We’re close to the end of the year, maybe time to try to have a look again at the situation outside the USA. In Europe, England seem to be the leader now. Leagues starting Jan 1 2004 and tournaments already sanctioned and reported. They even talk about a qualifier for Worlds 2004. Germany, according to the distributor’s website, has started the league program in November. No news about tournaments. Italy should start POP on Jan 1 2004. Holland could seem to be active, but thanks to Rainbowgym’s messages, we know that we may be afraid of the quality of POP in that country. Belgium : nothing France has now a distributor, but nothing is said on their website. Hope for that country anyway after years of Pokemon desert. Spain, Portugal, Switzerland : nothing very clear about POP on the distributor’s websites. We now see that the situation is very different from country to country. The fact that UK is ahead of the other countries is probably due to the hard work of the Profs in that country, and it’s great to see that all they’ve done for years is now rewarded. :thumb: If we have the sets almost at the same time as in the USA, we still have no Nintendo/PUI promo, except those bought on Ebay. Except the information about the UK qualifier, nothing has been said about other parts of the program, and in most of the countries nothing has been said about the whole POP program at all. I do follow the POP news on the web, but all the people who’re talking to me about TCG are absolutely sure that Pokemon is dead and will never come back. Most of these people were regular Pokemon players at leagues or tournaments, and some of them are even shop owners. In countries like Belgium, we may not forget that the Yu Gi Oh community, despite problems with OP that still have to be solved, is still growing. 2004 will also see Dual Masters in the shops (the new game of Wizards), and Wizards will start the MtG Junior Super Series in Europe. Will players go back to Wizards and their games ? Personally I think so, especially if there is no really strong support to POP. Talking about the UK qualifier, I regret that it will be an ‘invitational only’ tournament. This means that players from other countries will not be allowed to play (side events ? no thanks !) and if all the qualifiers are run the same way, we’ll lose the most interesting and motivating part of the game. Thanks to main events, Wizards has given us the opportunity to meet players from other countries, to play with them, draft in the hotels until late in the night, … If we lose that, the Pokemon community in Europe will be web-based only, and a big part of the human factor in the game will be lost. I try to imagine the past years without Hannover, Paris, Amsterdam, Rainham, London, Antwerp, Lucca, Gilze Rijen, … all these tournaments where people from all over Europe were playing and having fun together. If it’s a future like that the distributors want for our game, they’ll maybe protect their own market, but I think they’ll kill a very important part of the spirit and fun of the game. I believe that we’ve never been so far behind the USA as we are now, and I really hope that PUI and the local distributors will work on the European POP like they will work on it in other parts of the World. Not only to start the program, but to make it run properly, on an European basis and not with differences from country to country. I also hope that we’ll not hear in 2004 what I’ve already heard in 2003 … the tennis game between PUI and the distributors when you’re talking with them. 'That’s a question for your distributor' / 'It’s not our fault it’s theirs … and please don’t talk about it to PUI'. That kind of attitude will very quickly kill POP in Europe, and put the most motivated players/TO’s off POP. If you have more information about the situation in your country, don’t hesitate to post in this topic. It’s always interesting to know what happens or doesn’t happen abroad. I’ve heard that some US people try to stop POP in Europe. They know that 15+ will be back at Worlds and they remember that the last 15+ STS winner was Jean Marc Schosse, from Belgium. Do you have info about that ? :lol: To you, people of the Pokegym, Compendium, MT’s, players, Gym leaders, TO’s, PUI staff, to the friends I’ve met all over the World thanks to our game, I wish you all a very Happy New Year 2004.