Pokémon For Parents – Part 1, Getting Into The Game

This is the first in a series of articles written for parents who have kids that are playing, or want to play, the Pokémon card game (TCG), and who want to play along with them. I am one of those parents, and I am not embarrassed to say that Pokémon is actually a really and challenging game. Regulars at SixPrizes are probably rolling their eyes at that, but to an outsider and/or “grown-up” the game does seem a little silly at first.

The mechanics of the game, however, make it decidedly not silly. While the rules of Pokémon TCG are relatively simple (about as simple as poker), the huge variation in the number of cards used in the game, plus the fact that the cards allowed for official play are constantly changing, means that the game is constantly evolving and never gets stale.

And even though the mechanics are simple, it doesn’t mean that playing the game is simple. This site, for example, is chock full of strategy articles because playing the game well, to win, is complex. I am writing these articles because understanding that strategy as a parent who does not live and breathe this stuff (but wants to learn) is pretty tough. It’s like those kids have a different word for everything! I hope through this series to help make you a better player (as I am learning to do) while giving you the tools to communicate with your kids and teach them to be better players too.

Why Pokémon?

If you are still at the stage of “why Pokémon” here are some good reasons to encourage your kids to play:

  • It requires them to think and use strategy in a way that fast-twitch video games do not;
  • It is a social game that requires them to interact with other people;
  • If your kids are young (5-7), it encourages reading and basic math skills;
  • If they get into serious competitive play, it teaches them about winning, and losing, and builds independence and self-esteem;
  • It doesn’t require batteries, ever;
  • Competition at the elite level can earn some serious money.

Not bad for a “simple” card game.

Where to learn the game

If you are really new to Pokémon, you have probably Googled it and been overwhelmed. So here is your first “lingo” : always search for “Pokémon TCG” as opposed to just “Pokémon” or else you will get a boatload of references to the video game and TV show. “TCG” is “Trading Card Game.” While on the topic of references, apart from this site (which really stands out, by the way, in terms of TCG “scholarship”), you should know:

  1. http://www.pokemon.com/us/organized-play/ This is the root of all information related to league and tournament play, including the official rules. Even if you don’t want to get into competing at the outset, this will help hook you up with local leagues where you…I mean, your kids, can play for fun.
  2. http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/ This is the Wikipedia of Pokémon. Tons of information on all things Pokémon (not just TCG). As you explore strategies and specific cards, you will eventually end up here.

There are many other references, but I find those bookmarks to be the ones I use most often. Note that for references, I did not list any books. That is because there aren’t any. Believe me, I tried to find something because I am very much a book learner. The game changes so much, however, that the traditional book publishing cycle doesn’t lend itself to a how-to that has any long term relevance. Maybe now that e-books are common, that might begin to change.

I was also surprised to find that there is really no good way to play the game online. The de facto standard for a computer-based version of TCG is Redshark (http://pokebeach.com/tcg/redshark), which is often used by players to test out new decks. It may do the job, but in my opinion its downsides are that (a) it has a dismal user interface, and (b) it requires you to set up a private VPN using Hamachi, which makes it virtually unusable on a Mac.

As of this writing, Nintendo is finally providing an authorized web version of the game, but it is still in beta, and only works with certain pre-constructed decks. Keep an eye on http://www.pokemontcg.com/ for developments. It does provide some additional introductory tutorials. Sadly, it uses Flash and so is unusable on Apple i-devices.

And finally, if you have never, ever played the game or seen it being played, then you should visit http://www.pokemon.com/us/trading-cards/how-to-play/demo/playing once. It really helps.

Decks and other bits

The game requires decks of precisely 60 cards, and generally speaking there can be no more than 4 of any specific card in your deck. In a later article, I will discuss the structure of a deck in far greater detail, as well as the concept of the “meta game,” but for the moment I want to simply mention that there are three ways to get a deck:

  1. Buy cards in “booster packs” and collect them like you would, say, hockey cards. Eventually, you will get enough to put together something you can play with.
  2. Buy pre-constructed decks, either as “theme decks” that come out with each new release of cards (which happens roughly quarterly), or championship decks that were used in previous competitions.
  3. Buy individual cards either at your local card shop or online to construct a deck with a specific deck list that you find online (e.g., on this site) or devise yourself.

