Parent’s Guide to Pokémon Part 2: Playing the Game

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The Eevee dicebag is exploding with cards and dice. Someone is ready to play Pokemon! (All images: Cathe Post)

Last time we talked about how to build a Pokémon card deck. It’s time to learn how to play the game!


First let’s look at a Pokemon card.

  1. Name and Evolution: The name and evolution of the Pokémon will be listed in the upper left-hand corner of the card. This card is Eelektrik. It is a Stage 1 (1st Evolution) Pokémon. It even says in little, tiny, print what this Pokémon evolved from (Evolves from Tynamo).
  2. Hit Points: HP, or hit points, shows how much damage the Pokemon can take before it is knocked out.
  3. Type: The symbol in the upper right-hand corner of the card shows what type of Pokémon it is.
  4. Ability: Not all Pokémon have abilities. When they do, be sure to read if it is something that can happen every turn, or only under certain conditions.
  5. Attacks: Read the text carefully. Sometimes the attack will also require a coin-flip to determine additional effects. The little circles indicate how many/what kind of energy need to be attached to the Pokémon in order to perform the attack. The number at the end is how much damage the attack does to the other player’s Pokémon.
  6. Weakness & Resistance: When a Pokémon is weak to another type of Pokémon, they take more damage. In this case, Eelektrik will take twice as much damage from a Fighting type Pokémon. Likewise, there may be a Pokémon type that does less damage to an active Pokémon. Eelektric is not resistant to any type of damage, but it is something to keep an eye out for.
  7. Retreat: If this Pokémon is in play, and becomes injured or another Pokémon on the bench would work better, the number of energy listed under retreat needs to be paid in order for the Pokémon to be benched. The energy needs to come off the Pokémon that will be benched, and is discarded.
  8. Flavor Text: A cute quote, something from the show, or something shows up in this little box. It is just there and does not affect game play.
  9. Card Number and Series: The number and symbol in the lower corner indicate what number the card is, and what series it is a part of. Card series come out a couple of times a year, but can be used with other sets.

Now that we understand what our Pokémon do, we can play the game! I could write out a bunch of steps, but it would probably be more confusing than just showing you. My daughter happily volunteered to play a game with me so we could share this how-to-play with you.

Next time we will talk about the benefits of Pokémon and resources for you and your children who want to be more involved in the Pokémon community.

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3 thoughts on “Parent’s Guide to Pokémon Part 2: Playing the Game

  1. Thank you for helping me figure this out! Your breakdown of building a deck, what the the symbols mean on a card, and that you’re a mom telling another mom instead of a 20-something at Vintage Stock trying to explain it to me today is a relief!

    1. Glad to help! I loved playing Pokemon and am really excited to see kids still playing it after all these years. I get even more excited when parents take an interest with their kids in learning how to play the game.

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