More on The Replacement

This post comes to you from James, creator of the project.

Thanks for posting Adam! I was also thinking about the chance of getting a Cease and Desist Order letter, I would pull it down but hopefully we could just get this to be as popular as possible and maybe they would integrate it or even sponsor it. I would not have an issue with giving it to TPCi as long as those involved were rightfully credited.

Big shout out to Tomic2505 for suggesting the in game sprites. I do feel that that would also be infringing but my hope is to make this as popular as possible so that it gets picked up or something by TPCi.

The App is going to be built out in Flash while using the social network as the profile backbone and adding the cards and decks to the database. To start this would only be on and you would not be able to use the App without being a member. If you are already a member of SixPrizes then we will just pull in your information to the new database.

The biggest thing that I can say is that the goal of this App is not to replace playing with physical cards, but to allow you to test your deck against a pre made deck or play against someone far off. If we keep this in mind I think we have a better chance of not getting flagged by TPCi.

Launch Features:

  • Profile Based – Sign up for an account
  • Set up your deck and have it attached to your profile, 60 cards only
  • Be able to “friend” people and have them listed when signed on
  • Tournament Legal Cards only, new cards be available as soon as possible after release of the new decks
  • Only English language cards
  • Have some of the more popular decks pre made, such as Jumpluff, LuxChomp and so on
  • 6 Prize cards
  • Hot Buttons

Future Features:

  • Be able to save multiple decks to player account
  • Specify what a bad, good, and perfect starting hands would be for your deck and pre made decks to be able to test “What-If” scenarios.
  • Be able to list and submit pre made deck variations
  • Online Tournament Tracking
  • A log of the game that will be able to be downloadable as a text file, way into the future have the ability to go back to a deciding point in the log and change directions while creating a new log.

What I need help with:

I am looking for someone with experience in Flash AS2/AS3, PHP or ASP.NET 2+, MySQL or SQL Server, and XML.

I also need a list of Hot Keys, is someone could please tell me what the hot keys that apprentice uses that would work.

I have working knowledge of all of these but if I could farm out some processes to other people this could get done faster.

If you are willing to help please e-mail me at with “The Replacement” somewhere in your subject line so I know what it is for and include what you would like to work on and your experience levels.

A HUGE shout out to Adam for getting the word out about The Replacement (Working Project Title) and assisting me in getting a team together for this project.

– James

Reader Interactions

47 replies

  1. Matthew Tidman

    Awesome. Good luck and hopefully if Nintendo sends a C&D at least they will get interested in doing a game like it themselves.

    Suggestion for the final name “TCG Battle Frontier” or just “Battle Frontier.” I wonder if Nintendo has trademarked that since it appears in the Pokémon games.

    I'd love to see the ability to set custom game types at a later date. For example, being able to set up booster draft tournaments of half-deck tournaments like the Professor Cup at Nationals. I wouldn't be expecting to see something like that at launch, but it would be a nice feature to add in in the future.

  2. Jason Chen

    Apprentice Hotkeys:

    CTRL+N = New Game
    CTRL+D = Draw a card
    CTRL+F = Flip a coin
    CTRL+S = Shuffle
    CTRL+K = Deck Editor
    CTRL+T = End Turn
    CTRL+I = Roll Dice
    CTRL+L = Set Life
    CTRL+P = Phase
    CTRL+G = Initiate Ping
    SHIFT + Click on deck = Draw “X” cards

    There may be more but that's all I use. Redshark has similar hotkeys but combines diceroll with flip, for example.

  3. Mike Fouchet

    Being able to only have 1 deck int he beginning is a very, very, very bad idea. You will not get competitive players hooked at all through this and it might actually lead to complete failure. You need unlimited decks right off the bat, or a lot of people will not take to this program.

    Friending people is nice and all, but like I said in the other thread, you need to have something where you can see everyone that is on and battle random people (not challenge random people, something where the computer randomly pits two people together that are looking for random battles).

    You don't have to bother yourself with 60 card restrictions and prize card restrictions. I feel like it would be easier to program something where there is unlimited anything, and just make the players play down their own prize cards. That's how it is in Apprentice and it's totally fine. People will test with more/less cards than 60 a lot of the time, and imagine what happens when we get cards like that Palkia/Dialga LEGEND in a few sets where you can have more than 6 prizes. I play a lot with 61-62 card decks, just to see what I can cut more easily.

    “Specify what a bad, good, and perfect starting hands would be for your deck and pre made decks to be able to test “What-If” scenarios.”
    Nice feature, but pretty unnecessary IMO. Should be one of the last updates to the program, when everything else is nice and squeaky clean.

    Pre-made decks are dumb, IMO. Takes too much work and there are plenty of resources for people to get decks from (Gym, HT, 6P Underground in the future).

