Imagine how impressed your kid will be when you know how to play Pokemon cards?! Your child’s Pokemon obsession is explained in this guide for parents.
You are reading this article because you are an awesome parent!
Your child came home from school recently speaking a completely foreign language, right? The kid who still can’t pronounce “broccoli” is all of a sudden talking about “evolutions”, “Mega EX” and “Charizard” as if they are household words.
How did this happen and most importantly, is it something you should condone or discourage?
We were faced with that decision a few years ago, when our oldest son was introduced to Pokemon cards by a class mate. His wish list all of a sudden included $5 packs of cards with odd-looking dragons and fuzzy creatures with names I couldn’t pronounce.
As any normal parent would do, I quickly decided that this was just a phase and that he would forget about the cards by the time Monday rolled around. Yeah, three years later, I am still waiting for that Monday to come.
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After my initial gut reaction proved to be wrong, I sat down to educate myself on this Pokemon phenomenon to make sure it wasn’t going to steer my child towards a life as a circus clown, no offense to circus clowns.
Is Pokemon Good For Kids?
Jacob was thrilled to “battle” me on a Sunday afternoon. I had no idea what I was in for, but I figured it was yet another made-up card game with rules that were as fluid as the ocean – and always in his favor.Why should your kids play and collect #PokemonCards? Everything is explained here! #Parenting Click To Tweet
Little did I know that Pokemon TCG is a well-structured 60-card game with an established set of rules – and a never-ending list of sub-rules. “TCG” stands for “The Card Game”.
All of a sudden, my sweet child spoke in tongue, or so it sounded like, when he rambled about his card having more “health” than mine. Clearly I didn’t have the right “energy cards” to “evolve”… the whole thing was an hour of my child schooling me and impressing me more than he did when he played the role of “a Tree” in his school play!
Much to my surprise, I found that the game requires strategy, discipline, memory and math – A LOT of math!
Things finally started to make sense to me. Jacob is our little math nerd, so no wonder he fell in love with Pokemon. Here is a game centered around adding and subtracting, strategizing and remembering… all the things he’s awesome at!
Pokemon is making nerdiness cool!
Then I thought back to my own childhood, when I collected stationary, stickers, pretty pictures and post cards. Remember how much fun it was to collect things when you were a kid? Trading with your friends and working towards getting more of whatever it was you collected.
Regardless of what you collected, chances are that you became a master in the subject. You knew which ones were valuable, rare and which ones to trade. Pokemon is no different than the collectibles of our childhood. Except Pokemon may hone your child’s common core math skills, and that’s more than what I can say for my old sticker collection.
Now that you see, like I did, that there ARE positive reasons to let your child play and collect Pokemon cards, you may wonder “how many cards do they need?” – and “what else is involved in this new hobby?”
How to Get Your Pokemon Collection Started:
The first step in getting your child’s Pokemon card collection going is to buy a deck. Your child needs at least these 60 cards to get a game going (or a battle, as they like to call it.)
The booster packs cost around $5 (maybe a little less) and contain 10 random cards. The booster packs contain some high powered cards or “evolved” Pokemon that you can use in a battle.
Pokemon comes out with new “series” a few times a year, so of course your kid is going to want booster packs from the latest series – because… well, it’s Pokemon and it’s something new.
In order to prevent the cards from covering every square inch of the floor in your kid’s room, you may want to set him up with a binder and plastic sleeves, also to protect the cards. We use regular 3-ring binders for our Pokemon cards and the plastic sheets you may have used for your childhood collection of baseball cards.
I asked Jacob tonight for the best way to organize cards. He recommends that smaller collections start sorting the cards by “energy type”, which is the symbol in the upper right-hand corner. (“Energy types” are explained below)
Pokemon Card Types:
For obvious reasons, these are the most important cards in the game, and likely also why collectors keep coming back for more!
Generally, the Pokemon cards are broken into three stages:
(There are additional stages, but that’s another lesson for another day)
Basic Pokemon (In our example below: Charmander)
Stage 1 Pokemon (In our example below: Charmeleon)
Stage 2 Pokemon (In our example below: Charizard)
Stage 1 and Stage 2 cards also referred to as “Evolution” cards.
Examples of a MEGA Evolved Charizard:
There are nine basic energy cards in Pokemon TCG.
- Most Pokemon can’t attack without an Energy card attached.
- Match the symbols of the attack cost to the Energy card.
- Any energy card can be used if a Colorless star is listed as your Pokemon’s Attack cost.
- Elite Trainer boxes often contain Energy cards, in case your child needs a few more in their collection.
- Trainer cards represent the “Items”, “Supporters” and “Stadiums” a Trainer can use in battle.
- The specific Trainer subtypes can be found in the upper-right corner and applicable rules for that subtype at the bottom of the card.
Pokemon TCG Card Layout:
This is how each player should place their cards. The Pokemon card layout is explained below.
How to Start a Pokemon Card Game:
- Shake hands with your opponent.
- Flip a coin. The winner of the coin flip decides which player goes first.
- Shuffle your 60-card deck and draw the top 7 cards.
- Check to see if you have any Basic Pokemon in your hand.
- If you don’t have any Basic Pokemon, show your opponent your hand. Return your cards to the deck, reshuffle and then draw the top 7 cards.
- (Repeat as many times as necessary if you still don’t have any Basic Pokemon.)
- Each time your opponent shuffles his hand back into the deck you may draw an extra card.
- Put one of your Basic Pokemon face DOWN as your Active Pokemon. (see Card Layout)
- Put up to 5 more Basic Pokemon face down on your Bench. (see Card Layout)
- Put the top 6 cards of the deck off to the side, face down as your Prize cards.
- Both players flip all their face-down Pokemon face-up and start the game.
- You cannot evolve your Pokemon during the first turn you place them down.
For further rules and instructions of how to play Pokemon TCG, watch these informative short videos.
How to Win a Game:
- Take all of your Prize cards.
- Knock Out all of your opponent’s in-play Pokemon.
- If your opponent’s Deck has no cards in it at the beginning of his or her turn.
Pokemon TCG Helpful Links:
Pokemon YouTube Tutorials:
Now that you know way more about Pokemon than you ever thought you cared to, pat yourself on the shoulder. There is nothing more empowering and awesome to a kid than when his parents show a sincere interest in his hobby.
For bonus points, how about engaging your child in a some awesome Pokemon crafts and activities. These are tested and approved by our boys – even the tween… so they ARE cool!
In case you are headed to LEGOLAND, don’t miss their guide on how to safely play Pokemon Go while visiting their parks!
Have fun – and stay tuned for several other Pokemon-related posts.