price ratio: average price is just twice the one of the standard version but the increase of thickness make it very suitable for heavily played games.

2) Sleeve Size and Product range. One key thing to know is that the size listed on the label of the sleeve package is not always the size of the sleeves themselves. Mayday, like most of the manufacturers, always details the size of the cards that FIT into the sleeves to make sure players could pick the right sleeves by measuring the cards. When browsing for the right product, the very large range of Mayday products really comes in hand. So far, I always been able to find a good fit for the cards of my games, even when they were not of the most common sizes. Among Mayday range, I love in particular the square ones as I used them to protect the tiles of a few games. Another aspect to flag is that all Mayday sleeves have a very good fit to the cards they are designed for, thus preventing card warp.

3) Clear or Colour? It is quite obvious that a card sleeve should always have one side completely clear to allow to read the cards. Mayday cards are very transparent and card readability is top notch. The other side of the sleeve could be either clear, frosted or coloured depending on your personal preference. Mayday range includes all three type of sleeves although the coloured backs are limited to the most used card sizes. With respect to other brands, Mayday coloured sleeves are not fully opaque allowing part of the card design to be visible. I don't like it too much but it is a really personal choice and does not impact the use of the cards in game.

4) Product Packaging. The packaging strategy of the cards sleeves differs a lot from one manufacturer to the other. Mayday products for example mostly come in pack of 50 or 100 sleeves. Their packaging is also quite minimal with respect to other brands as the sleeves are provided in ziplock bag. Depending on your plans, you could end up with some spare once all cards sleeved. That is not necessary a problem as you may need to re-sleeve some cards if any sleeve will be damaged while playing. I recommend to always keep spare sleeves together with their original label to be able to purchase some in case you will need more.

Mayday Sleeves – Final thoughts

Overall, all Mayday card sleeves have very good quality to price ratio. The Premium range in particular is very suitable for both trading card games and boardgames while the wide range of products available makes them a great resource to protect your loved cards.