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Beginners Guide to Pokemon Go [Updated]

Pokemon Go is sweeping the world and a renewed love for those pocket monsters is upon us. Unless you have been living in a part of the world in which the roll out hasn’t yet begun, you have probably played it or at least heard about it. Pokemon Go is essentially a mix of Google Maps and a Paper Toss game, but weirdly it works. In actual fact, Pokemon Go is a re-skinning of an older game called Ingress, in which you fight for supremacy over inter-dimensional beings. Pokemon Go has simplified it and removed most of the depth, which may be re-added in subsequent updates. Despite its simplified gameplay, it still took me a lot of question before understanding the finer points of Pokemon Go. I thought I would jot them down here for all to enjoy:


The Basics

Pokemon Go is a location based collection game in which a player created character walks around a stylised Google Map looking for pocket monsters or ‘Pokemon’. The launch version has 142 creatures to collect and they are collected by flicking balls at them. Pokemon can appear anywhere, but the algorithm favours built up urban areas, over rural wide open spaces. Certain types, such as Water Pokemon appear near bodies of water such as rivers and lakes.

As the games favours explorers, you need to be prepared to put in some legwork to be the ultimate Pokemon hunter. Social media is awash with people who have been ‘tricked’ in to exercise thanks to the game.

Pokeballs and Throwing

When your phone vibrates it means a Pokemon is near by. If you tap the offending creature, the game used uses augmented reality (using the phone camera) to layer a Pokemon in the real world view. Players start with 100 Pokeballs and these are flicked at creatures to capture them. As the game progresses, the creatures are able to dodge them and escape from them forcing you to use up more balls. Once collected they can be found in you Pokedex.



A Pokestop is map location where players can stock up of items such as Pokeballs and Eggs. Pokestops tend to be landmarks and places or interest such as nature reserves and historical signs. When you are close enough, players can tap the location and spin the image to receive a selection of spoils.

Pokestops can be good motivators for children as you can walk from stop to stop or you may even find one in a place you visit often. In many towns, the local church is a Pokestop so if you are having trouble motivating the kids on a Sunday morning, having a Pokestop at church could help peak their interest.



There are various items available to budding young trainers that include items that produce, lure and heal Pokemon.


There are three types of ball, standard, great and ultra. Each type has a higher chance of capturing and securing Pokemon.


There are two types of egg, the standard egg can be found at Pokestops and require you to put them in an incubator and walk 2km, 5km or 10km in order to hatch them. The longer the walk, the rarer the Pokemon. Lucky Eggs double your experience points (XP) for half an hour so they are best saved for when you are in a Pokemon heavy area.


The four types of potions include standard, super, ultra and max. Each of which, replenish the health of battle worn Pokemon (see gym section for information on battles). There is also a selection of ‘revive’ potions which awaken fainted Pokemon if they lose a battle.


If you do not fancy trekking into a built up area there are two ways you can get the Pokemon to come to you. Firstly you can use incense to attract Pokemon to your current location for 30 minutes, and secondly to can attach a lure to a Pokestop to attach Pokemon to that location so that you and anyone near can can the attracted creatures.

Outside of these items there are Razz berries that help you catch difficult Pokemon and different types of incubator meaning you can hatch more than one Pokemon at a time.

Strategies for Maximizing Items and Resources

In Pokemon Go, items and resources can be hard to come by. Here are a few strategies to help you get the most out of your resources:

  • Stock up on Pokeballs at Pokestops. Pokeballs are essential to catching Pokemon, so be sure to visit Pokestops regularly to stock up on them. You can also use Lures and Incense to attract Pokemon to you.
  • Use Lucky Eggs wisely. Lucky Eggs double your XP for 30 minutes, so be sure to use them in areas with a lot of Pokemon to maximize your XP gains.
  • Hatch eggs while you walk. Eggs require you to walk a certain distance to hatch, so be sure to keep your app open while you walk to maximize your progress.
  • Save your potions and revives for gym battles. Potions and revives can be hard to come by, so be sure to save them for when you really need them.


The Gyms

Gyms are essentially battle grounds and can contain around 10 trainers. Basically, you need to defeat three to take enter the gym. There is a ‘prestige wheel’ that reduces after each battle but I want to keep it simple. By being one of the trainers you get the two most precious commodities in the game, Pokemon Gold and Stardust which acts as in-game currency and power up material. Gyms are usually held by elites with powerful Pokemon but you can leave at any time to gain valuable experience points that will help at a later date. Players can take six Pokemon into a gym and one in, you leave your most powerful to guard your position. Battles can be done with friends and three people can take a Gym at the same time.

