Toucannon asks:

You’ve often been asked abregout the type balance in the games, but I was wondering: if you’ve ever played the Pokemon TCG, do you think that the balance of the types shown there would be more akin to what a realistic balance between the types should be like? After all, each type tend to be competitive there while still retaining their uniqueness (even more so, in case like Grass or Electric), and it encourages mono-type lineups by making them easier to run, while multi-type are more versatile but harder to run.

Hmm.

So, I am on the record as thinking that seven or eight types is a better number than seventeen or eighteen, because it lets you develop each one a bit more in terms of identity and philosophy.  I don’t know if the TCG… actually does that, because it’s kind of shackled to the video games and the type system that exists there, but in principle you could do that.  Like, if you’re going to have only seven types in your base game then I don’t think two of those should be Fire and Lightning, because those each correspond with only a single video game type, one of which isn’t even very common.  But you kind of have to, because those types’ elemental powers give them very firm and narrow identities, and so you transfer them one-to-one into the TCG and wind up constricting them quite severely.  That’s why so many of the early Delta-Species Pokémon are Fire or Lightning; you needed Pokémon who could go in a mono-Fire deck but weren’t weak to Water, and previously there were almost none of those.  Meanwhile, no one knows what to do with Poison; those Pokémon used to be part of Grass, then for quite a long time they were in Psychic for some reason (because… purple?), now apparently they’re Dark?  Which kind of brings us full-circle to the beta of Gold and Silver when Umbreon was drafted as a Poison-type, and no one ever thought to get rid of the Pokédex lines about Umbreon having poisonous sweat, but that’s neither here nor there.

I suspect the Pokémon TCG would be a better game if it didn’t have to care about the video games or its own status as, essentially, merch for another series that doesn’t pay much attention to it. Put a pin in that and come back to it if I ever start writing about the TCG regularly.

I’m also not super-hyped about Pokémon having, at most, one weakness and one resistance, or about weaknesses and resistances being triggered by the Pokémon’s type and not by a move’s type.  This is partially dictated by the TCG encouraging decks with a small number of types, but that wouldn’t actually transfer to the video games unless you came up with something analogous to energy cards, which… well, you could; that might be interesting and it would provide a rationale for so many important characters being type specialists.  What would that mechanic actually be, though, and how would it be justified?

So I guess my answer is that it depends on the details of exactly what you mean and how you would apply the TCG mechanics to something that is not a card game.

Maybe I expect too much from people who submit questions to me here.

2 thoughts on “Toucannon asks:

  1. In Pokémon: The Trading Card Game: The Game, humans have the innate capacity to bring out the elemental power of their monster pals. A wild Charmander can only muster a few Embers before its own Fire energy runs out (for a gameplay-friendly duration of time/turns), but good thing it befriended (/was kidnapped) by Pokémon Trainer Ashley! Ashley’s burning spirit replenishes Charmander’s Energies every (turn/gameplay-friendly duration of time), and can even add Energies above Charmander’s natural capacity! After three turns (/gameplay…), Charmander can unleash a Flamethrower, defeating the wild Pidgey. Ashley and Charmander both gain experience points, and when Ashley levels up (…or earns Gym Badges? maybe Gym badges unlock certain types or something instead), she gets even better at her vocation of elemental supplementation!

    It’s for this reason the human-Pokémon relationship is beneficial even for Xerneas, or an Alakazam with an IQ of 5000.

    Each trainer’s capacity to supply the various elements is decided by personality, eye and hair color, outfit, starsign and above all, given name. Parents, choose wisely! That multi-generational Electric-type Gym sure went downhill when the previous Gym Leader decided to name her newborn son Walter.

    Good news! Pokémon: The Trading Card Game: The Game features all 18 types in 3D graphics, plus an additional 7 new types to make an even 25 of them. 🙂

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  2. I always thought that instead of PP, every Pokémon should have an “Energy Meter” that allows them to use elemental moves. This would get depleted over the course of a battle. Stronger attacks would use up more of the meter. Attacks that match the Pokémon’s type would use up less of the meter. The environment could even come into play – for example, Grass attacks would use up less of the meter when battling in a forest due to the abundance of Grass energy in the area.

    Basic attacks that don’t require elemental energy (punch, kick, bite, tackle, etc.) wouldn’t use up any energy, and they would become the only moves available if the meter is fully depleted.

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