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DjJoe's Rants

Why I'm Leaving, Part 4

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Part 4- The True Spirit of the Game

Before I start on my part, let me give credit where credit is due. Here is the actual Spirit of the Game

Now this is all well and good, in fact I feel this proposed Spirit is very much so right. However, I have one question:

Is The Pokemon TCG a Game with a Pokemon Theme, or a Pokemon Based Concept modeled into a Trading Card Game?

Let me explain what I mean. If the Pokemon TCG is a Game with a Pokemon Theme, then the focus of all of the cards should be to improve the health of the game while simply applying these qualities into a Pokemon related theme. You have Pokemon themed attacks, Pokemon Artwork, and the rules are set to somewhat reflect what would happen in an actual Pokemon Battle (that is to say, the original intentions implemented in the ideas and themes set forth by the creators of Pokemon)but the movement of the game is towards the goal of winning and the ways you can achieve it.

If the Pokemon TCG is a Pokemon Based Concept modeled into a Trading Card Game, then the focus is to truly make participants into pseudo-pokemon Trainers and fully understand the world of Pokemon, channeled through cards. In this sense, while it is a game, the game merely a medium that you would use to get the full-blown experience of being a trainer, watching Pokemon start off as basic pokemon, evolving them into their most powerful forms, using their attacks strategically, and knocking out your opponent's six pokemon.

Pokemon, I feel tries too hard to accomplish both. You have your changes that make it much like the Pokemon World, where there are clearly some pokemon that are more powerful than others, some that are far more popular than others, and you have some items that really stretch the game to it's limits to accomplish specific goals. On the other hand, you have trainers and supporters that tend to develop the game in ways to accomplish Card-game only mechanics, limited availability of specifc moves and abilities to accomplish certain game winning goals, and a widespread of tournament and game rules with a Pokemon image.

So allow me to break down the proposed Spirit of the Game;

Fun: Fun I feel on the Spirit of the Game is too narrow. To include something like "players will find other things to do" is a bad notion- as a game, Pokemon should be trying it's hardest to fully grab as many players as possible, on multiple interests, so that the other things players end up doing are game-related. Right now, we have 4 main set-ups: League/Open Play, Unlimited, Sealed, and Modified. Out of the 4, only Modified is heavily stressed. There's not much more you can do for Unlimited, but at the same time if there is no reason nor support for Unlimited then nobody is going to try it. Sealed is flawed to only really focus on prerelease events, and even then you have your flaws- Has anyone else pulled a Gigalith out of Noble Victories and said "Well, I can't use that." for the mere fact that it is IMPOSSIBLE to do so within the set? League is good, and fun for that matter, but the amount of players that play for the sake of playing over playtesting (there is a difference!) is minimal. The game needs to....well I don't want to say focus on losers..but those people who are aiming to win? The game needs to recognize those are trying to have fun. Sometimes winning is fun, but as the saying goes, winning isn't everything.

Fairness: Well, no argument there, as this is a principle rule of games, Pokemon and others alike.

Honesty: Again, no arguments here.

Respect: While I agree here, the fact that Spectators be treated with respect is wrong- it should be the other way around. Players in a game should be focused on the components of the game- players, judges, and the field of play. Spectators are just that- onlookers who are not involved, and it's not right that Spectators even be acknowledged. Spectators should be silent, looking only, and show utmost respect to the people playing the game. Respect them as human beings, I agree with, but as spectators not so much.

Sportsmanship: As with any other competition or win/lose situation, there has to be some leeway. I would think that Sportsmanship falls under respect and is really more of an unwritten rule. Not everyone reacts the same way, and it really only comes down to intent if nothing else. A Judgement call, if you will.

Learning: This should, ultimately, be the first and foremost goal of any player. By learning and teaching, both players are able to learn off of one another and come up with some ideas that can really push a game beyond it's limits. When you follow this, you should realize that although you're trying to win, it really can't hurt to tell a younger player, or even a newer player, what you're playing, why you're playing, or even how you thought of it. There's no reason you need to wait until after you've won with it to reveal it, or only until after it works or when you're playing the person- that's just selfish.

Now the reason I look at each one isn't to criticize, in fact as you can see I agree with all of them. The thing I want to stress the most out of the Spirit of the Game is the importance of Fun.

While the Spirit of the Game as described above does center around found, it's more of a focus on where that fun is coming from that I'm concerned with.