    I really like the idea of exporting the log to a text format, but again, should be one of the later updates.

    So, in summary, key features that need to be in there:
    -Unlimited decks from the beginning
    -Free-flowing gameplay and flexibility, like Apprentice
    -Friends plus random battles like Shoddy Battle

    And everything else, of course, but those are the 3 main things. 1 and 2 are already done by Apprentice, so if you don't get 3 going, people will just keep playing Apprentice.

    I'll try to help with ideas throughout the whole process, hit me up if you want more specifics.

  4. jordan baker

    This looks like an amazing idea! What is the expected time table on something like this? When can we expect to see beta testing, final launch, etc.?

  5. Kenny Wisdom

    Hey James,

    Firstly let me say that, as I've said before, I am completely against the social networking-like aspect of this application. It seems like you're steering away from that which is good, but I'm going to say a lot of good and a lot of bad and I just wanted to get that out of the way first. Whatever you decide to do with this is sure to be a great thing for the community, but I would highly suggest against the social networking features.

    With that being said, here are some of my thoughts/ideas:

    – I know you said that you could friend people to play with. There should also be some kind of “Who's Online Now” feature or something, that could let you select someone to play with that wasn't your friend yet. An open lobby type of system.

    – The ability to make your lists private or public would be a great option. You could also set list privacy to things like “Friends Only”, or even “Friend Group Only” which would allow you to set a certain number of friends in a group (your team, for instance), and then only allow those people to see certain lists.

    – There needs to be the ability to have different formats other than 60-card sixprizes. Just allow players to set the rules for the game inside the app. 1 prize 10 cards, 50 prize 200 cards, whatever, I don't see why it matters. This would be helpful for things like the Professor Cup, draft testing, half deck format, etc.

    – Speaking of, please allow drafting. Appr does and it's pretty neat.

    – You should try and focus on modified format sets first, but it'd be awesome if you could get people to volunteer to make old sets as well, so you could make different formats, etc. I know it'd be a long process but with enough team work I think it's definitely doable.

    – I see the point behind it, but I think having sample lists of popular decks would be a bad idea. Just have theme decks or Worlds decks made or something, because the lists for the popular decks (or the popular decks themselves) would become obsolete pretty fast.

    – I understand the need for English only, but maybe you could allow players to code cards in their own language? It'd open up the possibilites for this to be far reaching (which is kind of the point of social media if you go that route) and you wouldn't necessarily have to do all/any of the work.

    – I would try your hardest to allow multiple decks from the start. It's going to get boring only being able to keep one deck at a time. Maybe a limit of 3 at the start with more added eventually?

    – The idea behind playing out certain scenarios/setting worst/best hands is amazing. Great thinking there.

    – I dunno if this is really possible, but when making decks I'd love to see some sort of wild card search. I hate having to search things like “Team Galactic's Invention tg-blah blah blah” instead of just 'Poke Turn' or even things like 'Comm' instead of 'Pokemon Communication'. Dunno if I'm the only one who feels this way though, heh.

    – I know everyone hates Redshark, but it has a neat feature in which you can press a button and a '???' will flash across your opponents screen. It's kind of annoying and pretty much the ultimate troll button, but it also comes in handy quiet frequently.

    – Being able to keep a W/L record and submit player reviews (this guy is friendly, this guy cheats, etc.) would be a great.

    – Battle Frontier is an amazing title, but as someone else said, is probably copyrighted.

    – Hotkeys are so important and it's awesome that you recognize that. Here are a few common ones as well as ones that I'd like to see:

    ctrl+s = Shuffle
    ctrl+d = Draw
    ctrl+f = Coin flip
    ctrl+p = lay out prizes
    ctrl+m = draw starting hand
    ctrl+c = Draw a prize
    click, ctrl+del = Discard
    click, ctrl+ +/- = Add/remove damage counter

    I'm sure someone with much more experience could name several more, but thats a good start, and I'd personally love to see all of those.

    Lastly, I am totally down to help with anything that you need. I may not agree with everything going into the project, but it seems like something that will benefit the community and I'd love to be apart of it from the ground up. I don't have many technical skills but I'd like to think I have an extensive knowledge of both Pokemon and social media. If you ever need anything holller at me at, as I'd love to get involved in any way possible.

    Thanks for reading!

  6. Kenny Wisdom

    Was just playing a game, and thought that ctrl+u or something would be good for “show opponent mulligan hand, redraw”

  7. Matthew Tidman

    Another thing that Redshark has which I find to be a great resource is a quick trainer/supporter list that automatically does the effect of a trainer when you select it from the list. It simplifies the three or more steps of Copycat for example (shuffle your hand, count your opponent's hand, draw that many cards) into one which is a nice feature I'd love to see implemented somehow into The Replacement.

