On Tuesday November 3rd I was fortunate enough to get invited to a pre-launch event for the new Pokémon TCG: XY—Phantom Forces. The event was held at the amazing Loading Bar located in Dalston, London. If you consider yourself any part ‘gamer’, then head on down and give them a visit, particularly if you like gaming-themed cocktails.

Like many other people on the planet, Pokémon was a staple of my childhood. But whereas most fans actually played the card game, I instead fed my addiction through collecting every Pokémon I could, without ever playing with the cards themselves. In other words, I had to catch them all.

To this day I still have all of the original 151, but it’s only after more than fifteen years that I’ve sat down and learnt how to use them. Of course I was given an entirely new set of pocket monsters to unleash onto the battlefield, but I did notice a few recurring characters, too. To say I was nervous was an understatement, after all, I was amongst official Pokémon trainers whose job it was to oversee games and train people up. Sadly I couldn’t see Ash, but I’m hoping to cross paths with him in the grass at some point in the future.


As I approached the battlefield, (a table complete with all the equipment needed to battle), I sat down and got given my very own stack of cards. I’m not going to lie, there was a lot of information to sink my teeth into. Alongside the fact that I needed power cards for each of my Pokémon to attack, I also had to hope that my deck would provide me with enough basic Pokémon to be able to fight, evolutions of Pokémon wouldn’t count.

On my first few turns I only had one basic fighter available, but I did manage to knock out one of my opponents’ Pokémon. Each time a fighter would get defeated, depending on who managed to win that round, myself or the person I was facing could then proceed by picking up one of the six prize cards available from our own stack. Once all cards had been picked up, or when whoever’s basic Pokémon got defeated first, the winner would then be declared.

Luck was not on my side. After just a couple of turns I had ran out of power cards, and didn’t pick up many from my deck in time to defend myself. With only one power card available to heal myself by 30HP on each turn, it wasn’t long until the life of all my basic Pokémon expired. For me it was over, but for my opponent victory was at hand. I blame whoever shuffled the deck, since all my power cards were at the bottom, but regardless of that fact at least I put on a brave face.

After my first ever game of Pokémon cards I certainly felt disheartened. I did enjoy it however, so after I’ve regained my energy from an absolutely destructive battle, you can be sure to see me out amidst the long collection of grass once more. On another note, there was Poké Ball pizza, so it wasn’t an entire loss.


Pokémon TCG: XY—Phantom Forces is out now. Be prepared and don’t forget your Power cards, your going to need them. Head over to Amazon UK and get started.

About The Author

Joshua Ball

Meet Josh. As the head of Start Replay his overall objective is to keep things moving. Alongside ensuring that content is made on a regular basis, Josh loves attending and organising the many press events and expos that crop up. His favourite video games consist of the Arkham series and Metal Gear Solid, but there’s always room for a bit of horror. Follow Josh’s sparse tweets on Twitter or, alternatively, be sure to catch him in the crowd of the next big gaming event.

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