My First Battle offers a highly simplified version of the Pokémon TCG rules, allowing younger players to learn the basics of the game. The fundamentals of the game such as attacking, benching, evolving Pokémon, and using Item cards are present, but more complicated concepts such as Weakness, Resistance, retreat cost, and using other types of Trainer cards such as Supporters and Stadiums are omitted.
Each box of My First Battle contains two mini decks of 17 cards each, two playmats, a rulebook, a large metallic coin, a sheet of damage counters, and six Prize tokens. All Pokémon cards featured in My First Battle do not have any Weakness, Resistance, or retreat cost, as well as regulation marks or card numbers. Additionally, all cards have a unique "My First Battle" back design.
How to play
The rules of playing Pokémon TCG: My First Battle are as follows:
- Each player picks a deck and its matching playmat.
- During setup, each player takes out their designated "first Pokémon" and "starting Energy" from the deck, and places them in the Active Spot and the spot labeled "Energy" on the playmat. The "first Pokémon" and "starting Energy" cards are marked by a blue border around the card and a Poké Ball label on the bottom right of the card's artwork. Afterwards, each player shuffles their deck and places it on the playmat.
- A coin is flipped to determine the player that goes first. Each player draws three cards from their deck to form their hand, and places three Prize tokens on the playmat.
- At the beginning of each player's turn, they draw a card from their deck. If there are no cards left in the deck, the player skips this step. Then, during their turn, they may do any of the following actions in any order:
- Playing a Basic Pokémon onto the Bench.
- Playing one Energy card onto the "Energy" spot.
- Evolving a Pokémon.
- Playing Trainer cards.
- To end a turn, the player attacks their opponent's Active Pokémon. If that Pokémon's damage is equal to or exceeds its HP, it is Knocked Out, and the player whose Pokémon is Knocked Out chooses a new Active Pokémon. The player who did the Knock Out collects 1 of their Prize tokens.
- Play continues until one player wins — either by collecting all three of their Prize tokens, or when the other player has no more Pokémon left in play.
Differences with normal TCG rules
Because of its simplified gameplay, My First Battle has significant differences compared to the normal Pokémon TCG rules, which are as follows:
- Each deck contains only 17 cards instead of 60.
- In My First Battle, each player is designated a "first Pokémon" and "starting Energy" to start the game, and draws three cards to form their initial hand. In normal Pokémon TCG setup, each player draws the top seven cards of their deck to form their initial hand, and chooses one Basic Pokémon from their hand to start the game — players take a mulligan if they don't have a Basic Pokémon in their hand.
- My First Battle allows up to three Benched Pokémon per player at a time, instead of five.
- Instead of Prize cards, My First Battle uses Prize tokens to tally scores. Each player starts with 3 Prize tokens, and the first player to take all of their Prize tokens wins the game.
- Energy is not attached to Pokémon. Energy is instead played on the "Energy" spot on the playmat, next to the Active Spot. Any Pokémon in the Active Spot may use the Energy to attack. Energy is not discarded after attacking or used to retreat.
- Weakness, Resistance, and retreat cost are omitted. Players cannot manually retreat their Pokémon; rather, they have to use items such as Switch to retreat.
- Players do not have to draw a card if they no longer have cards in their decks. Therefore, players cannot lose by deck-out, i.e. having no cards left in their deck at the beginning of their turn.
- Players may attack on their first turn even if they go first.
- Players may evolve Pokémon on their first turn. Players may also evolve Pokémon even if that Pokémon has just been put into play during the turn.