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Game Review

Collectible Card Game

Ages 6 and up
Game © 1995, 1996, 1998 Nintendo, Creatures, GAMEFREAK.
© 1999-2000 Nintendo of America
© 1999-2000 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
game in play

2 Players30+ minutes


Pokémon are monsters used in tournament style battles. Players act as the trainers for the Pokémon. Use the monsters' abilities to knock out your oponent's monsters.


Players each start with a 60 card deck. Players draw 7 cards from their deck. From these 7 cards, they both choose a starter Pokémon to begin the battle. Starter monsters are placed face down on the middle of the game field to begin. Each player now places 3 cards aside (face down) as "prizes." A coin is flipped to determine whch player goes first -- and the starter Pokémon are revealed.

A players turn follows these steps:

  1. Draw a card.

  2. Steps 2 - 5 may be taken in any order.

  3. Play one and only one energy card.

  4. Add basic Pokémon to your bench.

  5. Play a Trainer card.

  6. Evolve a Pokémon to the next level.

  7. Attack!

Your turn begins by drawing a card, and ends when you attack.

In order for your Pokémon to attack, you must give it energy. There are at least 5 different types of energy in the basic game: Grass, Water, Fire, Fighting, and Electric. The type of energy required depends upon the Pokémon card itself. The cards tell the players which energy must be used so that a monster can attack. Some monsters have multiple ways to attack, but the different attacks require more energy.

When your monster is attacked, the damage from the attack is marked by some chits, when the damage is above the monster's HP value (listed on the top of th card) the monster is knocked out. When you knock out an opponent's monster, you get to claim one of your "prize cards" into your hand.

If you believe that your monster will be knocked out -- or want to use a monster on your bench, you may pay the "retreat cost" (a number of energy cards used by the monster) -- then bring a new monster into play.

Seel with Energy!

Winning Conditions:

  • Knock out 3 of your opponent's Pokémon

  • or
  • Knockout your opponent's Pokémon when they have no others on their bench

  • or
  • Have your opponent run out of cards to draw.

Machop/Machoke/Machamp Evolution

Our Opinion:

Thumbs Up! After playing the starter set for this game, all we could say is "Wow!" It is not surprising to us that this game is so commercially hot. The game is writen well and plays well. Strategies can be simple or complex depending upon the level of the players, and the rules on the cards are not nearly as complex as those of "Magic: The Gathering."

We found this game to be very similar to Magic, but not identical. This game focuses on the individual Pokémon and the battle with a single opponent Pokémon. It is up to the player to act as the "trainer" so that his/her Pokémon may win the fight.

There are several more layers of complexity to the rules that we didn't describe here, largely because we're trying to describe the basic game. Different monsters have special abilities, like "confusion," that the rules describe better than we could in this review.

If you have not watched the cartoon, the rules may be more difficult to understand -- but if you watch an episode or two, you'll have a good idea of how this game is played. Unlike the DragonBall Z card game, Pokémon not only mimics the show, but it also plays very well. It is challenging, fun, and some of the monsters are incredibly cute.

As with any Collectible Card Game, I must warn you that this one will cost you a lot of money if you aren't careful. To get a good set of cards, you will spend a lot of money. Pokémon is a great game -- but pay for important things, like rent, first.

Where to buy:

Any local toy, hobby or game store -- Our starter copy cost about $10.

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