The Pokemon franchise has captured kids’ imaginations for decades. It’s the subject of animated TV shows and movies, video games, trading card games and toys. Kids assemble decks of cards and use them to compete against each other in strategic battles. They’re known as “trainers” and aim to ‘catch them all,’ which is quite a feat with 900 or so Pokemon creatures to collect. The trading card game is a fun, interactive way for kids to play together and develop social skills.
For the uninitiated, a deck of Pokemon trading cards contains 60 cards, and two players play against each other in quick, strategy-driven battles. The goal is to defeat your opponent’s Pokemon or force them to run out of cards. The first player to do this wins the match. Each player builds their own deck of Pokemon cards based on the attacks and abilities they like to play with. Many collectors also trade cards with other fans or sell them online. This is one of the most popular aspects of the game, and kids love trading with each other.
Pokemon trading cards are available in booster packs, released in sets four times a year. Each set has a theme, and about 200 new cards are included in each booster pack. Kids can purchase booster packs or get them as gifts from older players. They can also build their collection by purchasing complete sets of the latest expansions, or by buying individual cards from a trading card shop.
Each Pokemon card has a number in the upper left-hand corner that denotes its evolution stage. Piplup is a basic, while prinplup is a Stage 1, and empoleon is a Stage 2. The card also has a special symbol in the upper right-hand corner that indicates whether it’s a Stadium or Trainer card. Stadium cards are played as part of a turn, and can affect the way your Pokemon attacks during the battle.
In addition to Pokemon and Energy, the cards contain various status conditions. These include Asleep, Burned, Confused and Paralyzed. Typically, a Pokemon will take a certain amount of damage each turn unless it has a particular status condition. A Pokemon with a status effect can be dealt with by placing a marker on it (Burned), flipping a coin in-between turns (Asleep or Confused) or putting a damage counter on the Pokemon (Poisoned).
When a Pokemon has no more HP, it’s knocked out and placed into its owner’s discard pile along with any attached items or Energies. If a Pokemon is knocked out more than once, the owner takes a Prize card. There are also special rules for EX and GX Pokemon, which have their own markers and effects. Pokemon trading cards