While Nintendo would love you to take approach 1, it is not a practical way to get a serious and usable deck because the really useful cards are often rare, and most playable decks contain cards from a number of releases, some of which you cannot buy anymore. Young kids like this approach because they get a wide variety of cute cards they can collect, but collecting Pokémon cards and playing TCG are very different activities, so as a parent you need to make sure your kids know that.

The second approach is probably the best way to get into the game in my opinion, although I would steer away from the “theme decks” because I found that they tended to not be really strong or easy to play. For learning the mechanics of the game, and to get a taste for the real strategy behind TCG, championship decks are the way to go. They have well-defined strategies that you can read about, but still require you to play effectively into that strategy. The one (serious) caveat is that past years’ championship decks cannot be used in formal competition, and will also sometimes contain cards that are no longer legal.

Hmmm, let me expand on that last point a bit. To keep the game fresh, Nintendo releases new cards several times a year. These “expansions” introduce new cards, or refresh older cards. But as new cards come into the game, some cards also drop off. This is called “the rotation,” and every year the official Pokémon rules specify what series of cards is the earliest you can play with in the current competition season.

If you don’t plan to formally compete, then this won’t matter to you. But if you want to learn on a championship deck, be aware that even it you were to recreate the deck using cards you obtain elsewhere (thereby making it usable), not all cards may still be playable.

This gets into approach (3) for building a deck: buying cards online to fill a specified deck list (the lingo for this is “net decking”). This is the most direct way to get seriously competitive decks, but is also potentially the most expensive. As a parent, you have a bit more cash to throw at the problem than your kids do, and you may want to go down this path yourself. But I don’t think many kids getting into the game will go this route until they get some experience under their belt (and get some birthday money).

While I have not priced it out, there is a fourth approach that is a hybrid of (2) and (3). For a specific deck list, you can probably fill a number of those cards just from theme decks, leaving you to source out the missing cards online. How successful you are at this will depend on the deck you want to create, and will need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

One benefit of getting a theme deck or “trainer set” is that you get a playmat, the surface on which cards are placed during the game. You don’t technically need one of these, but when you first start playing it helps because the basic rules are printed on it. I still use mine. And while we are talking about equipment, the only other thing you will need are some good damage counters, and some “special condition” markers. The best choice for damage are small dice (you can easily get them, in packs of 24 or more) because they can also be used for coin flips which occur frequently in the game. The special conditions (poisoned and burned) can be marked with anything distinctive.

Not-so-basic Gameplay

There are plenty of descriptions of the basic gameplay, on this site as well as on others, so I won’t repeat them. The tutorials noted above are also great places to learn the basics. But I wanted to introduce a bit of the strategy behind the gameplay so you can get a feel for how the game works. This introduction will be fleshed out significantly in a later article.

A good competition deck will have a core strategy, coupled with some backup plans to deal with the unknowns introduced by your opponents deck. Your deck is “stacked” (quite legally, by the way) in the sense that it tries to maximize your ability to implement your strategy and to minimize the random chance introduced by drawing cards from a shuffled deck.

pokebeach.comYou draw cards into your hand knowing what your deck is supposed to do, and what its most effective attacks are, and you use some of the special cards in your deck (cards called “trainers” and “supporters”) to help you find and draw the cards that you need at the right time.

While you are playing your deck the way it is intended to be played, you also need to be able to read your opponents deck and alter your strategy based on how and what they are playing. In serious competition, many players use decks built around common powerhouse card combinations, and so there is a bit of predictability that comes with experience. That said, with hundreds of cards to choose from, the combinations are huge and impossible predict with any certainty, and the best players just roll with the punches.

The gameplay becomes a balance between Knocking Out your opponents cards before they knock yours out (obviously) and disrupting their ability to do the same to you. Each game will be about finding the right balance between those two positions, based on the competing decks and players’ abilities.

That is the big picture of the game but, of course, if you are playing with your kids, you will probably want to limit how much of that you use or teach them based on their age and ability.

Variations in Gameplay

My kids are 6 and 7, and the full-on game with all its specific rules are a bit overwhelming for them still. It can also make for very long games. So I have a number of variations that we have used to make it a little less…frustrating. I’ll describe these variations, and assume that you have read the basic rules of the game at least once so they make some sense.

By the way, I don’t recommend playing the game unless your child can read a bit, because most cards have detailed descriptions of the effect of that card, and having to read each one to your child over and over slows the game to a degree that makes it not very fun for either of you.

