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Subject: Finally teaching my kids rss

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Garrett
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Introducing my kids to the Pokemon card game has been a long -- but often humorous -- process. This is somewhat of a blog-style post, so my apologies, but I just want to talk PTCG with others and don't really have anyone to share my story with.

For background, I began playing the TCG in high school in 1999. My brother and I got a couple theme decks and too many booster packs. We never made it past the Fossil expansion, though. Each pack was too much of heart-break as I searched for Nidoking and my brother searched for Vaporeon (lucky dog got one in a theme deck!).

Over the years, I would occasionally install the TCG Online program and then delete it again. It never seemed to hold my interest for too long.

But like many early Pokemon fans, generation 6 was a call to return. I picked up a 3DS and Pokemon Y and got back into Pokemon. Except ... not the card game.

My daughters (7 and almost-5) have been familiar with Pokemon because we have the Master Trainer board game and they hear me talk about Pokemon from time to time. We've even watched a few of the movies together.

Last year, my brother finally sent me all of our old cards. I was excited. Not only that, but my daughter was intrigued as well.

Encounter 1) My older daughter had heard and seen boys at school talking about and trading Pokemon cards. She was excited that we got cards so she could do that too. I quickly stamped out that dream as I informed her that these were my cards and she wasn't to take them anywhere. Not only that, but they were old cards that have varying levels of value and it would be easy to get taken advantage of in a trade. She was a bit devastated and began hoping for her own cards. Of course, her desire is to collect and trade while I'm interested the game play.

Encounter 2) Several months later, I built some decks in hopes of teaching my daughters to play. I took the decks with me on a trip to visit my in-laws. We were waiting for some other families to come over so I pulled out the decks and offered to teach my daughter. She was very excited. We started playing and things were going really well. Suddenly, the door bell rang. Her cousins had arrived. In an instant, my daughter changed. She leaped up from the floor, ran to the bedroom door and slammed it shut, barring the door with her body and sobbing as she repeated, "Clean it up! Clean it up! I can't have my cousins know I play Pokemon! Clean it up!" I had never seen her so miserable before. To this day, I'm still not quite sure where those strong emotions came from. Perhaps she thinks Pokemon is a boy thing? But she's told me herself that there are several girls at school that like Pokemon. In any case, I figured it was time to put the game away for a while.

Encounter 3) Having played the TCG Online again recently, I've been itching to buy some new theme decks. But what's the point of buying new stuff if I don't play with what I already have? So I decided to put our old theme decks together: Brush Fire, Overgrowth, Power Reserve, and Water Blast. My younger daughter saw me putting them together and was very excited. "Let's play this!" she insisted. So last night we finally got a chance to play. My older daughter (we'll call her Seven) chose the Brushfire theme deck and my little one (Four) chose Water Blast (because Eevee is all the rage at my house). Four got to go first, putting out an Eevee as the active Pokemon and a Poliwag on the bench. She put a Fighting energy on Eevee (because that's all she had) and ended her turn. Seven had a Charmander as the active Pokemon and quickly got a Nidoran m, Tangela, and Weedle on the bench. She attacked with Charmander's Scratch attack and dealt a damage. Four was very, very sad that her Pokemon was getting hurt. She played another Fighting energy and used Quick Attack, dealing 30 damage to Charmander. Charmander scratched back. Then Eevee dealt 10 damage with Quick Attack. Next, Charmander evolved into Charmeleon and slashed Eevee, knocking it out. Tears started flowing as Four was disheartened at the loss of her Pokemon. But she was then able to knock out Charmeleon on her turn with Poliwag's Water Gun attack, so things were fair ... kind of. Weedle came out next and poisoned Poliwag. Poliwag attacked back and fainted. With no more Pokemon left, Four lost. She balled for quite some time. I think it's good we play this game so that the girls can learn that it's okay to lose. That's an important life lesson.

My hope is that we'll continue to play and enjoy this game for another month or so. If it's still liked (or rather, if it becomes liked again, in the case of Four), we'll see about getting some of the more recent stuff. Maybe I'll get an Elite Trainer Box for each of us to store our own separate collections in. I hope we can get into Pokemon as a family!
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slick pdx

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What happened next?!
 
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Garrett
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We played a whole bunch for about two weeks. We played each other with the physical cards and played on the Pokemon TCG Online software. But then things got busy and Pokemon got pushed to the side.

A few weeks after that, I picked up the Xerneas vs. Yveltal Battle Arena Decks and we played with those. Unfortunately, those decks are horribly unbalanced. The Yveltal deck has basically a 0% chance of winning. That sort of soured the experience for us. If you search on Amazon, you can see my review of this product. It is the top-rated critical review. I gave it 2/5 stars for playability.

