Pokemon Tabletop Adventures

Pokemon, in many forms and incarnations, has been a very important and large part of my life for a long time.  I logged 300+ hours on the first pokemon game I ever owned, have logged 50+ on most of the eight or nine more pokemon games I have bought since then, watched every episode of the anime up through season ten and more recently, spend several hours a day reading about and participating in the pokemon tabletop community.   It is this latest obsession that will be the focus of today’s article. 

To my knowledge, their has only ever been one officially licensed pokemon role playing game, which was a short simple game aimed at younger children.  It was not well marketed and not well known.  As such, until 2010, there were few options for role players wanting to play a game set in the pokemon world that didn’t involve creating a myriad of rules out of whole cloth.  In the year 2010 however a man who goes by the name Dr. Mr. Stark created the beginnings of what would come to be called Pokemon Tabletop Adventures.  Over the course of a few months, he gathered together a team of developers and eventually the game was released in Beta.  The game was rough, with many typos and a lot to be desired in terms of rules on how to do much of anything besides battle.  Regardless of its shortcomings however, it was a complete role playing game directly set in the world of pokemon.  The game improved over time and a community sprung up around it, based around a forum that was created to talk about and develop for the game.  Many versions of the game came out, and it was updated with new pokemon when the fifth generation came out.  It was in late 2011 when I first joined the pokemon tabletop community.  I was quick to start a game with several of my friends, which was incredibly fun, but unfortunately short lived.  I then started a forum based game for those same friends that lasted for a great deal longer but eventually died out.  I joined a host of forum based games that tended to be a great deal of fun for a few weeks and then fell apart.  I fell away from the community for a while as school got harder and I had less time, but I still read the forums and daydreamed about playing this wonderful game again.  Some time in mid 2012, their was a massive split in the dev team making the game.  Many of the developers dropped out, while a group of three went and decided to rework the system from the ground up, believing that while PTA was a great game, it was held back by some of the elements intrinsic to how it worked, and only by forging a new system could they make the game better.  This team created Pokemon Tabletop United, a system that shared some of the rules and replaced a lot more.  I was hesitant to switch over to the new system, as it had significantly less options than PTA, but after having played in a short forum based game, and having started a still ongoing PTU chat based game, I fell in love with the new system, finding a lot of its improvements immensely satisfying.  As it stands, in July of 2013, PTU is in its fourth version, PTA has not been updated for six months.  I am playing in two forum based games, one chat based game, and running two chat based games.  I am planning to reboot the forum based game that I started with my friends a year and a half ago soon.  All in all PTA and PTU have been immensely enjoyable and I owe a great deal of how I currently spend my time to the original hard work of Dr. Mr. Stark.

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