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So we,ve made it to the final week of our Pokemon Theme and to finish it off I thought I would have a crack at writing a complete guide to playing Pokemon Go. I love the social aspect to the game, I love that it gets you outside and walking too. Lets start at the beginning but before we set off, make sure you take a look at my previous posts, there is everything you need to throw a whole Pokemon Party.
Once you download the app, you’ll be asked to sign in. You can sign in using an existing Google account. Or, if you’re not so keen to connect your Pokemon identity to your Google identity, then you can also sign up with the Pokemon Trainer Club, which is an account with the Pokemon Co. From there, you design your character and pick your first Pokemon. Then you can get going!
And you will have to actually get going. The whole selling point of the game is to walk around the real world to find the cute little critters. This not only encourages you to explore your own city, but also — gasp! — gets you outside and around other people. In fact, this is not really a game you can play while stationary. Sometimes Pokemon will come to you, but more often than not you have to go to them.
As you walk around and catch more Pokemon, your character will level up. Leveling up lets you take on stronger Pokemon, and also gives you items that can help you throughout the game.
Once you have your character set, the game will show you where you are on a map of your area. But, you may notice that the map looks slightly different — littered with special spots called Pokestops, which are significant to the game. More on that later.
As you walk around, Pokemon will appear on your screen. Certain Pokemon are likely to appear in certain places — water Pokemon, for example, tend to hang out near lakes and rivers. You should feel your phone buzz or hear it make a noise when this happens. Once you see the Pokemon, tap on it. That should take you to the capture screen. A Pokeball appears at the bottom of the screen — use your finger to fling the ball at the Pokemon in front of you to catch it.
You may notice that different colored shrinking rings appear around the Pokemon — if you can get the ball through the ring without it touching the ground, you get a bonus for a skillful throw.
Players can actually find out which Pokemon are closest to them by looking in the bottom right-hand corner, where there should be a white box with a picture of Pokemon. This box tells you which Pokemon are nearby and approximately how close they are as well.
Each Pokemon should have between 0 and 3 footsteps underneath their picture. As you get closer to a Pokemon, the number of footsteps go down. When there are no footsteps below a Pokemon, get your flinging finger ready because it’s right next to you!
Every time you catch a Pokemon, you also get two other things — stardust and candy that is specific to that particular Pokemon. You can use these items to "power up" your Pokemon, to make them better able to battle, and to improve your chances of catching strong wild Pokemon.
You can also use candy to evolve your Pokemon into more mature (and stronger) forms — think of it as moving from baby to adolescent to adult. The number of candies you need to do this varies by Pokemon. You can also turn in Pokemon that you don’t want to earn more candy by tapping "Transfer".
What if you run out of Pokeballs? That’s what those Pokestops are for. These are placed at points of interest throughout the city, and give players items in exchange for interacting with them. As you pass by a Pokestop, it will change shape. Tap on these transformed Pokestops, and you’ll be taken to the stop’s screen. Swipe the center disc to get items such as potions that can heal your Pokemon, more Pokeballs or eggs that let you hatch new monsters.
If you get an egg at a Pokestop, you’ll be able to hatch it and keep the Pokemon inside. To do that, you’ll need an incubator. Every player gets a free incubator for playing the game. Once you place the egg inside, you’ll have to walk a certain distance — 2, 5 or 10 km — with the app open to hatch the egg.
Occasionally, you’ll also see bigger icons on the map. These are gyms. Players can access the gyms once they’ve reached level 5. When you do get gym access, you’ll be asked to choose a team — Team Valor (red), Team Mystic (blue) or Team Instinct (yellow). The teams have different personalities and are represented by different colors, but are in all other ways equal
Each team fights for the control of the various gyms in the area, which basically gives them bragging rights. (Who doesn’t like bragging rights?) If you battle an enemy gym and win, you can gain control of it. You’ll have to leave a Pokemon there to protect it, and face other challengers. If you train at a friendly gym, you increase the gym’s level and strengthen it against future competitors.
When you battle, you have to be fast. Players tap on the screen to attack, and attacks move in real-time. (In traditional Pokemon, you play by turns.) As you attack, you can also build up to a special attack, which will cause more damage. But while you’re on the offensive, you’ll also have to swipe the screen to dodge incoming attacks.
Gym battles are a great way to earn experience and to earn Pokecoins, which let you buy items that help you in the game.
There are a few types of items in the game that are important to know about as well. To use them, tap the Pokeball from the map screen, and select the items menu.
Potions and revives help heal your Pokemon after they’ve been through a tough battle. It’s good to keep them on hand if you’re going to hit up the gyms a lot. Lucky Eggs, which can be earned or bought, will double the amount of experience you get from each action, allowing you to become stronger more quickly.
Other items help draw Pokemon to you while you’re collecting. Using an incense will draw Pokemon to an individual player. Lures can be placed in a Pokestop to draw more Pokemon to a particular area for everyone. You can tell which Pokestops have lures attached to them by looking for swirling petals. This is why you’re seeing hordes of players descend on seemingly random points.
