Pokémon Boardgame!

Pokémon Life is a huge and detailed boardgame depicting the adventures of trainers traveling through Kanto to become a Pokémon Master. You move across a beautiful board while collecting 251 possible different Pokémon. Each of these Pokémon have extensive unique abilities that you can tactically use to improve your score. Pokémon Life can be played with 2-5 players. Will you be the one that bests all of your friends and earns the title Pokémon Master?

Tactical Decisions

There are tons of Pokémon to capture in the game, and all of them have gameplay enhancing abilities. Since the amount of PokéBalls you have is limited, you have to think tactically to decide which Pokémon you want to include in your team, and when to use which abilities. Tactics are of the greatest importance if you wish to succeed in this game.

Carefully Balanced

The game has been extensively tested and fully played over 300 times, balancing and adjusting the Pokémon's strengths and weaknesses after every game. Because of this the game is now amazingly polished and incredibly fun to play. One game lasts from 45 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the amount of trainers participating. Since Pokémon Life is partially a luck-based game, every match will feel exciting and unique!

The Board

This is the Kanto board for the game Pokémon Life. The board has been loosely based on the Kanto region, while ensuring that the game kept its gameplay value and without overcomplicating the board. The basics of the game are quite simple:

  • You start the game with 6 PokéBalls, 5 Full Restores and one Starter Pokémon.
  • Each trainer moves in their turn by throwing the dice.
  • Once landed on a tile, that tile must be executed.
  • There are three regular tiles: grass tiles, event tiles and duel tiles.
  • On grass tiles you can capture Pokémon that exist in the area you are in.
  • On event tiles you have to draw a card from the event pile, and follow its instructions. There are over 150 event cards!
  • On duel tiles you have to duel one of the other players, both using one Pokémon. The winner may draw a card from the victory pile, and follow its instructions. Victory cards are a great way to increase your score!
  • There are many other unique tiles on the board, which you can read about here or by reading the legend!
  • Once every player has reached the Pokémon League, you have to try and defeat the Elite Four and the champion to massively increase your score!
  • The Johto board can be found here. Johto is an expansion theme on Kanto, with new Pokémon and a unique experience.
  • A short version of the rules can be found here.

How do the Pokémon function?

At the start of the game you receive 6 empty PokéBalls that you lay down in a row in front of you. Every Pokémon you capture must be put on top of an empty PokéBall. If you have no empty PokéBalls, you can choose to either release one of your current Pokémon or to not capture the new Pokémon.

As you can see in the example, every Pokémon has three important values:
() Battle Points, () Master Points, and an Ability.

The amount of Battle Points a Pokémon has is important for his battling capabilities. When battling another Pokémon, both trainers throw a dice. The dice outcome is multiplied by the amount of Battle Points the Pokémon has, resulting in a total battle outcome of that Pokémon. The Pokémon with the highest total battle outcome knocks out the other Pokémon and wins. Pokémon with a high amount of Battle Points are very desirable if you want to be successful.

Your total score is measured in Master Points, which means that collecting Pokémon with high Master Points values will give you a greater chance of winning. Rarer Pokémon typically have higher Master Points values.

Many Pokémon can also evolve, as indicated by the blue stone (Miracle Stone) next to the Pokémon's name. Whenever one of your Pokémon defeats another Pokémon in battle, it will evolve after the battle. Evolving Pokémon is a great method to gain access to stronger Pokémon.


The most interesting part of Pokémon Life is the fact that every single Pokémon has a special ability which you can use during the game. There are two kinds of abilities; passive and active abilities. Passive abilities are abilities that always function, even when the Pokémon is knocked out. Active abilities are abilities that do not work when the Pokémon is knocked out, and you can utilize most of the active abilities by choice (such as Machamp's ability shown). Some active abilities always function (such as Celebi's), except when the Pokémon is knocked out.

There are more than a hundred unique and compelling abilities that you can tactically use to demolish your opponents. Many abilities have charges and can only be used once or twice. When using one of these abilities, it's important to put some kind of a counter on top of the Pokémon to indicate that a charge has been used.

The key to winning Pokémon Life matches and becoming a Pokémon Master is the clever use of abilities and creating a proper team synergy between your Pokémon. For a full list of all Pokémon and their abilities, check out the Pokédex!

The Scoring System

The goal in Pokémon Life is to obtain as many Master Points as you possibly can. Many activities in the game grant Master Points, such as capturing rare Pokémon and winning battles. When you have finished your adventure it's time to count your Master Points. You have to count all the Master Points of your Pokémon, the Master Points of your gym badges, your miscellaneous Master Points and your Nuggets. Your total amount of Master Points is your final score. The trainer with the highest amount of Master Points can call himself a Pokémon Master!


Another important feature of Pokémon Life is battling. You will have to battle often in order to obtain more Master Points and evolve your Pokémon. Any battle against trainer cards, gyms and Pokémon League members works as follows:

  • You will fight all of the opponent's Pokémon in order, using (if needed) all of your Pokémon.
  • At the start of the battle, you may decide which Pokémon to start with and if you want to use any PlusPowers/Defenders on any of your Pokémon.
  • You and another player (posing as the opponent) both throw the dice simultaneously. The outcomes are multiplied by the amount of Battle Points of the fighting Pokémon, deciding the total battle outcomes of both Pokémon.
  • Many Pokémon abilities can affect this total battle outcome, so keep a close eye on them!
  • The Pokémon with the lowest battle outcome is now knocked out, and the victorious Pokémon has to stay in battle for the opponent's next Pokémon (the victorious Pokémon will also evolve after the battle, if eligible).
  • Once all Pokémon of a trainer have been defeated, the victor will receive his rewards.
Duels function differently since you're fighting one of your rival trainers, and you'll both only use one Pokémon. You can read more about duels here.

Gyms & the Pokémon League

During your journeys you will encounter multiple mandatory encounters. There are eight Gyms you have to try to complete, and there is the Pokémon League. For every Gym you complete you receive a badge worth 20 Master Points. The Master Points you receive for progress in the Pokémon League depends on how many of your rival trainers reached the Pokémon League before you.

When you reach a gym, you will be stopped by a Roadblock. This means you can't move past the Gym this turn and you'll have to try and defeat the Gym Leader. Every Gym Leader's Pokémon are depicted on the legend like this:

In this example, you will have to defeat Leader Erika's Pokémon using all of your Pokémon. If you don't know how the battles function, read up on battling right above this chapter.

When you reach the Kanto League, you have to wait until every player has reached the League. You can still be challenged to a duel by other players, and you can still use abilities such as Ninetales' ability. You can however not move away from the League under any circumstances. As soon as every trainer has reached the Pokémon League, everyone may heal all of their Pokémon, and try to beat the Elite Four and the Champion!

In the Kanto Pokémon League you will face five tough trainers in a row. After every trainer you will have the chance to revive your Pokémon using Full Restores or other abilities. You receive Master Points for every trainer you defeat in the Pokémon League. How many Master Points you receive can be found on the legend.

In the Johto Pokémon League you will battle your opponents instead of the Elite Four. Only the final winner of the Pokémon League will receive a reward. You can read about the Johto League on the Johto legend.

Photos of Pokémon Life being played!

For more pictures, visit the pictures page. Please note, they are not taken by good photographers.

I want to play!

You can download the files required to build the board game yourself here. If you want more information on how to build the board game click here.