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- This article is about the Trading Card Game itself. For the Game Boy game related to this game, see Pokémon Trading Card Game (game).
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The Pokémon Trading Card Game (Japanese: ポケモンカードゲーム, Pokémon Card Game), often abbreviated as Pokémon TCG, is a tabletop game that involves collecting, trading and playing with Pokémon-themed playing cards. It has its own set of rules and uses many motifs derived from the games. There are cards for every species of Pokémon, as well as cards featuring characters, items and other themes of the franchise, each with a different use. The artwork for the cards is provided by numerous artists.
The Pokémon TCG is a popular and steady aspect of the Pokémon franchise and is played and enjoyed by many fans. Nearly 15 billion Pokémon Trading Card Game cards have been produced worldwide. The game is part of the Play! Pokémon organized play along with the video game series.
Original back of Japanese cards
The Pokémon Trading Card Game was originally published in Japan in 1996 by Media Factory. While other Pokémon card series existed in the past, this was the first card game based on the Pokémon series. The first Pokémon TCG sets took inspiration from the then released Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue and initially featured illustrations by Ken Sugimori, Mitsuhiro Arita and Keiji Kinebuchi. Soon new expansions began to release with many new artists contributing artwork. Three years later, in 1999, Pokémon TCG was introduced in North America by Wizards of the Coast with Base Set, and worldwide soon after.
New features constantly appear in the Pokémon TCG. With the release of Pokémon Gold and Silver, the Neo Series, a new Series of expansions, started bringing the new Pokémon into play.Two new types of Pokémon cards were also introduced, along with Light Pokémon and Dark Pokémon. These were eventually discontinued to prevent confusion with the Darkness type, but returned in with the release of Neo Destiny. The e-Card Series used Game Boy Advance add-on e-Reader to display Pokédex data about the Pokémon, play a minigame, play various tunes in a Melody Box, or activate a special attack for that Pokémon. The EX Series was released next, introducing Pokémon-ex into the game. The Diamond & Pearl Series brought Pokémon LV.X, which were stronger, "Leveled-up" versions of final evolutions. Pokémon LV.X essentially replaced Pokémon-ex and continued until Platinum: Arceus. The HeartGold & SoulSilver Series featured two more types of card, Pokémon LEGEND, two-part cards with one Pokémon on each card, and Pokémon Prime, Pokémon with powerful and/or tactical attacks and Poké-Powers or Poké-Bodys.
With the release of the EX Series worldwide, Pokémon TCG started publishing under Nintendo, instead of Wizards of the Coast. Several years later The Pokémon Company replaced Media Factory in distributing the cards in Japan starting with the Diamond & Pearl Series.
Two Game Boy Color video games based on the card game were created; Pokémon Trading Card Game was released in 1998 and worldwide in 2000, and its sequel, Pokémon Card GB2: Here Comes Team GR!, was released three years later. Pokémon Card Game: How to Play DS was released in Japan in 2011 and taught players how to play the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Other media related to Pokémon TCG include several manga titles, such as the series How I Became a Pokémon Card.
How to play
Back of an English language card
Players must build a deck of sixty cards using a combination of various "Pokémon" cards (the main type of cards, used to battle), "Trainer" cards (cards with special effects) and "Energy" cards (cards that are required to perform most moves). To win, players must take their six prize cards by "knocking out" their opponent's Pokémon by using various attacks to reduce the opponent's HP to zero. Players may also win when their opponent runs out of Pokémon on the field, or if their opponent cannot draw a card at the beginning of their turn.
New cards and decks are constantly being released and players may choose to integrate these cards into their current deck or use pre-made decks. The Pokémon TCG requires a deck of 60 cards for standard play, though Shorter matches can be held with "half-decks" consisting of 30 cards instead. During a 60 card match, only four of any one card, excluding Basic Energy cards, are allowed in each deck. This is further limited to two of any one card in a half-deck match.
Many fans have also created their own game rules and playing methods and have websites devoted to providing alternative playing methods. These rules and methods are not allowed in Play! Pokémon competitions.
- Main article: Card types
On the bottom right corner of most cards, there is a small logo that indicates its rarity.
No symbol usually denotes a card that is part of a promotional set or a Basic Energy card.
Wizards of the Coast sets
Wizards of the Coast were the western distributors of the game between 1999 and 2003
Base Set 2
Legendary Collection Series
Expedition Base Set
Nintendo has since taken over the TCG from Wizards
EX Ruby & Sapphire
EX Team Magma vs Team Aqua
EX Hidden Legends
EX FireRed & LeafGreen
EX Team Rocket Returns
EX Unseen Forces
EX Delta Species
EX Legend Maker
EX Holon Phantoms
EX Crystal Guardians
EX Dragon Frontiers
EX Power Keepers
Diamond & Pearl Series
Diamond & Pearl
HeartGold & SoulSilver Series
HeartGold & SoulSilver
Call of Legends Series
Call of Legends
Black & White Series
Black & White
Back of the current Japanese language card, since 2002
- ADV era
- PCG era
- DP era
- DPt era
- LEGEND era
On Bulbagarden forums