Duke City Games, 1700 Southern Blvd SE, Suite A, will host a Pokémon League Cup tournament for the first time on Feb. 10.

“I’m really really, really excited because we just recently opened, like, two years ago,” shop manager Alexandra Saavedra said.

While the company has locations in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, this Duke City Games location services Rio Rancho card collectors, traders and serious gamers.

The upcoming tournament solely focusses on the now-famous Pokémon Trading Card Game, where players battle each other for points.

The Pokémon Trading Card Game is a two-player game in which players use 60-card decks to battle. In the game, players build decks around cards that feature Pokémon characters and then take turns using attacks to try to defeat their opponent. The game requires some strategy and planning to win.

Saavedra says the shop also provides prizes at the events.

“I usually give them the latest Pokémon packs that are out as price support. Sometimes we do store credit,” Saavedra added.

But the points are what get players into regional, national and even world tournaments if they are serious.  The annual Pokémon World Championship requires hundreds of points for people to even qualify.

While some people just collect cards, most who go to these tournaments are serious about playing competitively.

The cup on Feb. 10 will have 20-30 people, Saavedra hopes, but some of the larger tournaments can have hundreds of players.

The demographics are of a wide variety contrary to popular belief that the game is for certain crowds. Saavedra says kids and adults of all ages participate. The game has historically been largely played by male players, but Saavedra says she and others hope more girls and women start playing. She added that more often than not, the groups that play in the shop have three or four girls in a crowd of mostly boys.

“Anyone can sign up as long as they have their standard deck that’s in rotation, and then they just need a Pokémon ID,” she explained.

She says the game is where most adults come to be in touch with their inner child and get to “nerd out” together.

Saavedra also wants to quash any stereotypes that say all Pokémon players are “nerds,” or at least the stereotypical nerd.

“Here, we’re all literally just kids. Here we are all weird and just being little dorks, nerding out, playing games, opening packs and just going crazy. It’s not even the real world sometimes,” she said excitedly.

But the actual children, she says, have a hard time focusing on the game these days.

“I have noticed a lot of the kids collect, but when they play, they get really distracted and bored after, like, a couple turns,” she said.

She added that she thinks technology advancements have made it near impossible for kids to focus long enough on the strategy part of the game.

“They’re like ‘shiny cute packs’ and want to open more packs. It’s like a lot of quick gratification instead of a strategically made game for them to play,” she said.

Nonetheless, Saavedra encourages all types of people to join in the fun.

There is a small fee to play, and all players will have to have their cards checked before the competition begins so the tournament is fair game.

For more information, visit dcgrio.com.