TL:DR? I can’t rave about this enough! It’s a crazy fun game that stimulates the brain and involves basic algebra (or in their terms, “coding”) and is better with more players (but can also be played with just two).
This game includes a deck of cards broken into three types: actions (numbers), controls (equations), and surprises (counters). A fleet of 16 ships is included, each with their own, personal name. A potato sack filled with two sized foam/pompom balls (large and small) has plenty of “potato crew members” for max gameplay. A booklet is included with all of the rules and explanations of parts/cards thoroughly outlined.
The gist of the gist of the game is to end up with all seven (7) Potato King cards or to be the last one with a floating ship and crew to win. Every player starts out with two ships in “anchor” or night mode, a large potato (which equals 5 small potato crew members) and 5 small potatoes for each ship, and 5 cards. During the first round, each player takes a turn drawing two cards and building their “code” or equations for attack. A green (action) card MUST be on a ship for it to attack. You can’t play orange (control) cards without one. A max of three cards are allowed on each ship and pink (surprise) cards can be played at any time at any given instant (which can be very helpful strategy wise). If all the potato crew members are killed on a ship, that ship sinks, but if a ship is “hijacked” (special card for that), the crew survives and migrates to the nearest ship (you can’t hijack crew members). It is possible to buy new ships by trading in 4 potatoes to purchase one but you have to have an extra potato to captain the ship (i.e. all ships must have at least one potato onboard else it sinks). Potato King cards are declared once drawn and set out for all to see, but although they aren’t directly in your hand, they still count as part of it (and thus can be looted). Potato King cards are shuffled into a hand and all cards laid facedown when a looting card occurs (so you may not get the Potato King after all!; there’s some chance to it). This game teaches basic math/algebra and how to work a simple code sequence.
There are a lot of working parts to this, so don’t expect to get it all down the first round. That being said, the game is very rewarding and stimulates the brain. We managed to play a few rounds with just two people even though it calls for a minimum of three (3), so just keep in mind that it is a little flexible in the rules there. By the third round, we were getting pretty good at it, but that didn’t mean the game was any less challenging. If anything it was more so as you have to be very strategic in your codes (don’t make a monster code because someone may steal your ship and use it against you!) and on the surprise cards you keep in your hand. I highly recommend this for both young and old alike. It’s fun for adults and children, but just keep a little patience in hand as you learn and work your way through the game. It’s…well, just like math!
+Teaches math/algebra (aka coding)
+Potato smashing fun
+Clever concept and execution
+Complicated and brain tickling
+Thoroughly explained instruction booklet
-Not a game to master in the first round (it may take a few thanks to all of the working parts)
-Can be a little frustrating for children who have not learned/been exposed to basic algebra yet (but this could be a great way to learn!)
-A parent player may be needed to fetter out rules and the correctness of equations (older children may have no problem, they may even teach their parents something)
-Its possible for players to gain up on an individual (you may need to invent rules where you can only attack a player on the right or left if this is a problem for your family)
Overall, I absolutely love this game! It’s ranked up there in my top favorite games (tied with Cosmic Factory in the brain department at the moment). 5 out of 5 stars. A must for any family game night!