Hi. I've been around a while, but I seldom venture out of the Guns topic on this site, in part because I don't play a lot of video games and I am on the older end of the membership base here. Old enough to have played Wasteland in my senior year of high school, and old enough that my oldest child is about to turn 20. I mostly hang out on old people forums about wood working and guns, where many of my peers do not know what a Pokemon is. I wrote what follows for that crowd, hence the Vietnam references. However, in an attempt to broaden out a little in my exposure to general discussion, I figured I'd share it here as well, so you can laugh at a middle-aged man coming to terms with a child's card game that in all honesty, I used to conflate with 'Pogs' as a thing my much younger brother was into. I give you JohnnyEgo's adventures in Pokemon: I am working an assignment that is close enough to my home that I can go there on my one day off. Today, my wife decided I would spend that one day off taking my seven year old to a Pokemon battle. As a child of the 70s, I predate the Pokemon phenomenon, although I was tangentially aware of my much younger brother's obsession with it. For those who haven't had children of the late 80s/early 90s, or the recent revival designed to take in nostalgic millineal parent's money, Pokemon is fantasy league cockfighting for children. They get a deck of cards with a bunch of little monsters on them, and then battle them against another kid's Pokemon until death or unconsciousness. There are also something like 800 episodes of cartoon cockfighting, of which my son has seen every one twice. I do love my boy, and he was really excited about his first 'battle', so I grit my teeth, loaded up on coffee, and headed over to the big comic book store adjacent to the CSU campus. The place was packed to the rafters, but only half the people were under 12. And much to my surprise, most of the adults were not parents of the children, but grown people there to battle imaginary monsters for local fame and glory? Among my favorites were several men in their 20s and 30s with assorted roughneck t-shirts, and my personal favorite, a mid 50s biker from central casting who showed up on his dressed-out Harley, tattoo-covered and leathery with a beard that would give the frontman for ZZTop some serious envy. Chain wallet, biker boots, and surly disposition. Watched him plop down at the table and whip out his customized box of Pokemon cards, complete with Harley Davidson stickers adorning the pleather sides. My son has studied the cartoon series with a scholarly intensity that can only be described as 'Talmudic'. He knows all 500 of the little creatures, all of their powers, and all of their weaknesses. What he does not know is the rules to the card game, which are so convoluted and esoteric that I could do Fourier Analysis in my head with less mental intensity. The kid we 'fought' against was only 7, but he had apparently come prepared for armageddon. Within the first few minutes, he had activated six of the little monsters to our two, and had upgraded them somehow to full weapon-of-mass-destruction status. I think he literally had a pack of fire-breathing rhinoceros. We had a crab and a rat. The rat got killed in the second round. Through a combination of beginners luck and sheer incompetence, we were able to mount an insurgent campaign with 'Crabby' in much the same way as the North Vietnamese in the Tet Offensive, and much to the amazement of the onlookers, we ran out the clock and fought the kid to a tie based on a technicality I still don't understand. Meanwhile, I discovered that there is apparently a way to monetize this thing, including a room for adults with a $100 buy-in. That helped explain some of the crowd. The other nice thing was the coffee-shop attached to the comic book store, which drew in the college girls waiting for their cloths to dry at the adjacent laundromat. I had to use my Dad-e-mon power of "creepy vibe side-gaze" several times. There was also a liquor store in the same strip mall, and I explained to my son that it was like a Pokemon store for adults, and Daddy needed a Bourbon-o-saur for his next match. But unfortunately, pounding down a fifth of bourbon while trying to destroy 7-9 year olds in a card game was frowned upon in that particular establishment. My son had a great time, and his smile was worth the smell of general body odor that comes from both a room full of pre-teen boys and virginal 30 year olds. And many of the folks we met worked very hard to explain the rules to us and give us advice on fighting an asymmetric battle. So I suppose I will be going on to You-Tube to try and figure out how to play this game with my son. And I will be having a conversation with my little brother that I never would have anticipated in eleventy-billion years, as to how to construct my son's next Pokemon battle deck. I think I am going to try to outfit the little critters with spurs, so as to better bleed out our competition.