Pokemon Master Trainer

Milton Bradley (Hasbro), 1995, 2-6 players, ages 7 and up. As kids' games go, this one is OK. My six-year old son really likes it, although whether that has more to do with the subject matter or the actual game itself is up for debate. He's a Pokemon nut, has been so for much of his existance, and claims he will remain a Pokemon nut until he's an old man. We'll see. Anyway, this game has enough strategy to keep me engaged and at the same time, it's not so overwhelming that my son can't figure it out. Basically you move around the board via die rolls and try to capture Pokemon (again, via die rolls). The more powerful the Pokemon, the lower the odds of capturing it. If you land on another player you can fight a Pokemon duel against them (you each pick one of the Pokemon you've captured, add in some die rolls and see who wins). The winner gets two items from the loser, and the loser's Pokemon is "knocked out" (temporarily disabled). Along the way you collect various Item cards that help in capturing Pokemon, restoring knocked-out Pokemon, combat aids and whatnot, and also draw Event cards that have varying effects. Once you've collected enough Pokemon you head off to the middle to fight a duel against a Pokemon Master. This is, unfortunately, where the game kind of falls apart for me. It is ridiculously difficult to win the final duel, and if you don't, you have to go scrambling back around the board gearing up to take another shot at the middle. It becomes interminable. Here's my suggestion: normally, players are limited to two "Attack Bonus" cards during any given combat. Do yourself a favor and wave this restriction. It's the only way you'll get the game to end (and as is, it takes a good 90 minutes to play a two-player game).

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