Do you ever find yourself in a bizarre situation, where something far from your past comes back to your modern day life, and completely hooks you and entrances you? It could be an old game…An ex of yours…
…For me, this was the Pokemon Trading Card Game.
For reference – The last time I had played the Pokemon Trading Card Game was back around 10 years ago, back when I was around 9 years old, and since then, the metagame had evolved, and evolved, and grown to a point where I felt far too out-of-date to get back in. Leap forward to last Tuesday, where this lovely little card game burst back into my life in full force…And to tell the truth…
…I can’t put it down.
Hosted by members of The Pokemon Company, at the wonderful Star of Kings bar in King’s Cross, London, was an event looking to introduce newcomers into the world of the Pokemon TCG, and to allow veterans to hone their skills and abilities against other veterans – For me (Joe) and my partner, Clarice, we were nervous about getting back into the TCG – How did you play? What the heck were the status conditions? What are Prize Cards? We’d never heard of those before! Thankfully, all these questions were simply answered in less than 3 minutes, and before you know it, we were off and competing against players who had been playing the game for over a year!
Upon entry at the event, every attendee got their choice of deck, either the Pikachu Evolutions Set, or the Mewtwo Evolutions Set – This, however, was a little unbalanced since the Mewtwo deck focused on Psychic and Fighting Types, with the Pikachu deck focusing on Electric and Grass Types – Any experienced TCG player can tell you that Fighting VS Electric doesn’t go well, meaning that the Mewtwo deck had an inherent advantage against the Pikachu decks.
This aside, however, each deck came with 60 cards, a play mat, damage / status chips, and a code to redeem the deck online on the Pokemon Online Trading Card Game – After playing your first match, both players got two booster packs, bringing this total up to 80 cards per person, all from the Evolutions Set; no outside cards were allowed to be used, letting the game be more of a balance of luck and skill, with one lucky person pulling a Mewtwo EX card to compliment her Mewtwo deck (I bet you can’t guess who won…?)!
I found myself with a modest deck comprised of…Raichu’s, Electrodes, Magnetons, Beedrils, and…Metapods…Great.
The tournament was simple – You win, you go onto the next round. You lose, you’re out. This went on until only 3 people remained, where it was set up as a match of [ A vs B ], [ B vs C ], [A vs C]; whoever won the most matches out of this, then dueled against one-another (Fit with music from the original videogames, Red & Blue!) for the title of Champion. The top 3 won their choice of booster box, fit with giant cards for Mega Venusaur, Charizard and Blastoise! The Champion then also won a Booster Box, and a Tin of cards, with every participant in the contest taking home a free Pokemon Tote bag and 5 Booster Packs each, adding a further 50 cards to every person’s collection.
Unfortunately, I placed at around 27th / 30, being eliminated in my first round by a beefed-up Nidoking, however my partner Clarice managed to battle her way up to a 4th place ranking! Regardless to say that for someone else who hasn’t played the TCG for around 10 years, she certainly stood her ground!
All in all the evening was an absolute blast – The people, environment, learning scale and sense of community was absolutely lovely, and I personally cannot wait soon enough to attend the next Pokemon TCG Event.
If you want to learn how to play the Pokemon TCG, there are no end of videos on YouTube that you can view, introducing you to the mechanics and workings of the game – If you download and sign up to the Pokemon Online Trading Card Game, you can take their extensive and interactive tutorial, which teaches you literally everything, and pits you in a real battle to learn!
You can download the game from the Pokemon website, HERE.