What is Pokémon?

What Pokémon is really depends on who you are and what you use it for.

Younger kids like to collect and trade the cards because they’re fun, colorful and cool looking. It’s more about collecting stuff that they find fun.

As kids get older and start to read, they get to the point where they’ll start using the Pokémon cards to play a strategy-based trading card game. Each character has its own strengths and weaknesses that they bring to battle. Depending on how they’re played, their cards can gain further strength and/or power levels.For older kids, Pokémon is more about playing a fun and strategic game, just a bit simpler than popular trading card game Magic the Gathering.

For me, it was about learning how to create an accented-E on my keyboard so I could finally properly spell Pokémon without cheating by copy-pasting everything.

We all have our reasons right?

25 years and counting

Pokémon started off 25 years ago, released as a role-playing game for popular handheld game console Game Boy. The game’s quick success was soon followed by spin-offs such as a popular manga series, a trading card game and anime series and movies.

The basic story is that it’s set in a universe where humans coexist with creatures known as Pokémon. For the most part they live alongside humans but others are sometimes seen living in the wild, grassy fields, caves or the sea.

Pokémon work together with their “owners” (ie- your kids) to battle other Pokémon. The goal being to “catch them all”, all 900+ of them. It turns out that with enough training and trying, that most Pokémon can be caught as well. In time, these Pokémon can learn a variety of new moves that they can use in battle, grow stronger and level up in battle – they can sometimes even evolve further as a species.

Pokémon: The Game

The goal for a “trainer” (“aka” the person playing the Pokémon game) is to “catch them all”, every Pokémon they can find, battle and conquer. To do this, a player needs to build a “powerful” deck of 60 trading cards that will help them win battles against other trainers and their Pokémon. Every Pokémon has their own strengths and weaknesses, which can be used (or used against) them in battle. Every bit of training, every experience, every battle – not only helps you catch other Pokémon, but gains them more strength and experience. Sometimes, it even helps them evolve as a being.

The point of playing the game is to “catch them all”, the best way to do that is to “build” a powerful deck of 60. Doing so will help you win battles against other trainers and their Pokémon. That said, your kid may be more interested in collecting cards that they like best (for whatever reason) or deem most valuable (for them).

Like life, the game is built around the player and not the game itself. Everyone’s game is unique upon itself.

Each pack of Pokémon is different and unique upon itself. If your kid is just starting out and becoming a trainer for the first time – you may want to start them out with a theme pack, which is a pack of 60 cards that comes in a small tin or cardboard box. Theme decks also come with a coin or cardboard marker that can be used in gameplay while deciding which player goes first or when counting damage (or just use a die instead).

For a player wanting to learn the game, there’s several places online which are great resources. I tend to recommend this Pokémon tutorial, it’s a great starting point.

The whole point of Pokémon

We’ve discussed that the point of Pokémon is to “catch them all”, but perhaps that’s too simple an explanation. If you want to really play the game, you need to train your heart out. As in life, nothing is ever easy, so you constantly have to practice and keep trying, again and again and again. Practice is important, so is always giving your best.

What that journey is – is really up to you.

And like in life, have fun doing it.

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