  8. Tweed Moore

    disagree completely!!!!- unlimited just delays the products release, if you want open system then just use apprentice, staying in the old text based BBS days is a thing of the past – the social network idea is great.

  9. Sledd

    I think you basicly need to just do a little of everything. Here are my suggestions:

    Try to have it so you can at least have 2-3 decks at the start
    Have it that you can just click “battle random opponent” AND being able to challenge specific players
    Hot Keys are good

  10. Cam Graybill

    I agree, you could like save a list on your computer, then just upload it if you want to play something different… less code probably

  11. Mike Fouchet

    Hey, I'm just trying to offer constructive criticism. If he's going to spend all this time working on it, obviously he's going to want people to use it. If all these things aren't done, people won't! It's as simple as that.

  12. Mike Fouchet

    see my comment above to JordanBaker. If he's making it, he's not gonna want people to go and keep using Apprentice, that would defeat the purpose of him making the program in the first place…

  13. Joshua Hall

    It sounds like you have a great starting point, and Magnechu made many good suggestions. I admire the aspiration to add in plenty of social networking, but I don't know how easy that would be. I imagine something along the lines of how X-Box Live does social networking, with a username, random or user initiated battles, etc, (of course not nearly as complicated). In all, good luck!

  14. Tweed Moore

    Let me rephrase what I said, He doesn't have to make it like apprentice. If you like apprentice, keep playing it. He's trying to make a modern TCG engine, and all you seem to want is a clone of apprentice. The major market is not people committed to apprentice, but to those currently playing the TCG. That means limited, and using a social networking type system.

  15. Colin Peterik

    I think it would be really, really cool if this software was played COMPLETELY cursor/mouse free. Everything you would ever need to do would play out right there on your keyboard. This would make game play a lot quicker and a heck of a lot more realistic. And I'm not talking about just making a whole bunch of “Hot Keys”, but more like a fully integrated digital “Play Mat” if you will. Picture you keyboard as your playmat, and it will feel more natural. Example:
    At the beginning of your turn, you draw a card by clicking Enter/Return. Numbers 1-6 will be your prizes, so you can actively choose which one you want and arrange them as you like (with Time Walk, etc).. Each Pokemon on your field will have a corresponding key, with “A” being your active, and “Z, X, C, V, B” being your bench. If I have a Machamp in the 2nd bench position and I want to attach an energy from my hand to it, I would hold down “E” and then click “X” for Machamp. A prompt would then show me the legal options according to the contents of my hand, something like “Would you like to attach: FIGHTING ENERGY? CALL ENERGY? WARP ENERGY?” and I would select Fighting with the cursor and it would attach. Then I would attach a tool to my active Donphan, by holding down “T” and then pressing “A”, it would then confirm based on my hand contents, “EXPERT BELT? MEMORY BERRY?” I would select which I want, or if I have no tools in hand it would show an error message. Once you are ready to attack, you press “A”, and it will prompt you to choose an attack, “Earthquake? Heavy Impact?” Then I select Heavy Impact and it says “Error: Not enough energy. Earthquake? Heavy Impact?” and I choose Earthquake and slam on the “Space Bar” and bam!! 80 damage, end of turn.
    So there you go, fully integrated keyboard FTW!! Anyway this turns out though, I absolutely can't wait!!

  16. Henry Prior

    I'd like the actual pictures of the cards on the cards, it makes playing easier(or just more like actually playing) actually being able to see the cards

  17. mewuk85

    wow awesome ideas shoot!!! they should recruit you to run the program!

  18. jordan baker

    being able to find an opponent within the game rather than having to use a third party program like hamachi

  19. Slowdog

    I cannot stress enough how important match making would be for me. It is the difference between me using it and not using it.

  20. Thomas Binghi

    Thanks for the big shout out James. I'm glad my suggestion was helpful :) Good luck to figuring all this stuff out.

  21. Adam Capriola

    I really like this idea Colin. Not having to use a mouse would be great, it is really a lot faster doing things on a computer mouse-less.

  22. Slowdog

    I see no need for functions (or hot keys) to do stuff like draw card, draw card, place damage counter etc.

    Like the old gameboy game, hte game should know the rules of the game and therefore do the stuff for you.

  23. Karol Nowak

    Man, this program is going to be pretty awesome. Too bad you can display the actual picture of cards on the program, but oh well, I still think this is going to be a great thing, even better than Redshark and Apprentice.

    Yep, I definitely can't wait for this program. It will look awesome!

  24. Rowan

    I think that you should look to the old Pokemon card game for GBC for inspiration on how exactly this thing should play out.

