Potato Pirates

Lower Age: 7+ www.thinkfun.com 2019

Potato Pirates is a potato-themed coding game by Thinkfun for 3-6 players, ages 7 and up. The game includes the potato crew pieces (small, soft balls representing health points) with a storage sack, 16 ship tokens, 32 action cards, 4 control cards, 22 surprise cards, 7 potato king cards and the instruction manual. The object of Potato Pirates is to gather all 7 “potato kings” or to be the last player standing. On a player’s turn they have the choice of programming/modifying code or attacking an opponent by “running” code. When programming a section of code, a player lays down up to three cards in some combination of action cards and control cards. Action cards state how many potatoes the opponent’s ship loses while control cards state loops and conditions to the actions. Control cards include while loops, if-else statements, for loops, and variable dependent statements. For example, a control card could say “for 2 times” and the action card could say “roast 1 potato”, causing an opponent to lose 2 of their potato crew. The game also includes surprise cards that allow a player to complete actions such as “block an attack,” “take more potatoes,” or “hijack a ship.” The player uses their surprise cards and code segments to outwit and defeat fellow players.

Potato Pirates is an excellent game in that it finds a unique way to introduce the simple concepts of coding, while also teaching problem solving and strategy skills. The code segments are an excellent introduction to the topics of loops, conditional statements, variables, switches, and other basic coding principles. The back of the instruction manual explains how the different cards relate to real coding principles, which is a great stepping stone to more complex programming projects. Through Potato Pirates, young children can gain an interest in coding while encouraging other important engineering practices such as planning and analyzing solutions to a problem. Potato Pirates is an excellent game for young children and families alike to play while learning coding skills!

Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about:

Idea generation, Plan a solution, Create a prototype or process, Make improvements to the solution, Recognize Patterns, Communicate a solution, Apply mathematical skills

Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift:

A problem to be solved by developing a new or improved object, tool, or process, Criteria, Constraints

Critical thinking, Programming/Coding, Problem Solving, Perseverance

Overall ratings:

• Children Reviews

• Rating:  4.5 out of 5.0

• Feedback:

• "The potatoes are cute! And they are also fun to play with"

• Parents Reviews

• Rating:  5.0 out of 5.0

• Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews

• Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

• Feedback:

• "It teaches kids about programming in a fun and clever way. Players need to create a strategy and plan attacks on their opponents by using coding statements (like if-else statements, switch statements, and for/while loops)."