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Tuesday, 7 August, 2001, 22:31 GMT 23:31 UK
Potter takes on Pokémon
Grace Murray, 11, from Birmingham, plays with the cards at their launch
The cards got the thumbs-up from young testers
Pokémon trading cards - the hit phenomenon of the year 2000 - are about to become a distant memory.

Pikachu, Bulbasaur and their kin are about to be swept aside by a new fad - Harry Potter collectable cards.

Scores of children have tested the new Harry Potter trading card game, which the producers hope will mirror the runaway success of the Pokémon version.

The game, which goes on sale in the UK on Friday, got the thumbs up from youngsters who tried it out at the launch at London's Guildhall.

Daisy Morrish, 10, of Fleet, Hampshire, said: "I've read the book and it's good to see it brought to life in this game.

"There's lots of things to do in it and you can also collect more cards to make the game better."

Children play with the cards
The cards show characters from the book, and some new ones
The cards are being launched in the run-up to the release of the Harry Potter movie in November.

Nitish Doolub, 13, of Haywards Heath, West Sussex, said: "It's a very interesting game. It's quite similar to another game by the company who made it but obviously this is on a Harry Potter theme.

"It's very intriguing if you've seen the film or read the book."

Game makers Wizards of the Coast also produces trading cards based on the Nintendo cartoon character Pokémon.

These have become a worldwide craze - in Britain, children have fought over the cards, schools have banned them and police have urged parents not to allow children out with them.

Adults too?

Wayne Charness of Hasbro, the parent company of Wizards of the Coast, said the game will appear in seven languages and will be on sale in 42 countries.

Children play with Pokemon cards
The game is based on the phenomenally successful Pokemon card game
He said: "There are some rare ones to collect and ones which will make your deck stronger."

Jo Hall, head of toys at Woolworths, said adults were likely to be caught up in the excitement of the game.

She said: "We predict that the Harry Potter trading cards will be the hottest swap in offices this summer.

"We believe that over half of sales will come from adults as competitive parents ensure that their kids go back to school with a full set."

The Harry Potter game is based on the first of JK Rowling's best selling series of novels, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

It has 116 cards altogether, showing characters, potions, spells and creatures from the book. There are also several new creatures and spells not in the book.

Players assume the role of wizards, and try to get their opponents to discard their cards or make them disappear.

The starter pack, which includes 82 cards, costs Ł7.49.

There are also 11-card "booster packs", which include more advanced strategies and different cards, which will be available for Ł2.49.

See also:

26 Mar 01 | Middle East
Saudi Arabia bans Pokemon
09 Apr 01 | New Media
Pokemon faced with fatwa
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