You see any game can be fun. Any Game. This is because any given person can have a variety of interests, opinions, or thoughts towards a particular idea. But this goes both ways- it's not just the players who make it fun, it's also the spectators, the venue, and the medium through which the game is presented (in this case, cards).

Now while you, the player, can make the game fun, you also have to make it fun for others. This is what the Spirit of the Game proposes. However, the game itself has to progress in such a fashion that it builds upon on what it already has, and makes every effort to improve the fun for all. The same goes for the tournament itself, both in staff (as expected by the already proposed Spirit of the Game) and in the Venue (location) of the event.

So while the above could be all one very long introduction, let me get into my actual "rant".

The Game Itself: The game needs to understand that not everyone collects. It also needs to understand that not everyone plays. But, it needs to find a balance in both. Right now, we have a clear indication that it does not. There are some cards that are in, clearly, to better a limited format (Look at the Elemental Monkeys from Black & White, for example). There are some, clearly, that will do well in in a Modified/Constructed format (Junk Arm, for example, could not even be played in limited). And then there are some, where, when looking at other cards in the set or block/cycle, just don't have a place at all. This is where the game becomes un-fun. This is due to two reasons. First, when a card isn't "Good", you don't want to play it. And if you can't play it, you don't want it. And if you don't want it, you certainly don't want to see it in your booster pack. I want to leave collectors out of this one- most Collectors enjoy seeing a certain number of copies of a card before it's usefulness is fulfilled. For example, I care for only one Reverse Holo copy of a given card. Some people like to have playsets of everything. Some people find a card and just collect it. To give a certain quality of a collector and apply it to a majority of collectors is an overall insult in that respect. How does this need to change? Planning. The game needs to plan it's sets better overall. It needs to plan release overall. It needs to plan formatting overall. That "problem" we have where Japan has cards and we don't? Problem in planning. That "problem" we have where Japan has a different format than we do? Problem in Planning. That "problem" we have, sometimes, where cards are ruled or translated incorrectly at first glance? Again- Problem in Planning. These "problems" we have make the game un-fun. Not right away, not always, but it does attribute to it. Think of it like this- how much confusion is there, still, between Vileplume Undaunted and exactly what you can't play? What about Pokepowers, Pokemon Powers, Pokebody, and Ability? It's confusing!!

The Venue: Each Venue should be equipped to run a Pokemon Tournament. I don't necessarily mean tripped out with Pokemon Theme, I mean comfortable. Cushioned Chairs. No one should have to stand. And if they do stand, the venue should not only apologize but accomodate them accordingly with a playable area. The venue should be helpful, and if it's a store they should have product in stock. Not just Boosters or Singles, but Dice, Deckboxes, Sleeves- the usual. There should be something set aside for adults of children, either a lobby, a few chairs, a coffee station (unless the venue is next to a deli or something). There should also be background music or something going on to keep everyone entertained if not already engulfed in a game of Pokemon or trading. when you don't have all of that, why would a player go back? If there are other options, players will NOT make the trip out there! (Exception being these few seasons to build up Championship Points). Another big killer- when the store either completely resents Pokemon (Such as it being a Magic The Gathering or Yugioh Store) or really just doesn't even know what Pokemon is.


  1. hychu-chan's Avatar
    thank you i could not have said it better myself that and the game has become to competitive
  2. vaporeon's Avatar
    You bring up a lot of good points. I hate it how they 'forced' Vileplume and Junk Arm to work with BW rules but could not make a errata to Umbreon to make it work against Abilities.

    A Trainer on a Item are 2 different things, yet Junk Arm can grab trainers. HGSS had their own thing. A Stadium was a stadium, a supporter was a supporter and a trainer was just that, a trainer. Junk arm could grab trainers, not item so why force it to grab items when they, by design are not meant to work.

    Umbreon, who at the time stopped damage from pokemon with a Pokemon power, pokepower and pokebody not be allowed to stop abilities. At the time, umbreon stopped ALL available powers at the time.

    If you want to get technical, there is a HUGE different between a Pokemon Power a Poke body and a Poke Power. A poke power is an activated ability and a poke body is a ability thats always in play with no player interactions.

    A Pokemon Power, just like a Ability is a combination of both activated and static abilities so why make different when there is a CLEAR difference between a Pokemon Power (Ability) and a poke power and poke body.

    What if the format changes to COL on, now we are stuck with a Umbreon who can't even fight back. You know Umbreon would be the ultimate Goth counter?