The first variation that limits how long the game lasts is to reduce the number of “Prize cards.” The regular game uses six Prize cards, one of which you collect each time you Knock Out (KO) one of your opponent’s Pokémon. Once you get very good at the game mechanics, using six prizes is fine, but as you are each feeling your way through the game, using three Prize cards is much better.

Another variation is to play with an open hand, that is, with the cards in your hand face-up behind your bench. This helps you to guide your child through the various decisions s/he has to make, and makes it less overwhelming for them. It also helps you to decide the outcome of the game, if they are still young enough to not notice you doing so.

The effects of an attack can be pretty complicated, and a huge simplification is to ignore weakness and resistance, and special conditions. This can significantly change the dynamics of a championship deck by the way, which is a bit of an unwanted side effect, but it makes it easier for younger kids to calculate the damage themselves.

And similar to the weakness and resistance, we often play with free retreats, meaning the defending Pokémon can be retreated without any energy cost during your turn. This also changes the dynamics of decks significantly, but kids just don’t have fun when they are taking significant damage and can’t do anything about it (but boy, do they love to dish it out).

Next steps

This article has attempted to orient you in the Pokémon TCG world, and help get you into the game with your kids. There is hopefully enough information here to get you started, so your “next step” is to get playing! The next article will deal with the anatomy of decks in considerable detail, as well as introduce the concept of the “meta game.” Until then, have fun with your kids.

Reader Interactions

22 replies

  1. Joel Honts

    Great recommendations. These are just the ways we encourge trainers to start in our league. Another great tool is the “Trainer Kit” – it contains two 30-card decks that are stacked to jumpstart the game. We recommend these to parents looking to help learn the game, plus they also include Pokemon Collectors which are hard to get otherwise.

    • Tom Otvos  → Joel

      Yes, I went down the Trainer Kit path as well, but found that stores like Toys ‘R Us were stocking really old kits that contained cards way not legal anymore. So the caveat is to keep an eye out for the latest Kits.

      • Steven Nilsen  → Tom

        HG/SS Trainer kits can be bought online from the CCG Armory (or some place that sounds like that), for around $8/ea plus shipping. A great way to get pokemon collector cards and other essentials. Buying two or more and filling in with Pokedeck or other single card sellers is relatively economical.

  2. Gabriel Brown

    Nice article man. :) I enjoyed reading through it even though it’s aimed at parents more than kids.
    Your article makes me want to teach my younger sister how to play. xD

  3. Colin Peterik

    Am I the only one that felt some excitement in my pants when I saw the picture of Ash’s Mom?

  4. Steven Nilsen

    Well, I’ve got a lot to comment on. I’m in the same boat as TomO and have a lot of opinions on this topic to share.

    First, my kids do not NEED to win to play a game and I seriously wouldn’t advise Pokemon for that ultra-competitive character. Send those kids to the yard. This card game gets close to the complexity of chess with a bit of randomness and a lot of variation, and playing pieces that could easily set you back as much as a marble chess set.

    That said, the outcome, while largely based on playing skill is just as much based on what cards you draw, I would strongly recommend teaching the children that the deck controls the games outcome, not so much their play. This takes the guilt off the kids when their pokemon “die”, which we ultimately think is kinda funny and we do our best not to get worked up over. So, build decks, lots of decks, and learn with the kids. I love playing open hands, but as soon as they get the hang of it, they’ll meticulously guard their hands because that’s part of the fun.

    The advice on buying cards here is not-so-sound. Sorry Tom-O. I strongly support the idea of looking for people dumping lots on ebay. There are plenty of lots of cards that are still in circulation getting sold. Just look for parents who are liquidating unused toys. Also buy lots of Trainer-type cards online, as most of them are priced low, at 0.15 each. They are ultimately the most important affordable facet to deck success and to building strategic decks. Buying packs on the other hand, is fun and fun is good, just less dollar savvy.

    As you get into as a parent, you realize that the whole game is designed around the player having relatively unlimited access to a lot of rare cards with hiked values. For instance, special energy is a very important part of the game as are expensive cards like Collector, Seeker and Rare Candy. So, here’s your secret to saving a ton of money while still having fun with the cards. If you take my advice on buying a large lot on ebay, you’ll undoubtedly be able to accumulate WAY more basic energy cards than you’ll ever need. Doctor them into special energy cards, and what not, with a sharpie. It won’t bleed through and adds the element of art to the game. If you do happen to run across a lot of the expensive cards, sell them. The regular players call these doctored cards PROXIES. No other search term will get you to these discussions more quickly.

