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So I'd like to introduce my son to a basic card game like Pokemon since he loves the creatures, etc. When I go to a store and look at all the 'starter' decks, and packs, etc I'm a little confused.

What's the best way to buy and start into the game with him? Just buy a basic starter kit at the store and go? I would need something with 'how-to-play' instructions as well as I've never played it before either.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

The Pokemon Company did a great job with creating Starter Kits; you get two 30-card decks which are already arranged in an order to help explain how the game works and all the nuances of the rules you'll possibly need to know to start playing. It's as simple as opening it up, each of you taking a deck, and simply reading the rules and following along with them; it's pretty much a live tutorial.

Once you've got the hang of how to play the game, I'd highly recommend going with Rusher's advice in the answer above. Usually, your FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store) or Comics & Cards shop will be more than happy to let you know what's the best premade deck to continue playing and what to look out for in booster packs, as well as advice on how to construct a deck of your own.

You might also get him interested in Magic: the Gathering, as from what I've seen, the rules are only a little more complicated than Pokemon.

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We have a fantastic LGS here and I play online CCG's games but have never touched Pokemon. I'll look and pick up 2 starter kits sometime and get my boy going :D – Valien May 5 '14 at 21:13

I want to give a more general answer that applies to all trading card games. Find a local store that specializes in selling the cards and, even better, hosts tournaments. The people running the shop:

  • Know exactly what you need.
  • Will teach you how to play.*
  • Will occasionally give new players free starter packs or cards (mine does).
  • Make far more money off of return customers than they ever will off of starter kits. They want you to come back, and so they generally won't try to screw you.

The point is that they want you to get into the game, and you want their instructions, guidance, and merchandise. Don't go to Walmart and leave wondering whether you bought the right thing for your kid.

*Unless a tournament is running (and if they are busy they will usually tell you when to come back and enjoy a quiet game)

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That is very good advice. – Pow-Ian May 5 '14 at 15:16
Very true. We have a fantastic LGS here in town. – Valien May 5 '14 at 21:13

That is the definition of a starter kit, a kit used to start you playing the game. So yes get a starter kit. Get two. This way you have a decent card base and can play with him.

Also be aware that every good CCG these days has a good community behind it. Furthermore the Pokemon CCG has a great website with rules downloads and other errata.

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Pooka, from the Pokemon fan site The Top, has been running a series called "building on a budget". He creates realistic, competitive decks that will not cost too much money. Even better, he takes the time to explain in a video why each card was included, the synergy between cards, and then he plays a game with his deck using Pokemon Online.

The pokemon community is awesome.

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