Pokémon TCG Is Ever Expanding

It’s also ever expensive.

A little over two years ago, I started playing Pokémon TCG with my family. During that time, numerous expansions were released, featuring new cards, new Pokémon, new abilities…you get the idea. Sometimes it only takes a single new ability to trigger an idea to create a new battle deck. A lot of money later, I’d take my fresh fighting strategy to the league and mostly get slaughtered by the veteran players.

Recently, the Evolving Skies expansion reinvigorated my Pokémon TCG habit. Before that, it was my Eternatus Dark Deck. It’s a signature new Pokémon from Sword & Shield, an awesome looking dragon. I bought two of the latest versions of its cards and added new Trainer cards to my deck, making it stronger than ever. It was a lot of fun to play for a while. Eventually, better players defeated me more and more.

Eternatus VMAX

It’s fun for a while. It’s also expensive. And now with so many Pokémon cards stored up in my bedroom, among other things, the space is very constrained. Besides limited space, I have limited time and money to invest in Pokemon. It competes for attention amidst my other interests, like video gaming. While hobbies are a healthy outlet for fun and creativity, I can only do so much.

I’ve been pondering the possibility of getting out of Pokémon TCG altogether, except for maybe some focused card collecting only. It would be a form of minimalism, wherein I eliminate one good thing in order to focus on — prioritize — the better things. No matter how trite, it’s still true: less is more.

With less Pokémon TCG, I’d have more time and money — plus physical and mental space — for video gaming, blogging, writing, and another bourgeoning idea I’m planning… Of course, I’m still interested in playing new Pokémon video games, just less so the trading card game.

I feel like I don’t have enough interest and availability to continue Pokémon TCG. It takes considerable overhead to organize the cards I have accumulated in just two years. On the upside, I have so many good ones now that, if I decide to liquidate some, I’d have a chunky wad of cash to spend on more interesting pursuits.

One sticky point to bailing out of pocket monster card playing is that my wife and kids are still into it. But if I decide to continue by only collecting a few certain Pokémon, then I’d still have my big toe dipped into the Pokémon pool, which would be enough to stir the pot and trade cards amongst my kids.

This is a thing that I think I should do, but it seems hard to do. It’s not the only hobby I had to quit in recent memory. I practiced Kyokushin Karate with my whole family for a few years and got pretty good at it. But two things transpired to end it: Covid-19 and my physical condition… The point is, I already know what it’s like to step back from a shared family hobby when necessary, and if I do it for the right reasons, then it’s for the best. At the very least, I’m sure I can downsize, which seems more reasonable than quitting altogether cold-turkey.

I’ll be thinking it over.

Catching All The Pokémon

About that thing called Pokémon, yeah, it’s all kinda new to me. So far I like it. Specifically, I’m talking about the trading card game (TCG). Have you played it? It’s kind of a big bite to chew on if you’re new to it. I bet you’ve heard the slogan, “Gotta catch’em all!” Well, there’s now over 800 Pokémon to catch! And that’s just for starters.

Getting Into The Game

Pokémon has been around for over two decades, and I’m just now learning about the Trading Card Game. I’m late to it. But that’s probably a good thing because it’s kind of expensive. Other than the cost, it’s pretty cool.

I started buying and collecting some cards, then began learning the rules to play. So much strategy! And that, I think, is the funnest part, exploring the endless strategies you can come up with to win at games. It can be overwhelming, but it kinda sucks you in. So it’s been an interesting experience, sharing the enjoyment with my wife and kids.

We all play the TCG online against the computer, and we all play each other. I’ve even won a few games against my wife, mostly because her battle deck happened to be weak against mine. At this stage, though, even when losing, I learn a lot about how to play and gain insight from my opponent’s strategy.

It’s common for a player to gravitate towards certain Pokémon and end up with a favorite. I didn’t think I would follow that trend. But somehow it happened. My kids have the Super Deluxe Pokémon Encyclopedia, and at the very back is a dude called Zygarde!

This Zygarde creature in complete form doesn’t look like your typical animal type of Pokémon. To me he/it looks like a Decepticon Transformer! So of course I think it’s awesome, the best Pokémon. And it’s the one I started collecting.

Collecting Versus Trading

In the big picture, Pokémon is two things: cards for collecting and trading, and cards for playing a card game. While that’s obvious, I find the two aspects intriguing.