    Teaching kids that they can disfigure cards to their leisure is empowering. Nobody has to be a slave to the cards or the rules, unless they’re tournament players. Building a tournament deck is just WAY out of bounds, at this age, but learning about all that stuff, and the Metagame involved will be fun.

    The Metagame BTW, deserves a freaking definition. Do you pokemon players have any clue about how much jargon you speak through?

    Metagame – the use of pokepowers, pokebodies and other special attack powers to build stronger decks. Additionally the metagame encompasses knowing theses strategies and having a plan of action to deal with them. This is the chess-like aspect of the game, the thinking ahead, the knowing your deck, etc. It’s cool, but pointless with young kids. Hopefully you’ll dig it.

    Donk – Deliberately eliminating all the pokemon from the other players hand so they lose by technicality. This is a rule you can do without when playing with kids. The rule is you lose if you have no Pokemon. A better rule is the other player gets a prize card and you get to shuffle your hand back into your deck and draw seven cards. You might come up with a similarly better rule. Some of the rules in Pokemon are total crap. Figure them out and pitch ’em. Until you start learning the metagame, donks are just no fun at all.

    OHKO – one hit knock out

    And there are others. Good luck figuring them out, they’re their own riddles.

    • Tom Otvos  → Steven

      DadsW,

      Thanks for the detailed comments. I’ll try and work some of them into the next article as an addendum of sorts. But here are my initial thoughts.

      Funny you mention chess, as I wanted to write that TCG is a cross between poker and chess but thought that was too much of a hyperbole. But the more I play, the more apt I think that comparison is.

      As to the decks, I did not delve too much into the “buying online” part, and clearly that was an oversight. But I do think it important that the kids learn on decks that “work”, which is why the championship ones are a great choice over, say, the Trainer decks. I can see the gears turning in my boys as they play with the Jumpluff or other decks once they get the basic goals, which I didn’t see when we played with some starter decks. Then they opted to play cards that were the characters they liked on the show or in the books.

      Since I am not formally competing either, I don’t have a sense for the true monetary value of my LuxChomp deck, but I totally get your point that the key to the game is to amass the rare cards. It is almost like the online market has spoiled the game somewhat…imagine the days when you could only play with the cards you collected or traded.

      But “proxies” I don’t quite get. You cannot play them formally, right? They are just placeholders to play with while you (try to) get the real thing?

      And as for jargon…hear, hear! I had very little in this article (and I hope you didn’t lump me into “you pokemon players”), but I plan to de-jargon a lot in the next article(s) because it is a real stumbling block for me understanding a lot of the content here. “Meta”, in particular, is a real puzzle, because I have seen it defined completely differently from what you described above. If people want to chime in on their perspectives, email me or comment here, and it will save me some research.

      — tomo

      • Steven Nilsen  → Tom

        No you can’t play proxies formally, but in case I wasn’t clear about what I meant I’ll use my favorite example. Take double colorless E (DCE – another set of initialisms), here’s a rare card you’ld have to buy packs and packs to have just 8 of, so both players could have access to this aspect of the game (I think that giving both players equal access to powerful cards is important when teaching kids). There countless pokemon that operate with just 1 DCE for an attack or 1 DCE + 1 normal or 1 DCE + 2 normal, so instead of being rare this card ought to be super COMMON.

        So, how about this solution? Take a few of your 100 spare water colorless and draw in two colorless energy stars and cross out the water. Use a sharpie, a permanent black ink marker. Wow. It works. The card is physically just like any other card, shuffles normally and has normal back, but gives you DCE because you CAN get over that its not pokemon’s DEC printed card. Now you can play with this energy, for the price of a common.

        Maybe leagues would frown on this, but the rareness of vital cards like DCE, super scoop up, etc., is one of the many crappy things this company does. If I had access to good fakes at 10-15 cents each, meaning they were made of the same good card stock, I would buy them without giving it a second thought. Please PM me with info on a good fake company, if you’ve got it.

        • Tom Otvos  → Steven

          Ok, I get what you are saying. And leagues would frown or not, depending on the league, but my guess is most would allow decks with proxies in a “fun play” mode, if only to sharpen up the skills of others testing their decks. I’ll also just toss out there that that is why I suggested the Championship decks. If you are not interested in formal competition but still want to play with some exotic cards, look in those decks.

