As parents we’re not always introduced to the world of trading card games in the same way. Maybe you first heard your child ask for them while out running an errand, or maybe their friends came over and brought a strange card game over.
No matter how you were first introduced, all parents have the same questions before getting their children into the wonderful world of trading card games. For this post, we’re assuming your child wants to play the Pokémon Trading Card Game (often abbreviated Pokémon TCG). This is the most popular franchise for children and for good reason:
- The anime is already quite popular, and your child likely watches it.
- The game is enjoyed by many, so it’s easy to find others to play with and friends likely already have a few cards.
- It’s easy to understand and play making it perfect for beginners.
So, without further ado, here are the 11 questions every parent asks before getting their child into Pokémon TCG:
1. What is Pokémon TCG?
Pokémon TCG is a trading card game based on the popular video games and anime series. It features trainers, items, and Pokémon from the show and games. It’s similar to Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magic the Gathering, and other popular trading card game series.
2. What are you supposed to do with the cards?
Even though Pokémon TCG is at it’s core a card game, the cards aren’t only used for the game. Pokémon card owners can be separated into two groups (each with several sub-categories).
The first, called players, use the cards to build powerful decks and then go about battling others to find out who’s deck and strategy is superior. This can be both friendly and competitive with the Pokémon World Championships seeing the best players compete for cash prizes.
On the other side, you’ve got collectors. They may be looking for the cards with their favorite Pokémon, the coolest artwork, or simply the rarest cards. Collector cards can go on to be worth hundreds of dollars depending on their rarity. Most card owners are a combination of both collectors and players, but depending on how young your child is, they may just want the coolest cards.
3. What do the different cards do?
There are 3 different types of cards in Pokémon TCG:
- Trainer Cards
- Pokémon Cards
- Energy Cards
Trainer cards are items, supporters and stadiums that can be used during a battle. They usually have a special effect that is written in text at the bottom of the card.
Pokémon cards are the cards used to battle other opponents. Each Pokémon has up to 2 attacks (except in the case of GX cards and other special cards) which can be used to deal damage to the other player’s Pokémon.
Energy cards are used to power your Pokémon during the game. These enable Pokémon to use certain attacks. They are also the only card type that aren’t valuable for collectors.
4. How can I tell if my child’s card is rare/valuable?
Card rarity can be judged fairly easily in Pokémon TCG. Each card comes with a small circle in the bottom right and a number in the bottom left. The circle identifies which group a card belongs to. These include:
- Black circle: common
- Black diamond: uncommon
- Black star: rare or holo rare
- White star: ultra rares that will include EX, Full Art, or Secret Rare
Secret Rares, the most prized cards in all Pokémon TCG due to their scarcity can be found by looking at the number on the bottom left. Usually it’ll look something like this: 59/119. This indicates which number card this is of the entire expansion. (The first number indicates the card number, the second the number of cards in the expansion) However, a secret rare isn’t in the expansion list and so it will appear as something like this: 123/119.
Rare cards tend to also stand apart having full art, holographic images, and more. Here’s a great example:
5. My child has difficulty learning how to play, and i don’t understand either. How can he /she learn?
The best way to learn to play Pokémon TCG right now is with Pokémon Trading Card Game Online. This online game will allow them to play through a tutorial and even provides them with a starter deck/cards to use when battling others online. Learn more about Pokémon TCG Online in our review.
If you or your child would like to learn even more about Pokémon TCG, it pays to check out the top 5 places to learn about the trading card game online.
6. What should my first purchase be?
Good question. It maybe tempting to buy a few booster packs for your child due to their low price point, but these won’t actually give them everything they need to play and enjoy the hobby. Instead a great first purchase would be one of Pokémon’s many theme decks. These can be had for under $15 in most cases and will give your child everything they need to play. Occasionally, a collection will feature everything needed to play as well as some memorabilia like figurines or pins, but this isn’t always the case.
You’ll want to avoid a purchase that only provide booster packs as there’s no guarantee they’ll get everything needed to make a complete deck.
7. How can I keep my child’s cards organized/undamaged?
There are a few different ways to go about this. If the card is quite rare and valuable, you’ll want to invest in card sleeves. Otherwise a simple deck box will do. Theme decks contain their own deck boxes, but if your child has booster packs and other spare cards you’ll want to store those as well. This can be done by storing them in a separate deck box, or by using a trading card binder.
One fun way to protect and keep cards organized is by creating a deck box and even card sleeves as shown in this DIY guide.
8. What are some advantages of using trading cards?
Pokémon TCG helps children develop 5 crucial skills including:
- Social Skills
- Problem Solving/Critical Thinking
You can learn more about the benefits of having your child play a trading card game here.
9. How many cards does my child need?
They’ll need at least 60 to play the game, but they’ll likely want more to customize their deck, and it never hurts to have a second, loaner deck lying around!
10. What do kids need to get started?
You’ll want to ensure your child has the following for playing Pokémon TCG:
- A deck of 60 cards
- Damage Counters (a die can be used here as well)
- Status Indicators
- A coin to flip (a die can be used here as well)
- A playmat (not strictly necessary, but can help remind of rules)
This may sound like a lot, but you can find it all in a theme deck for around $12.
11. Where can I take him/her to play the game?
There are a few different ways they could play the game. If you bought the cards at a card, hobby or game shop you can ask them if they hold weekly gatherings or tournaments. Chances are that they do.
Another way is to simply purchase a second deck and play with them yourself. You could also have a few loaner decks for his/her friends which you could use to organize tournaments at your own home.
Phew, that was a lot of info! But, on the upside you should be fully prepared to help your child enter the amazing world of Pokémon TCG. If you have any other questions feel free to reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter.