Learn How To Play the Pokémon Trading Card Game: Part 1 – Setting up your GAME

In attempting to learn how to play the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG), you ended up more confused than you were trying to figure out Calculus in college. In attempting to write this article on HOW TO PLAY the Pokémon Trading Card Game blog article, I’ve ended up more confused than I was before I started reading up. Thankfully, I was able to consult with my 10 year old niece Miranda, who seemingly has a  PhD in Pokémon in her pedigree. Admittedly, I am still a bit confused, but definitely a little less so. Let’s hope that I can help you learn how to play the Pokémon trading card game without too much hassle.

Learning how to play Pokémon Trading Card Game will be presented in 4 steps/articles:

  1. Setting up your Pokémon Trading Card Game
  2. Start Playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game
  3. How to Attack your opponents in the Pokémon Trading Card Game
  4. How to deal with Special Conditions when playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game


Part 1: Setting up your Pokémon Trading Card Game

1. Create your Pokémon TCG Deck

Deck should have EXACTLY 60 cards, no more, no less UNLESS they agree to start with less (though still need to be the same amount for each player).
The DECK should have 1/4 to 1/3 of the cards as ENERGY CARDS.





2. Shuffle Deck

3. Flip COIN to see who goes first

NOTE: First player can NOT attack on 1st Turn.




4. Draw 7 cards from TOP OF THE DECK

Place them aside, face down
For sake of article, let’s call these 7 cards your DRAW CARDS.

5. From your (7) Draw Cards, find your BASIC Pokémon Cards.

A Pokémon card’s BASIC status is designated by the BASIC box on the top-left side of the card (see in above image).

NOTE: If there are no Basic Cards in your (7-card) DRAW cards, shuffle them back into DECK & draw ANOTHER 7 cards. We call this a MULLIGAN. Every time you do this, your OPPONENT can draw an extra card.

6. Pick your ACTIVE Pokémon

If you have (at least) one BASIC Pokémon in hand, place the one you want as your Active Card FACE DOWN a few inches in front of you

7. Pick your BENCH cards.

If you have more BASIC Pokémon cards in hand (besides your ACTIVE Pokémon card), you can place them beneath your ACTIVE Pokémon card as your BENCH.
NOTE: you can. only have up to 5 cards on the BENCH at any one time.

8. Draw your 6 PRIZE cards.

Draw your 6 PRIZE cards.Place these PRIZE cards in a pile on the side FACE DOWN.

NOTE: Do NOT look at your PRIZE cards.

NOTE 2: Each time you KNOCK-OUT an opponent’s Pokémon, take a PRIZE card (from your own deck)

To WIN: you win when you run out of PRIZE Cards (for a shorter, quicker game – use LESS cards)

SPECIAL RULE: If you knock out EX/GX Pokémon, you can draw 2 PRIZE cards (rather than just one)

9. Finish Pokémon Card Game Set-Up

a) DISCARD Pile below deck – place FACE-UP (doesn’t really matter)

b) ACTIVE Card – place FACE-UP

c) BENCHED Card – place FACE-UP



10. Play until someone wins

To WIN: you win if you TAKE-OUT all of your PRIZE Cards.

NOTE: If your opponent has to draw a card BUT CAN’T (because ran out of cards in deck OR IF knock out all the Pokémon on their playing field), then you win!


What’s next?

Now that  you’ve set-up your Pokémon Trading Card game, it’s time to learn HOW TO PLAY the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

Click HERE to learn HOW TO PLAY the Pokémon Trading Card Game.


Everything you wanted to know about Pokémon Trading Cards but were afraid to ask

As of October 2023,Pokémon trading cards have sold over 52.9 billion cards and that kids (and some adults) seem to love them.

What do we know about Pokémon trading cards? What are the basics?

The Pokémon media franchise started with the release of the their initial role-playing game Pokémon: Red & Blue for the Gameboy back in February 1996. In no time at all, it became a runaway success! It spawned several lucrative spin-offs including even more video games, anime, movies, manga in addition to their extremely successful trading cards.

We’ve previously gone over the story behind Pokémon, let’s take a further dive into the basics of Pokémon trading cards.

