To start off, Battlechips is no different than the Potato Pirates game in that you really NEED to read the instruction manual. And while this might be an easy task for Potato Pirates, the same can’t be said for Battlechips. But you’ll be pleased to know that on the 3rd page of the instruction manual, there is a QR code that links to an instructional video that gets you up-to-date with all you need to know to start playing!
HOW TO PLAY
Before you begin, each player will need to select their favourite captain. Each captain has a special power so it’s important to choose wisely!
From there, they will need to set up as shown below.
Besides that, if you’d like to make the game more fun and challenging, you might consider giving all players 20 energy to start off with. This isn’t in the rules, but when I played it this way, the game got off to a great start! But the call is yours to make.
Now back to the game... As mentioned in the instructional video, there are 4 phases in every round:
- Build Phase
- Power Phase
- Run Phase
- Spudnet Purchase (Optional)
The build phase is similar to that in the Potato Pirates card game. Here, you’ll need to decide which Battlechips cards you’d like to add to your ships.
You’ve got many choices to choose from but they fall into 2 categories: 1) Action & 2) Control Cards.
Here are all the action cards and control cards in the deck!
As you can see, there are many actions you can take. Compared to the Potato Pirates game, Battlechips has an additional element of energy gems. And because of this, the types of attack combos you can create has increased more than proportionally (more attack combos = more excitement & chaos!).
While the power phase is a new addition to the previous Potato Pirates game, the power cards are essentially the same as the Surprise cards. The difference now is that you can’t play these cards at any time. It’s only during the power phase that you get to play them.
And some power cards cost energy to use! This is why choosing the right captain can make a huge difference (captain’s have powers that cost no energy to use).
Here’s the 10 power cards that you can choose from per round:
Last but not least, we have the run phase. This is essentially the same as the run phase in the Potato Pirates game. All you have to do is attack other ships with the Battlechips cards placed on your ships.
Each ship can only attack one opponent at any given time.
Unlike Potato Pirates, the Battlechips game also introduces restrictions to attacks. There are failure conditions that if true will prevent your attack from proceeding.
The last but probably most exciting distinguishing factor between the Potato Pirates and Battlechips game is the introduction of the Spudnet cards, which essentially are special power cards that can be played anytime (except for those that must be played only after the Run phase).
These cards can be purchased with energy gems, but their effects are perpetual unless you discard them. The caveat is that each player can only hold up to 2 Spudnet cards throughout the game.
HOW TO WIN
Once you’ve gotten through all the rounds, you go back and repeat the cycle over and over until a player wins.
Unlike the Potato Pirates game however, Battlechips offers many approaches to winning the game:
- Getting 2 Spudnet Cards (Art of Potato War & Decryption Key)
- Be eliminated first while holding a Spudnet Card (Spudtechular Sunglasses)
- Have the most crew when the Battlechips deck runs out
Be the last Potato standing (bring all other Potato crews to 0)
As you can see, with the addition of energy gems, power cards, failure conditions, and the Spudnet cards, Battlechips really differentiates itself from the original Potato Pirates card game – and does so in a very brilliant way!
I’d give Battlechips a rating of 4/5 simply because there are so many ways to win the game and multiple points where you really need to think carefully about your next move. For the pure strategists amongst us, this game would make a great fit!
The reason I can’t give Battlechips a complete 5/5 is because it’s a game that requires a lot of patience. And so I need to play this another 20-30 times to really discover the full list of Spudnet cards and their associated powers – not to mention the captain cards! But perhaps the fun is also in being a little surprised when a card you’re unaware of hits you right in the face!
All in all, besides the potato puff balls and the Battlechips cards (coding concepts), Potato Pirates and Battlechips have very little left in common! In other words, you could enjoy both of them for they bring a completely different gaming experience. However, I will say this, Battlechips is a much more complex game with additional elements that make the game a lot more exciting and immersive – but you need to be prepared to do the groundwork of learning the rules.