Playing Potato Pirates (A Salty-Sweet Review)

Playing Potato Pirates (A Salty-Sweet Review)

I’m not sure about you, but when I first discovered Potato Pirates, I was completely puzzled. Pirates and potatoes were an unlikely duo – I never thought they’d fit as a pair. But nonetheless, here they were packed into an award-winning coding card game. 

Needless to say, I was sufficiently perplexed that my initial bewilderment turned into curiosity. I’d be damned if I didn’t try this game out! And so I did – and I even went on to try the 3rd installation (BattleChips) as well.


Potato pirates coding card game instruction manual

To start off, you first NEED to read the Instruction Manual. Don’t go thinking that “manuals are not for me”, because I made that mistake and it turned out to cost me the entire game (more on that later!).

The instruction manual is 19 pages long, but the manual fits in the palm of your hand, so it shouldn’t take longer than 12 minutes to read it from end to end (minus the last 2 pages).

Essentially, the objective of the game is to: 

  1. Eliminate all your opponents Potato crew (puff balls) OR 
  2. Collect all 7 Potato King cards.

Although this sounds confusing, bear with me. The game is actually very simple to play once you understand the basics. In the box, you get the following:

Potato Pirates Box



Potato pirates game play
Build Stage

After setting up the game, you will begin the game with the Build Stage.

  1. During each player’s turn, players will draw 2 cards from the deck
  2. Add no more than 3 cards per ship
  3. Rearrange your potato crew amongst your ships
  4. Use any Surprise cards (pink) they’d like
  5. *Exchange 4 Potato crew for an extra Ship (note: all ships must have at least 1 potato crew on them)

*Optional move.

Attack Stage

After the build stage is over and all players have built their ships, the Attack Stage will begin. 

  1. During each player’s turn, players will flip their switch over to “battle”
  2. Select an opponent’s ship they’d like to attack
  3. Execute the cards on their ship from top to bottom

Note: You can only attack one ship unless you have the IF | ELSE (control) card. Once the cards are executed, it will be thrown aside into the discard pile. 


As I mentioned before, I skimmed through the instruction manual, so I missed out some important information (see below)!

Potato king cards

Potato King Cards

Anyone who gets the Potato King card has to reveal it immediately during their turn and say “All Hail”. Once this is done, all other players need to shout “Potato King '' and salute. The last one to do so gives up 2 potato crew to the Potato King. 

However, there is a caveat. If the last player to salute has ≤ 2 potato crew, they don’t need to pay this fee. The Potato King will take 2 new potatoes from the sack. 

Note: Looted Potato King cards can be used again during the respective players’ turn.

surprise cards

Surprise Cards

Surprise cards can be played at any time. Be careful about the Deny card. If the Deny card is used on IF | ELSE cards, it will stop it from executing attacks on EVERYONE.

Another card to take note of is this Hijack card. If a Ship is hijacked, the attacked player gets to keep his potatoes. Even if no ships are left, the attacked player can draw 2 cards on their next turn and if they have more than 5 potato crew, they must buy one ship and continue in the game. Otherwise, they’re eliminated. 

If Else control card

IF ELSE Control Cards

Among all the control cards (orange), the IF | Else card stands out because it applies to everyone, rather than just a single ship. Additionally, you build it like a pyramid. However, you don’t have to build on both sides, you can choose which side you’d like to add cards to.


I’d say this game was fun, but having not read the manual properly, I was looted of my 2 ships within the first two rounds!

Had I known that I could still pick up 2 cards, and exchange 4 potatoes for a new ship, I would have stayed afloat in the game for much longer. 

Having said that, I watched my other opponents play the remainder of the game and destroy one another with fancy (and might I say STRATEGIC!) combinations of Control and Action cards. I definitely learnt a lot about the nuances between IF, ELSE statements, while loops and for loops. And this was before I even read the last 2 pages of the instruction manual which explains these coding concepts thoroughly!

But at the end of the day, would I play this again? Sadly, I have to say probably not... because I’d rather play Potato Pirates 3: Battlechips instead! (more on that in a separate post).

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