Introduction to the Pokémon Trading Card Game: How to Play

Introduction to the Pokémon Trading Card Game: How to Play

The Pokémon Trading Card Game (PTCG) is a collectible card game based on the popular Pokémon video game and animated TV show. Players build decks of cards featuring their favorite Pokémon and use them to battle against each other. The goal of the game is to be the first player to knock out six of your opponent's Pokémon or to deplete your opponent's deck of cards.

Setting Up the Game

Before you start playing, you'll need to gather a few supplies:

  • Pokémon TCG cards: You'll need at least 60 cards to build a deck. The cards can be from any set or combination of sets, as long as they follow the game's rules for deck construction.

  • A coin: You'll need a coin to flip for various parts of the game, such as deciding who goes first or to resolve certain card effects.

  • Damage counters: These are small markers that you'll use to keep track of how much damage each Pokémon has taken.

  • A playmat or flat surface: You'll need a place to lay out your cards and play the game. A playmat can be helpful, but any flat surface will do.

Once you have these supplies, you're ready to start building your deck.

Building a Deck

A Pokémon TCG deck consists of 60 cards, including Pokémon, Trainer cards, and Energy cards. The exact composition of your deck will depend on the strategy you want to use and the Pokémon you want to feature. Here are the basic rules for building a deck:

  • You can have up to four copies of any card with the same name in your deck, except for basic Energy cards, which have no limit.

  • Your deck must contain exactly 60 cards.

  • Your deck must contain at least one Pokémon-EX or Pokémon-GX, which are powerful, rare cards that can only be used once per game.

  • You can't have more than one Pokémon-EX or Pokémon-GX with the same name in your deck.

To build a balanced deck, it's a good idea to include a mix of Pokémon, Trainer, and Energy cards. You'll also want to consider the types of Pokémon you include and how they'll work together. For example, if you're playing a Fire-type deck, you'll want to include a mix of Fire-type Pokémon and Energy cards, as well as Trainer cards that support Fire-type Pokémon.

Setting Up the Field

Once you've built your deck, it's time to set up the field for play. Each player shuffles their deck and draws seven cards. The player going first can't attack on their first turn, so they draw an additional card.

Next, each player places a basic Pokémon from their hand onto the field as their active Pokémon. The active Pokémon is the one that will be attacking and taking damage during the turn. Players can also choose to have a benched Pokémon, which is a Pokémon that's not active but can be switched in later in the game. Players can have up to five benched Pokémon.

Finally, each player places six Prize cards face down on the field. These are the cards that players will be trying to claim as they knock out their opponent's Pokémon.

Playing the Game

Now that the field is set up, it's time to start playing. The game is divided into turns, with each player taking a turn to attack, retreat, or use Trainer cards. Here's a breakdown of what happens during a turn:

During a turn, each player can take the following actions:

  • Draw a card: At the start of each turn, players draw a card from the top of their deck.

  • Attach an Energy card: Players can attach one Energy card from their hand to one of their Pokémon each turn. Energy cards are used to power up Pokémon's attacks.

  • Play a Trainer card: Players can play a Trainer card from their hand to use its effect. Trainer cards can do a variety of things, such as searching for specific cards, healing Pokémon, or disrupting your opponent's strategy.

  • Attack: If your active Pokémon has enough Energy attached to it, you can use one of its attacks to try to knock out your opponent's Pokémon. Each attack has a cost in Energy and does a certain amount of damage. If the attack does enough damage to knock out your opponent's Pokémon, you claim one of their Prize cards.

  • Retreat: If you don't want to attack or don't have enough Energy to attack, you can retreat your active Pokémon and switch it with one of your benched Pokémon. This can be useful if you need to switch to a Pokémon with a different type advantage or if you want to use a different attack.

  • End turn: Once you've taken all the actions you want to take, you can end your turn and let your opponent take their turn.

The game continues until one player has claimed all six of their Prize cards or has no cards left in their deck.

Advanced Strategies

There are many different strategies you can use when playing the Pokémon TCG. Here are a few common strategies to consider:

  • Type advantage: Each Pokémon type has certain strengths and weaknesses against other types. For example, Fire-type Pokémon are strong against Grass-type Pokémon, but weak against Water-type Pokémon. By including Pokémon of different types in your deck, you can take advantage of these strengths and weaknesses to gain an edge in battle.

  • Energy acceleration: Some Pokémon have abilities that allow them to attach extra Energy cards to themselves or their teammates. By including these Pokémon in your deck, you can power up your attacks more quickly and take out your opponent's Pokémon faster.

  • Stall: Some decks are designed to slow the game down and wear out your opponent's resources. These decks often include Pokémon with high HP and abilities that disrupt your opponent's strategy, as well as Trainer cards that can heal or remove damage from your Pokémon.

  • Combo: Some decks rely on specific combinations of cards and effects to pull off powerful plays. These decks often require careful planning and precise execution to succeed.


The Pokémon Trading Card Game is a fun and strategic collectible card game that's enjoyed by players of all ages. Whether you're a seasoned veteran or a newcomer to the game, there's always something new to learn and discover. With the right strategy and a little bit of luck, you can become a master of the Pokémon TCG.

I hope this blog post has helped you learn how to play the Pokémon Trading Card Game. If you have any questions or want to share your own strategies, feel free to leave a comment below. Happy gaming!