          I can understand the company’s stance on the rareness issue when collecting was more face-to-face. But as I said in another comment, I wonder if being able to buy cards online has made rareness of cards quaintly obsolete. You can get any card you want, it just might cost you a bit more. Would the game be better off if all cards were equally available, at least initially? Market forces would then skew the true availability eventually, but cost should not be a prohibitive factor in playing any of the common deck archetypes.

        • Steven Nilsen  → Tom

          Tom, that’s an interesting thought. I agree that this would be nice. It bothers me a little that they don’t make each evolution of each pokemon equally common. Imagine the market value on Eevee – it would be the most expensive card out there! How expensive? Maybe $1 each, maybe $10. That would be sweet, but Pokemon would make less money because they couldn’t sell all the commons, so it’s not ever going to happen. The skewing makes the company money….

          My problem with championship decks is that they made unique backsides to them. The silver rim and signature is enough to identify them, but giving them a unique back cripples them. They can’t be mixed into your deck for testing and playing on a non-competitive level. Like I said, deck building is where the fun is, and almost all playing is therefore play testing. The game is about building the right deck and very young kids get that really quickly. It makes the game very cool and very different from most games where the pieces and rules are static.

          How hard would it be to re-invent this wheel? If there was a game just like pokemon which involved 100s of cards to select from, but each card was similarly common, what do you need to make it? Manufacturing? Art? Creativity? Distribution?

          There’s a person who made a biology-based pokemon-style card game. Battle fish against fish, evolve the fish to a proto-mudskipper, changing your “resistance”, then evolve into an amphibian and gain poison attack. I’ve got the doctorate in biology and lots of ideas … got the card press?

        • Tom Otvos  → Steven

          The distinctive back is easily gotten around by using card sleeves. So yes, the sharpie technique will also work and avoid that issue, it won’t really work when you are trying to create cards with a lot of text on them.

          I my world, rather than create a brand new game, there should be a realistic online version of this game (not in Flash) that levels the playing field by making all cards available. Sadly, the official online TCG from Pokemon seems to fail on both counts.

    • chrataxe  → Steven

      I think you were a bit unfair.

      First, it not hard to find out what the jargon means…ask in a comment below or look at the 100’s of articles written specifically to define the jargon.

      I found nothing particularly wrong with his buying section. He simply just listed the different ways of getting cards, though he didn’t touch on trading.

      I disagree that it “approaches” the complexity of chess, I think it blows chess out of the water as far as complexity goes. Competitive chess is fairly simple: learn one opening that you play really well and learn to counter the most common openings while using your opening of choice. You always know your opponents pieces, you always know their moves. Pokemon is COMPLETELY different. You NEVER know their “pieces,” thus their moves are only somewhat predictable. You also make the argument that there is a lot of “luck” (although you didn’t come right out and say that) and that the “deck controls the outcome.” While I don’t know everything about Pokemon and I haven’t been playing but a hair over a year, I know that is complete crap and teaching your players that is horrible advice. If this had ANY truth to it, why is it that the SAME people continually win? Because its NOT the deck. Don’t believe that? Make a handful of 30 card decks (lets say 4) that are equally crappy and pick 4 players at league of varying different skill. Give them each a deck and let them look over it and learn it a bit. I think you’ll find that your better players will win more often than not.

      And, complaining about rarity is pretty dumb. Yes, I see your point and it is VERY valid, but I think you are missing that there are a LOT of collectors out there. A few months ago, I decided to price my old baseball cards and was amazed to find out that they were COMPLETELY worthless. I had a Nolan Ryan 1990 Donruss error card that was worth $12 in 1991. Come to find out, its worth about $1 now. Why? Baseball has no rarity. MANY people in pokemon buy/sell/trade to make money. These people are far more valuable (as far as how much money they bring to TPC) than the new kids that starts and buys a starter deck and 4 packs and never plays again. THAT is TCP’s market, regardless of what we think. YES, they do market very hard to children because they know that the impulse buys from the kids are a LARGE portion of the market, but they also know without the hardcore player/collector, the Pokemon TCG would fall apart. For you to ignore that is a bit pompous I think….its a very “the world revolves around me” attitude. BTW, if you want DCE’s, I’ve picked up TONS or BS DCE on Ebay for ~$1 each.

