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Pokémon Card Game

The Pokémon Card Game was first introduced to North America in 1999. It is a trading card game based off the famous Pokémon video game. At the time, it was published by Wizards of the Coast, the company most famous for the Magic: The Gathering trading card game. In Japan, the card game had been out for years, an exact date is unknown.

However, with the release of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire Gameboy video games, Nintendo took back the card game from Wizards of the Coast and started publishing the cards themselves. The latest incarnations of the card games is known as Pokémon-e TCG EX and are compatible with the Nintendo e-Reader.

Video Game Releases

On December 18, 1998, Nintendo released a Gameboy Color game called, Pokémon Trading Card. 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.

A second Gameboy game, called Pokémon Card GB2, was released in Japan on March 28, 2001. A North American release is unconfirmed.

Game Concepts

(The following is for the initial card game release.) The Card Game is actually pretty easy to learn. You have three types of cards, which are Pokémon cards, which are the actual Pokémon from the Gameboy games, Trainer cards, which act as support cards, and Energy cards, which are the energy source for each of the attacks the Pokémon have.

Pokémon cards were the actual Pokémon from the video game. You could have only six Pokémon at a time out, with only one being active and the other five being “benched” Pokémon. If a Pokémon was removed from the bench, you could place another from your hand into play, but only if there was less than five Pokémon on the bench.

Later expansion sets would feature “dark” Pokémon, aka Pokémon that were more darker than their normal versions. These Pokémon were often used, story-wise, by trainers that were “bad”, or like Team Rocket. There were also “gym leader” versions of Pokémon that had stronger attacks and higher HP, but also required more energy.

Pokémon featured attacks that would reduce the HP of the opposing active Pokémon. These attacks required Energy and they came in the form of Energy cards. The attacks would require certain color energy depending on the type of attack and the Pokémon using it. There were initially seven types of energy cards, including Fighting, Fire, Grass, Lightning, Psychic, Water, and Double Colorless energy.

Trainer cards were support cards that allowed you to do something to enhance the game. Cards like Potion and Super Potion removed damage from your Pokémon to keep it from being knocked out as easily. Others allowed for searching your deck for Pokémon, removing energy from the opposing Pokémon, and reviving Pokémon that has been knocked out. There are many other types of Trainer cards.


The first set, called the Base Set, featured a total of 102 cards, including 69 Pokémon cards, 26 Trainer cards, and seven energy cards. Additionally, the first 16 cards were Holofoil cards.

The first expansion set, called Jungle, featured an additional 63 Pokémon cards and a single Trainer card. Additionally, the first 16 cards were Holofoil versions of cards that also appeared in the set in non-holofoil format.

Jungle had two pre-built Theme decks that could be played with right out of the box. They were Water Blast, which focused on Water and Fighting Pokémon, and Power Reserve, which focused on Grass and Psychic Pokémon.

Fossil followed shortly after Jungle.

A second base set, referred to as Base Set 2 followed.

The following sets were released by Wizards of the Coast and follow the sets listed above. The exact released order of the sets is currently unknown.

The next following sets were released by Nintendo. All sets listed are also compatible with the e-Reader.