How To: Play Pokémon on Hard Mode (Self-imposed Challenges)
Many fans of the pokémon video games have tried to self-impose challenges because, although the games are fun, if you've played 1 pokémon game you've played them all, and because they're made for children to play they aren't challenging enough for adults. I designed this list mostly for myself because I want to try this newest (Black and White) generation of Pokémon games in a different way than I've approached the others. In the other games, my strategy was the obvious one for most people; build up 6 pokémon that are all different types and raise them to be strong but no one can be stronger than any other (I would switch my first pokémon every time it gained a level so all of my pokémon would level up evenly). I think it would be more challenging, however, if I simply tried to have 1 all-powerful starter and no other strong ones. Although I'm doing this for Black and White versions, it will work on any of the main Pokémon games. So here's my challenge rules I made:
1. You must only keep on your team your starting pokémon plus however many pokémon you need to use for HMs. In battle, your starter is always first.
2. The pokémon you choose to use for HMs must be the lowest level pokémon you could find that can still use the particular moves you need it to. You never try to level up any of these.
3. You aren't allowed to trade pokémon; either with npc's or with other people or with yourself, unless the plot of the game requires it. If you are required to trade for a pokémon in the game, or receive a pokémon as a gift, the received pokémon should go immediately into storage.
4. You fight and knock out the legendary pokémon. You do not save your game before encountering them.
5. When you go to a town with a gym leader you need to fight, after you've done everything you need to do to get to the gym leader, you may not fight the gym leader or anyone in that gym until your starter's level is 5 levels higher than the highest level gym leader's pokémon. (I believe you can find this out in strategy guides or on Bulbapedia)
6. If your starter is weak against the type the Gym Leader uses, your pokémon must be 10 levels higher than their highest pokémon.
7. You cannot use any healing items during battle. You cannot use Antidote or any item to heal a Poisoned or Burned pokémon; it either makes it to the pokémon center or doesn't. You cannot heal status during battle.
8. When you come to a new Route, you have to first catch all pokémon species that are common there, and they are put into storage if they're not needed for HMs. This includes any you might get by surfing, diving, or fishing (Again, check guides and/or Bulbapedia)
9. If you encounter a double battle, you choose your starter and the weakest of your HM pokémon. (The goal is that the other pokémon will faint and not steal half of your starter's hard-earned XP.)
10. If you lose a trainer battle (which will happen more frequently due to these rules), you must fight wild pokémon until your starter pokémon gains 3 more levels, before challenging the trainer you lost to again.
11. You cannot use Rare Candy.
12. No cheats (I personally don't use any of them, but don't!). No breeding. When you get the egg, hatch the egg but put the pokémon you get into storage. Do not allow the Day Care people to raise any of your pokémon.
13. You can't use Fly. If required to make a long trek back to a town you've been to, you must do it on foot/bike. Also, when returning to a town, you have to walk through tall grass instead of jumping over ramps to avoid it.
14. You can't avoid any Trainers on a route and must be sure to confront every single one of them. Same goes for any place with Trainers, such as caves or buildings you enter.
I think that's good enough for me and I'll try my best to play it this way.