The Pokémon Trading Card Game is a trading card game by The Pokémon Company.
With the release of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire Game Boy video games and the EX Ruby and Sapphire expansion, Nintendo started publishing the cards itself. A version of the card game is known as Pokémon-e Trading Card Game, most of the cards of which are compatible with the Nintendo e-Reader. However, sets including and after "EX Hidden Legends" do not include the "-e" in the title and do not have codes for the Nintendo e-Reader, no doubt due to its failure on the market, leading to it not being released in the UK.
Game concepts (Original/ Full Deck)
The game is centered on the concept of the Pokémon battle, similar to that of the video games. The objective of the game is to knock out six of the opponent's Pokémon. There are three types of cards: Pokémon cards, Trainer cards, and Energy cards. Later sets mix the card categories in an attempt to create more exciting gameplay, for example, where Pokémon cards can be used as Energy cards.
The different Pokémon characters have different attacks, defensive capabilities and Hit Points (HP). HP is the amount of damage it takes to knock that Pokémon out. Some Pokémon evolve into bigger and stronger Pokémon. Evolved Pokémon generally have more HP and stronger attacks than the lower stages.
Each Pokémon's attacks are listed on the card along with that attack's energy cost (the amount/type of Energy cards required) and base damage it does. Each player in turn can use one of his/her Pokémon's attacks (provided there is enough energy attached to power it) to do damage to the opponent's active Pokémon (generally referred to as the Defending Pokémon).
Pokémon cards are the actual Pokémon from the video game. Each player have up to six Pokémon in play at a time, one active and the rest on the bench.
A simplified type system was used for the trading card game. Instead of 17 types of Pokémon, only 11 exist (with Darkness and Metal introduced with the Neo Genesis expansion, Dragon with Dragons Exalted, and Fairy with XY Base Set.):
|TCG type||Color||Video game type(s)|
|Colorless||Gray/White/Normal||Normal, Flying, Dragon (Base Set through Next Destinies)|
|Fighting||Brown||Fighting, Rock, Ground|
|Grass||Green||Grass, Bug, Poison (Generation I through III)|
|Psychic||Purple||Psychic, Ghost,Poison (Generation IV on)|
|Dragon||Gold||Dragon (Dragons Exalted On)|
Most Pokémon have only one type (a few have two). Weakness and resistance are determined by the Pokémon (unlike the video game, where they are determined by the type of the attack used).
Pokémon that are weak to another type take twice the base damage in an attack. For example, most Fire type Pokémon are weak to Water. So, if a Water type Pokémon attacks a Fire type Pokémon with an attack that has a base damage of 20, that attack would do 40 damage to the Fire type Pokémon.
Some Pokémon have a Resistance to a particular type. So if the opponent attacks with an attack that has a base damage of 40, but a Pokémon has a Resistance to the type of Pokémon the opponent is attacking with of -30, the attack will only do 10 damage instead of 40. If the opponent's attack normally does 30 or less, then the attack will do no damage at all
Most Pokémon feature attacks that would reduce the HP of the opposing active Pokémon. These attacks require Energy, which come in the form of Energy cards. Many attacks require a certain type of energy, depending on the type of attack and the Pokémon using it. There are energies for every type other than Colorless and Dragon. Colorless uses any energy and Dragon often use a mix of two different types of energy. There are also special energy, which have extra effects, like Burning Energy being immune to being discarded.
Trainer cards are support cards that allow players to do something to enhance the game. There are four major types of trainer cards. The first type are item cards. They often help do things like find Pokémon or heal. There are also Tool cards, which are like Item cards, but specifically effect the Pokémon the card is attached too. Supporter cards typically have much larger effects then a Tool card (For example, Potion heals 30, but Pokémon Center Lady heals 60 and removes all Special Conditions). As a result, you can only use 1 supporter per turn. The last type is Stadium Cards, which are always in play one played (until another is played).Beginning level players often do not realize the value of Trainer cards, but experienced tournament level players pay particular attention to the Trainer engine in their decks.
They have released many special types of Pokémon. The first were Pokémon ex, which were stronger then the aferage Pokémon of the time, but took Two Prizes. There were also Level. X and BREAK, which evolve from a Pokémon and give them extra attacks, EXes, which are like exes, but even stronger and don't require to be evolved, and GXes, which are like EXes, but have a powerful once-per-game attacks, and are once again required to be evolved up.
Wizards of the Coast Sets
'Originals' Series 1
- Neo Genesis
- Neo Discovery
- Neo Revelation
- Neo Destiny
'Pokémon-e' Series 1
- Southern Islands (Promotional Set)
- Legendary Collection (Reprints of cards from the first four sets)
'Pokémon-e' Series 2
- EX Ruby & Sapphire
- EX Sandstorm
- EX Dragon
- EX Team Aqua vs Team Magma
'Originals' Series 2
- EX Hidden Legends
- EX FireRed & LeafGreen
- EX Team Rocket Returns
- EX Deoxys
- EX Emerald
- EX Unseen Forces
- EX Legend Maker (Late release in English-language territories)
'Delta Species' Series
Video game releases
On December 18, 1998, Nintendo released a Game Boy Color game called Pokémon Trading Card Game. It was a game based on the original Pokémon games, but with trading cards instead of actual "monsters". This title was released in North America on March 31, 2000 and in Europe on December 8, 2000. It included the cards from the base set as well as its first two expansions, along with cards that are exclusive to the game.
A second Game Boy game, called Pokémon Card GB2, was released in Japan on March 28, 2001. It introduced a trading card parallel to Team Rocket, called Great Team Rocket, and also added cards from the Team Rocket expansion.
In 2010, an online version of the game was released for Windows and Mac, called the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online was released.
- Pokémon Organized Play Website is the official US source of the Pokémon Organized Play program, where one can acquire information on local leagues and tournaments and find local distributors.
- Pokémon TCG Website is the official website for the Pokémon TCG.
Unofficial/Fan Pokémon TCG sites
- Hong Kong Pokémon Alliance. A Cantonese Pokémon site. Regular tournaments, regular researches, regular investigations and tuitions to all sorts of Pokémon Card players, including beginners.
- PokéBeach is a useful resource for anyone involved with the Pokémon TCG. Includes scans from the most recent sets and the latest news on the Pokémon TCG, as well as many other resources. Very nice website.
- PokéGym is a massive and extremely popular forum owned by Team Compendium for discussion of the Pokémon TCG featuring over 6,370 members. It includes featured articles on topics relating to the game as well as in-depth analysis of the game's most popular decks.
- Pojo.com was founded in December 1998, and updated daily since. Comprehensive Pokémon resource for the Trading Card Game and Video Games. Message Board has over 40,000 members. Also home of the popular Card of the Day.
- Pokepedia. Comprehensive, searchable Pokémon TCG database. Has a decklist builder, trader base, event mapper, and more.