But the girls are still interested in the cards, so I picked up the Lunala and Solgaleo boxes for Christmas. I expected they would be as excited to open, organize, and peruse their new collections as other kids their age. Nope! They wanted to play the game. Unfortunately, you can't really build a deck out of random booster packs. They were very disappointed. Now that I know they are more interested in the game than in the collecting, I'll probably stick to theme decks for future purchases. I already have the three Sun and Moon theme decks on preorder along with 3 Elite Trainer Kits so that we can each have a storage box, sleeves, and dice as we explore the Alola region next month! I'll post reactions here in a few weeks.
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slick pdx

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We've been excited about seeing the Sun & Moon cards and attended a prerelease last weekend. We no longer worry about format or always keeping up.

Fun (to me at least) vids from this guy - the exact decks don't matter, what matters is you see how so many options can work. https://m.youtube.com/user/TopCutPokemon
Especially "bad deck mondays" and building on a budget.
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Garrett
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On Friday, our Pokemon Sun and Moon preorder arrived! I ordered the three theme decks and three elite trainers boxes. Seven and I got the Solgaleo box while Five got the Lunala box. Ironcially, Seven was the one who pulled the textured Lunala GX card. Five and I both pulled a Tauros GX, and I was glad that mine was the standard one while Five got the textured one. Though she was quite disappointed she didn't get Lunala GX since she was the one with the Lunala box.

Next, I set out the 3 theme decks like a Pokemon Professor and had them each choose from youngest to oldest. Five chose Bright Tide because she loves Primarina. Seven chose Roaring Heat because she thinks Litten and Torracat are pretty cute, even if Incineroar isn't her type of Pokemon (though I think she's working hard to convince herself that Incineroar is actually a cute Pokemon). That left me with Forest Shadow, which was perfect since I've always chosen a grass starter.

The girls are still pretty young and learning how to deal with losing, but they seemed to have a great time. We played a few games with different deck combinations. Five (Bright Tide) played Seven (Roaring Heat) and won, which was no surprise. They played a second time and Seven won. Then Seven played me (Forest Shadow) and won. Then Five played against me but wanted to use the Rowlet deck so I played Bright Tide and Five won that game.

On Sunday, we played a three-way game, inspired by the Battle Royal in Alola. We didn't get a chance to finish the game, but I really enjoyed it. I liked that all three of us could play together and I like that there is a potential for two players to team up on the one in the lead. When the game finished, my Kangaskhan was a major terror. I had taken 4 prizes while they had each only taken 2, but I had knocked out their Pokemon that they had been powering up and their decks stalled with no energy, so they couldn't team up against Kangaskhan.

My favorite part of that particular game we played was the first turn of the game. Five is learning how to read, but she is still very slow at reading, having to sound out the words, and she can't read complex sentences. That means that I usually help her when she plays against Seven. On the first turn, she was able to identify which were basic Pokemon and which were evolutions and she put only the basic Pokemon on her bench without any help. Then she played Hau to her discard pile, with a triumphant smile on her face. I asked her, "Do you know what that card does?" And she said, "I can draw three cards." I was so proud that she was already learning the cards after just a couple days. I hope that her interest in the cards will help her want to read more. I'm trying to help her sound out the names of Pokemon and the names of attacks to help her sound out words. I'm hoping it will give her more reading practice and help her want to read. That's part of how I learned the Japanese kana and how to sound out words, so I'm hoping it works for her and English.
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slick pdx

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We also picked up the theme decks to battle with our starters from the VG, but haven't broken them out yet. I think we'll have a modify the decks party followed by a mini tourney!
 
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Garrett
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slickdpdx wrote:
We also picked up the theme decks to battle with our starters from the VG, but haven't broken them out yet. I think we'll have a modify the decks party followed by a mini tourney!


How often do you buy cards and about how many do you purchase to give yourself ample deck-building opportunities? And how many players do you have in your home?
 
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slick pdx

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4 of us. Me, wife and two boys 10 and 7. We got into it pretty heavy for about 18 months a couple years back, end if black and white and beginning of xy. Went to a low key weekly event and a few tournaments and prereleases. So, we have a lot of cards and, crucially, trainers, to throw in. Id consider buying a bunch of evosodas or rare candy so that decks with stage twos run more smoothly.
I agree the IP and gameplay are great for building and reinforcing reading and arithmetic. Reading comprehension, reasoning and sportsmanship too.
 
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