Pokemon Players Club

The Pokemon Players Club (officially called the Pokemon Card Game’s Players Club, or “PCGP”), established in January 2003, was the successor the original Pokemon Fan Club. Similar to its predecessor, players could earn points by attending official events and playing in weekly leagues. These points were known as EXP (experience) points, replacing the original Pokemon Fan Club’s GET points.

Players could earn promo cards by joining the club or continuing their subscription. Earning EXP allowed players to level up, and each level had additional rewards and promo cards. The promo cards distributed through the PCGP were all in the PLAY and PPP promo sets.

The PCGP would run until the end of 2007, after which it was succeeded by the Pokemon Daisuki Club in 2008.

Registration

Player ID card from 2003
Player ID card from 2005
Player’s Kit

Registration cost 1800 yen (approx $18), but included a Player’s Kit with registration. This kit included:

  • An Absol coin
  • Rule book
  • 2 Challenge Passports (to record matches in)
  • Foldable Playmat
  • Damage counters & carrying case
  • Card carrying case
  • Deck box
  • Mini card binder
  • The subscription promo cards for that season.

Player IDs were required for all official tournaments, but players were able to participate in side events without one. However, players would not be able to accumulate EXP without one.

Renewing membership in the PCGP was not free, and the renewal cost ranged from 500-1000 yen (approx $5-$10) per year.

The design of the Player ID card changed through the years that the club was active.

Player’s News

Examples of Player’s News

All registered players would receive copies of the “Player’s News” newsletter, which had the latest information about official events, new products, and how to gain EXP. It was published 4 times per year near the end of March, June, October, and December of each year.

If a player had earned enough EXP points to earn promo card(s), they would be mailed their promo cards along with this newsletter.

Player’s News example showing promo cards
Player’s News folded up
Additional advertisements that were included with Player’s News
Information about official tournaments

Seasons 1 – 2 (2003 – 2004)

The first 2 seasons of the PCGP ran from 2003 to 2004. During these seasons, players were able to accumulate EXP by attending official events, but the “level” structure of later seasons was not yet introduced.

EXP Structure

The first 2 seasons of the Pokemon Players Club had a slightly different EXP structure compared to the 3rd season and onwards. Not all the PLAY promos were available to players. during the first 2 years.

ActionEXP awarded
Subscription1000 EXP
Attending an official tournament (each day)50 EXP
Get 1st place in an official tournament500 EXP
Get 2nd place in an official tournament300 EXP
Get 3rd place in an official tournament200 EXP
Get 4th-8th place in an official tournament100 EXP
Play a match10 EXP
Win a match30 EXP (on top of playing)
Draw a match10 EXP (on top of playing)
Create a Player’s Gym50 EXP
Host an official event100 EXP
Record 100 matches in your Challenge Passport1000 EXP

Season 1 Subscription Promos

Players who subscribed to the 1st season of the PCGP received 3 cosmos holofoil promo cards featuring the legendary “Regi” trio.

Season 2 Subscription Promos

New players who joined the PCGP received 3 cosmos holofoil promo cards, featuring the legendary birds. These would be later released in the US as promos in collector’s tin products.

Players who had already joined in season 1 received the 3 legendary bird promo cards, along with 6 new promo cards, for a total of 9 promo cards. These 9 cards were distributed in a sealed pack with a small informational card in the front.

Sealed Season 2 promos for continuing players with 9 cards

The 6 new promos added for season 2 continuing players contained a set of 3 “owner’s” Pokemon promos where the player could write their own name in the blank spot of the card’s name, as well as a set of 3 special energy cards. The information card in the front of the sealed pack would have instructions on how to fill in the blank areas for the owner’s Pokemon.

EXP Promos

The following promo cards were available during the first 2 seasons by earning EXP points. Unlike the subscription promos, these were each mailed to players in individual cellophane packets, with one card in each.

Battle Road Attendance Promos

The first 2 seasons also featured promos for members who attended Battle Road Summer 2003 and Battle Road Spring 2004. The Pokemon Card Fan promo was also later given to members who joined or renewed their membership during the 4th season in 2006.

Seasons 3 – 4 (2005 – 2006)

The next 2 seasons of the PCGP ran from 2005 – 2006. EXP prizes from the previous 2 seasons were still available to players during Seasons 3 and 4, but starting in season 5 these rewards would be discontinued.

