Pokemon Go has now been out for 1 week, and is literally becoming a cultural phenomenon.  

  • Pokemon Go has now surpassed Twitter in US users!
  • Users spend more time on Pokemon Go than Facebook.
  • Pokemon Go has more people playing than Candy Crush Saga did at it’s peak.
  • Nintendo stock is up 50%.

It’s is definitely crazy, but we’re still having fun with it here in Bloomington.  I can tell you for certain that my feet were sore on Saturday and Sunday, and my friend Chris last night said that while waiting for his wife to pick him up from work, he walked 3k out near State Farm collecting Pokestops and Gyms, and then came to Pokemon Go hotspot Downtown Bloomington to collect a bunch more and fight for some of the Gyms down here!

All that being said, let’s get on with some of the best tips we have collected:

Gotta Catch them all!

  • By now you realize that there are Pokemon everywhere around town.  Water Pokemon hang out near water (Miller Park, Money Creek, Old Farm Lake), grass Pokemon hang out in yards all over town.  Chris found a Taurus in the meat department of Sam’s Club yesterday (which is only a bit morbid…)
  • Pokemon have rarity levels.  Some of them are everywhere (rattata, weedles, pidgeys and others are much harder to find.  I’ve only gotten 1 Pikachu so far, and most people don’t even have that many.  I found a rarity chart posted in the Bloomington-Normal Pokemon League Facebook page. Not sure if it 100% accurate, but it sure feels correct!
  • Some Pokemon are only out early in the morning or late at night, which might be why you are not seeing them.  Please make sure you are getting enough sleep for work the next day.  I found a Squirtle by the World’s Largest Dairy Queen after dark last night.
  • One of the tips we have read is that if you throw your Pokeball when the inner circle is the smallest, it is easier to catch the Pokemon.  The flip side of this is that if you throw the ball when the circle is the biggest, you have a better chance of getting “Nice”, “Great”, or “Excellent” throws, which are worth more XP (Experience Points).
  • Curveballs can also give you more XP on top of your normal XP.  You have to actually spin the ball by drawing a full circle on the screen.
  • If a Pokemon is hopping around a ton making it hard to hit, give him a Raspberry by clicking on your items list, and then clicking on the Razzberry.  It will normally stop hopping around so that you can hit him with a Pokeball.
  • Very difficult or high CP Pokemon might also require a blue Great Ball to catch a Pokemon if he keeps escaping.  Orange & red Pokemon are the most difficult to catch.
  • If you find incense, you can use it to make your Trainer more attractive to Pokemon.  For 30 minutes, your chance of finding Pokemon will go up!
  • Lures are devices that can be attached to Pokestops.  To activate a Lure, click on the Pokestop, then click on the small oval near the top.  It will bring up a box where you can see and click on your Lure to activate it.  For 30 minutes it will attack more Pokemon to the area, but for everyone to see!  At Red Raccoon Games, we have been keeping the Lure across the street from us active for our players.  You can sit inside in the AC and collect Pokemon as they come by!

Powering Up vs. Evolving

Now you have a bunch of Pokemon – what next?  It’s time to increase their CP and HP so you can train them in gyms!

If you click on your Pokemon, and you will see that there are options for Power Up and Evolving your Pokemon.  In simple terms, you will get the most powerful Pokemon if you Power Up first and then Evolve them.

Power Up takes your existing Pokemon and makes them more powerful.  You spend some of your candy for that type of Pokemon, plus some stardust, and your Pokemon will get more CP and more HP to make them able to do battle a bit better.

When you Power Up, the white 1/2 circle above your Pokemon will slowly move farther clockwise.  When it is all the way around to 3 o’clock, your Pokemon is at max power.

Evolving is an option for some, but not all Pokemon.  A lot of Pokemon have 1 or 2 evolution stages that they can go through, each giving the Pokemon a new appearance, new special abilities, and always, more CP and HP.  The Pokemon Evolution chart is generic to Pokemon in general from the Nintendo and trading card games, but most of it applies to Pokemon Go as well.

Anecdotal evidence from our local players has shown that if you Power Up your Pokemon first, it will be a more powerful creature after it Evolves.  For instance, this morning I completely powered up a Drowsie, and after I evolved him, he is now my most powerful creature as a Hypno.


  • After you have reached level 5, you can choose a team color (might we suggest Red (Raccoon)?) and participate in Gyms that you find.
  • You will always be able to tell Gyms because they are huge towers on the map.  – The higher the power of the Gym, the taller it is.
  • You also see the most powerful Pokemon guarding the Gym on the top of the Gym.
  • If the Gym is not gray, when you click on it you can slide left & right to see a list of all the Pokemon guarding it, their Combat Power (CP), who their Trainer is, and what the Trainer’s level is.

  • If a Gym is gray, it means no one has claimed it (yet).  If you click on it, there will be an icon in the bottom left corner that will let you choose a Pokemon to put in there as a defender.
  • You can also sometimes sneak into a Gym when it is gray because 2 teams are fighting and the Gym is switching colors.  Don’t expect to hold it long because the fighting teams will probably turn on you!
  • If the Gym is a different color than yours, you can attempt to fight the Gym and dethrone the team that is holding it.  To fight, you click on the Gym, and then click on the boxing glove in the bottom right corner.  The app will then let you pick your 6 best fighters to attempt to defeat this Gym.  Try to match up your Pokemon to exploit weaknesses in the opposing team!
  • If you defeat a single Pokemon, or better yet all of them, it will lower the prestige points of the Gym.  Lower it enough, the Gym will lose a level and it will kick one of the defenders out.  Defeat a level 1 Gym, it will go gray and you can take it over!
  • If the Gym is the same as your color, you can fight at the Gym to help your team.  Every Pokemon you defeat at a Gym adds to the Gym’s prestige points.  As the prestige points go up, so does the Gym level.  For every level of the Gym, your team can add 1 more defender.
  • If you (and your team) manage to hold onto the Gym for 20 hours, you can start getting defender bonuses for the Gym.  To check on these, click on your Shop button, and look for the shield in the upper right hand corner.  it should have a countdown clock in it if you still have a defender in a Gym.  Once the countdown hits 0:00, then you can collect your defender’s bonus of 10 PokeCoins and 500 stardust!