Pokemon Card Game Rules

By Chris Moore ; Updated April 12, 2017

Pokemon is essentially the original trading card game involving battling monsters—at least the first to be exported to the western world. Each player assembles a deck of his own cards that can be of three types: Pokemon cards, Trainer cards and Energy cards. These cards are all used to battle the other player. A deck has 60 cards and cannot have more than four identical cards.

The Setup

Each player draws seven cards from her deck to start the game, then places one Basic Pokemon card on the game board's Active slot (a player without a Basic Pokemon must reveal the hand to the opponent, place the hand back in the deck and draw again). You can also put additional Basic Pokemon cards on the Bench section of the board. Once the Pokemon are placed, each player draws six more cards and lays them face down on the table for his prizes. A coin flip then determines who goes first.

Turns

On your turn, you first draw a card from the deck. You can then take steps to increase your attack power. One way is to place Energy cards on the active Pokemon, giving it the energy it needs to fight. You can also place up to five Pokemon on the bench, play a Trainer card to boost the Pokemon as per the card's direction and evolve the active Pokemon by placing the correct evolution card on top of it. (You can't evolve a Pokemon on the same turn that you placed it.) You can also retreat the active Pokemon to the Bench, but only if the Pokemon had enough energy to attack (the Energy cards will be discarded) and if there is a Pokemon on the Bench to replace it. Attacking is the last step of the turn.

Attack

You don't have to attack on a turn and cannot unless the active Pokemon has the energy for the attack you wish to perform. Declare the type of attack you are using. Pokemon cards have different attacks that not only deal damage to an opponent but can also cause status effects like asleep, confused, paralyzed, poisoned and burned. These effects are removed when a Pokemon retreats or evolves. Your turn ends after the one attack; if you knocked out the opposing Pokemon by dealing enough damage, take one of your opponent's six prize cards. If you get all of your opponent's prize cards (or your opponent can't draw a card on her turn), you win the game.

About the Author

Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.