Catching All The Pokemon

About that thing called Pokémon, yeah, it’s all kinda new to me. So far I like it. Specifically, I’m talking about the trading card game (TCG). Have you played it? It’s kind of a big bite to chew on if you’re new to it. I bet you’ve heard the slogan, “Gotta catch’em all!” Well, there’s now over 800 Pokémon to catch! And that’s just for starters.

Getting Into The Game

Pokémon has been around for over two decades, and I’m just now learning about the Trading Card Game. I’m late to it. But that’s probably a good thing because it’s kind of expensive. Other than the cost, it’s pretty cool.

I started buying and collecting some cards, then began learning the rules to play. So much strategy! And that, I think, is the funnest part, exploring the endless strategies you can come up with to win at games. It can be overwhelming, but it kinda sucks you in. So it’s been an interesting experience, sharing the enjoyment with my wife and kids.

We all play the TCG online against the computer, and we all play each other. I’ve even won a few games against my wife, mostly because her battle deck happened to be weak against mine. At this stage, though, even when losing, I learn a lot about how to play and gain insight from my opponent’s strategy.

It’s common for a player to gravitate towards certain Pokémon and end up with a favorite. I didn’t think I would follow that trend. But somehow it happened. My kids have the Super Deluxe Pokémon Encyclopedia, and at the very back is a dude called Zygarde!

This Zygarde creature in complete form doesn’t look like your typical animal type of Pokémon. To me he/it looks like a Decepticon Transformer! So of course I think it’s awesome, the best Pokémon. And it’s the one I started collecting.

Collecting Versus Trading

In the big picture, Pokémon is two things: cards for collecting and trading, and cards for playing a card game. While that’s obvious, I find the two aspects intriguing.

Growing up, I collected Baseball cards. As an adult, I’ve collected Star Wars cards. And of course I’ve played card games: UNO, Skip-Bo, Rummy, 52 card pick-up… But those things have always been separate to me. Until Pokémon.

With Pokémon TCG, you can be only a collector and buy or trade cards if you want. Or you can be in it just to play the game, but really it’s a combo of both. You kind of need to collect cards to get the best ones to create a winning strategy in a 60 card battle deck. There’s much more to it; I’ll spare you.

One interesting effect of cards that you collect to play in the game is that it makes the card have more purpose, meaning, and value. The Baseball and Star Wars cards I collected are cool, but they don’t do anything.

On the other hand, Pokémon cards are cool plus they do lots of stuff! They have abilities and attacks! It’s like the cards become the creatures in the artwork, having individual names and skills for fighting other Pokémon. It’s hard for me to describe what this is like, but compared to plain old collector’s cards, they’re much more engaging.

Enter The League

If you really want to learn how to play Pokémon and also have a chance to trade good cards, you should find a local League in which to officially play. Thankfully, we found one in our town and started going.

In my first battle, I could hardly even shuffle the cards. I was afraid to bend them. How do you play with collector cards that are supposed to stay in mint condition?! There are ways.

You won’t be surprised, I got my, um, Pokémon handed to me. The League leader I played taught me good strategy while obliterating my puny theme deck featuring purple psychic power and lots of red fire. When I say I “played,” I mean participate in a getting schooled in how to lose like a champ!

The League has been great for us as a family to get out of the house and socialize in real life with other real humans! My five sons are learning more this way a little at a time. There’s a Facebook Group for the League, but I don’t and won’t do Facebook, so it’s real life only for me!

The Verdict GX

Anyways, I’m afraid I broke the 500 word barrier on this post. But geeking out on stuff means more words than few, right? Humor me.

This Pokephase I’m going through is lots of fun. It’s true that I have no shortage of entertainment in this day and age; none of us do. But it’s new and it’s a whole family thing, which makes it more valuable to me. And with my professional day job being heavy on the serious business, I could always use more fun.

Have you played Pokémon?