Do you want to be the very best, like no one ever was? If that phrase sounds familiar, you probably grew up either when “Pokémon” was the hottest thing around, or you had kids who grew up during that time.
Do you want to be the very best, like no one ever was? If that phrase sounds familiar, you probably grew up either when “Pokémon” was the hottest thing around, or you had kids who grew up during that time. Ever since it was introduced in 1998, “Pokémon” has had an enthusiastic following. If you’ve been harboring a secret (or maybe not-so-secret) love for the card game in which collecting and fighting oddly named creatures is the goal, it’s time to celebrate that fact by heading over to—where else—Guardian Games.
We’ve mentioned Guardian Games before, but in case you aren’t familiar with it yet, Guardian Games is Portland’s grandest gaming shop. They sponsor several events every day that run the gamut from classic card games to role playing games, and just about everything in between. They have a large, open space that can be used by gamers when it’s not otherwise reserved, and a friendly, knowledgeable staff that can help you find what you’re looking for, whether it’s a game or just like-minded folks.
The “Pokémon Trading Card Game” was based around the “Pokémon” video games that took Japan by storm in 1996 and then the United States in 1998. It was originally published in the U.S. by Wizards of the Coast who, as you may remember from a previous article, also produces the “Magic: The Gathering” card game. The Pokémon Company eventually took back the card game and have continued to publish it to droves of fans ever since.
Game play is pretty similar to most battle card games. Each player, called a “trainer,” has a 60-card deck which they draw from during the game. In this case, the deck is made of Pokémon creature cards, energy cards (which are needed by the Pokémon in order to use their abilities), trainer cards (which can remove damage or revive Pokémon creatures), support cards (which are more powerful than trainer cards, but are also more limited) and stadium cards (which generally benefit the gym master). The trainers have two Pokémon in play at a time, and five on the “bench,” although actions that occur in play can affect the benched Pokémon. Through the drawing and use of certain cards, trainers cause damage to their opponents’ creatures, eventually defeating each creature in turn until their opponent is out of fightable Pokémon.
For “Pokémon,” the usual 17 different types of Pokémon creatures were pared down to only nine. As one would expect, each type offers different advantages to players and against other types. They nine types are: Grass, Fire, Water, Lightening, Psychic, Fighting, Dark, Metal and Colorless. Pokémon creatures can be of more than one type, and each has a resistance and a weakness to a different type of Pokémon.
Saturdays, from noon to 3 p.m., Guardian Games sets up a little event which they call “Poké-Gym @ the Thunderdome.” This weekly afternoon league is the perfect place to go if you want to learn to play “Pokémon,” if you want to sharpen your skills or try out a new deck and if you want to get into card trading.
Poké-Gym is also a great place to go if you want to get free stuff. Occasionally, players may have to pay a $1 fee to participate, but for the most part, it’s free. Add the fact that players can earn card packs from the latest promo sets, which have cards that are not available in other packs, and you’ve got an offer fit to entice any prospective Poké Trainer. Plus, at the end of the league, you can get a badge that garners respect from other players and signifies how far you’ve climbed. Parents are also welcome to bring their kids, as Guardian Games always ensures a safe and fun gaming experience for all. ?