Some People Can't Catch Pokémon On Military Bases

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Task & Purpose photo illustration by Matt Battaglia

The quest to be the very best Pokémaster (like no one ever was) spread across the globe with the launch of Pokémon Go on July 6. The new augmented-reality game for smartphones sends players to real-life locations to capture virtual Pokémon, creatures from the animated television series and card game of the same name.


However, players living on military bases seem to be in a bit of a dry spell when it comes to finding wild Pokémon.

According to comments on Reddit, would-be Pokémon trainers on base can’t seem to find the elusive pocket monsters, and quite a few of them are ticked off about it.

In two threads titled “Let Pokémon wander on military bases!!! It's barren and boring right now” and “PSA: No Pokémon on military bases” Redditors discussed (and occasionally griped) about the lack of Pokémon on post.

However, the lack of wild Pokémon doesn’t seem to be a total bust. Players are still able to use “incense” within the game to lure them out, though it requires users to purchase in-game currency to pay for it, a common trend in free-to-play games.

The lack of Pokémon does not appear to be consistent across all military bases, with scattered and at times conflicting reports of Pokémon aboard North Carolina’s Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, and the Army’s Fort Bragg. Though that hasn’t stopped people from looking for them, like everyone at Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne Division Museum.

Additionally, Stars and Stripes reports that overseas military installations appear overrun with charmanders and pikachus, and there’s even been mention of a Poké-battle between Squirtle and the Islamic State. 

Related: American Fighter Challenges ISIS To Epic Pokémon Showdown Near Mosul »

Wild Pokémon have also been spotted among Marines at sea.

Niantic Inc., the developer behind the mobile app did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.

Reddit users speculated that the game may be restricted on military installations due to concerns over unauthorized access, and there may be some truth to that.

The official Facebook page for Joint Base Lewis-McChord publicly warned troops to avoid wandering into restricted areas in search of Pokémon — It doesn't matter that there's a Mewtwo in the S-2.

"We talked about it here this morning with our director of emergency services, and said, as a precaution, let's just tell people right away 'do not be using the app to follow Pokémon creatures into restricted areas on base or controlled areas,'" Joseph Piek, a base spokesman, told Military.com. "We're not saying don't play -- but we are saying there's certain areas, don't chase the Pokémon there, you'll just have to leave them be."

However, there is another possible reason behind the shortage of wild Pokémon on military bases: They’ve already been caught.

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