El Sijo's Blog

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Designing your own Pokémon Card

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Note: this is a reposting of an old article of mine from a previous Blog. Some of the rules below might be outdated.

(For details on the Pokemon Card Game’s rules, see their booklet or go to their website.)

Your Pokemon starts with the Default Stats. To customize it, choose any number of Improvements listed below. However, every Improvement requires that you also pick a Limitation from the list below as well. You can also do it the other way around eg. choose the Limitations first and then use them to “buy” the Improvements. You MUST use up all your limits before you are finished, though.

Note: there are too many possible effects for Attacks and Powers for me to list them all here. I’ll give some examples but you should check an online list for more.


Stage: Basic

Hit Points: 50

Type: choose one type: Colorless, Fighting, Fire, Grass, Lightning, Psychic, Water, Darkness, or Metal. This determines which type of element your Pokemon’s attacks are (not the Energy Cards they have attached.)

Attacks: 2 Attacks. You make up their names. Each requires one Energy Card (of any type) to be equipped on the Pokemon before they can be used, and each does 10 HP (hit points) of damage. Note: No matter how many attacks a Pokemon has, it can only attack once each turn (though you can use a Poke-Power AND an attack on the same turn.)

Retreat Cost: one Energy Card.

IMPROVEMENTS: For each Improvement you choose, you must also select a Limitation (or more, see their descriptions.)

Stage: Baby– The special rules for Baby Pokemon apply to this card. You must indicate which Basic Pokemon it evolves into (can be one made up by you.) (You cannot have more than one Stage.)

Special Name: Choose one. Cards and effects that apply to that kind of Pokemon now apply to this card. Examples include: “Dark (name of the Pokemon)”, “Light (name of the Pokemon)”, and “(name of a trainer)’s (name of the Pokemon)”.

Higher Hit Points: Every 10 HP more that you give the Pokemon will require one limitation. Maximum 200 HP.

Second Type: Your Pokemon is two rather than one type. This means every Attack the Pokemon has counts as being of both types. Requires two limits. Can only be applied once.

Poke-Power: This replaces one of your attacks. This can be anything you choose. You must declare when it is in effect (or not) during your own turn. This power stops working if the Pokemon is affected by a Special Condition. For every effect the Power has, you must choose one limit. Examples include: causing any of the Special Conditions (see under Special Effects.)

If you are not sure you can come up with a power that’s not unfair to play, copy an existing one from an actual card. You can rename it, however. You can have only one Poke-power or Poke-Body.

Poke-Body: this is the same as a Poke-Power, except it is in effect at all times, you cannot choose to turn it off, nor does it stop under Special Conditions. For every effect it has, you must choose one limit.

If you are not sure you can come up with a poke-body that’s not unfair to play, copy an existing one from an actual card. You can rename it, however. You can have only one Poke-Body or Poke-Power. Examples include: being immune to a Special Condition.

Extra Attack: For one limitation, you can add another basic attack (10 Damage, costs one card.)

Lesser Energy Cost: One of your attacks requires one less Energy Card (of any type) to be equipped before it can be used. Can be assigned any number of times (for one limit each.) The cost CAN be zero.

Higher Damage: The attack does 10 more damage for every limit given. You can also assign this to a Poke-Power to have it do damage.

Special Effects: There are several, but the most typical are:

-The Special Conditions:






Another example is “the opponent’s Pokemon cannot attack next turn” and “damage is multiplied by (something, such as the number of cards attached to the Pokemon.)”

You may copy an effect from an existing card. Each effect costs one Limit.

Resistance: The Pokemon takes 30 less damage from one type of element, of your choice.

Reduced Retreat Cost: One less card for every limitation. Minimum zero.


Pokemon EX: When this Pokemon is knocked out, the opponent claims two prizes instead of one. This pays for five improvements rather than one (four for Stage 1 or Stage 2 Pokemon).

Stage 1: This card can only be played on top of a Basic Pokemon card (chosen now) that’s already in play. All damage markers the other card had are retained. Counts as two limits.

Stage 2: Same as as above, but the card must be placed on a Stage 1 Pokemon. Counts as five limits.

Less HP: For every 10 HP less your Pokemon has than it should, you gain one Improvement. Minimum HP must be 10.

One Less Attack: Your card has only one Attack. I you take it twice (for two limits) your Pokemon cannot attack, only use a Poke-Power or retreat.

Higher Energy Cost: One of your attacks requires one more Energy Card (of any type) to be equipped before it can be used. Can be assigned any number of times (for one Improvement each.) Can also be assigned to Poke-Powers or Poke-Bodies (which normally do not need energy cards to be used.)

Specific Energy Card: One of the Energy Cards required by an Attack must be of an specific element. Can be taken once for every energy card required, giving one Improvement for each. Can also be assigned to Poke-Powers (if they have an Energy Cost.)

Special Requirement: You must fulfill a specific requirement during the game before an attack’s damage (or effect) or a poke-power can be used. A typical example is “Flip A Coin: If tails, nothing happens.”

Less Damage: The attack does 10 less points of damage for every Improvement. Minimum zero.

Weakness: The Pokemon takes twice the damage from attacks of a specific element (choose which now.)

Increased Retreat Cost: One more Energy card. Can be taken multiple times.


Bicephadrake is a dragon Pokemon with two heads that I invented. The right side of its body (including its right head) is red, and is fire-type; while the left side (Including its left head) is white and Water-type (well, Ice type actually, but since that does not exist in the card game, let’s make it Water instead.) The red head can breathe fire, and the white one can spit freezing-cold water.

I start with the default stats: Basic Stage, 50 HP, two attacks, retreats for one card. I decide that its type is Fire and that its attacks are named Fiery Breath and Freezing Breath.

Now I choose the Improvements: I want the first attack to cause Burns, and the second to cause Paralysis (it freezes the opponent.) I also give it Resistance to Fire. So far, I need three Limitations.

I also invent the Poke-Power: Turning Sideways. Once per turn, Bicephadrake can (by turning its other side to its opponents) effectively change its Type to Water, and its Resistance from Fire to Water. These are two separate effects, so the power requires three limits.

I need to choose six limits now. I begin by giving the Poke-Power Special Requirements: if Bicephadrake is a Fire type, then it gains a weakness to water, and if it’s a Water type, a weakness to Fire. That’s two Limits down.

I still need four more. I decide that the Fiery Breath requires a Fire Energy Card, and Freezing Breath a Water Card. We’re down to two.

Finally, I decide to give the attacks Special Conditions: Fiery Breath can only be used when Bicephadrake is a Fire Type, and Freezing Breath when it is a Water type.

The final Card would look like this:


Basic Pokemon

HP 50

Type: Fire

[Picture of Bicephadrake]

Poke-Power: Turning Sideways– Once per turn, Bicephadrake can become a Water-Type Pokemon. When it does, its Resistance changes from Fire to Water, and its Weakness from Water to Fire. This lasts until the Power is used again.

Fiery Breath: One Fire Card. Causes a Burn. Can only be used when Bicephadrake is a Fire Type. 10 Damage.

Freezing Breath: One Water Card. Causes Paralysis. Can only be used when Bicephadrake is a Water type. 10 Damage.

Resistance: Fire

Weakness: Water

Retreat Cost: One


Author: El Sijo

50 years old, male, single, from Puerto Rico.

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