Each player starts with five chips. To take one of the ship cards, you have to have a stack of chips, the minimum number of chips for each ship being shown on the card. Making the stacks higher is the game's signature gimmick. On your turn, you can take one of your chips, or one of your stacks, and put it on top of one chip or stack of another player, and are then the proud owner of the entire stack. Trouble is, you can't SPEND the stack on a ship until your next turn, by which time somebody else may have taken it away from you by the same process.