Since Pokemon Go became available in the United States on Thursday it is fair to say that it has become a cultural phenomenon. People are going outside and walking around their own neighborhoods for the first time in years in attempts to catch em all. Myself included.
For those who’ve yet to hear about the game it is an app that allows you to explore the world as a Pokemon trainer seeking out the elusive creatures, visiting Pokestops at real world locations to collect items or to engage in gym battles, and of course walking to the eggs you’ve collected to hatch. Now you might be wondering what this has to do with tabletop gaming right? Well in this modern era most folks have their devices with them at all times, and when something like this goes live you can bet that people are going to be playing around with it as much as possible.
I’ve seen more than one picture of Pokemon appearing in the middle of a Dungeons and Dragons game over the weekend. I know lots of groups have rules about electronic devices and ask that they been left in purses/bag, pockets during game time. While I’ve never felt the need to make any such rule I can understand why some groups do, however in this case it seems like a wasted opportunity. Maybe this is a chance to try something different depending on your group?
If you’re all fans of Pokemon why not break out FATE or some other system and adapt it to a real world adaptation of Pokemon? Heck why not adapt yourselves as Pokemon Trainers at that? Players can use their app to track what Pokemon are in their area and use them in their games, as well as any locations that might be within their range. It sort of reminds me of Dungeon World a bit because it gives you something to build on without laying down concrete that can’t be changed. Like in my area there’s a gym right up the street and a wooden statue of an eagle outside of a nearby bank. Whose to say that statue isn’t of Zapados, Articuno, or Moltres instead? Maybe swap hosting nights so you can get a wider range of locations and Pokemon to work with.
If everyone isn’t into that idea than that is certainly alright, but I think passion and enthusiasm are great tools for GMs to utilize in games their running, rather than trying to quash it. Giving players dirty looks when they are trying to catch that Meowth that’s been circling the block for ten minutes is understandable. I do think it is worth having a conversation with your group and seeing what people’s thoughts.