Pokémon Master Trainer is a board game adaptation of the well-known Pokémon series of video games (though it mostly takes inspiration from the more well-known anime) where players opt to collect Pokémon while traveling around a large game board in a frantic race to see who can get the most powerful mons to challenge the Pokémon League Champion and win the game. Using dice rolls to navigate and build their party players collect Pokémon chips and powerful support cards to stack the odds in their favor while doing everything they can to hinder their rivals.
Nowadays the game is mostly remembered for being a surprisingly complicated and brutal ordeal where even the slightest mistake or run of bad luck could spell disaster. Catching even low level Pokémon could prove difficult and luck seemed to govern success far more than skill or strategy, especially for a game primarily aimed at young kids. Despite its many shortcomings, however, the game is still looked upon fondly by nostalgic gamers to this day who remember it for being a mostly fun (if punishing) experience.
This game provides examples of the following tropes:
- Actionized Sequel: Master Trainer 2 added in the Johto Gym Leaders as mini boss battles for players to face before fighting the champion.
- Disc-One Nuke: Instead of being found normally, legendary Pokémon require a certain card to encounter and a high dice roll to successfully capture, which means a player with a bit of luck can find themselves becoming the proud owner of Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres or even Mewtwo right at the start of the game. This is actually fairly hard to pull off but when a player does manage to do it they can basically skip half the game and make a beeline straight for the Elite Four.
- Elite Four: The original Kanto Elite Four serve as the final bosses of the game along with Gary Oak, who is actually way stronger than any of them and easily the most frustrating boss in the game.
- Final Boss: Master Trainer 1 had the players face off against a member of the Elite Four (or Gary) to win the game while Master Trainer 2 has them challenge Red at the end.
- Gold-Colored Superiority: Legendary Pokémon tokens are colored a bright yellow and generally have the highest stats in the game. Naturally, they are also some of the hardest Mons to catch as well.
- Inconsistent Dub: Master Trainer 2 keeps some of the Japanese names. Great Balls and Ultra Balls are called Super Balls and Hyper Balls respectively, and Mt. Silver is called Shirogane Mt.
- Law of Chromatic Superiority: Pokémon chips are sorted into different categories by color with each different group generally having higher or lower stats and catch rates.
- Luck-Based Mission: The main defining flaw of the game is generally agreed to be the overwhelming reliance on dice rolls and good support cards rather than any kind of strategy or planning. Even when a player has masterful luck and assembles a perfect team they can still fall short of victory due to one of their opponents playing a devastating card at just the right moment to snatch it all away at the last possible second. As a result games can easily go on for hours before a winner is finally crowned.
- Pyrrhic Victory: In the first game winning against the boss at the Indigo Plateau won the game as a whole but in the sequel victory is determined much differently, which means players can challenge Red, beat him and still lose the game as a whole if they aren't careful.
- Sequel Escalation: The first Master Trainer had all 150 Pokémon that existed at the timenote available in the game as chips, a very impressive feat on its own. What does Master Trainer 2 have to top it? All 250 current gen Pokémonnote and the Johto gym leaders as optional boss battles!
- Unstable Equilibrium: While the first game had some problems with this the second game in the series suffers especially heavily from it due to its refined mechanics. All it takes is a few bad moves for one player to soar ahead or lag behind, making victory and defeat almost predetermined before the game even starts.
- Warp Whistle: Players with a Fly card can instantly move their game piece to any city on the map instead of rolling the dice.