  25. Ed Mandy

    I'm pretty sure that you have almost no chance of getting past the cease and desist. Yeah, it's nice to think that they'd want it to be a nice addition to the Pokemon world, but that's not how things work in the real world. In my other hobbies, I've been around and seen enough ideas like this, and what happens is that it forces the copyright holder to exercise their authority. A game like this would be seen as a direct competitor to the actual game AND it would be in copyright violation (mainly because of the game art). They can't really afford to turn a blind eye, because then it sets a dangerous precedent in a case where someone else comes along with worse intentions.

    I've actually been a bit surprised that sites like Pokegym and Pokebeach are allowed to keep so much copyrighted material (like card scans) online, but I suppose that they're in the pockets of Pokemon a bit and they're not pushing a competing product but helping generate sales of the actual product.

    A game like you're talking about would assist people to buy less product and may actually lead to some people playing exclusively online (quitting the table-top-game).

    After all that, I'm in no way saying that you shouldn't do it. It's a great idea. Just don't go into it expecting to be left alone. If you fly under Pokemon's radar, you're extremely lucky.

  26. Chris Barrieau

    Actually, I disagree. The main people that TCPi gets their money off of is POP players because we play so much, participate much more than non-POP players, and buy WAY more cards than the average non-POP player. POP players will not want to leave the big tournaments with all the best players. Therefore, I don't think this will be of any threat to TCPi, especially considering what PokeGym and Pokebeach already have up.

    But that's just my opinion. Only time can tell the truth. :P

  27. Chris Barrieau

    Like I replied to someone the other day on the article “The Replacement is coming…”

    “It would have to analyze the deck, go through only already-discovered strategies, see how compatible it would be (and with computer code, that's not an easy task!) And decide how to play the deck… The AI would have to be coded by a genius.. Otherwise, you'd only be able to play against pre-made decks. And I doubt one guy could keep up with all the good decks coming out. That would involve SO much programming…. to integrate ALL the combos and how everything's s'posed to work, strategies, etc etc etc… That would be so complicated. Remember that this is being coded by one guy. “

  28. Chris Barrieau

    Actually, if there's one thing I learned in class in computer science, it's that you should make your programs as user-friendly as possible. If there are players who are not as used to computers, they may not feel so comfortable using only the keyboard. I think the program should be usable by both the mouse, and the keyboard. I also think hot-keys should be editable. You should be able to choose which keys do what.

  29. Chris Barrieau

    NO. CTRL+S needs to be save game. :P You could have maybe shift S for scoop. :P

  30. Chris Barrieau

    I have one comment and one question.

    1) Instead of having one set of hot-keys, since everyone seems to be shouting out many, many different hot keys, I think we should just be able to set our own. It wouldn't be that hard to do.

    2) Why exactly do you think the social networking part is such a bad idea? That's kind of the whole reason why they're making this….

  31. Chris Barrieau

    Customizable hot keys, multiple decks at once, lobbies with chatting, heavy on the social networking and profiling, player and deck reviews, pre-made decks would just be as useful as Hawaiian punch and that other one in Redshark. What are those? …Exactly. =] :P

  32. Eelis Peltola

    It would be cool, as long as it could also be operated with the mouse, too. I don't like using hot keys, and always use only the mouse. You like to picture your keyboard as the play area, but I like seeing the game on the screen, and play like I was playing a real game, moving the cards with the mouse like it was my hand.

    Also, I'd imagine making the program “intelligent”, giving it knowledge of the game rules, and things like how much energy an attack needs, was hard. Big props to James if he does this, though.

  33. Eelis Peltola

    Looks nice, except that the ability to make multiple decks should definetly be in the launch features. This will be mainly a testing program after all. It would be nice if the hot keys were programmable, but I don't use them that much so I'm just speaking for the people here.
    Will the program have a solitaire mode?

    Good luck with the project!

  34. Eelis Peltola

    “- I dunno if this is really possible, but when making decks I'd love to see some sort of wild card search. I hate having to search things like “Team Galactic's Invention tg-blah blah blah” instead of just 'Poke Turn' or even things like 'Comm' instead of 'Pokemon Communication'. Dunno if I'm the only one who feels this way though, heh.”
    No, you are not. :P Every time I start writing 'Poke T…' and don't get anything, I think about this. Thanks for bringing it up. Redshark has some kind of wild card search, but it's a bit hard to use, as you have to always update the card list like you were filtering the search.

    Speaking of the search function, there should be a possibility to filter the cards by format, and type of card(Trainer, Pokemon, Stage 1 etc.). The search would be nice if it just took you to the card in the list, opposed to excluding all but the card you searched for.

  35. Randy Arnold

    I sent you a email, if it would be easier to contact you by instant messenging. Please post your info for those accounts

  36. Christian Ortiz

    why not have unlimited decks it makes it better since your not forced to use one deck. i hate to keep using one deck all format when i cant alter it or delete it.

  37. Adam Capriola

    James will be letting you create unlimited decks, we talked about it over
    the phone. :)

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