About Deck Boxes
I’ve Come to Game: An Introduction to Card Gaming Accessories. An overview of materials needed to protect your cards best.
Part 2: Deck Boxes
Welcome back, Padawan, to the “I’ve Come to Game” series, intended to provide an overview of the most important accessories new card gamers might want before competing in their first tournament. In the last installment, we discussed the different options for sleeves, what they are, why they’re useful, and how to choose the right ones for you.
If you haven’t yet purchased your first set of sleeves, this is a good time to do that. I recommend Dragon Shield. Go on. I’ll wait.
Back? Good. Now that you’ve got your deck sleeved up and ready to game, you’re going to need a place to put it. When I started playing trading card games back in 2000, I kept my cards in a brown paper bag with a rubber band around them (blasphemy to my more experienced ears, but pretty cutting edge, I thought, back then). It wasn’t until my first tournament at Kaboom Kollectibles, in which the participants overflowed into the streets and matches were paired on the sidewalks, that I realized better methods existed (those that didn’t tear, for example).
That was my first introduction to the concept of a deck box.
Deck boxes have gone through many iterations over the years. Brands come and go: I still love the solid color Rook deck boxes of the early 2000s, even though the metal tin bent and the lids broke off. While innovations have changed the specific features of a given deck box, the concept remains largely the same. Deck boxes are containers meant to protect your decks and provide an easy method of transportation. Different colored boxes make organization easier, as you can know which decks are in what box with a glance.
Deck boxes run the gamut from plastic to metal, reinforced to flimsy, artsy and full color, textured and smooth, one compartment to four, opaque and transparent. No matter your deck box needs, a product exists on the market to make sure your cards are protected from round to round.
Let’s take a look at the two major styles and what they offer.
- Plastic Deck Boxes
Most players start with a thin plastic deck box. I like to think of these as the old stand-bys; decent at the job, but not particularly great. I have plastic deck boxes from fifteen years ago, but they’re almost all cracked, whitening, and scratched. Very few make it more than a few months at the cheaper end of the spectrum. Most don’t open anymore due to use of the velcro lid. Even so, these deck boxes get the job done. Prices range from $1.99 – $9.99, and you really get what you pay for. Most plastic deck boxes can hold up to 80 sleeved standard-sized cards. Beware: if the lid is velcro based, don’t shake the box too much as the lid is prone to open and spill your cards out.
The Dragon Shield Deck Shells have taken the plastic deck box concept and innovated it. Deck shells easily fit up to 100 sleeved cards or 75 double sleeved cards, come with a divider for organizational purposes, a generous field on top to write on, and a unique hinged lid to keep your cards from falling out. You can easily shake these things and your cards won’t come crashing out; I tried it.
The Deck Shells come in green, red, blue, black, and white, are new to the market in 2017, and carry on the quality Dragon Shield sleeves are known for. You can’t go wrong with a deck shell.
- Card Containers
Card containers can be a step up from the types of plastic deck boxes explained above. Card containers can be metal, plastic, or satin.
Card containers are often more translucent and have a shell-style top that creates a vacuum over the lower box.
Dragon Shield Gaming Boxes, in my experience, are the best of the card container variety. With eleven unique colors to choose from and a tight fit for maximum security, I’ve never had a problem with any of them. Other card containers on the market work, but the lids come apart more easily, making them risky for long-term extended use.
Dragon Shield also offers the Quad Box, a long, thick plastic gaming container that comes with two dividers and enough space for four decks with eleven colors to choose from in translucent and opaque forms. My gaming group uses the Quad Boxes to easily hold our Magic and Spoils cubes and to keep staple cards aside and out of our trade binders.
Whew! That’s a lot of information, I know. Like with sleeves, the most important thing to keep in mind when searching for a new deck box is what is the most comfortable for you to carry around, what you feel safest about keeping your expensive cards in, and what feels right.
The author recommends:
Ian Spiegel-Blum has worked in the game industry for ten years, first as the manager of a local game and comic shop, then as an independent online retailer, Director of Operations for The Spoils Trading Card Game, and most recently a consultant to start-up game companies. He has seen the game industry from the inside and out and is excited to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of card slingers.