Growing up, I collected Baseball cards. As an adult, I’ve collected Star Wars cards. And of course I’ve played card games: UNO, Skip-Bo, Rummy, 52 card pick-up… But those things have always been separate to me. Until Pokémon.

With Pokémon TCG, you can be only a collector and buy or trade cards if you want. Or you can be in it just to play the game, but really it’s a combo of both. You kind of need to collect cards to get the best ones to create a winning strategy in a 60 card battle deck. There’s much more to it; I’ll spare you.

One interesting effect of cards that you collect to play in the game is that it makes the card have more purpose, meaning, and value. The Baseball and Star Wars cards I collected are cool, but they don’t do anything.

On the other hand, Pokémon cards are cool plus they do lots of stuff! They have abilities and attacks! It’s like the cards become the creatures in the artwork, having individual names and skills for fighting other Pokémon. It’s hard for me to describe what this is like, but compared to plain old collector’s cards, they’re much more engaging.

Enter The League

If you really want to learn how to play Pokémon and also have a chance to trade good cards, you should find a local League in which to officially play. Thankfully, we found one in our town and started going.

In my first battle, I could hardly even shuffle the cards. I was afraid to bend them. How do you play with collector cards that are supposed to stay in mint condition?! There are ways.

You won’t be surprised, I got my, um, Pokémon handed to me. The League leader I played taught me good strategy while obliterating my puny theme deck featuring purple psychic power and lots of red fire. When I say I “played,” I mean participate in a getting schooled in how to lose like a champ!

The League has been great for us as a family to get out of the house and socialize in real life with other real humans! My five sons are learning more this way a little at a time. There’s a Facebook Group for the League, but I don’t and won’t do Facebook, so it’s real life only for me!

The Verdict GX

Anyways, I’m afraid I broke the 500 word barrier on this post. But geeking out on stuff means more words than few, right? Humor me.

This Pokephase I’m going through is lots of fun. It’s true that I have no shortage of entertainment in this day and age; none of us do. But it’s new and it’s a whole family thing, which makes it more valuable to me. And with my professional day job being heavy on the serious business, I could always use more fun.

Have you played Pokémon? Would you try it? Leave some remarks below or message me. Thanks for reading!

Tired Of Being Busy

Blogging is not my day-job, even if I wish it was. Instead of getting paid to write my posts on Jason Journals, I pay to do it because, among other reasons, it’s a hobby I enjoy. But lately, being so busy, stressed, and tired, my blogging brain has slumped in a corner.

Why so much busy-ness? It just happens sometimes. Mostly, my actual day-job has been very demanding. I’ve had to work overtime to catch up. And all the hours have been extra mentally taxing due to switching between focusing on my main task but then needing to juggle many other tasks too. So lots of back and forth.

Maybe your job does the same thing to you sometimes. It’s when you must buckle down, grip the wheel with both hands, shift to high gear, and mash the gas pedal to the floor. And the low fuel light is blaring in your bleary eyes the whole time. Anxiety creeps up; you’re about to run out of gas!

Besides my job demands, I’m still a Dad to five kids. So parenting, my 24/7 job, has not taken a break. But it’s been kinda fun.

Father’s Day, although busy and “distracting” from blogging, was really nice. My wife helped my sons make me feel honored as Daddy!

What’s left over? Not much. Yet there has been more…extra activities.

There’s the usual chores at my house, but I’ve also been swamped by my do-it-yourself project: building a new half-bath. But even that work has needed to move to the back-burner!

And amidst all this, my church’s annual Vacation Bible School kicked off yesterday! So I’m expending myself there too.

Maybe I should add: discover perpetual energy source to my to-do list. I’m not all that busy really. Sure I can find time for that.

Blogging is not the only thing to suffer from my recent crunch-time. My important and fun hobby, karate, has also lacked my attention. I usually go twice a week. But I’ve only managed to make it once a week this month, and now I’m missing three classes in a row!

Anyways, all that to simply say, sorry for not blogging much this past week. I’m sure I’ll be writing more again. Writers gotta write. Thinkers gotta think. And Bloggers are gonna blog.

I’m tired of being busy, but not tired of blogging.

What do you think? Has your Summer been busy? Comment below or message me. Thanks for reading!