About Team Compendium & the PokéGym
Team Compendium serves one major purpose: to create and make easily available a place where any Pokémon player, judge, league leader, or tournament organizer can access and obtain answers to rulings on any question regarding the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG). As long as the Pokémon TCG is supported by The Pokémon Company (no matter who they have distributing it), Team Compendium will be present to get the latest rulings!
Back in March 1999, Brian Brokaw’s original web site, The Brokamon Center, transformed into the original “PokéGym”. The Psylum PokéGym was the first site to feed the serious Pokemon TCG players’ need for strategy. It had articles and news and, most importantly, discussion forums. Brokaw stepped away from the game and handed over the reins of the PokéGym to Tyais. Tyais brought on board various Moderators that were dedicated to the game. One such leader was Stephen Mumford (AKA Koribouros, or Kori for short). Together, they provided an environment that nurtured the strategic and intelligent play of the Pokémon TCG. Well, as you know, when people start taking a game strategically, it is also taken competitively, and when something is competitive, rules have to be very clear and well defined.
Beginning around February 2000, Wizards of the Coast began to hold weekly chats in which players could ask any ruling question. Or any question that popped into their minds, for that matter. What the next promo was going to be and the food preferences of WotC employees being favorite subjects. In any event, these chats provided answers to every player’s questions about the game and specific cards. But there was one problem; these answers weren’t stored in one place for easy reference. One would have to dig through thousands of pages of chat logs to find the nuggets of rulings. And good luck finding the one you wanted!
Kori saw a need and began building a database of rulings from these chats. A database of all of the rulings that representatives of WotC made for the Pokémon TCG. He named it The Pokémon TCG Rulings Compendium, the Compendium for short. Kori kept it up, attending each chat, logging the questions, and using direct quotes from those chats for the Compendium. Within a few months, however, time and work got the best of Kori and he had to stop updating the Compendium. The Compendium was dead … for about three days.
Kori offered the Compendium to those that he trusted to take up the responsibility, so that it could continue. Two of those Kori contacted were PokePop and PokeSensei, fellow Moderators on the PokéGym. They saw that they couldn’t let the Compendium die. Using the PokéGym Forums as their organizing ground, they gathered together Chrisbo and Big Daddy Snorlax to take over this hefty job. Within a few weeks qasic joined in, offering his programming expertise. Tyais offered to host the Compendium on the PokéGym, and before they knew it, Team Compendium was in business.
Stage One Evolution
In February 2001 Psylum’s new owner, USA Networks, pulled the plug on ALL of their fan websites, including the PokéGym, leaving Team Compendium without a host. They took what they had and created their own website for the Compendium. But it was only the Compendium. They Gym was in limbo. Meanwhile, Wizards of the Coast had been thinking of starting up their own fan forums for Pokémon. Their staff was aware of the Compendium and the PokeGym and had been developing a relationship with the people that ran them. Mods of the ‘Gym had even been invited to a private tournament with WotC staff following the first East Coast Super Trainer Showdown (the infamous Maple Bar Invitational I) in 2000. WotC’s Mike Boozer (Dark Master Trainer Mike) made an offer to Tyais and qasic to host the PokéGym forums on their boards. The new Wizards’ PokéGym (AKA “WizPoG”) was born. WotC wanted to ensure that responsible, trusted individuals who had a genuine love for the Pokémon TCG game ran the site, so they decided to invite the members of Team Compendium to be moderators/administrators of the forums. The PokeGym had evolved from a little known fan site into the official boards of the Pokémon TCG game! With Team Compendium’s knowledge of the game and its rulings, they were selected as judges by WotC for the East and West Coast Super Trainer Showdowns (2001) as well as the World Championships (2002) held in Seattle, WA. They became the template for the Professor Program developed by WotC’s Mike Gills (Master Trainer Mike). During this time, qasic stepped back from the game to focus on his studies and IPGeek21 (who had been present at the 1st Maple Bar Invitational!) accepted an invitation to take over his responsibilities. Somewhat later, Tyais also decided to it was time to focus on his studies as well, leaving the PokéGym completely in the hands of Team Compendium.
Stage Two Evolution
The relationship between WotC and The Pokémon Company/Nintendo, while never very smooth, began to become strained. Without having access to the details of the negotiations, it’s impossible to say which side was to blame for the breakup, but suffice it to say, in early 2003 WotC’s license to distribute the Pokémon TCG was not renewed. By the late summer, their involvement with Pokémon would draw to a close. While TPC made arrangements to shift the distribution of the game over to Pokémon USA Inc. (PUI), WotC made plans to shut down their operations, including the PokéGym. Luckily, because of the relationship that TC had fostered with WotC, they were able to get the corporation to allow them to keep not only the PokéGym name, but also many of the site Graphics. Furthermore, WotC allowed them to have a smooth transition from their official site to the new, independent site that Team Compendium created with the aid of onderlnd, www.pokegym.net. The new PokéGym was born in October of 2003. However, the life of the Compendium was in doubt. After all, without ongoing, new rulings, it was a dead, lifeless document. How would the new Company, Pokémon USA, interact with the serious players?
As PUI started up operations, Team Compendium ensured that they made their existence known. At the first Ruby Sapphire prerelease at the NYC Pokémon Center, Team Compendium was there. At the first Origins event, Team Compendium was there. At the first GenCon event, Team Compendium was there. They were there introducing themselves. Helping out. Making sure the representatives of PUI knew what they offered the gaming community. It paid off. Team Compendium developed a tight but independent relationship with the new game producers. While PUI did not have the ability to run a weekly chat like WotC had done, TC was able to negotiate a weekly meeting so that they could bring rulings questions to PUI for official answers. This evolved into the Rules Team. The Compendium was alive with new, weekly rulings once again! In order to delineate the changeover from WotC to PUI, the existing Compendium with WotC rulings was closed and archived (still available on the site) and the Compendium EX was started, containing all of the PUI rulings. The relationship with PUI continued to develop. The PokéGym became the meeting place for those involved in Pokémon Organized Play. Out of its members developed most of the Premiere Tournament Organizers and League Leaders, Tournament Organizers and Professors from around the world use the PokéGym as a common meeting ground. In 2004, Team Compendium was invited to judge at PUI’s first World Championships, along with many other leaders of Organized Play. It was at Worlds that many memorable events took place:
- The First Annual “Please Dave, May We Have Some Product” Invitational
(also known as The Flying PDA Event)
- The Team Compendium/Pokémon Card Labs playoff (PCL pwned us!)
- bulbasnore accepted membership in Team Compendium
Yes, that’s right. Another new member. IPG21 decided to focus his attention on other games and so bulbasnore took up the mantle of TC Webmaster. Man, TC sure does go through Webmasters! As a final cap to this stage of the ‘Gym, PUI asked TC to write the test for their developing Professor Program. Shortly after Worlds, the test was out and the Professor Program was reintroduced with some real benefits and opportunities.
And now we enter a new phase for the ‘Gym once again. Unlike previous changes that have been triggered by outside events and forces, this one is of our own choosing. Ever since Psylum’s PokéGym closed, the ‘Gym has been missing it’s front page content. No news. No features. Oh sure, all of that was covered in the Forums for those that chose to peruse them. If it was worth knowing, you could find it on the PokéGym forums. However, a feature page allows another dimension. It allows us to bring more graphics to our members. It makes the information more accessible to a wider audience. And getting the correct info out to the widest audience is what we’ve always been about! We hope you like the new, more robust PokéGym and we’ll look forward to seeing you at the Pokémon Tournaments and Events.