One of the best parts about modern card gaming is the immense degree of customisation we can apply to our favourite hobbies. You don’t just craft a deck but add the sleeves, tokens, dice and playmat that you want. I’m going to take a look at a range of sleeves from HCD supplies and let you know if they should be a part of your personal suite of peripherals.
Cyberpunk themed ‘Cyber Runner’ sleeve.
More into a steampunk vibe? These are the ‘Aetherpunk mage’ design.
Probably the most important aspect when buying art-backed sleeves is the artwork itself. While there’s no doubting the professionalism of the pieces, they’re certainly not for everyone. The common theme amongst the range is buxom ladies and there is certainly a section of players out there (myself included) who will be turned away by this. However, the themes are good and the ‘Cyber Runner’ sleeves evoke a strong Ghost in the Shell theme making them far and away my pick of the bunch.
My biggest issue with art sleeves is in the quality of the sleeve itself. Common problems include inconsistent quality, splitting easily and images scratching/peeling. To call me a ‘vigorous shuffler’ would be putting things lightly and I usually don’t stray away from brands like KMC that offer high durability. However, after a few weeks of shuffling I am yet to have any issues! This is a great sign for those of you who want something that will last for a reasonable amount of time.
Another issue with some manufacturers out there (looking at you FFG) is that their sleeves are often too wide or long, making the cards not sit straight. There are no such problems with the HCD range and cards are framed well, especially with the black background.
(left to right) KMC Black, HCD Cyber Runner, FFG Star Wars art sleeve
The biggest downside is going to be the sleeve edges. If you’re only using them at the kitchen table or casual events it’s not a problem, but I can’t recommend you take these to a Competitive REL event. Unfortunately, the bonding between the front and back pieces results in pronounced & inconsistent white scratches that could easily get you in heat for marked cards. As with all comp-REL events I recommend buying a brand new pack of regular colour sleeves.
Overall, these are the best quality art sleeves I’ve used and if you like the looks of any of them I’d recommend picking some up! Hopefully HCD expands their range of artwork to have something for everyone.
*** COMPETITION TIME ***
Want to win some of these fantastic sleeves? We’ve got a bunch of sleeves from HCD to give out to one lucky reader! To be eligible you need to be an Australian resident and comment below, letting us know what your favourite sleeves are and why! Entries will be open until Friday the 3rd of October so get cracking.