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Strategy Games

by Ronald A. Rowe | June 18th, 2009 | Helpful Hints

picFor the longest time, I resisted my son’s pleas for a Pokémon trading card game. Ditto for Bakugan, Digimon, and a slew of other nonsense words that he threw at me. I didn’t know very much about it at the time, but the cartoon looked cheesy (it is), the game sounded complicated (it is), and I was pretty sure the whole thing would end up costing me a princely sum of money (it has).

When Max got a $25 Amex gift card for his eighth birthday, I made the mistake of telling him that he could spend it on anything that he wanted. As it turns out, that’s just enough money to buy two Pokémon starter decks. I wasn’t crazy about the idea, but I didn’t want to go back on my word. And so it was that Max entered the Pokémon trading card game frenzy.

The biggest problem is that two starter decks just aren’t enough. He needs a Fire deck, a Steel deck, and booster packs with special chromium card inserts and legendary Pokémon. He’s got a Pokémon Guide Book that he has worn the cover right off. He has studies these things with such alacrity that I have to think that he could be graduating from MIT by now if he put that much effort into his schoolwork. He knows their names, their types, their strengths and weaknesses.

Meanwhile, Max’s little brother is too young to play, and his mom is too smart to get sucked into this debacle. So, you know who he’s going to practice against. And it isn’t enough that I play against him. We have to trade cards with each other, swap energy types, and discuss at length the merits of Water Pokémon vs. Fighting Pokémon. The game is absurdly complex, with Byzantine layers of rules and conditions. Did you know that his Pokémon can simultaneously burn and poison mine?

Having said all that, in the final analysis the game is good for him. He’s learning to think strategically, which will help him throughout his life. And since I’ve started insisting on a chess match between Pokémon games, he’s learning to play a strategy game that will last beyond adolescence. Still, the cartoon I could do without.

  1. […] When choosing a game, keep in mind that it should be fun for all playing.  Take turns choosing the game, even if it means playing your less than favorite game.  Plus, some of those games have more benefits than just amusing your child.  To learn more about the benefits of playing games with your child, visit our sister site, Your Parenting Info. […]

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