Potu Rules

This post is part of a collection on Potu: Underground Adventures.

Recently the underground continent of Potu has been discovered. Adventurers have flocked from all over to be the first to take its treasures back to the surface. In this game you'll become of those adventurers and try to come out on top.


  • 8 Adventurer Cards
  • 51 Location Cards
  • 1 Start Card
  • 8 Adventurer Chips
  • 1 Coin from Potu

Game Overview

Each player become an adventurer and each round chooses whether to go up or down. Players who wind up on the same location will battle, and the winner will get the location. After all the rounds have ended whoever has the most points wins.

Preparation for Play

First have each player randomly pick an adventurer card and take the matching adventurer token. You should read your card out loud and introduce yourself to the other adventurers.

Next, put the Start card on the table with the side appropriate to the number of players facing up, and every player should put their token on the Start card. ("P" means "players".)

Then take the Location cards and shuffle them into a deck. Deal four cards face down in a line, and deal four cards face up on top of that. Put these cards to the side. These are the Legendary Treasures and can be acquired by getting Maps during the game.

If the Gambler or Robot are present you can deal them their cards now (see the Adventurer Overview for details).

Now you're ready to create the first half of the Continent of Potu. First deal two cards face down next to the Start card. These are the Bridge to the Underworld. After that how you deal cards depends on the number of players:

  • For 6-8 players, play 4 rows of 4 cards each.
  • For 3-5 players, play 5 rows of 3 cards each.

Each row should be half offset from the previous row so the cards are like bricks in a wall. The arrows on the Start card show you which way to shift each row. Check the diagram for details on how the final layout should look.

Flow of Play

For each round of the game you'll follow the same basic sequence.

First, flip Location cards in the next two rows face up. (Note: Bridge to the Underworld cards are counted as a row but are never flipped face up.)

Next, each player decides whether they want to go up or down. Turn your Adventurer card so the direction you want to go is on top, then turn it face down and hold it in front of you and say "Potu" so other players know you're ready. When everyone is ready, reveal character cards simultaneously and move characters to the next row in the direction indicated by the character card. (Tip: having one player ask each of the others which way they moved and moving their tokens for them can make things go more smoothly than having everyone move their own tokens.)

After movement has finished, you'll check to see who wins each Location card.

  1. If an adventurer is by themselves in a card that is not Dangerous, they just get the card.
  2. If an adventurer is by themselves on a Danger card, they must check for Danger but get the card regardless of the outcome.
  3. If more than one person is on a card, a Battle occurs. If it's a Danger card everyone will also have to check for Danger.

Any Location card you collect should be placed face up in front of you on the table for everyone to see. At this point any locations in the current row with no characters on them should be discarded.

When only one row is left: if there's only one row left (so you can't flip two rows), it's time to build the back half of the Continent of Potu. Keep the adventurer tokens at the same height but move them to the opposite side of the last row. Then deal out the back half of the continent the same way the front half was dealt, but going from right to left rather than left to right. Then flip up the first new row so you can see two rows ahead. When you reach the end of the back half of the continent there is no special procedure.

About the Bridge to the Underworld: the Bridge to the Underworld cards are a row and characters move through them, but they aren't flipped up and battles never take place on them. After the adventurers have exited the Bridge discard the cards. (The Bridge is just there to let the adventurers separate at the beginning.)

Battles and Danger

If you're on a Danger card or in a Battle, you'll have to draw from the deck and look at the number on the card you drew to decide what happens. If you're in a battle on a Danger card note you use the same card for both Danger and Battle results.

Normally in either case you draw a single card from the deck and use that to determine the outcome. However, if the Skill Icon (a fist or book) on your character matches the Location card you're on, you can draw two cards and choose which one to use. (Note: The Black Cat and Gambler have no Skill Icon.)

In a Battle, whoever plays the card with the highest number wins and gets the Location card.

On a Danger card, if the number played has a red splatter behind it, you take damage and must discard one Location card you previously acquired. You may choose what to discard, though Atlantean cards are immune to damage. If you have no Location cards there is no penalty. You can still win a Battle if you take damage.

After the Battle and Danger checks have finished, all cards drawn for the checks are discarded.

Strategy note: if you have a skill usually it's better to play the higher numbered card, but higher numbered cards are more likely to have a red splatter. If you're on a Danger card and you draw a high card with a splatter and a low card without, think carefully about which card you want to play.

Adventurer Overview

  • Tansy, the Black Cat: No skill. Unlike the other adventurers, Tansy can go to any card in the next row rather than just going up or down.
  • Talos XXIII, the Robot: At the start of the game Talos gets a hand of cards equal to the number of rounds in the game (8 for 6-8 players, 10 otherwise). If a battle or danger check occurs Talos will play a card from their hand rather than the deck. If Talos goes to a location with a fist icon, they may draw a card to add to their hand. If Talos goes a turn without a Danger or Battle check they must discard a card.
  • Darius, the Berserker: Darius likes smashing things. If a Crystal is shattered, Darius collects it and counts it as a two-point treasure. The Crystal card should be put in front of Darius upside-down to track this, but is otherwise a normal treasure and can be lost to Damage. Darius gets smashed crystals even if he didn't smash them himself.
  • Aleister, the Mystic: Aleister counts Curse cards as Discovery cards in addition to their basic effects.
  • Munir, the Diplomat: Munir starts the game with two Favor of Potu icons.
  • Isambard, the Gambler: At the start of the game draw four cards. Discard two and keep the other two face down. If one of the kept Locations is a Map use it immediately. Otherwise the kept Locations are the same as normal Locations and can be lost to Danger.
  • Aho-o-te-rangi, the Professor: the Professor starts with one Discovery icon.
  • Nokomis, the Veteran: Nokomis gets two bonus points for each Danger card collected.

Location Overview

  • Treasure: Treasure card are simply worth points equal to the number of icons on the card. 12 cards, 7x 2 points, 5x 3 points.

  • Discovery: Discoveries in Potu are worth more the more you find. Check the table below to calculate points. 12 cards, 9x 1 icon, 3x 2 icons.

Icons 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Points 1 3 6 10 15 21 28 36
  • Favor of Potu(Leaves): Whoever gains the greatest favor of the residents of Potu will be their next President, and whoever is in second will be the Vice President. Anyone else gets no points. In a 6-8 player game the President gets 8 points and the VP 6, in a 3-6 player game the President gets 6 points and the VP 3.

  • Crystal: Crystals are more valuable than Treasure but more fragile. If multiple players arrive on a Crystal, instead of a battle taking place it breaks and nobody gets it. 5 cards, 4 points each.

  • Curse: One curse card is -2 points, but two are +7. If you get three that's (+7 -2) = 5 points and so on. 5 cards.

  • Map: Maps lead the way to Legendary Treasures. When you get a map you discard it and take a Legendary Treasure. You can take a face-down treasure if you like but you can't check it first. If you take a face-up treasure, flip up a face-down treasure. If multiple maps are collected on the same turn, the lower number gets to pick first. 4 cards.

  • Treasures of Atlantis: If you get all of these cards you gain the Power of Atlantis and win immediately. If you don't get all of them then they're worthless. Atlantean cards can't be lost due to damage. 3 cards.


Design / Rules: 23

Icons: Lorc from Game-Icons.net

The illustrations used in the game are from public domain sources. A detailed list is under construction. ❧