I was involved in a dangerous battle yesterday. My Popplio was fighting my daughter’s Bruxfish and unfortunately for me, the Bruxfish won.
For those of you unsure what I’m talking about, Helen and I were battling with Pokémon cards. This is the latest new-latest-thing she’s got into and rather bizarrely, I’m finding myself drawn into this world.
There’s no doubting it, it is a rather odd world where something resembling an over-inflated pink balloon can inflict massive amounts of damage on something resembling a rabid lobster. As anyone who knows anything about Pokémon will tell you, there are so many different sorts of cards: GX, EX, Basic and so on. It is fiendishly complex.
This all started when Helen came home from school and told me she’d been trading cards with school friends. I knew she had a few cards and thought I’d look into getting some more for her (in return for doing chores around the house, of course).
I wondered about buying a job lot on eBay. It certainly seemed the most cost-effective way of getting cards.
A mum I know whose sons trade the cards warned me off doing this. She hinted heavily that I’d better brush up my Cantonese language skills if I went down this route and regaled me with a sad tale of buying a collector’s box with a special coin in it, only for the vendor to have kept the coin for themselves.
The vendor had made this clear in the item description, but it went unnoticed. The box was a gift from Father Christmas and, as you can imagine, the missing coin created a few issues.
This was enough to put me off buying cards from eBay and so I took the kids to the local newsagents, which just so happened to have a poster in the window advertising it had the latest cards in stock. I left £25 poorer but safe in the knowledge Helen had genuine cards.
She was over the moon when it turned out one of the cards was a GX card. I’m still learning, but apparently these are highly sought after and she returned home from school telling me she’d won every battle that day.
Having Pokémon cards means having some rules. They only come out of her school bag at playtime. Trading with her four-year-old sister is to be done fairly. If her sister has a sought-after card, Helen is to offer two or three basic cards in return.
The other rule I’m insisting upon: Pokémon stays offline. I don’t want to encourage any further screen time.
If you’re playing the Pokémon trading game, you’re having to socialise, use your reading skills and learn how to negotiate. It’s also a useful incentive to get the girls to help around the house.
I was never into this kind of thing as a kid. I find it quite funny that I’m curious to play it as an adult!
It is fun playing the game with Helen and she appreciates the time with dad (as I do with her). For now, Pokémon stays, but it stays offline.