Since Christmas, Pokemon cards have entered our lives in a big way. I know, right? Here's the story. For some reason, this school year saw a resurgence of card collecting among the elementary-school set. I pushed back at first, but with Pokemon excitement sweeping the neighborhood it was inevitable that some cards would come our way before long. Looking back at the photos, I can see that as early as the summer there were already impromptu poke-battles happening in our house.
Nobody actually knew how to play, which was a little frustrating to me, but I managed to let it go. Then in the fall Grandma Beth, a keen observer of children's interest, bought a learner deck for the boys. It ran them through all the steps of the game, the right way. I couldn't help but listen in as they played. Soon afterwards Harvey bought a deck of his own... but then sadly traded its best cards away for flashier cards that he couldn't actually play.
By Christmas we had accumulated a couple hundred cards (mostly for free... thanks, Kelsey!) and Harvey had bought a second deck to replace the first one—which he had by then lost anyway. By then he knew all the ins and outs of the rules, and was really hoping to find some opponents worthy of his developing skills. So I bought Zion a deck as a Christmas present... and added one for myself, too. Why not?! They're only $15 a piece.
Only, not really. When I first figured out the rules I was underwhelmed by the game: I declared that it was a deck-building game where the interesting parts of the experience came while you were spending money. At first, the actual head-to-head game play felt pretty flat. That's still true. But it turns out that the more money you spend, the more interesting the games get! And let's just say that, by this point, I'm pretty interested.
I do have moments of sanity—if not to say disillusionment. Why do I need to pay seventy-nine cents for a card with some particular words on it, so my deck can do what I want it to? Can't I just take some other random card and write on it with a permanent marker?! I could, actually; and that line of thought has us thinking about designing our own trading card game. One day. But for now we're enjoying the complete Pokemon experience: building our decks, researching old cards and new releases, and watching championship matches on youtube. And playing against each other and a few friends!
It's probably just a phase, but it looks like one that's not likely to run its course anytime soon. We need more opponents... any interest in learning to play?