How to Build a Strong Pokemon Roster

Building a strong Pokemon roster is essential to succeeding in Pokemon Go. Here are a few tips to help you build a powerful team:

  • Focus on catching Pokemon with high CP (combat power). CP is an indicator of a Pokemon’s strength, so be sure to catch Pokemon with high CP to build a strong roster.
  • Evolve your Pokemon. Evolving your Pokemon can increase their CP and make them stronger in battles.
  • Use Stardust and Candy to power up your Pokemon. Stardust and Candy can be used to increase a Pokemon’s CP, making them even stronger in battles.
  • Build a diverse team. Try to build a team with a variety of Pokemon types to cover all your bases in battles.


The Perils

You may have already heard in the news that people have walked off cliffs, walked into mugging traps and generally endangered themselves as a result of playing. The three main issues are addiction, negligence and endangerment. It’s easy to get addicted so ensure that children take regular breaks. Having your head in your phone can result in walking into roads, stopping in roads to catch Pokemon and a slew of other problems. Teach your children to look up and use the vibration setting to feel for Pokemon over starring. Finally, players need to be careful that they do not go anywhere dangerous such as dark allies, building sites or even in open water to catch Pokemon. It sounds crazy but it happens.

Tips for Playing Pokemon Go Safely

While Pokemon Go is a fun and engaging game, it’s important to remember that it’s just a game. Players need to take certain precautions to ensure their safety while playing. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe while catching Pokemon:

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Don’t play the game while walking, biking, or driving. Always be aware of what’s going on around you, and don’t take unnecessary risks to catch Pokemon.
  • Be cautious of strangers. While Pokemon Go is a great way to meet new people, it’s important to remember that not everyone is who they seem. Avoid meeting strangers in secluded areas, and always meet in a public, well-lit location.
  • Play with friends. Not only is it more fun to play with friends, but it’s also safer. You’ll have someone to watch your back and help you out if you need it.
  • Stay hydrated. Pokemon Go can be a lot of walking, so be sure to bring water with you to stay hydrated.


Trading is a feature that allows players to trade Pokémon with other players. It can be done in-person or remotely with friends, and it requires both players to be at least level 10 and within 100 meters of each other. Trading can be an effective way to fill gaps in your Pokédex or to obtain Pokémon with high IVs (Individual Values) that are difficult to catch.


Research Tasks

Research tasks are objectives that players can complete to earn rewards such as items, experience points, and encounter opportunities with rare Pokémon. They are divided into two categories: Field Research and Special Research. Field Research tasks can be obtained by spinning PokéStops, while Special Research tasks are typically given by Professor Willow.


Pokémon Go hosts regular events that offer players the chance to catch exclusive Pokémon, earn extra rewards, and participate in unique gameplay experiences. Some events are global, while others are location-specific. Some examples of events include Community Day, which features a specific Pokémon and special bonuses, and Raid Weekends, which offer an increased chance of encountering and catching rare Raid Bosses.

Raid Battles

Raid Battles are cooperative battles in which players team up to defeat a powerful Pokémon called a Raid Boss. Raid Battles take place at Gyms, and they require a Raid Pass to participate. Raid Passes can be obtained by spinning a Photo Disc at a Gym, and players can earn one free Raid Pass per day. Raid Battles are a great way to catch rare Pokémon and earn rewards such as Rare Candies, Golden Razz Berries, and TMs (Technical Machines).


The Friends feature allows players to connect with each other in the game and exchange gifts, increase Friendship levels, and participate in special research tasks. By increasing Friendship levels, players can unlock bonuses such as increased attack power in Raid Battles and reduced Stardust costs for trading Pokémon.

Quick Tips:

  • Don’t get attached you early Pokemon
  • If you have multiple Pokemon of the same type, use the ‘transfer’ button to transfer its power (candy) to your strongest version.
  • Don’t ‘Power Up’ early on as stardust is precious
  • In the settings menu you can switch it to battery-saver mode to conserve power.
  • Turn off sound effect and music if you are jogging to listen to your music instead
  • If you are heading out, turn off WiFi and sometimes 4G on your phone in order to stay logged in. When the game needs to jump from 3G to 4G or WiFi it can lose connection.

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