Getting Started With Pokémon

Interested in learning more about Pokemon Cards?

Here are a few things you need to know before you get started. The best help we have to offer is right here in our store. Game Goblins is conveniently located in central Arkansas. We host tournaments for Pokemon cards and learning events for all kinds of players.

Learn more on our events page:


How to get started | Pokemon Cards

Many collectors only set out to collect pokemon cards, not to play. The game has some tricky rules and might not appeal to most players in the beginning.

Once you have amassed a collection of cards you might consider seeing how they would fare on the battlefield.

Your local game store is the best place to start. We welcome seasoned and new players to our game nights to learn from scratch or build on their skills with other seasoned players.


1. The Setup.


2. How To Play.


3. How To Win.


Here is What Your Table Will Look Like.

Like most collectable card tabletop games, there are rules and strategy each player adheres to when they sit down to play. You will have a deck consisting of 60 cards, but each hand is only played with seven cards.

If the first seven cards you draw from your deck does not contain basic Pokemon cards, the player must return all seven cards to the 60 card starting deck, reshuffle, and draw again. This process is repeated until the player has a hand of seven cards consisting of at least one basic Pokemon (out of all your Pokemon cards).

Before the game starts there are five arena zones players must arrange their cards in:

  1. Deck: Your deck consist of 60 cards you have chosen to bring to battle. Players build their deck based on their prefered style of play. In your deck there are no limits to how many Pokémon, Trainer, or Energy cards you can have. There are a few unique exceptions regarding how many of the same kind of Pokémon you can have—more exceptions depending on the rules or means of play you and your opponent agree on.
  2. Active Pokémon: This space in the arena only has one card. Here you will place the one Pokémon that is being used to fight your opponent. Place this card face down. Five more active pokemon cards will be on the table, but they will be on the bench. The Active Pokémon is revealed when the game begins.
  3. Bench: This is where five Pokémon cards will wait as backup for your active Pokémon during your turn.
  4. Discard pile: This pile is for all the cards that are out of play. It helps keep the game organized and less confusing.
  5. Prize cards: Prize cards (six cards that are blindly delt from each player’s deck before the battle starts) are chosen at random and awarded to the opponent when they defeat a pokemon.

These zones are pretty standard, but they might differ depending on the format of play you and your opponent agree on. For competitive play, there are two general means of play: Standard Format and Expanded Format.

Standard Format isn’t as “standard” as is it sounds. It changes based on new cards released and updated rules that make cards legal and not legal.

Expanded Format is also called “open play”. It is more flexible than Standard Format.


What Happens During Your Turn. 

When it is your turn to play your cards you and your opponent will already have all your pokemon cards on the table in the correct arenas. To play well you need to know what moves your Pokémon, Trainer, and Energy cards allow you to make. Some trainer cards can change how your opponent uses their cards.

For most turns you are only allowed to use one Energy card. However, certain Pokémon abilities and Trainer cards can change this. During your turn, you can also use Energy cards to switch the card in the Active Pokémon arena with a card sitting on the bench.

The attack is the last thing you do for your turn. Make sure all your cards, tools, item cards, evolves, and supporter cards are used how you plan before you attack. Use Energy cards to attack and put the correct damage counter on your opponent’s cards. The damage you can do to your opponent has to factor in the type of Pokémon cards that are being attacked. Some Pokémons have special conditions.


How to Win.

There are four ways to win a game of Pokémon cards.

  1. Win all six prize cards that were put in the Prize Card arena in the beginning of the game. To win a prize card, defeat the Pokémon your opponent has in the Active Pokémon arena.
  2. Play until your opponent’s deck to draw from is empty. Each player starts with a 60 card deck. Once your opponent has no more cards to draw from, and can therefore no longer battle, you have won the game.
  3. Take out the opposing Pokémon on the Active Pokémon arena and the opponent has no cards on the bench to provide backup. Your strategy in the Pokémon TCD has a lot to do with which card is in the Active Pokémon arena and which cards are on the bench. If your opponent does not have the cards to withstand your attacks, they will run out of Pokémon to battle with. You win the game. This is also called a Knockout.
  4. Run out of time. For official events, many games are put on timers. The player is determined by who has the most prize cards.

When you are ready to change-up your deck, buy and sell Pokemon cards at Game Goblins. See our current buy list here.

For more information, you can also visit their official site here.