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Just when you thought it was safe to go through life without understanding Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh, here comes Bakugan—the latest Japanese phenomenon for American parents to mispronounce. It’s got young boys everywhere mesmerized and its related toys are topping all the holiday hot lists. So what the heck is it? Here is a brief, parent-friendly tutorial.
1. First and foremost, Bakugan Battle Brawlers is a game (which is, thankfully, less violent than the name implies). It has two main components: a) collectible metallic cards, and b) magnetic balls that pop open and transform into mechanical monsters when they roll over those cards.
2. These monsters are called Bakugan. Although they look like robots, they are meant to be living creatures. (Warning: Don’t call them robots, or your son will roll his eyes at you.)
3. During a game, up to four players can place cards on the table. Then they roll their Bakugan and if two pop open on the same card, those two creatures “battle.” The duel is won by whichever beast has the higher power rating (power ratings are written on each Bakugan toy and can be augmented by bonuses spelled out on the trading cards).
4. There’s actual strategy involved, especially when it comes to choosing which cards to play and when, so you don’t need to feel too bad about all the time your kid is spending with his little non-robot fighting balls.
5. Bakugan is also an animated series airing on Cartoon Network. The plot revolves around children who pick up metal cards that rain from the sky and decide to make a game out of them without realizing that these cards represent real, living creatures in a different dimension. Impress your child by telling him you know the hero’s name is Dan.
There you go. Now when you get a request for a Bakugan Battle Brawlers 7-in-1 Maxus Dragonoid, you’ll have at least an inkling of what your kid’s referring to. (We hope.)