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.

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