This is inspired by me recently playing through Earthbound Beginnings, where I found myself getting frustrated by having a random encounter the first step after having just finished one. The Pokemon series is the only other series I've played a significant amount that had random encounters, and I don't remember ever having this frustration with them.

So, do the Pokemon games have an inbuilt mechanic that reduces the rate of consecutive random encounters, or is my memory just bad?


2 Answers 2


I've never heard of a built-in encounter cooldown in Pokemon series.

I'd attribute what you're describing mainly to a confirmation bias - you're more likely to remember situations that support the idea of cooldown, rather than the ones where you've had encounter after encounter. After all, some caves are known to be a nightmare to walk through without repel.

In addition, for a major part of the game you actually walk on paths that have 0 encounter chance - you have to walk off the road and into the tall grass to even have a chance at a pokemon encounter after all - with particular areas being exception to the rule, like water or caves.

Lastly, This thread on pokemonDB explores a more technical aspect of the mechanic. While there are no encounter cooldowns mentioned, your encounter chance depends on (quoting) a formula:

P = x/187.5, where x stands for rarity of the pokemon:

  • Rarity of Pokemon x
  • Very Common 10
  • Common 8.5
  • Semi-rare 6.75
  • Rare 3.33
  • Very Rare 1.25

Depending on an area, a mix of pokemon rarity and a number of different pokemon influences your encounter rate. If there are only a couple of pokemon to be met in an area, encounter rate goes down. Same thing happens if some of the pokemon are rare. On the other hand, in caves you are bound to meet a high number of common pokemon, which is why you might battle every other step you take.

  • 1
    The answer is correct, I just would like to add some technical information. In fact for current generation games, I don't know how it works exactly, but before 7G games (so until BW2), each map have a dozen of encounter slots, with each slot having a pokémon, its level range and its percentage encounter. The rarity of a pokémon is based on that percentage. And the x of the formula is the sum of all of these rarities. To make the correlation between current games and old ones, I think encounter slots are now associated to tall grasses group, and not an entire map.
    – iArcadia
    Mar 6, 2019 at 9:55

The chances are very small, as the rate of a Pokemon to spawn right after an encounter is chosen by chance. In the Gen 1 games, Pokemon could even spawn during a trainer encounter.

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