While the go-to Pokémon tabletop game is its long-running trading card game, there are plenty of great Pokémon board games out there for those craving something a little different.
Like wading your way through long grass in search of a Pikachu to catch, you might have to spend a bit of time seeking them out. Luckily for you, we’re here with a list of the best Pokémon board games to save you most of the effort!
Best Pokémon board games
- Point Salad: Eevee Edition
- Pokémon Battle Academy
- Nine Tiles Pokémon Dokoda
- Pokémon Labyrinth
- Pokémon Master Trainer
From themed remakes of classics like Monopoly - which doesn’t appear on this list, before you click away - to original games based on the fun of catching ‘em all, the best Pokémon board games bring some of the series’ most popular pocket monsters like Pikachu, Charizard and Eevee to the tabletop, while also letting wannabe trainers live out their dreams of being the very best (like no-one ever was).
So spin that baseball cap backwards, grip your Poké Ball tight and get ready to shout “I choose you!”, as we run down the best Pokémon board games every aspiring trainer should play.
1. Point Salad: Eevee Edition
Swap veggies for Eeveelutions in this delightful card game
The original Point Salad is one of the best card games in recent years, combining a clever dynamic scoring system with its colourful foodie theme. Players collect double-sided cards from a grid in the middle of the table, which can either be formed into sets of vegetables or flipped over to add new ways to score using those sets.
Combine the already fantastic card game with Pokémon, and you end up with one of the best Pokémon board games around. Point Salad’s Eevee Edition swaps vegetables for the many Eeveelutions of the fan-favourite first-generation Pokémon, introducing the likes of Jolteon, Flareon, Umbreon and Espeon to the deck of cards.
Point Salad: Eevee Edition plays largely the same as the original, with the introduction of a new rule that allows the unevolved Eevee to be used as a wild card in a set you already have in front of you.
While Point Salad and its Eevee Edition are must-play games - especially for Pokémon fans - there is a slight catch: at the moment, the Eevee Edition is only available in South Korea, so you’ll need to import a copy if you live outside of the country. Luckily, Point Salad’s simple rules and clear visuals make it fairly easy to understand how to play even if you can’t read Korean, so getting a copy is the hardest part!
Buy Point Salad: Eevee Edition from Asmodee Korea.
2. Pokémon Battle Academy
Get started with the Pokémon TCG in this all-in-one board game
The Pokémon Trading Card Game is more popular than ever thanks to its most recent sets and some headline-making sales of the very rarest Pokémon cards. But with over 20 years of cards and gameplay rules, it can be tricky knowing where to start if you’re brand new to the TCG.
That’s where Pokémon Battle Academy comes in. Battle Academy effectively turns the trading card game into a Pokémon board game, packing everything you need to learn and play into a single box. There’s no need to buy individual booster packs, look up rules online or learn how to build a Pokémon deck. You can just crack open the box and play.
In the latest box, you’ll find three readymade 60-card decks built around three of the most popular Pokémon: the iconic Pikachu, Gen 1 favourite Eevee, and Sword and Shield evolution Cinderace. (The older edition stars Charizard, Pikachu and Mewtwo.) As well as a rulebook teaching the basics of how to play the Pokémon TCG, each deck also comes with a beginner-friendly guide, helping new players understand the best way to use their unique set of cards.
Battle Academy also includes a proper board to place your cards on during battles - making it feel like a proper Pokémon battle in a stadium - and all the other accessories you need to get started. Because all of the cards and accessories are designed to work with the full Pokémon TCG, it’s the perfect place to start before you dive deeper into collecting and crafting your unbeatable deck.
3. Nine Tiles Pokémon Dokoda
A fast-paced Pokémon puzzler
Nine Tiles Pokémon Dokoda is another Pokémon-themed remake of a popular board game. This time, Nine Tiles from Japanese studio Oink Games, known for its inventive and compact micro-games.
The Pokémon board game replaces the basic patterns on Nine Tiles’ cards with Pokémon such as Pikachu, Eevee, Cyndaquil and Piplup, but otherwise leaves its very simple rules untouched. A pattern card is turned over in the middle of the table, before all of the players race to match the arrangement by swapping and flipping their grid of nine tiles.
Each tile is double-sided with two different Pokémon, making it a test of memory and speed to be the first to match the card and claim it face-up for a point. If a player slaps the card but has made a mistake, they instead collect it facedown as a penalty - do this twice and you’re eliminated. The first person to collect four face-up cards wins.
Like the original Nine Tiles, Nine Tiles Pokémon Dokoda is a fast-paced, chaotic puzzle that takes very little time to learn or play - making it ideal for younger Pokémon fans. The Pokémon edition makes things a little easier than the original thanks to bigger pattern cards. There are 30 possible pattern cards in the box, but the challenge of racing to match the pattern first means it’s infinitely replayable.
While Nine Tiles Pokémon Dokoda is technically only available in Japanese, its tiles and cards do not feature any language - making it easy to play if you can’t read Japanese. Less easy is finding a copy, as it’s officially only available in Japan. If you can track one down, though, you’re in for a good time.
Buy Nine Tiles Pokémon Dokoda from publisher Oink Games.
4. Pokémon Labyrinth
Get lost in a maze with Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle
Labyrinth is a classic family board game, first released in the 1980s and remaining a firm favourite among younger players since. In its Pokémon board game remake, the original’s hunt for treasure inside a shifting maze is swapped for a search for Pokémon.
Pokémon Labyrinth sticks to the gameplay of the original, with players racing to find the most Pokémon in an ever-changing network of hallways. Each player must try and get to the Pokémon on top of their deck of cards by moving their pawn along the corridors. Making things tricky is the fact that each player must shift one of the rows on their turn, rearranging the available pathways and potentially blocking their opponents.
With its easy rules and gently competitive gameplay, Labyrinth has become a family classic for a reason. Its Pokémon version is no different, applying the familiar faces from the series - including the ever-popular Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle - to its time-tested formula.
5. Pokémon Master Trainer
The ultimate Pokémon board game?
Pokémon Master Trainer is considered by many as the ultimate Pokémon board game. First released in 1997 - only a year after the Pokémon series made its debut - the board game aims to recreate the experience of the video games on the tabletop, taking players from their first steps into the region Kanto (or Johto in its later 2000 edition) to catch and evolve Pokémon before a climactic battle with rival Gary Oak or the Elite Four.
Players start the game with one of the iconic starter Pokémon from video games Red, Blue and Yellow - Charmander, Bulbasaur, Squirtle and Pikachu - or Clefairy or Meowth, in a nod to their appearance in the animated Pokémon TV series. (Chikorita, Cyndaquil and Totodile replace Pikachu, Clefairy and Meowth in the Johto edition.)
As they journey from Pallet Town to Indigo Plateau, following the same route as the video games, players can catch 150 Pokémon from Generation 1 - including Mewtwo and the legendary Zapdos, Articuno and Moltres - by rolling dice. (The Johto edition increases the number of Pokémon to Generation 2’s 250.) Players can also battle wild Pokémon and evolve those they’ve caught in order to increase their power, using items and event cards they collect along their journey to help.
While Master Trainer has aged with time - and its notably different third edition released in 2005 doesn’t live up to the nostalgia of the first two - it remains the closest tabletop experience to the Pokémon video games in an official Pokémon board game. Copies today are harder to find, but can still be found secondhand online. The game has even inspired a number of fan remakes and spin-offs. With Pokémon as popular as ever, Master Trainer arguably deserves to make a modern return.