All of these items have a 30-minute time limit.
You can also use items called berries in battle. Berries will calm a Pokemon down for one throw, or can keep a Pokemon from running away. To access your items during a capture, tap on the backpack icon in the bottom right-hand corner.
Ok are you ready to dive a little deeper? Once you hit level 5 in Pokemon Go you can join a Gym and have battles. So I have tried to put some top tips together to help you win more battles.
Why Battle at all?
It’s probably best to approach Gym battling lightly. It may appear to be serious competition, and you can definitely get into the weeds on how you train your Pokémon for battles, but Gyms are meant to change hands often. This is for fun more than anything else.
The most concrete benefit of putting Pokémon on guard in Gyms is that you can earn free PokéCoins to spend in the Pokémon Go shop. You may only claim this bonus once every 24 hours, but the more Pokémon you have on guard at different Gyms, the bigger the reward you receive.
Gym battling is also a way to show off your best Pokémon. When you see a Gym on the map screen, the most powerful Pokémon defending the Gym will appear standing in the arena at the top of the Gym, which all Pokémon Go players can see when looking at the map screen. Also, when other players examine the Gym to see which Pokémon are on guard, your account name is displayed in those menus.
But actually trying to take and hold Gyms in the long term seems nearly impossible. It is far too easy to kick people out of Gyms if they’re not around to actively defend them. It is much easier to tear down a Gym’s defenses than to build them up. So don’t let a sense of hyper-competitiveness get in the way of enjoying your Gym battles!
If you’re going to start battling, it’s not enough to just collect Pokémon. You need to start making them as powerful as you can, and that means evolving and powering them up.
Most Pokémon can evolve from smaller, less powerful forms to larger, more powerful forms. Evolving increases a Pokémon’s CP, or Combat Points, the chief way you gauge the relative strength and combat effectiveness of a Pokémon. Evolving also increases the potency of their attacks and the Pokémon’s total HP, or Hit Points. The higher a Pokémon’s HP, the more damage it can take before being defeated.
Similar to how every Pokémon of the same type you catch may be different in terms of CP and attacks, evolved versions of the same type of Pokémon can also be different than one another. If you evolve ten Pidgeys into ten Pidgeottos, those ten Pidgeottos will have different CP and attacks from each other. And if you evolve those ten Pidgeottos into ten Pidgeots, you again may get very different results.
So the smart way to make your Pokémon stronger and get the most out of your Stardust and Candy, the two resources you need to make your Pokémon stronger, is to evolve first and power up second.
Stardust is a resource you earn whenever you capture any Pokémon or hatch an egg. Candy is specific to each type of Pokémon, and the evolved forms of that Pokémon. When you capture a Pidgey, Pidgeotto, or Pidgeot, for example, you receive Pidgey candy.
The other way to receive Candy is to transfer Pokémon to Professor Willow, the chap you met at the beginning of the game. When you transfer a Pokémon to the Professor, you receive one type of that Pokémon’s variety of candy.
To transfer a Pokémon, tap the Poké Ball at the bottom of the screen, and then tap 'Pokémon.' Then tap on the type of Pokémon you want to transfer. That will open the Pokémon's entry. Next, tap the button in the bottom-right-hand corner of the screen, and select “Transfer.”
When you transfer Pokémon, make sure you transfer the Pokémon with the lowest CP. The CP of a lower form affects the CP of the evolved form. A 100 CP Pidgey will evolve into a weaker Pidgeotto than a 200 CP Pidgey will, so you always want to hold onto Pokémon with the highest CP when you are deciding which Pokémon to transfer to the Professor.
Once you’ve evolved a bunch of the same type of Pokémon, you can look at the results to see which evolutions went the best, as measured by CP and what kind of attacks the evolved Pokémon has. Once you’ve found an evolved form that you want to stick with, then you can start using the power up option.
Go to the entry of the Pokémon you want to power up. Next to the power up button you will see how much Stardust and how much candy it will cost to power that Pokémon up. Once you confirm your choice, the Pokémon will have its CP and HP increased.
The arc above the Pokémon represents how high the Pokémon may be powered up. Each time you power up, the white dot at the end of the arc will move a little closer to the end. When the arc is completely full the Pokémon can not be powered up any further. I think this gives you an amazing start to this game which is way more complex than it's given credit for. I hope you do give it a try as a family whilst trekking somewhere like in a woods or around a city, you'll have loads of fun.
Wayne Wonder is one of the UK's leading family entertainers, a multi award winning magician and balloon artist, he's also a published poet and father of one. As well as a few TV credits to his name Wayne has performed in three different countries. Wayne Wonder's Kids Club was only launched in 2014 and since then has changed dramatically. If you have found this blog helpful/interesting then please do let us know in the comments below. Please do share these posts on your favourite social media too.