While the Pokémon trading card game has brought joy to tabletop fans for decades, more than a few Pokémon board games have also sought a space at the budding trainer’s table. These games are as diverse as the beloved pocket monsters themselves. They can offer new ways to strategise when trading and battling – or they just give you another chance to immerse yourself in the world of cute and powerful anime beasties.
Some Pokémon board games are creative reskins of classic board games (Pokémon Monopoly, anyone?), while others offer a fresh new experience. Plenty of them are suitable kids’ board games, and they’d feel very at home in our family board games guide.
Whatever kind of game you’re after, you don’t need to play ‘em all to find the right Pokémon board games for you. We’ve done all the heavy lifting. Just grab your Pokéballs, and get ready to start your Pokémon board game journey.
These are the best Pokémon board games:
- Pokémon Monopoly
- Pokémon Master Trainer board game
- Pokémon chess set
- Pokémon Battle Academy board game
- Pokémon Yahtzee
- The ultimate fanmade Pokémon board game
Everyone’s heard of Monopoly. Sure, not everyone likes Monopoly, but the game is popular and enduring enough to have spawned over 300 different editions. Pokémon Monopoly is naturally on this list.
In fact, there are several editions of Pokémon Monopoly. The first was released in 1999, just a few years after the original Pokémon videogames and anime soared in popularity. It’s now something of a collector’s item – so even if you’re not looking to play Pokémon Monopoly, it’s still deserving of a space in this guide.
Anyone with plans to play or a more meagre budget should look for Pokémon Monopoly: Kanto Edition. This is a remake of the 1999 game, but its visual design was changed to reflect the FireRed and LeafGreen videogames rather than the anime.
Pokémon Master Trainer board game
The Pokémon Master Trainer board game is another popular ‘90s tabletop adaptation. It follows Ash Ketchum’s classic trainer journey, and it aims to faithfully replicate the core Pokémon experience. Players must travel throughout Kanto, catching, trading, and battling Pokémon.
The aim is to be the first trainer with a Pokémon team worth 20 power points. However, this doesn’t end the game – this player is then transported to the Indigo Plateau for a chance to defeat one of the Pokémon Masters. Win this final battle, and you’ve won the game.
Pokémon Master Trainer is an original board game that’s beloved by many, but it’s by no means perfect. Most of the game relies on dice rolls – a random element that can make the experience frustrating at times.
Still, if you fancy picking it up, you’ll need to go down the second-hand route. As of writing, there are plenty of copies of Pokémon Master Trainer on eBay, but many of the sellers are looking for a collector’s price for their copy.
Pokémon chess set
Chess is something like a great Pokémon battle in its own way. Two masterminds go head to head, crafting elegant strategies and sending their fighters to the front line to exploit a weak point, capture some foes, and win the day. This ancient board game may not ask you to consider how your pawns fare against grass types, but a Pokémon chess set can still be a great way to bring your love for battle to chess tables everywhere.
There’s an official Pokémon chess set on the Pokémon Center website. This will set you back an eye-watering $200 / £177.29, though. Many online have chosen instead to create their own chess set by using 3D printers.
Pokémon Battle Academy board game
This title may be something of a misnomer – technically the Pokémon Battle Academy board game is a Pokémon TCG product. However, this single box does contain everything two people need to play the trading card game, so we felt it deserved a place in this guide.
There are three complete decks (though they’re all reprints, so don’t expect to see any rare Pokémon cards here), as well as rulebooks and tutorial guides for anyone learning how to play Pokémon cards for the very first time. If you’re a board gamer with a love for the Pokémon videogames, Battle Academy could provide a helpful jumping-on-point for the TCG.
As well as classic board games, classic dice games have also been given a Pokémon makeover. Our top pick from this genre is Pokémon Yahtzee. We love Yahtzee anyway – it’s an addictive, easy-to-learn game. Players roll a handful of dice, and then they must decide which dice to hold and which to reroll. The aim is to score as many of the different Yahtzee combos on your score sheet as possible – and, of course, earn the most points by the end.
Pokémon Yahtzee is yet another adaptation from the ‘90s Pokémon merch craze. First released in 1999, it’s essentially the same as regular Yahtzee – only your dice pips are replaced with different Pokémon.
The ultimate fanmade Pokémon board game
This Pokémon board game might be the greatest tabletop translation to date. The ultimate Pokémon board game takes place across the entire Kanto region. It includes all 151 original Pokémon (excluding MewTwo and the Legendary birds). It painstakingly recreates the battle, trade, and catch mechanics from the videogames, and it takes 23 hours to complete. Sounds too good to be true for a diehard fan, right?
Well, you are right. This is a fan project, so the ultimate Pokémon board game will sadly never be released into retail. It will forever remain a passion project of its creator – and a legend among Pokémon board game enthusiasts.