The Pokemon TCG (short for Trading Card Game), a game that has always made me smile.  A game I've played in many ways, both for fun with friends and competitively at one point, but a game I can still pick up and play.  The rules may have evolved along with the ever changing roster of Pokemon, but it's still something that is as playable today as it was almost 20 years ago when it first started.

I had heard that such promotional events for Pokemon TCG existed but his was the first time I'd ever had an invitation to go to one, so when fellow DS London admin Lee suggested I figured why not give it a try?

Downstairs in Loading had been transformed to a beautiful TCG area.  I've been in that basement several times, but this was the first time I'd seen it like at.  Tables all neatly arranged with playmates and decks, players all keen to play and win each match.

Here's a few cards I threw together

Here's a few cards I threw together

It took a while before I could find a free spot to play.  Not wanting to impose on any games I simply floated for a while spectating and glimpsing at cards I'd never seen before.  I had played at a competitive level before, but that way a few years ago, life got in the way before I could do a lot with the game.

Once I had found a spot I played with a lovely young chap.  My deck was a standard theme deck, I always found them the hardest to play, especially blind.  My opponent had played with his theme deck before and was accustomed to it's play style.  My first four prize quick match didn't go well for me as I was energy screwed for many turns and thus unable to power up the bench was helpless to his Chansey and her attack as she powered through my deck.

My second game was played with the same deck, this time a six prize game, however my opponent was a little less experienced with the gameplay than she dared to admit.  I played a very fair game with her.  I never enjoy destroying players no matter what their skill level, this is still a game close to my heart.  Tournaments are a different and one must always play to the best of their ability, but this was for fun.  The game went on a lot longer than I expected and in the end my Pokemon were all powered up with energy cards and it was only a matter of time before I won.

For the third match of the evening I actually just spectated a match as a staff member from the Pokémon TCG crew taught a new player to the game.  It took a lot of self control to not dictate the rules and just observe, but sometimes it was necessary to step in.  It may be several years since I last judged a match (my Professor qualification ran out a few years back and since I was no longer active at the time didn't resist the online exam), it was nice tone able to coach the new player and be able to help him understand the anatomy of a Pokemon card and the game as a whole.  I did stuggle to find a way to make the parts relatable to him since he didn't play either the Pokemon video game or other Trading Card games, but we found a system that worked.  His Sealeo card got renamed as "Mr. Whiskers" and Whiscash as "Fishy" while the oppenents Rhyhorn was simply renamed "Silly Rhino" and became known as "Sillier Rhino" as it evolved during the game, it might seem odd but it's those little things that can help someone have fun with the game and at the end of the evening that's what it's ultimately about, just having fun and enjoying the game.

shhh don't tell!

There was goodie bags containing cards and other nice things, but the evening out and the chance to get to know and become reacquainted with the old game made it enjoyable for me.  It's been too long since I lasted played and truly enjoyed the TCG.  While I've always preferred to build my own decks and devise stages and rebuild deck depending on the meta game, it was also nice to see how people fresh to the game enjoy it.  Seeing someone pick up the cards and make those first few steps to play is just, if not more, exciting for me than winning a tight tournament game.  All in all I've always recommended the Pokemon TCG and am always willing to teach any one the basics, so don't be shy to come up to me at a future DS London meet and ask for a game, I'm always happy to play, even a quick one prize game.

This lovely 60 card deck could be yours . . . 

This lovely 60 card deck could be yours . . . 

COMPETITION TIME!

So if you want to start collecting and enjoying the Pokémon Trading card game we can give you a little leg up! We have one of the new theme decks "Oceans Core" from the Primal Clash expansion to give away! All you need to do is contact us anyway, either on twitter, email or on our Facebook group with the words "I'm up for a Primal Clash"

Closing date 12PM Monday 23rd February 2015