When you think of hobbies and fun things to do to pass the time, trading card games (TCG) almost instantly pops into your head. It might be something that you have played as a kid with your friends, but there are those who develop a passion for the game and invest a little more time and effort than others. Some invest in extra items such as custom card sleeves.
As with any game played at a competitive level, you need the right equipment. Whether you play professionally or just enjoy playing trading card games, there is no reason not to have these tools to enhance your game and protect your cards.
Here are a few essentials that any serious Trading Card Game player should have.
Custom Card Sleeves
The trading card game industry has evolved a lot since its release way back in the early 90s. When the card game rose to popularity, the actual card value shot up as well. Innovators thought of ways to protect cards from external damage and make them must-have last longer, thus card sleeves were born.
These card sleeves are designed to do one thing, and that is to protect whatever is inside it. However, these simple card sleeves are not enough to keep your precious cards safe from damage. All the excessive shuffling and practicing with the cards can take its toll on a simple sleeve.
This is where custom card sleeves come in. This is a must have for anyone wanting to protect their cards and make them aesthetically pleasing in the process. Custom card sleeves are made from a variety of materials which have undergone testing to ensure your cards will last for a long time.
Even if you don’t plan on reselling or collecting rare cards, custom card sleeves should be your priority. It just makes sense to cover them up and put an interesting design or perhaps a picture at the back. Most custom card sleeve sellers already have a template ready for you, all you have to do is pick out a design.
Nowadays, no serious player would be caught dead without custom card sleeves on each of their cards. Not only does this keep your cards in pristine condition, custom card sleeves actually give you a sense of ownership of your entire deck.
The type of card sleeve you have will determine the longevity of your playing cards. If you don’t put any type of sleeve on them, you might risk bending or getting dirt on them. Almost all of the players today have a sleeve on each of their cards. It has gotten to the point where it just doesn’t look or feel right if it doesn’t have one.
Be careful when choosing card sleeves as this is your first layer of protection for your cards.
It doesn’t matter if you are playing professionally or just doing it for fun. Any trading card player should have a duplicate deck handy. Apart from the original deck being at risk of getting damaged, having a duplicate deck handy helps make sure you have spare cards in case some of your original ones somehow get lost.
Consider your cards as your main weapon in the competitive world of trading card gaming. It’s best to have a spare or a secondary weapon handy in case something happens to the original. You wouldn’t go charging off into battle with only one weapon (or would you?) In any case, there are more pros than cons to having a spare deck.
Having a duplicate obviously means having copies of cards that you already have. What does that mean for your other decks? While you have a set of cards ready for play, you can also have the same set available for display. By having more than one deck, you are able to make the original one last longer. You won’t have to completely destroy them or damage them before replacing them.
You can even put different custom card sleeves on the cards of the duplicate deck. Can’t quite choose between that awesome anime background or a picture of your dog? Well, why not get them both? When you’re getting a little tired of the sleeves on your original deck, just switch them out.
Having an extra deck handy is a simple but effective way to sort of “back up” your existing roster of cards. Let’s say you get tired of your current collection and have no plans of keeping them. In the event, you wish to sell your cards some shops buy them in bulk. That means that you get more value out of your cards if you have a spare deck.
At present, most fans of trading card games have more than just one extra deck. It has become a hobby to collect as many cards as they can. That means they have extra cards suiting a different style of play, depending on the game being played.
As a general rule your main deck should be your strongest, so keep that in mind while building your duplicate.
The style of play varies depending on the specific card game you are playing. Custom playmats are a great way of making sure you are putting them in the right place each time. This is especially true for newer players who don’t exactly know where to put certain cards.
Sure, seasoned players don’t need an indicator of where to put the cards but playmats help make sure the playing field is set up the way it’s supposed to. This is also true for other games like chess, wherein there are indicators where the pieces are currently placed.
These playmats also have another purpose, and once again that is to protect your cards from damage. Having this mat handy also allows you to play almost anywhere as long as there is a flat surface. Simply pull it out, lay it on the floor or on a table and start playing with your friends!
