My eldest (and youngest to some extent) is bitten with Pokemon. For kids that age (7), cards are relatively cheap, and there are plenty of books with neat pictures and stories. There’s the obvious Pokemon Go, but there’s also the TCG mobile game. And of course, what seems like 20 years of animated shows with Ash & co. What is fairly interesting is that due to Nintendo’s all-gamers approach, the entry level for these games belies a more complex system.
TCG games as whole are predicated on the concept of deck building. Either you play a preset deck, or you actually build one by hand. For now, the kids are happy with just a random deck that I throw together. I mean, no sense in having Fire Pokemon in a Psychic deck… Once drawn, the card plays are fairly straightforward. Add energy, run an attack, draw a card. It is hard to make a mistake, even with semi-random choices.
But then you start paying a bit more attention to the cards. Some have resistances, or skills that work better on other types. You start adding and removing some from the deck, piece by piece. Eventually you realize that some cards are just not fun for you, or that they interrupt your play. You realize that more cards means more chances, but it also means giving up other items. Now you’re talking probabilities.
I’ve experienced this myself, when I had my first set way back when. I thought Magic was way too complicated/expensive for my tastes (still think so) but wanted some sort of TCG experience. It was fun learning the inner workings of the game.
Now I get to see that again in a kid’s eyes. It’s small at first, tiny little lights going on. Then it starts snowballing. They become comfortable with the concepts. Then they start sharing them with others. Then they start looking for similar tactics in other games. It’s really quite amazing to watch curiosity at play.