Round 1 is one of several games, with the first three players to earn one or two points moving on. Players earn points by playing the board, but to play the board they have to correctly answer a jump-in question (general trivia, identify a Pokémon from its Pokédex entry, or a series of clues to something related to the franchise). Here's what we've seen so far:
Super Effective: Given a Pokémon, find a move on the board that in the games is, well, super effective against that Pokémon. First three to do that twice move on.
Who's Whose?: The first question is always to identify a Pokémon by its silhouette (cue audience shouting "Who's that Pokémon?" in unison). Then, given that Pokémon, find its trainer on the board (four different ones, each showing up roughly the same number of times). First three to get two move on.
The Fast Track: Six Pokémon appear in each of the five rows of the board, with each instance of the same Pokémon connecting either vertically or diagonally with the previous. Find all five of the same Pokémon once to move on.
Make Your Move: Find two words that, together, create the name of a Pokémon move. First three to do that twice move on.
Round 2 is always Evolution Match. As before, buzzing in with a correct answer to a question allows that person to play the board. In this round, 25 Pokémon are on the board, all in groups of their evolution chains (hence, either two or three Pokémon). Within each evolution chain, all Pokémon touch either horizontally or vertically on the board (so a group of three can also be in an L shape). While playing the board, that player keeps picking so long as they continue matching Pokémon in the same chain, and upon completing the chain captures those Pokémon. The other five squares contain the Team Rocket "R" symbol, which costs that player a Pokémon if s/he has one. The first two to get six Pokémon move on.
Round 3 has the last two players challenge the Elite Four. The right to begin for each bout is determined by a question. The object is to find moves that are super effective against each of two Pokémon (in order). The players alternate turns until someone manages to do that, winning the bout. The first player to win three bouts wins free admission to that convention next year, and plays the Championship for the right to be programmed into the game software.
The Championship is played by the last remaining player. The board now contains 23 moves and seven K.O. squares (originally 24 moves and six K.O.'s). The Championship takes the form of a mock Pokémon battle, three-on-three. Finding a move either does 1 HP of damage to the Champion's current Pokémon (if it's not super effective against that Pokémon) or beats that Pokémon outright (if it's super effective), with each of the Champion's Pokémon having 4 HP. Finding a K.O., however, removes one of the challenger's Pokémon. The first side to K.O. all three of the other's Pokémon gets or keeps the championship — and in the case of the challenger, that person gets his likeness programmed into the game software for that convention, complete with his own selection of three Pokémon for the next challenger to face. (If a convention does not have a champion as yet, Iris from the Unova arc in the anime is the default champion.)
Luck-Based Mission: Quickly becomes a test of memory, but at the beginning of each round there's little or no information known. More prominent in the Championship Round, where once a box is opened it stays opened, since its effect happens immediately.
Retired Game Show Element: The show at Motaku 2014 featured questions which required the contestants to guess the Pokédex number of a given Pokémon as on The Price Is Right. Those questions were retired after Round 1 of that show.
Whammy: Starts showing up in Round 2, and has three different costumes — the Team Rocket "R" (which makes you lose a point), a "Miss" symbol in Round 3 (which makes you waste your turn), and a K.O. symbol in the Championship (three of them, and you lose).
In the Japan Expo 2014 episode, Round 3 also featured a "Splash" symbol with a Magikarp. Basically, it's a re-skinned "Miss" since Splash is never super-effective.
Trope examples... GO!
Bragging Rights Reward: Not for winning the main game, since that has somewhat more immediate value (even if it's a year from then), but winning the Championship Round means your face gets programmed into the game control, and you can pick your own set of three Pokémon to be featured.
On the first episode, the Elite Four round only lasted four bouts, and the player who won the Evolution Match got the option of going first or second to start the round. It ended in a tie, so both players won the convention admission and played a modified version of the Championship Round, where the player who K.O.'ed the champion's last Pokémon won, and each player had their own stock of three lives. Now, the right to start each bout is determined by a trivia question, and if the score goes to 2-2, Red from the games is the opponent for a fifth bout.
Early episodes started the Evolution Match round by showing one Pokémon briefly before the first turn.
Laser-Guided Karma: The Anime St. Louis 2013 episode had a then-19-year-old girl named Danielle who was cosplaying as Pikachu, and basically annoyed the crap out of everyone in the room. note (By her own admission, she had ADHD.) As the game went on, she tried everyone's patience more and more (Greggo included) by saying random stuff and making sounds into the mic at various times (such as when Greggo was explaining the rules) and generally distracting the other players (she kept hitting one of them in the back of the head with glow sticks). Much to the consternation of everyone in the audience, she was the day's winner, but then karma came back and bit her hard in the Championship as she found three K.O.'sin her first three picks.
Obvious Rule Patch: When a new champion picks their three Pokemon for next year's winner to face, each Pokemon must have at least one weakness (type of move which is super effective). A very few Pokemon who have no weaknesses are thus disallowed.
Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Danielle, again, when she won her game, although in fairness she did give her defeated opponent a hug afterwards. Seeing as she had been annoying everyone all show long, seeing her lose the Championship round in the first three picks was quite satisfying.
You Defeat It, You Become It: If you win the Championship Round, then you become the Champion (each convention has its own) and it's your face that stares down the next challenger with your three Pokémon they have to beat.