Gotta Trade‘em All

The other day the latest issue of Lotek64 was released (LOTEKERONI). For that issue I wrote a huge article about the Pokémon-franchise. One aspect I did not cover at all was the Pokémon TCG. And I didn‘t even notice that I forgot to talk about it. The Pokémon TCG totally vanished from my filterbubble. Why?

Mainly because at our local comic shop nobody played PKMN. I started playing Yu-Gi-Oh about 1.5 months because everybody plays it and I was sitting around boring my ass off, while reading comics. There is small club playing Magic, some guys playing World of Warcraft and one boy already plays Vanguard (whatever that is). But nobody that attends the Comic Planet Club Room on a regular basis played Pokémon. Some used to play it, but stopped playing when they noticed that Yu-Gi-Oh became more and more popular and PKMN TCG and its league eventually vanished.

Yesterday we had a special event in our Comic Shop: a demonstrator from the company Amigo, who distribute the PKMN TCG here in Germany, visited us, sat at a small paper table and explained us how to play the PKMN TCG. As a special offer, we could swap a stack of 50 trading cards into a new 60 card deck of PKMN. No matter which series our cards were from. Not allowed were skat or poker cards. A friend of mine and I had a huge collection of Magic cards we gave to the comic shop. We found that box at work, don‘t ask how. So new Magic players can grab into this box and put together their first decks. We could have sold those cards on eBay but we wanted to do something good for the kids. And this box once contained several thousand cards. So I grabbed 50 random cards from that box and most of the kids also did. Many other players used some of their YGO cards they didn‘t need anymore. But I just started playing it so I didn‘t want to give so many of my cards away.

OK, when it was my turn I had to pass this cards to the demonstrator called Ingo. He then asked me some questions: age, sex (easily to see), if I had other PKMN cards at home, if I‘ve ever played the TCG, if I knew and have already watched the TV show and if I had an online account. I am 27, I am male, I do have old Pokémon cards at home from the time when I was into PKMN (about 10 years or more ago), I did not play the TCG itself but the Gameboy game and of course I‘ve already watched the TV show. He then put a rubberband around my cards and noted the number from my questionaire on it. We then played a match of PKMN which was quite cool, because I understood how the game works by just watching it. I never understood how YGO works by just watching it. After I had lost the game (just because the rules of a game are simple, it doesn‘t mean it is easy to win) I got two small decks of 30 cards, some damage tokens, a PKMN coin (to perform the coin flipping you regularly need), a paper playmat and a paper deckbox.

But together with the stack of cards I gave him and my answers, he had a quite clear picture of me. OK, I do not play Magic. But just assume there is a YGO kid at the age of 14, that is aware of the PKMN TV show but doesn‘t play or hasn‘t even ever heard of the Pokémon TCG. Amigo already knows how to reach this kid: making advertisings before or after the Pokémon TV show for example. And this TCG exists since my own childhood and there are kids under 10 attending the Comic Planet Club Room, so new players always will be there. By giving away free cards and other cool stuff and only taking old cards from the kids, kids think they make a quite good deal. Amigo can now analyse those cards. Which edition they are from, which year they were released (every YGO card has a small code on it, which edition it is from). So they can check at least a little bit, how recent those cards are. He did not ask which other games we play at all. The guy was around while we made our normal games, YGO, WoW, some even brought their old PKMN decks from home. So he noticed what is going on.

This was a ducking clever marketing research stunt but in a extremely nice way! Ingo took his time for every player, answered plenty of questions, some even several times and he was a nice guy! And he did that the whole day. He was already playing when I came in in the morning at 11.30 am and he stopped before closing time at about 4:30 pm. He played more than 30 games. A single PKMN match takes about 8 – 10 minutes. But playing against beginners may not be too thrilling. He played PKMN himself and even played against one of us with his own deck after the event was over. We later played some matches on our own and I have to say that I really like it! Getting free stuff always rocks, but getting free stuff that is cool rocks twice as much!

At least I now have to buy a new-old copy of the PKMN TCG Gameboy game!

Follow the little pokéballed TRADING CARDS!!!

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