Hot on the heels of Pokemon Black and White, the Pokemon Co. is prepping to launch the enw Pokemon TCG Trainer Challenge in April. We were able to get our hands on the browser based game at PAX East 2011 and what we experienced was an accessible and fun way to enter the Pokemon TCG arena.
There are many people who would never pick-up a trading card came, regardless of if they're a fan of that particular franchise or not. The idea of jumping into a TGC can be intimidating, especially when you don't know the rules or how to construct a formidable deck. The Pokemon TCG Trainer Challenge has changed all of this. Not only does it guide new players through the steps of battle, but it gives the veterans a new place to practice and battle their friends.
After signing up for the Trainer Challenge, gamers will be given three decks which they can use to battle a computer-controlled opponent. Here, players are carefully guided through the steps of battling their Pokemon. From attaching energy types to evolving their Pokemon, players can learn the basics of the TCG which can be then transfer directly into the physical card game.
Cards are highlighted in green, drawing the players eyes and indicating that they are ready to be played. Before engaging an opposing Trainer in battle, a prompt will appear recommending the player take a particular course of action before attacking. The player can ignore these once they get the hang of the game, though it serves as great way for newcomers to learn the ropes. This system will give novices more confidence when attempting to take on veteran players in the non-virtual space.
Before jumping back into reality, players can take their skills online and verse other players from around the world. Players can also trade cards and take on their friends in one-to-one battles.
Pokemon card game vets can also gain a lot from the Trainer Challenge. The game offers an advanced collection feature, where players can view and sort their cards. The cards can be sorted by several categories from Pokemon type to evolution chains. Those who are active in the card game community can purchase future decks and import them into the online version via a QR code or serial number. The QR code can be scanned with a webcam and instantly added to the game, without having to type anything in. This is a welcomed change from the standard micro-transaction model that would be expected with this type of product. Instead of paying money for a virtual item, people can just buy a physical deck and have the best of both worlds.
Players and players-to-be of all ages are welcome to pick up and play a Pokemon game however, young children make up a significant portion of the user base. To protect children while they play online, a robust parental control system was put in place. Parents even have the ability to control the level of trading their child can participate in to prevent them from being taken advantage of.
In the future, a deck building wizard will be added to help newcomers construct a quality deck. The feature will tell the player if they're violating any rules as well as teach them how to construct a balanced deck. There are no details yet on when this feature will be added.
The Pokemon TCG Online Trainer Challenge is highly recommended to those who are apprehensive about picking up a trading card game, as well as Pokemon TCG veterans who wish to evolve their skills. Look for the Trainer Challenge to launch in early April at the main Pokemon TCG site.