How to Play ‘Pokemon GO’ In a Rural Area

City trainers don't get to have all the fun.

Pokémon GO is officially a sensation. Not only has the mobile game bumped Nintendo’s stock value up by a billions, it’s also created real-world friendships… and sometimes a little more.

Even if you don’t have any previous experience training Pokémon, it’s probably pretty tempting to get out there and see about gathering your own little cabal of pocket monsters. If you’re in the city, that task is as simple as moseying around a few blocks and trying to avoid getting robbed.

If, however, you’re one of the millions of people in the United States who happen to reside outside a major metro area, then your Pokémon GO experience comes with an added challenge. Put plainly: if you live in the country, your options for both gameplay and interaction are scant. If you want to compete with the city folk, you’re going to need to double down on your commitment and get real familiar with the inner workings of the game. Don’t worry, though, you’re not alone in your quest.

If you’ve got the Pokémon GO basics down, then here are a few tips to help you find your footing in the isolated world of a rural Pokémon GO trainer.

Notice the complete lack of both structures and Pokémon.

Be Patient

This one is at the top of the list, rural trainer, because you’re out in the country, which means that you’re going to see Pokémon fewer and farther between. What’s more, new Pokémon are going to respawn at an agonizingly slow pace, so it’s going to take longer for you to build up your stable.

Know Your Coverage Area

Here’s a fun thing no city player has to consider: cellular black spots. In the country, you’re going to hit them. You likely already know where they are if you’re in the habit of playing on your phone while in transit. Just realize that they’re out there, and that means the map on your phone isn’t 100 percent reliable, so you’ll need to make adjustments when going hunting.


With fewer specimen to find and collect, you’re going to need to use the ‘Nearby’ function found in the lower-right corner of the screen. This guy can basically be used like a metal detector to help you find specific Pokémon. One footprint is close, two footprints is medium, three footprints is the farthest away.

Go Lazy

When you start off, the game grants you two free incense. Combined, those are good for 6 to 10 captures right off the bat. Just tap your Pokéball, then hit ‘Items’ to use it.

If you keep the game up and running, too, Pokémon will find you, allowing you to sit on the couch and let the creatures wander your way. The downside here is that you will absolutely find yourself repeating Pokémon, but catch them anyway because they’re good fodder for transfers.

Learn to Throw

When you can’t rely on nearby PokéStops or Gyms to replenish your supply of Pokéballs, youre going to need to know how to toss the damn things or else you’re going to find yourself with an empty hopper. It’s a more complicated process than you think.

Pro Tip: You can pick your Pokéballs up off the ground if you miss on your first go-round. It’s a good way to keep your supply up.

Reddit, Reddit, and more Reddit

Since you might be literal miles away from your nearest PokéStops or Gym, you could find yourself quite literally stumbling around blindly and never actually find a PokéHub. Heres where reddit comes into play. Not only have a lot of major city’s devoted thread on their main page to the game (here’s Portland’s, for example), but gamers have also created hundreds of city-specific Pokémon GO subreddits.

You might be way outside the city, but youre not the only rural player who will be gravitating towards these major hubs in search of information. Don’t be afraid to ask some questions and get involved. Exchanging information is the best way to quickly get informed about your area.

Go A-wandering

Here’s where you may actually have a leg up on a city dweller. Where those guys are finding bodies and getting run over, you don’t have to worry about the inconvenience of other people when you’re on the hunt. You don’t even really need to be super aware, either, (do stay moderately cognizant, though, please) which will free you to focus on finding more Pokémon.

Get in the Car

If you’re of age, get in the car and drive around a little bit. Keep your eyes firmly on the road, of course, but keep the radio down and your cell phone turned up to listen for encroaching Pokémon. Unfortunately, if you really want to be competitive as a rural player, you’re going to have to do some driving. Either that or you’re going to have do some serious walking or bike-riding to cover the kind of terrain youll need to cover.

Pick Your Team Very Carefully

In the city, people have the luxury of picking pretty much whichever team they want. That’s not something a rural resident gets to do. You need to side with whichever team is dominant in your region. To make Pokémon GO work, you’re going to need as many allies as you can get, and sticking with the area’s most populous team is the best way to do that.

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