Blast from the Past! Pokemon Master Trainer!

Posted: January 15, 2012 in INFR 2330


Found this lovely gem from the top of of closet, covered in ancient dust. So ancient in fact that the dust was no longer fluffy, it was actually solidified into some sort of dust film/layer on the top of the box. Used some water and paper towel to polish it up and voila! Let’s open this chest of goodness.

Name of the Game: Pokemon Master Trainer

Year game published: 1998-1999

Intended Players: For 2-6 players, ages 7+

Game Duration: 1-2 hours or more (from what I remember from my childhood)

Basics: As the instruction manual says, the objective is to “Be the first player to collect 20 Power Points worth of Pokemon, defeat a Pokemon Master, and become the World’s Greatest Pokemon Trainer!” Sounds like fun, let’s get started!

Game Setup: There are plenty of chips available, each with a Pokemon on one side, and a Pokeball logo on the other. Each chip is coloured accordingly to different areas of the board. Shuffle the chips and place corresponding chips to their proper places on the board. Extra chips can be placed back in the tray. Shuffle the decks of Item cards and Event Cards and place to the side.

Next, shuffle the 6 Starter Pokemon chips face down and let players choose one.


I’m not sure who’s idea it was to include Clefairy and Meowth as starter Pokemon. They should be slapped in the face. Maybe a Pidgey or Rattata since that’s all you see/fight at the beginning on the Pokemon games for Gameboy. But at least the other ones are cool?

Shuffle the 5 Rival Cards and place them facedown in a stack in the middle on the gameboard of Indigo Plateau (they are the bosses you fight at the end)


I always hated Gary. And of course he gets the strongest Pokemon. Awesome. Spoiled brat.

Lastly pick your little Ash Ketchum figure/player piece and place it on the Pallet Town rectangle.


Creepy little guy. Comes in Green, Blue, Orange, Pink, Yellow, and Beige/Brown/Tan. 

And here’s the board all setup in its glory.


I forgot the Rival Card in the center when I took this photo. The photo with the cards there was being uploaded upside down for some strange reason through WordPress. Oh well, onto gameplay.

Gameplay: Whoever got the short end of the stick, i.e got the weakest Pokemon (smallest big yellow number on the chip called the Power Point) gets to go first. Players will roll their dice to go forward on the board. You cannot go backwards until you reach Cerulean City, where you will be given choices on which direction you want to go. After this you can go in any direction you want to collect Pokemon if you need it before going to the final stage.

3 types of board spaces:

  • City or Town – lets you draw 2 item cards or special cities let you revive your KO’ed Pokemon.
  • Catch’em! – flip over the chip and try to catch a Pokemon!
  • Draw Event Card – take an Even Card, show everyone and read it out loud.

To catch a Pokemon, at the bottom of the chip, there will be a specific number you have to roll to catch the Pokemon. You can only use one die. Or you can use an item card such as a Master Ball to help you catch it. Must be used before you roll for a Pokemon.

Battling your Pokemon with other players happens when you passby another player on the board, you can choose to challenge them, or if you draw an Event Card that says to Battle. To battle you must pick your Pokemon, then roll a die. Your Pokemon’s attack + number on the die + any item cards you play (attack modifiers) will be added up and compared. Highest number wins, and winner takes 2 random item cards from other player. If other player doesn’t have any, then it is taken from the deck.

You can also trade Pokemon with other players, same circumstances as the battles. If you pass a player or draw an event card that says to trade. Starter Pokemon cannot be traded.

There are various item cards, which I won’t go through in detail, as they have descriptions written on them which are pretty self explanatory.

Once again, the goal is to get a total of 20 power points by catching Pokemon, this allows you to advance to the Indigo Plateau where you challenge one Rival. First one to do that wins!

That’s the game in a nutshell. There are plenty of other small things in addition to the game, but you just have to play the game to get into that. Straight forward game with lots of variety and challenge.

Game Reflection:

Personally, I find board/card games created before the year 2000 so well made and thought out. These days you don’t really hear much about board or card games. I find a lot of them in this era to be well designed, gameplay well thought out, and generally really fun to play. This game for example is very straightforward and easy to grasp, yet offers so much variety (numerous chips for different Pokemon every round, different paths etc.) Solid game to play on a rainy day. I remember as kid I’d always want to play this boardgame whenever I could.

What I liked:

  • It’s Pokemon, the original Pokemon. What’s not to like?!
  • Simple and easy to learn
  • Variety and ability to change your gameplay experience every round
  • In depth game with a story that follows Pokemon
  • Sturdy construction with thick cardboard chips and detailed plastic player pieces

What I disliked:

  • Gary is in it. And he has the strongest Pokemon. Kidding, I won’t use that against the game
  • Lacks room for 6 players even though it says up to 6 players. With 6 players I think it’s being a bit generous since I could barely fit 3 pieces on the starting block and roughly 4 people can sit around the board comfortably
  • Game takes a while to play. I recall sometimes I would need a break from the game as it was quite hard to catch the Pokemon with so many paths around the board
  • A lot of chips to sort since they are all the same size only different color. If they get mixed up it will take a while to setup the game

What I would change:

  • Nothing too serious. Overall I still think it is a well thought out and planned game. The duration of the game is a personal thing perhaps, but I still think it’s a solid board game for kids/older kids/people who like Pokemon
  • At most, maybe change the shape of the chips in different areas to help sorting/distinguishing chips (circles, hexagons etc.)
  1. says:

    Excellent points altogether, you just received a brand new reader. What would you recommend in regards to your post that you made some days ago? Any certain?

  2. maizey says:

    what do you do about the unknown dungeon pokemon ?

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