It’s hard to believe, but Pokémon has been around for over 20 years. Attracting fans from all age groups, the franchise has expanded into various types of games, movies, and toys, among other entertainment venues. The card game, the backbone of Pokémon, continues to grow and evolve drawing interest from gamers and collectors around the world.

With thousands of cards printed and in circulation for game-play and collecting, Ryan Majeske’s Pokémon Cards ‒ The Unofficial Ultimate Collector’s Guide is a great tool for series fans. Majeske, the host of YouTube’s PrimetimePokemon, brings nearly 20 years of collecting experience to the book.

He opens it with user friendly contents pages that concisely label each section to easily find any given heading. The introduction provides some history and background on the Pokémon phenomenon and what readers will find within the guide.

The first portion of the book gets into the minutia of the cards as the perfect starting point for beginners. Important details of the cards are covered in a two-page spread mapping how to read the cards. Those pages detail rarity symbols, evolution, type of character, significance of illustration windows, and how to interpret attack and weakness information.

Next comes some very practical information with tips for collecting Pokémon cards. It is well organized with explanations on theme decks, booster packs and boxes; suggestions on where to buy cards, the best way to collect, and how to protect cards from damage; and keeping resale in mind, plus other ways to profit.

The book breaks down the value of the cards, defining the rarity differences, followed by condition, demand for the cards, their popularity, potential value in the future, plus how and why cards are graded.

In the next section, the book details the rare cards – the holo, secret rate, shining, LEGEND, full art, and several others.

The cover of this book boasts “8,000 cards & values,” which is evident in the over 300 pages that fills out most of the guide. Despite being very complex, it’s clearly categorized by generation and set, with introductory text for each set. Then it’s subcategorized by theme decks, products available at release (booster packs, booster boxes, and theme decks), additional facts, and notable cards.

The giant lists are clearly organized in columns numerically, starting with the card number. The other columns are name, type, stage, and rarity, along with an empty box for collectors to “check” when they have acquired the card.

Majeske’s book compiles a very large amount of information into a user-friendly guide book. Beginners to advances collectors and players will likely find tons of helpful content as they build their collections. After seeing the beautiful full-color images and learning all the nitty gritty details on the cards, it will certainly have collectors wanting to catch’em all.

-Amanda Sheriff