The Pokemon Play Lab is the most wholesome thing ever

Obstagoon, I choose you!

The Pokemon booths at conventions have always been those adorable attractions out of the corner of my eye that I see at various events, but it wasn’t until December 2022, at PAX Unplugged, that I began going to them. And at PAX East 2023, I went again. Whether you grew up on Pokemon, or are new to the franchise, the Pokemon Play Lab is a ton of fun. Let’s take a look at what the Pokemon Play Lab has to offer and if it’s worth waiting in line for.

Three Ways to Play Pokemon

Pokemon Play Lab, Pokémon Trading Card Game photo showing Machamp, Obstagoon, Zoroark, and Sharpedo
Photo by Radiant G

I, like many kids, grew up collecting Pokemon cards, but never actually learned how to play the card game. If you’re in a similar situation, don’t worry about being lost because the runners at the lab will teach your group three ways to play the game.

In the first round, you’ll be catching Pokemon using the energy cards that you draw. After catching some Pokemon, the second round begins. In this round, you do a small battle with attacks but with no special effects. In the final round, you play a regular game where you battle the other player until someone runs out of Pokemon.

There are a few different decks to choose from, but my favorite is the Umbreon deck with Obstagoon in it. I loved learning the game at PAX Unplugged last year and also getting the refresher at PAX East this year.

The workers at the booth are incredibly helpful, as they’ll answer any questions you have about the game. But they’ll help out more experienced players too, if you need it, without being overbearing. This made for a positive and fun experience for players at all skill levels.

Related: Top 10 most iconic Pokemon of all time

Worth The Wait?

Overall, the Pokemon Play Lab was a really enjoyable experience, and if you get the chance, everyone should go at least once. The one major downside is that the line to get in is very long. Our group didn’t have to wait, but I can imagine that the line would be pretty brutal to wait in.

I would recommend going to the booth on either Thursday or Sunday when the convention is less busy. I can’t say whether or not it’d be the wait. If you do decide to go, I recommend bringing something to do to pass the time.

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Radiant G
Radiant G

Radiant G is Press SPACE to Jump's site lead, as well as their Apex Legends beat writer. He has covered Apex Legends across various sites since Season 3: Meltdown. In addition to his journalism, he is also an indie dev, artist, narrative designer, and producer. He is currently working on a queer narrative adventure game called Himbo Hunter.

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