Pokemon Trading Card History

3 basic things that led to the creation of Pokémon trading cards:
1) the extremely successful launch of the Gameboy RPG Pokémon: Red & Blue game.
2) the incredible success of Magic the Gathering trading cards internationally.
3) card games were extremely popular in Japan at the time

With the success of the Pokémon RPG, the company wondered if there was any way that they could duplicate that success in other arenas, but in what? At the time, Magic The Gathering trading cards were extremely popular internationally. They realized that the path to further success lay in following Magic the Gathering into the trading card arena. It turns out that the Pokémon RPG lent itself easily into being developed into a trading card game, very similar to what Magic The Gathering had done with their cards. It was a much more simplified version of what Magic The Gathering was, more meant more for kids to collect and play.

By October 1996, they had released the first Pokémon trading cards, one of the first collectible card games developed in Japan. They were a runaway success. By March 1998, in the US alone they had produced over 499 million trading cards. By March 2000, that figure had grown to $4.25 billion internationally, growing up to $54.9 billion by October 2023.

Pokémon Cards: The Basics

Some Basics of Pokémon Trading Cards:
1. Pokémon is a role-playing game built around using a small team of “pocket monsters” (the original name for Pokémon) to battle the others till one becomes the best.
2. The Pokémon are divided into different types, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
3. At present there’s over 800 different types of Pokémon, quite a few not having been seen yet.
4. Trainers are the person who catches and trains different Pokémon.Their goal, to “catch ’em all!”
5. Trainers use Poké balls to capture Pokémon and train them in battle.
6. During training and battle, Pokémon learn a variety of moves that they can use in battle, grow stronger and level up in battle. They may evolve as well.
7. The original set of cards are called the base set.
8. Booster packs contain 10 randomly inserted cards. In the West, they contain 11.
9. In Pokémon trading card game, players use a 60 card deck that contains basic and evolved Pokémon, energy cards and trainer cards (which are used to help players knock out the opponents Pokémon, drawing cards and winning the game).
10. Younger kids (junior kindergarten to grade 1) tend to just collect and trade cards that they like or think are cool. As they get older and learn how to read, they may start to use the cards to play the Pokémon trading card game.
11. Since each pack of cards is different, players starting out may want to start with a theme pack, a pack of 60 cards that they can start playing (and training) with.
12. The whole point of the Pokémon trading cards game: building a powerful deck of 60 cards that will help you win battles against other trainers.
13. Every time a new season of Pokémon comes out, they release a new “generation” or series of trading cards.


Different Types of Pokémon Trading Cards:

1. Character cards: each Pokémon has a “type”, there’s 11 in total including Fire, Water, Psychic, Metal or Dragon.They’re also classified by how “evolved” they are (such as Stage One or Stage 2) from the markings on the the upper, left-hand corner of the cards.
2. Energy cards: these are cards needed to “power” your Pokémon through out the game. You’ll find basic energy cards in any pack you buy.You’ll also occasionally find special energy cards that will provide a different type of “boost” as a function of the type of Pokémon that you own.You can buy whole packs of energy cards for relatively little (I recently bought a pack of 50 for $5, an affordable entry into playing Pokémon).
3.Trainer cards: these are cards used for items, supporters and stadiums used during battle. You can see the special rules for these cards along the bottom.
4. Pokémon EX/Pokémon GX cards: These are cards which tend to have cooler illustrations (occasionally being holograph cards) and more powerful. What they are is indicated by the GX or EX on the cards right beside the character’s name. These cards tend to be coveted highly by younger kids because they look so cool.
5. Expansion/Booster Packs: these are new sets of cards within a generation or series of cards. While each generation/series tends to have anywhere from 100 to 2000 cards, it turns out that you can’t purchase them all at once, instead you can buy them in booster packs of 10 cards.+


Are your Pokémon Trading Cards rare?

To know how rare your cards are, just check the tiny symbol located at the bottom right corner of your cards.
1. Circle symbol: Quite common.
2. Diamond symbol: Quite uncommon
3. Star symbol: Quite rare (ie. Holograph cards always have star symbols on them).

Now that you know…

Now that you know the basics of Pokémon cards,  you can start becoming a full-on member of the Pokémon Community!

Welcome and catch them ’em all!


Crazy Pokémon Facts Nobody Knows

Pokémon is an incredibly successful Japanese media franchise that includes forays into video games, trading card games, video games, anime and manga. As popular as they are, there’s still a lot of things that fans have no idea about Pokémon.

1. What’s the difference between a Poké Ball and a Poke Bowl?

A Poké Ball is a round device used to catch and contain Pokémon.On the other hand, a Poke Bowl is a Hawaiin dish typically made with sliced, marinated and uncooked seafood mixed with chunks of veggies.

