Pokemon, the children's cartoon/video game/trading card game that originated in Japan, has meant millions of dollars in revenues for U.S. companies that sell Pokemon merchandise.
Next up: Pokemon card playing leagues in all 50 states. Maryland's local leagues include ones sponsored by Outtabounds, in Crofton, and The Dugoutzone, in Eldersburg.
Lisa Orman, spokeswoman for Zany Brainy, a multimedia toy store chain, says that all five Zany Brainy stores in Maryland -- including ones in Annapolis, Columbia and Timonium -- will soon sponsor Pokemon leagues. Orman says that after sending 10 employees to a Pokemon training conference in Seattle, the stores plan to teach participants in the league to play or improve upon their skills in Pokemon because "apparently, the rules are so complicated that it's really hard to play." The leagues, free to anyone interested, will begin six weeks of play on Sept. 1.
Sign-up begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at all locations, Orman said. Players must bring at least one deck of Pokemon cards to the games. Call the Zany Brainy stores in Annapolis (410) 266-1447, Columbia (410) 312-0783 or Timonium (410) 308-0131.