Explain Pokeman to Dad

Title says it all. My second-grader is getting into Pokemon, but I don’t think she really understands it either - she’s trading non-cute character cards for cute character cards.

It looks pretty damned complicated, imho. For example, here’s the info from one card:

Azelf lv. 50, HP60 (I’ve played D&D before, so I get that)

Downer Material: If you have Uxie and Mesprit (two other cards, probably) **in play, the attack cost of your Basic Pokemon (*) more. You can’t use more than 1 Downer Material Poke-body each turn. **

Azelf also has an attack, “Blind Pulse”, which prohibits your opponent from using Energy cards on their Pokemon.

She has hundreds of these cards, very few of them (except for the energy cards) similar. Do the kids actually memorize this stuff? How does this work - does one person play a card, the other sees what card is played and chooses from among their deck the best counter? How does one win? What does one win?

Or is this just too complicated for my poor 43 year-old brain? :confused:

I’m guessing that telling you it’s somewhat similar to Magic: The Gathering isn’t going to help you much. :slight_smile:

Pokemon is similar to M:TG in that it’s what’s known as a CCG (Collectible Card Game). Typically, these games are played by assembling a deck of synergistic cards, only some of which are randomly drawn at the beginning of the game. It’s been a while since I played Pokemon, but such games usually have different mechanisms for how you play cards (they require resources of some kind). Most have you draw a single card randomly from the top of your deck each turn.

Pokemon is a bit more simplistic than Magic, but I would say your daughter is still probably a bit young to understand all the nuances necessary to play (not to mention the mathematics). I would guess she would need to be 9 or 10 to really “get it.”

You can always Google “Pokemon card game” and read the associated Wikipedia entry, I’m sure it does a much better job of explaining it than I have.

Yeah, but Googling is boring. Talking to you fine folk is enjoyable. So here I am. :slight_smile:

The RPG link is probably the best. It’s already been described how you pickup a bunch of cards, and put the ones that work best together in a deck. You use your cards to summon “creatures”, and use Energy Cards to give them the ability to attack (i.e., giving them energy). Then it basically plays out like each person having control over their creatures, instead of just one. The rules state when you can attack.

There are also special cards, (originally called Trainer Cards) that affect the rules of the game in some way. They can make your opponent not be able to do something, or give you an extra ability. They spell out exactly what they do, so it’s not that hard to use them.

And, yes, the best players tend to memorize what quite a few of the cards do. Especially the ones in their own deck. The only ones that are actually different are the trainer cards, so it’s really not that hard.

I’ve never played it, but I have played Magic: The Gathering, which is, from what I’ve heard, more complicated than Pokemon.

I’m not really sure what you expect from her but she won’t understand the gameplay aspect of it for another few years. To get fair value from trades, she’d either have to memorize, or look up the value of the cards.

Magic: The Gathering has over 10,000 different cards made and you can bet most serious players have 90% of them and their values memorized.

For a little kid though, she’s probably just having fun showing them off, or trading them. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m sure she’s having fun doing it. Heck, maybe they’re even playing a simplistic version of the game.

If I’m not mistaken, Bricker has a child that does a lot of pokemon stuff, and might be willing to help answer questions.

Do kids actually play the card game? I’ve mostly known them to collect & trade.

I’m a tournament player, league leader, and Pokemon professor. I can answer any and all of your questions.

You’re not too old to understand. I’m 39. I’ve only been playing since last February, and I took 6th at regionals in April. And I’ve never played any games seriously before this. There’s hope for you yet.

Nobody can answer “how do I play” in a message board thread. Too complicated.

Go to Pokemon.com and watch the “how to play” animation. That will give you a general idea.

Then get yourself to a league.

According to the pokemon site, there are 3 leagues in San Antonio:

They can teach you how to play for real at a league.

Absolutely incorrect.

p.s. Funny you should mention that Azelf. Downer Material messed with me but good in a few games today.

Of course Magic players claim that it’s more complicated than Pokemon! Makes 'em feel better. :stuck_out_tongue:

Again, incorrect. Where are people getting this idea

Or maybe, she is exactly the same as most of the kids in my league–they collect and trade the cards, and somewhere along the way decide that they actually want to learn to play the game.
Oak: Bricker Jr. plays the video game. In February, I gave Bricker some information about TCG leagues local to him, but haven’t heard if they’d pursue it.

The main thing to understand is that Pokemon (both the video games and the card game) is sorta tiered in the ways people enjoy it. It’s both an adorable pop culture event and a serious statistical competitive game. A second grade girl is going to enjoy it on a very different level than a middle aged man playing in tournaments, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. Maybe as she gets older she’ll transition into an entirely new way to enjoy it, but even if she never gets past the cute animal trading phase it’s all good.