Just like custom card sleeves, these playmats also have customization options. Apart from the indicators, players can also choose from a wide variety of designs. From favorite characters to simple lettering, the sky's the limit for what you want to see in your playmat.
It’s safe to say playmats are an integral part of trading card games. The combination of utility and aesthetics are just too good to pass up. Definitely something worth checking out if you don’t already have one.
Remember that playmats differ in each game, some are made from fabrics and rubber while others are made out of paper.
Card Display Cases
Ever seen a card so rare that you hesitate to even touch it? Even when custom card sleeves just don’t quite give you any assurance that it’s safe. This next item on our list helps give you a sense of relief for that prized possession of yours.
Card display cases have been around for a while now. Sports cards have been around for much longer than trading card games. Some of them are very rare, with autographs or messages from the icons printed on them. Cards like this go for an extremely high value so it makes sense to just put them on display.
The same applies to rare trading game cards. If you have something valuable, a display case is a necessary tool for extra protection. Combined with custom card sleeves, your collection will surely last. Most display cases allow for multiple cards displayed at a time, usually in rows. This allows the viewer to see the entire collection at a glance, so be sure to display the best of the best!
Do note though that display cases are not exclusive to rare cards. You can put any card you want. Maybe you want to put your first deck ever or the undefeated deck you had as a teen. Regardless of what your purpose is for showing it off, display cases are a great way to flaunt those cards.
Some display cases may be large and eat up a lot of shelf space. Think of a space where you can display it before choosing a case. (Mounting it on a wall is also a good idea)
Picture this, you have a collection of different decks. You’re not quite ready to let some of them go. But at the same time, they are not special enough for you to put on the display case. If only there was a way for you to store them safely and neatly. The last item on our list takes care of just that.
A card box is essential even for non-collectors for you to store your duplicate decks and extra cards. This small box serves as the house of your collection, so be sure to pick out a really nice one. Make sure to check the dimensions of the containers. You don’t want to buy one hastily just to find out your cards don’t even fit!
These card boxes come in different designs and sizes. You can even put multiple decks together in one box. There are also boxes that accommodate only one deck, perhaps the one that you use the most. You can also customize them just as much as the other items on our list.
The typical card boxes are made of plastic and have dividers inside, they can usually accommodate up to 1000 cards at a time. Some of the more premium choices have extra compartments that can hold other game pieces aside from cards.
Not only does it save space on the storage of your cards, but it’s also a good habit to store things neatly. When you open that box and see all your cards stacked together looking so organized. I don’t know about you guys but seeing things tidy is really pleasing for the eyes.
You may stack these card boxes on top of each other so it’s okay to have a few of them.
Why is it important to invest in equipment for trading card games?
If you haven’t noticed already, all the items listed have one thing in common. All of them offer protection for the most important variable of the game, the cards! You’ve already spent money on the cards, why not go the extra mile to protect them. You might be thinking, I can just play the cards straight out of the box. Well, yes and no.
Playing the cards straight out of the box is how it was done but that is not the case today. When you already have the cards, you should at least have one or more of the items listed above. It’s almost as if they are sold as a set. Perhaps the only reason they don’t sell them together is for the customization options.
The mechanics will still be the same with or without playmats, but it just won’t look right without the outlines. It’s still the same card even without custom card sleeves, but will you enjoy seeing your precious cards fading after a few weeks of playing? What if your friend accidentally steps on your card, how will you get that stain out without damaging it?
The cards are vulnerable as they are but using these items together will help you get the most out of your playing cards. All this gear helps minimize the risk of your stuff getting scratched, faded, or bent. It’s not easy to replace cards especially when you have rare ones. Taking extra steps to ensure they are safe will save you some money in the long run.
It’s a smart and simple way of protecting your investments especially something that you plan on using for hours at a time. A flimsy paper card will surely fall victim to deterioration and eventually lose quality and value over prolonged use. Save yourself the trouble and consider the equipment listed above.
The future you will thank you for keeping your beautiful cards safe from damage and keeping them in mint condition.