EXP Structure

Season 3 and 4 revised the EXP structure slightly, making it easier to get EXP points, but also added more prizes at the top end of the EXP spectrum. Most famously, these were the gold star Eevee evolutions, with the Espeon and Umbreon being extremely rare due to the difficulty of achieving their EXP requirements.

The table below shows the new EXP structure, with changes highlighted and older values in parentheses.

ActionEXP awarded
Subscription1000 EXP
Attending an official event / Player’s Gym100 EXP (50 EXP)
Participate in the EXP corner at official events100 – 200 EXP
Depends on event
Get 1st place in an official tournament500 EXP
Get 2nd place in an official tournament300 EXP
Get 3rd place in an official tournament200 EXP
Get 4th-8th place in an official tournament100 EXP
Play a match10 EXP
Win a match10 EXP (30 EXP)
Participate in a Player’s Gym event100 EXP
Up to 10 events/mo (1000 EXP max)
Host an official event (includes Player’s Gym)200 EXP (100 EXP)
Up to 10 events/mo (2000 EXP max)
Record 30 matches in your Challenge Passport
(previously 100 matches)
500 EXP (1000 EXP)
Up to 12 passports (6000 EXP max)
Send in 3 barcodes from Pokemon TCG purchases300 EXP
Up to 3 barcodes/mo (300 EXP max)
Purchase goods from the PCGP website50 EXP
Up to 10 goods/mo (500 EXP max)
Send a news write-up or Battle Report to the official Trainers website100 EXP
Only 1 write-up accepted per event
News write-up / Battle Report is selected to be posted on the official website500 EXP

Additionally, during these seasons if a member reached 20,000 EXP, they became “ex Members”, which was a reference to the Pokemon ex cards in the TCG. “ex Members” received priority lottery in official tournaments and were able to purchase exclusive goods from the Players club.

Translated excerpt from the PCGP website showing red card sleeves available for purchase to regular members, and the “ex Members” exclusive white card sleeves

Season 3 and 4 also introduced the “level” system where each level was assigned an EXP value and a prize promo. Players progressed by earning EXP. Since players got 1000 points for registering, they automatically started at level 1.

Promotional material showing the level system and associated prizes
Player’s News flyer showing the level & EXP system
LevelEXP NeededPrize
11,000
22,000Plusle
33,000Minun
45,000Celebi ex
57,000Mew ex
610,000Vaporeon
720,000Jolteon & ex Member status
830,000Flareon
940,000Espeon
1070,000Umbreon

Season 3 Subscription Promos

Season 3 subscribers (both new and continuing players) received a sealed pack containing 9 cards. 3 of these cards were new promos featuring Gen 3’s legendary Pokemon. Similar to the previous “owner’s” Pokemon released in Season 2, these cards featured blank spots for players to write their names.

The other 6 cards were the previous Mew, Celebi, and Jirachi “owner’s” Pokemon cards, along with the Cyclone, Boost, and Warp special energy cards from the season 2 subscription. These were accompanied by a small instructional card in the sealed pack.

Sealed Season 3 promo pack for players with 9 cards

Season 4 Subscription Promos

Season 4 featured 3 new Pokemon ex promos, ending the pattern of subscription promos being “owner’s” Pokemon with blank names. These promos showcase Gen 2 legendary Pokemon.

Similar to the previous season, these promos were distributed in a sealed pack that contained the previous season’s subscription promos. In this case, the 8-card pack contained the 3 “owner’s” Pokemon from season 3 (Kyogre, Groudon, and Rayquaza), the 3 new Pokemon ex promos, and a copy of the Pokemon Card Fan promo card that was originally distributed at Battle Road Summer 2003. The pack contained an information card in the front on how to use the 3 “owner’s” Pokemon in the pack.

Sealed Season 4 promo pack for players with 6 cards

Limited Edition Starter Kit Promos

During the 2005 season, members of the PCGP were able to purchase the “Limited Edition Starter Kit” for 1,500 yen ($15 USD approx) via mail or on-site at some official tournaments. This kit included multiple PCGP-branded supplies like a foldable playmat, damage counters + case, card carrying case, and mini card binder.

