Designed by Koichi Ooyama, Bill Sabram
# of players 2 - 6
Ages 7 and up
Lots and lots of cardboard tiles and chips. Every single Pokemon is represented by a circular cardboard tile. (Back in the day that meant 151 not, like, 8000.) The cards and tiles have held up well given that the game is almost 20 years old. However, it should be mentioned that in that time it was only played about 5 times. Each player is represented by a plastic figure of Ash Ketchum. So, apparently, we are all him? Or maybe only one of us is the real Ash and this is one of those who-is-the-real-one-I-guess-we-assume-it-was-the-winner scenarios?
Each play starts with one of the six starting Pokemon. These starting Pokemon are weak which is expressed by having a low fighting number. The players roll dice at the start of their turn and move forward, until later in the game when they have the option of circling back to try and get more and better Pokemon. Most spaces involve trying to catch a Pokemon via dice rolling and using a Pokeball. Other spaces involve acquiring item cards, healing your Pokemon or various other bonuses or penalties. Item cards have a variety of effects like temporarily boosting your combat power, Pokeballs that help catch Pokemon or healing Pokemon. Most cards can be held onto and played when you choose, although some must be played immediately.
As the players progress thru the game, the Pokemon they are acquiring grow increasingly powerful. Many of them are evolutions of ones available earlier in the game. It is advantageous to collect entire “sets” of a Pokemon's evolutions as having sets equates to an advantage in combat. Throughout the game, players frequently fight each other and the game itself can only be won by defeating the final elite trainer. (controlled by a fellow player)
In a “Pokebattle” each player selects their Pokemon, rolls a die and reveals what (if any) bonus cards were played, facedown, at the beginning of combat. All these numbers are added up and the player with the highest total is the winner. The losing Pokemon is “knocked out” and cannot be used again until revived.
When players are strong enough, they may enter the Indigo Plateau. That is where the final trainer will be and additional strong Pokemon can be acquired. The final trainer is one of four elite or Gary Oak, selected randomly. If you defeat your opponent, you win. If you lose, you are booted off the island until you qualify for re-entry.
Monopoly + Pokemon (Original Gameboy) Very little meaningful choices are to be made in this game. So, strategically, not a lot is going on. The game does do a decent job of embracing it's theme. You really do feel like you are traveling thru the world of Pokemon, trying to catch em' all and be the very best.
I don't know how much fun this game would be unless you were a Pokemon fan. And lets face it, there cant be many more of those around. This game was the result of a time when Pokemon was very popular... huh? What's that, Taco? ...an app?
.. It cant be that huge ... seriously?... It's been 20 years!... 1.5 billion?
Alrighty, never mind. It appears we have, somehow, gone full circle where anything functional with “Pokemon” slapped on the side will sell. The game is still ok and the newest generation of kids will probably get a kick out of it. I played it while sneaking a Zima, just like 1999.
*Sticks to theme
*takes an hour or less
*very light on strategy
*less fun for non-pokefans