Confession time. The first trading card game I played was Pokemon. I built a fun, tough water/psychic deck I dubbed Brain Drain. Let me explain a bit more and why I'm bringing this up now.
When my son was in kindergarten, the Pokemon TCG was new and very popular. He watched the cartoons on TV and wanted some cards for his birthday. I bought him a starter deck and some booster packs. His friends gave him some pre-built decks and more booster packs.
We had many, many fun nights learning and playing the card game together. Not only was he improving his reading, math, and problem solving skills, but we were spending some quality father/son time together. I enjoyed playing the game and deck building too. It was my first exposure to a TCG. I have to admit I spent a few dollars more than I should have to expand his collection. We played the game for a couple years before he lost interest and moved on to other things.
Fast forward a few more years and now my daughter is starting kindergarten. A couple nights ago she asked me to teach her how to play her brother's Pokemon card game. He gave us permission to use his cards, so I rebuilt the starter decks as best as I could remember. Finding the cards was easy... I just looked for the oldest, most worn cards in his collection. Hello, Staryu. Welcome back, Machop. They've seen countless games, and now they will be played again.
My daughter is bright and had the basics of the game after a few rounds. She loves flipping coins and shuffling her deck. Amazingly enough she wins about 80% of the games. Huh. We play with the cards in our hands face up on the table. After she is more comfortable with the cards and rules, we'll play with our hands hidden and start introducing new cards.
She wants a deck with all cute pokemon. Um... okay. They're all cute compared to the zombies and goblins in the Magic TCG. At first I was thinking of building her a deck with Ponyta/Rapidash but a Jigglypuff/Bellosom deck may be better. Those fire pokemon are a tough looking bunch.
Hmmm... my son should be old enough for Magic now. Maybe I'll dig my collection out of storage this weekend.