The Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG for short) is a collectable card game introduced in Japan in 1996 and America in 1998. The card game is based on the Pokémon series, and is one of the more popular aspects of the Pokémon franchise (behind only the video games). The card game was originally published by Wizards of the Coast (the company that produced Magic the Gathering).
In 2003 Wizards of the Coast lost publishing rights and now Nintendo themselves handle distribution of the game worldwide.
Various Pokémon species, characters, items and locations from the Pokémon series are used as cards, which players can collect to trade or fight with each other. Each card contains its own unique artwork made by numerous artists and effects when used in battle.
|A card of Charizard from the first set, a card once sought after by many fans|
Players battle each other using a deck of 60 cards. Players had 3 different types of cards to use, Pokémon cards (the cards players use to battle with), Energy cards (used to power up Pokémon so they can attack) and Trainer cards (supportive cards that can benefit the user in various ways). Later on Supporter cards and Stadium cards were separated from Trainer cards. A deck always had to have at least 1 Basic Pokémon and can only have up to 4 copies of each card in their deck (but were allowed to have any number of Basic Energy cards).
There a large variety of different types of Pokémon. Each Pokémon has an elemental type that makes it stronger or weaker against certain elemental types. There are also Evolved Pokémon, which unlike Basic Pokémon, can only be put into play ontop of the required Pokémon.
The main objective to winning in a Pokémon TCG battle is to take all of your Prize cards by Knocking Out the opponent's Pokémon before they take all of their Prize cards. Taking all of your Prize cards is not the only way to win, players can also win if their opponent has no Benched Pokémon to replace their Knocked Out Active Pokémon or if their opponent has no cards left in their deck at the beginning of their turn.
Many Pokémon TCG card tournaments are held worldwide and are even set up and handled by Nintendo.