Advertisement on the official PCGP website showing the kit’s contents.
Photo of the kit contents

The kit also included 3 Pokemon ex promos of Gen 3 legendary Pokemon. These would be later released in the US as promos in collector’s tin products.

EXP Promos

Along with the promos from the previous season that could be earned with EXP, season 3 and 4 added 5 new gold star Eevee evolution promos.

To put into perspective how difficult it was to get the higher EXP value promos like Espeon and Umbreons, it helps to break down how many points a player would get on average for attending an official event.

There were weekly official gym events at local stores across the country, and an average player could expect to rack up this much EXP from participating in one.

The number of events could be reduced by regularly purchasing goods and sending in Pokemon TCG barcodes, but it was still a very large amount.

EXP from an average weekly Official Gym event:

  • Attendance: 100 EXP
  • Play 4 matches on average: 40 EXP
  • Win 2/4 matches: 20 EXP
  • Submit a battle report: 100 EXP
  • Participate in a side event: 100 EXP

Total: 360 EXP

A player would have to participate in roughly 191 events to gain enough EXP to earn the top Umbreon prize.

Season 5 (2007)

Season 5 was the final season of the PCGP, as it was succeeded by the Pokemon Daisuki Club in 2008. This season had a whole new set of promo cards, and players were no longer able to get the previous seasons’ rewards.

EXP Structure

The EXP structure during the final season was far more generous than before, perhaps since players only had a year to get enough EXP to claim all the cards. Changes from season 4’s EXP structure are highlighted below, with previous values in parentheses.

ActionEXP awarded
Subscription1000 EXP
Attending an official event / Player’s Gym500 EXP (100 EXP)
Participate in the EXP corner at official events500 EXP (100 EXP)
Get 1st place in an official tournament10000 EXP (500 EXP)
Get 2nd place in an official tournament6000 EXP (300 EXP)
Get 3rd place in an official tournament4000 EXP (200 EXP)
Get 4th-8th place in an official tournament2000 EXP (100 EXP)
Play a match100 EXP (10 EXP)
Win a match100 EXP (10 EXP)
Participate in a Player’s Gym event500 EXP (100 EXP)
Up to 10 events/mo (5000 EXP max)
Host an official event (includes Player’s Gym)1000 EXP (200 EXP)
Up to 10 events/mo (10000 EXP max)
Record 30 matches in your Challenge Passport1000 EXP (500 EXP)
Up to 12 passports (12000 EXP max)
Send in 3 barcodes from Pokemon TCG purchases300 EXP
Send a news write-up or Battle Report to the official Trainers website300 EXP (100 EXP)
Only 1 write-up accepted per event
News write-up / Battle Report is selected to be posted on the official website500 EXP

EXP Promos

Graphic from the PCGP’s website showing 2007’s promos

Similar to previous seasons, the final season of the PCGP featured a level system where players started at level 1, and then got exclusive promo cards as they leveled up by accumulating EXP.

Unlike previous seasons though, all the previous promos gained through the EXP track were not available for players to earn. With the new generous EXP structure, earning all the promo cards was much easier than in previous seasons.

LevelEXP NeededPrize
11,000
22,000Turtwig, Chimchar, & Piplup
33,000Manaphy
45,000Dialga
57,000Palkia
610,000Darkrai

The Turtwig, Chimchar, and Piplup promos were all distributed in the same sealed pack (3 cards in 1 pack), but all other promo cards were individually packaged.

Photo of sealed PPP promos. Notice how the Turtwig pack has multiple cards in it (one of each starter)

Merchandise

Members of the PCGP were able to purchase or win various TCG-related goods like deck boxes, card sleeves, and more.

Absol coin from 2003
Reverse of Absol coin
Cardboard card box
Card sleeves
Plastic card box (red)
Plastic card box (blue)
Playmat
Deck box & damage counter case
Card binder, playmat, card box, damage counter case, notebook
Red card binder, how to play guides
Exclusive Red & White sleeves (white sleeves were exclusive to ex Members)

Legacy

The Pokemon Players Club was succeeded by the Pokemon Daisuki Club in 2008. The Pokemon Daisuki Club would continue to issue exclusive promos cards, but they were part of the main DPt-P promos and L-P promo sets instead of having their own promo sets like the PLAY and PPP promos.

Sources

Card(s) distributed

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