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Ultimate Guard: Return to Earth Boulder Review - Is this an eco-friendly game changer?

Written by Jon1 comment

4 minute read

The Boulder has long been a rock solid choice for a 100+ deck box. Will the eco-friendly Return to Earth version meet expectations set by its predecessor, or will we be looking to send it back to the recycling sooner than expected?

What is the Ultimate Guard Return to Earth Boulder?

Ultimate Guard set out to create a range of sustainable and ecological products that aim to appeal to environmentally minded consumers. This began with the Return to Earth Boulder 100+ and expanded to the 133+. Made from up to 87% renewable resources and being 100% recyclable from the packaging to the deck boxes themselves, these products are the closest thing any major manufacturer has come to an environmentally guilt-free TCG accessory.

How is the build quality of the Return to Earth Boulder?

You would be forgiven for assuming the Return to Earth Boulder has the same build quality as the original Boulder, and in many ways you would be correct. The design of the RTE Boulder is near identical to the regular Boulder, and the construction has the same asymmetrical 2-part design as well as the same ‘nub and divot’ locking mechanism. Or so it would seem…


Unfortunately, not only are the side walls 0.4mm thinner than the original Boulder, but the aforementioned large locking nub is 0.5mm smaller in diameter. This is significant when you consider that the primary locking nub on the Boulder is 1mm, making the RTE Boulder’s main security measure potentially half as effective. We will touch on the ramifications of this later. 


Outside of these changes, the moulding of the 2 halves is clean and smart, and the fully recyclable material used has the same comforting rigidity that Boulder owners have come to expect, fully protecting the cards inside from being harmed. 


All in all, the Return to Earth Boulder follows the tried and tested Boulder blueprint with a few small changes but nothing to change the build quality score - still an impressive 10/10.

Different angles of the green Return to Earth Boulder.

The RTE Boulder consists of 2 symmetrical halves with nubs that lock the box together. The speckled appearance of the recyclable material is the main aesthetic difference compared to the classic Boulder.

What fits inside the RTE Boulder?

As the RTE Boulder comes in 2 sizes - it depends! The 100+ version has almost the same (0.5mm larger) internal dimensions as the classic 100+ Boulder which we have long felt is outdated and too small for the popular 100 card formats of today. 


The 133+ can hold up to 160+ single-sleeved and 133 double-sleeved cards. Why you would need specifically 133 or 160 sleeved cards to fit in a deck box, is somewhat puzzling. We would suggest the space be used for either a 100 card deck and large sideboard, a pair of 60 card decks, or a 100 card deck in larger/thicker sleeves. Annoyingly, the height of the RTE 133+ means it will not support 100 triple-sleeved cards.


Below, we've put together some handy size charts for both boxes so you can see exactly which combinations of inner and outer sleeves will fit into each.

Sleeve compatibility for the Return to Earth 100+ Boulder
Sleeve compatibility for the Return to Earth 133+ Boulder

Is this the Ultimate Guard to secure your deck?

We test the security of deck boxes by filling them with 100 double-sleeved cards, closing the box fully and shaking the box until it opens. By gradually increasing the intensity of the shaking we can gauge each box’s security level. 


We complete this test with the RTE Boulder and find it performs a lot worse than the standard Boulder. This can be explained by the aforementioned reduction in size of the nubs of the closing mechanism. Without providing any further means for closure, a larger box with heavier contents is going to struggle with a weaker nub. 


These security concerns are set against the backdrop of the Boulder 100+’s exceptional performance and, when taken in isolation, the RTE Boulder still scores reasonably well. We give a steady 6/10 for security.

Is there anywhere for my accessories?

Unfortunately, Ultimate Guard have not made the ‘Boulder ‘n’ tray’ for the Return to Earth line, so the only option you have is to use a solid divider and put some dice or counters next to your deck inside the box. Luckily, the 133+ has ample spare room in the main compartment but, ultimately, if you need a deck box with accessory storage then you should probably be looking elsewhere.

How much does this sustainable Boulder cost?

We sell the Return to Earth Boulder 133+ for £11.95 and this is comparable to the Bastion XL at £10.95, a box that boasts a large space in all dimensions but lacks the same depth as the Return to Earth Boulder 133+. We currently don’t stock the 100+ version but the RRP for it is £8.74.

The brown, green, red, and blue Return to Earth Boulders.

The Return to Earth Boulders come in 9 different colours.

Closing Thoughts

Overall, we have to give props to Ultimate Guard for taking the lead in creating a more eco-friendly deck box. The speckled look of the recyclable material fits in with the natural feel the Return to Earth Boulder is going for. Couple that with 9 colour options and players are bound to find one that suits them. 


Where the RTE boulder falls short is in the downgraded locking mechanism when compared to the original Boulder and even the Boulder ‘n’ Tray. We’re not entirely sure if the materials used in the RTE Boulder has anything to do with it, but the size of the nubs are noticeably smaller and likely a major factor in the weaker security. 


Furthermore, the RTE 100+ has the same internal dimensions as the classic Boulder 100+ which is too small to support 100 double-sleeved cards in many sleeve types, and the RTE 133+ suffers from the opposite problem - it has too much space inside for most games/formats. With the most popular MTG format using 100 cards, we would like to see a Boulder that caters more towards this, something sized in-between the 100+ and 133+. 


That being said, the eco-friendly nature of the Return to Earth range may be reason enough for some players to pull the trigger, despite its flaws.



 Build Quality and Toughness   10/10
 Storage 69mm (100+) / 94mm (133+)
 Security 6/10
 Price  £8.74 (100+) / £11.95 (133+)
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1 comment

Rain chen
Rain chen
The picture of the table is a little blurry

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