      And, as far as proxies and WC decks…well, you really aren’t supposed to do that. While I see your point and agree with you, and I’ve played with Proxies and WC decks at league before, but I am also a very competitive player and need some stuff for testing purposes. What you propose is to just let kids run rampant “making up” cards. That’s OK to proxy DCE, but what happens come BR when they can’t use that proxy and they never had any real intentions of buying any? They are stuck playing this deck that runs subpar thanks to your advice. Instead, how about helping them make a deck that doesn’t NEED those high dollar cards or one that skates by with only having 2 DCE by running energy exchanger, or something along those lines. There are plenty of decks that don’t need those high dollar cards, especially at the junior level: Machamp (both), Kingdra, Donphan, Scizor…yeah, THOSE are high dollar, but there are other, non-meta decks that a junior can do very well with, like Wormadam, Jumpluff (somewhat high dollar, but still just a rare), Mime Jr LZ, or even a “fun” deck I’ve been thinking of, Electivire TM with Tentacruel LA, maybe throw in Ambipom G, Pachirisu, and Shaymin, might be very competitive in a sea of mediocrity. My son won a cities this year in Juniors where there were only 3 people (including him) playing. The other two showed up that day and bought a theme deck at the store…needless to say, it was pretty nasty compared to his speed Kindgra cranking out 80 T2 while placing 40 to the bench every turn. My point is, these kinds you speak of don’t need all those high dollar cards, they need good advice and help with what they do have. Also, I buy a ton of T/S/S online very cheap. When I get a new player, I give them some of my crappier ones just to get something in their deck to help their deck draw (cheerleader cheer, engineer) and advise them to take out about half of their 36 Pokemon…THAT is what they need. I also buy tons of really cheap primes (Blissey, Meganium, Typhlosion, Feraligatr) and give them away to people that come regularly if I feel it will help their deck. I also try and get me and my LL to battle against all new players just to ensure they know the rules somewhat and to get a glimpse at their deck and afterwards, we can help them with it. We may not always have the cards to give away, but we can advise them on some cards that can help that they should be able to get relatively easy by trading at league.

      I’m not trying to tear apart everything you said, as a LO, I understand a lot of you frustrations. But, I think you are VERY narrow minded in your reply. And, as a biology man, I would think that you of all people would understand that, just as we are NOT all created equal, neither are our decks. Think of a tournament like evolution: the strong survive.

      • Steven Nilsen  → chrataxe

        Thanks for replying, I don’t think you tore apart anything I said. Your input is great, except where you got nasty and called my viewpoint narrow. After all, you’ve only got a fragment of my views.

        Sounds like your very generous with your cards. It also sounds like you may spend a bit more on cards than me. For instance, I think we have a whopping 2 primes in all of our decks. One decision I’ve made is to simply not play with expensive cards. Using normal evolution chains we can build a ridiculous number of decks, many of which have a central card valued at $1 or less. I think I suggested earlier that selling ultra valuable cards, should you be lucky enough to come across one, is a good idea. It’s not like some kids need a Luxray GL lvX in their binder as much as they could use the $40 you can sell it for (like I did). No doubt, we could use some more primes, and believe me it’s tough to resist going out to buy tins, just to score them.

        One strategy we’re taking that I haven’t mentioned yet, is we’ve avoided buying much into cards pre-HGSS, because we’re slowly building up cards for a HGSS+ format, which will come along eventually. This is some valuable advice to parents new to the game, because if the kids like it, then you’re stock piling potentially useful cards for when your kids want to play league games.

        I’m sorry your son didn’t face any real competition, maybe you’ll have to take him to states. I really don’t know what the vibe on pokemon is at the league junior level, yet, but hopefully we’ll get there. We’re not avoiding it, we’re just not ready yet.

        Again, great input, great discussion.

        • Tom Otvos  → Steven

          I agree that this is a great discussion, touching on a bunch of points I planned to discuss in my next article. I am glad that I am not totally out in left field.

      • Steven Nilsen  → chrataxe

        A quick additional thought on rarity. Why are the most powerful cards in the GAME the rarest? That just makes people who want to play compete with collectors. That’s completely unnecessary. It could be different and Pokemon would still do well. But your right, what’s the point in complaining. I really do like this game. Darn fun.

  5. Patrick Jeffries

    Great article. I agree with TomO and Dadwa. As a dad who is trying to start a league and teach other young players, I like the articles on sixprizes which help me understnd how to get new players involved and at the same time not over whelmed. Adam and his crew of writers offer a wide variety of helpfull hints. I am completely frustrated with the new rules starting on april 25th. How much more could you mess up a good thing? I am stuck on what I should be teaching now, but because younger minds can soak up lots of information, we will muddle through these changes like the rest of the TCG players. Thanks for a great article.

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