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First-Ever Pokemon Trading Card Game World Champion Titles Won by Dylan Austin, 14 of Ann Arbor, Michigan and Mindy Lambkee, 10 of Kent, Washington

Young Champs Faced More Than 100 Competitors From 13 Countries

RENTON, Wash., Aug 5, 2002 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Young master trainers came to Seattle from Croatia and the Czech Republic; Germany and Greece; Israel and Italy, the UK and the U.S. -- and beyond.

With their own strategically designed Pokemon(R) trading card game (TCG) decks in hand, visions of Pikachu and Bulbasaur dancing in their heads, and the dream of winning a World Title in their hearts, they came. And, after two days of heated head-to-head, card-to-card competition with more than 100 Pokemon-playing prodigies from 13 different countries, two emerged victorious to win the first-ever Pokemon World Champion titles: Dylan Austin, 14 of Ann Arbor, Michigan in the 11 to 14 division; and Mindy Lambkee, 10 of Kent, Washington in the 10 and under age bracket.

"I like playing Pokemon because it's a strategy game," said Dylan Austin, the newly crowned 11-14 age group World Champ. When asked about his winning strategy, Austin explained: "I got my Slowkings out first to stop his Trainers, that was the key."

"The Pokemon World Championship is really great because people from all over the world come together to play and have fun," said Mindy Lambkee as she received the Pokemon World Championship trophy for the 10 and under age group. According to Lambkee, a strategically designed Slowking Donphan Deck and a special Pokemon good luck charm necklace borrowed from a friend were her secret weapons.

Austin and Lambkee were among the field of more than 100 competitors invited by Wizards of the Coast -- the Renton, Washington-based producers of the Pokemon trading card game -- to participate in the Pokemon World Championship held in Seattle August 3-4. The inaugural event brought together champions from national and regional tournaments that attract nearly 100,000 players each year in 40 countries throughout North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. More than 30 million kids worldwide have played the trading card game since it debuted in the U.S. in January 1999.

"With Pokemon TCG tournament play continuing to grow in popularity worldwide, the time was right to launch the Pokemon World Championship event," said Chris Galvin, director of organized play for Wizards of the Coast. "We are thrilled to have crowned our first World Champions and are pleased that we can give kids from all over the world the opportunity to come together for fun competition and the chance to communicate through the universal language of Pokemon."

The "universal language" of the Pokemon trading card game involves training, battling, trading and collecting various game cards in an effort to become the world's greatest Pokemon trainer -- and Austin and Lambkee proved that they are the current reigning Pokemon master trainers extraordinaire. In addition to winning the championship's coveted trophy, both winners also received loads of Pokemon gear and products, a trip for two to Hawaii to participate in the Pokemon Tropical Mega Battle and, of course, undeniable bragging rights.

Nearing its fifth year, the Pokemon phenomenon continues to fuel kids' imaginations and enjoyment throughout the world. In addition to the trading card game, the Pokemon franchise includes Nintendo's Game Boy(R) and N64(R) video cartridge games, the number-one-rated animated children's television program on the WB network, a Pokemon center retail store in New York City's Rockefeller Center, comic books and a vast assortment of toys.

Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS), is the worldwide market share leader in the trading card game and tabletop role-playing game categories. A leading developer and publisher of game-based entertainment products, the company holds an exclusive patent on the method of playing trading card games (TCGs) and produces the world's best-selling Pokemon(R) and Magic: The Gathering(R) TCGs. Publisher of adventure games, family card and board games and electronic media products. Wizards of the Coast is also one of the world's premier book publishers of fantasy series fiction whose novels have made numerous appearances on The New York Times best-seller list and have sold millions of copies worldwide. For more information, visit the Wizards of the Coast(R) website at wizards.com.

Pokemon(R) is a registered trademark of Nintendo. (c)2002 Nintendo.

Wizards of the Coast, Magic: The Gathering and all character names and their distinctive likenesses are property of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro Inc. (c)2002 Wizards.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO EDITORS:

Photos are available via the Associated Press Photo Network and on the Internet at Feature Photo Service's link through http://www.newscom.com.

B-roll is available via satellite on Monday, August 5 at the following times/coordinates:

    4-4:15 AM Eastern Time and 10-10:15 AM Eastern Time
    C-Band
    AM01 (Formerly GE 1), Transponder 1
    DL 3720

CONTACT: Wizards of the Coast, Inc. Carrie Williams, 949/642-6112 cwill333@aol.com or Jodi Medlock, 425/204-7693 jodi.medlock@wizards.com