With the Pokemon TCG launched in store, this is an inside look into the event! The 7 Gym Leaders fought ferociously but many trainers managed to battle through and reach our hall of fame! 

The air in Vault is electric; the kind of static you get before a thunderstorm, or perhaps more accurately, before your Vmax Pikachu attempts a Volt tackle. This was the first time Pokemon cards have been made available in Vault Games, and you could tell it was something that had been waited for with baited breath. The number of trainers present, crowding the entrance and signing in to face down the challenge of Vault Games' very own gauntlet of 7 Gym Leaders was incredible. And it was my own first taste of playing the Pokemon series.

After borrowing a deck from our very kind resident Pokemon Professor, I played a few rounds with a fellow trainer who helped teach me the rules. The Mimikyuu deck I was playing with was set up well, the cards working in easy synch to pull out Vmax Mimikyuu’s and deal devastating blows. I won my first two games, and filled with a new found card game passion I cracked open a Trainer’s Toolkit and a Noivern card pack to create a deck ready to play from. 

Pokemon decks are easy to play, fun to build, and have enough of a skill gap to make you want to work on it more. The feeling of a well made deck is smooth, a well oiled machine as you can pull pokemon into your hard and land critical hits to your opponents. Of course, this does make the waiting for your key cards painful, but the reward of gaining cards once you’ve dealt a blow to your opponent keeps this from slackening the pace. There are plenty of cards that help you draw cards from your deck, or wash your hands of a bad draw, like the Marnie Trainer card. Pokemon is a swift game - you can play a few rounds easily within an hour, and most matches stretch to 30 minutes max.

Within two hours of play, I felt confident enough to take on the biggest challenge yet; assuming the role of the Normal Type gym leader, and handing out badges to plucky trainers who managed to out-live my beefed up Blissey, equipped with a cape of toughness and all. I took my losses charitably, as any good Gym Leader should - most of the fun was seeing a trainer’s face light up as they claimed another badge for their growing collection, ready to face their final challenge of the day - our very own Pokemon Professor.

If you’re a Pokemon fan, new or old, from the anime to the video games, and you’ve felt curious about the TCG you’re in luck! Pokemon has returned to Vault Games as a regular fixture, with new events such as Learn to Battle & Build a deck days which are the perfect training grounds for beginners, and for our battle-ready trainers, Pokemon on Saturday afternoons playing the Standard TCG format. As a TCG, Pokemon is nostalgic and easy enough for a beginner TCG player like myself to pick up, but with enough bite and grit that a seasoned deck builder can still sink their teeth in and enjoy. Come check it out in store today!