If you’re interested in seeing how a card game like this works, there’s a very enjoyable Flash game called Necronomicon. It’s got a Lovecraftian theme, and probably isn’t the sort of thing to appeal to a 2nd-grader, but you can learn by doing it yourself.

Obviously, it’s not quite as elaborate as Pokemon is, but you can get the idea (wanting to improve your deck, hoping you have the right cards at the right time, etc.).

…and animated cock fighting.

Hey, hey, we’re talkin’ about kids here!

Tiered enjoyment. I like that.

But again, there is no reason to think that a girl her age can’t enjoy it at the same level as a masters player if she wishes to devote herself to it. My Pokemon nemesis is 7 years old. He beats me with shocking regularity.

As far as this thread…please make sure that gender bias isn’t creeping in here. I’m not disputing that Pokemon are indeed cute and the cuteness factor makes the game more attractive to girls. But I’m wondering if some of you are assuming that the cuteness is all she’s interested in. It may or may not be.

Females simply aren’t taken as seriously in the gamer world as males are. It’s true that there are many fewer women than men who play any game regularly, and fewer still who take it seriously. As such, I try to take girls and women under my wing and help them and encourage them to play. They are at absolutely no gender-based disadvantage in CCGs except for the surrounding social factors. I can detail some of them with regard to the Pokemon TCG if you wish. One way to blunt the social disincentives is to simply have a greater proportion of women and girls playing. Another is for women and girls to simply prove that they can play with the big boys. The top 2 spots in the Junior division at regionals were taken by girls. :slight_smile:

There was a recent thread about why women aren’t as good as men at gaming. While it contained a certain amount of sexist baloney, it also had some good discussion of why women aren’t as involved. I’d highly recommend reading it.
JohnT–I can’t encourage you enough to try to get your daughter involved in Pokemon Organized Play, and you should definitely start playing yourself, too. It’s a ton of fun, a great way to spend time with your kid, and frankly, one thing that separates the better junior players from the mediocre juniors is having parents who play. It’s very educational and the community is filled with wonderful people. And IMHO, it’s a good thing to get kids involved in competitive activities–but not necessarily ones that are cut-throat. Pokemon fits the bill.

I really appreciate the input.

Green Bean, I’ll look at that video/animation when I get home tonight. You’ve been a lot of help.

As far as gaming is concerned, she’s interested more in the “cute” factor but insists that she knows how to play. However, asking her to show me just results in a bunch of confusion on her part.

Right now, she’s attending Chess classes at the San Antonio Academy, so that’s the “game” we’ll focus on this summer. But there’s nothing that says we can’t do some Pokemon playing, either.

I don’t know why you are conflating “more complicated” with “a better game,” because by the way you are defending Pokemon it seems like someone has done you great offense.

If, as you claim, Pokemon is not beyond the grasp of a 7 year old, then by definition Magic is more complicated because there are rules and mechanics in M:TG that give even 30 year old math students problems. This doesn’t mean it’s a better game, or more fun, or better designed.

Oh, I hear you on thinking she knows how to play. My son frequently encounters kids at school who are certain that they know how to play, but they aren’t even close to getting it right. He quickly stopped arguing with them about it, which I think was a good call from a social skills standpoint.

That’s great that she’s going to chess camp.

For some reason, chess players often really enjoy Pokemon and find that they have a real leg up when learning the game. One nice thing about Pokemon is that you can play casually and/or occasionally and still have fun at it. League is structured so that you can go however often you want.

Er, yeah. I always include a tongue-sticky-outy smilie when I’m feeling offended. In other words, it’s a joke son.

And there are rules and mechanics in Pokemon that give even 30 year old math students problems. The rulings compendium runs to hundreds of pages and the “Ask the Rules Team” forum at the Pokegym is always hopping. That doesn’t mean that a 7 year old can’t learn to play the game and play it well. They usually just choose to play decks without those really complicated mechanics.

I have to ask–how many 7 year olds have you taught to play Pokemon? How many 7 year olds do you play Pokemon against on a regular basis? I suspect the answer to both will be zero. My answers to both would be “a lot.” So please take my word for it that 7 year olds can learn to play and play well.

(And feel free to check out my credentials if you wish. I’ll send you my real name via PM.)

I hope this isn’t a hijack. Maybe Green Bean can tell me what to do with all the Pokemon cards we have stashed away from 10-12 years ago? My son started “collecting” back when they first washed up on our shores at least 12 years ago, maybe it was 14(?). Are they still used these days?

It’s hard to believe a 7 year old can memorize dozens, even hundreds, of cards in detail until you’ve seen it.