2. Who’s the most popular Pokémon?

According to recent research, the most popular Pokémon is Charizard. Of course nobody believes that because they apparently omitted listing Pikachu completely, removing him from being considered. While Pikachu is a bit annoying, of course Pikachu is the most popular Pokémon.

3. Is Ash’s Pikachu a boy or a girl?

Even though most say Ash’s Pikachu is a boy, no one’s really sure.

And nobody really wants to check. No one’s even sure where to start with that task. It should be noted that Ash refers to his Pikachu as “it” rather than male or female.

4. Who’s the creepiest Pokémon?

Without a doubt, it’d have to be Froslass. Not only is her body apparently hollow, but she also freezes her victims in ice, which more than likely kills them. Apparently her favorite food is the “souls of men”, but only if they’re handsome. They’re also said to lure people into snowy mountains using its icy breath. While a powerful “pet” to have as part of your arsenal, she’s also a bit too creepy for most to deal with.

5. Should Pokémon be featured on currency?

That sounds like a great idea! Any hope of us being the first to have Pokémon on their currency is gone though – the country of Niue which is a self-governing and tiny country close to New Zealand has that honor. They minted their Pokémon-themed coins back in 2001.

6. What’s the inspiration for Pokémon?

Initially, I thought it was “borrowed” from the Tribbles on Star Trek. Tribbles were a fictional alien species on the original Star Trek series. They were pretty much small bundles of fur who were small, cute, slow moving and rapidly reproducing to dangerous levels.

Turns out, I’m 100% wrong on that. Who knew I could be wrong? The inspiration for Pokémon was inspired by the creator’s childhood hobby of catching insects. In his mind, he imagined a game where players could gather and trade different Pokémon.

Yes, I’m a bit disappointed by that explanation too, but that’s the facts!

7. Who was the first Pokémon created?

According to one of the original designers at Game Freak, Ken Sugimori revealed that creature to be the rhino-esque Rhydon.

8. What’s the meaning behind the word “Pokémon”?

Initially, the franchise’s full name was Pocket Monsters. When released internationally, the term “Pokémon” started being used. The word Pokémon is a combination of the word “Pocket” and “Monsters”. It’s like having your own “pocket monsters” to play and train.

9. Which Pokémon has the ultimate camouflage?

According to canon, that would be the Wobbuffet. It appears that his main body is nothing more than an inflatable decoy, his real body being the small black tail that hides behind it. It turns out that there is a “tale” behind that “tail”.

10. The Pokémon anime series was never meant to be ongoing.

The original Pokémon anime was only meant to last one short season, it was never meant to be ongoing or last. The plans were to do the anime for just one season, essentially as an advertisement and promotion for the game. Turns out, the anime became more popular than they ever meant it to be. Since then, they’ve had a tonne of success with the anime, spawning over 20 different series, as well as over 20 movies in it’s time.

 11. How can you tell if a Pikachu is male or female?

It’s much simpler and less touchy-feely than you’d expect, thank goodness! Male Pikachu have the standard lightning shaped tail while female Pikachu have a little dent near the top making it heart shaped.

12. What are Poké Balls?

Poké Balls are a spherical device used by “Trainers” to capture and command Pokémon. Once a Pokémon is weakened enough in battle, the Trainer shoots a Poké Ball at the Pokémon, which is turned into a ball of energy and transformed into the device and captured. In the process, the creature is “tamed” and under the command of the Trainer. If the Poké Ball is thrown again, the Pokémon rematerializes into its original state and can be used to fight other Pokémon, whether trained or not.

13. Pokémon is the SECOND best-selling franchise of all time

While extremely popular, Pokémon are still only the second best-selling franchise of all time. At least in terms of video games, the Mario franchise is considerably more popular.

14. What’s the most valuable Pokémon trading card?

The most valuable Pokémon trading card turns out to be the 1st edition holographic Charizard. Because it’s so rare and highly in-demand, it tends to be valued at $55,000 or more.

15. What’s the craziest Pokémon fact no one knows?

According to the Pokémon White Pokedex entry, some Trainers use Pokémon to keep themselves warm. The Darumaka Pokémon’s droppings tend to be steamy, Trainers sometimes stuff them in their clothes to keep them warm.

Far from finished…

There are 1021 different Pokémon known of. It’s doubtful that we could list every fact that you could know about Pokémon, but this is a first try. Hope you learnt something and had fun doing it. If you have any further questions about any Pokémon trivia, please feel free to as