Tateroids is a math puzzle game that requires counting different body parts of Mr. Potato Head as they fly by on asteroids. At the end of each wave, we are presented with four cards and selectable arithmetic operations. The goal is to select the correct operations (+, -, ×, ÷) such that the left side evaluates to the right.

There are three waves of increasing difficulty which scale based on the range of number of asteroids and body parts.

Wave | Number of asteroids | Number of body parts (total) |
---|---|---|

1 | 12-15 | 2-5 |

2 | 16-20 | 2-9 |

3 | 18-28 | 2-14 |

As with other Playmate games, the best strategy is by playing with more teammates! One strategy is to have one person count the number of asteroids (the largest number), while the other players each count 1-3 body parts. We've found that having a spreadsheet where players can input counts greatly speeds up the process, but there are certainly other ways to communicate.

When solving the math equation, there are a few strategies to employ:

- Is the asteroid number prime? If so, then some addition, subtraction, or even division is necessary to get to the answer.
- If the asteroid number is not prime, compute its factors and see if subsets of the inputs can be combined into the factors.

This game is especially difficult with 1-2 people, but it can be done. Here is the strategy we recommended during hunt. First, assign each body part to a different letter. There are 7 things to count (eyes, ears, noses, mouths, arms, feet, and asteroids), so one assignment is Is, Ears, Noses, Mouths, aRms, Feet, and Asteroids. Whenever you see a body part, type that letter. You can then write a spreadsheet formula to count how many times a letter appears (an example for counting Ns can be found here). This handles the count for you, letting you focus on just the math. In internal testing, a solo tester went further and wrote formulas to brute force all math operations and report the correct one.

This was the first playmate game we designed, and encouraged us to continue creating challenging, team-oriented mashed-up games. We thought the idea of Neopets’ *Extreme Potato Counter* in space, mixed with ridiculous Mr. Potato Head body parts, would make for a hilarious encounter. Having multiple things to count was an easy way to encourage teamwork.

We were surprised with the range of feedback received for this game. Some teams (including our initial playtesters) found it hilarious, while others avoided it to the point of backsolving every other puzzle in the hunt in order to unblock the metameta. At one point, we contemplated implementing a leaderboard with an "infinite" mode, but ultimately decided that there were better uses of our dev time, like making sure that the Playmate would scale.