By: Jennifer Duetzmann
1-4 players (plus one adult)
Thinkfun (Dan Shapiro)
Robot Turtles is a family board game created to teach kids computer programming. It is simplistic and super fun. The goal is for kids to is to place directional cards on a board to get their turtle to a matching colored jewel. It starts out easy, but as your child learns, you can add obstacles to make it more complex. The children get to be the programmers and take control by playing out cards. The grown-ups act as the computer, following commands and making all sorts of goofy noises as they play. The key is that the computer has to follow the commands exactly as entered by the kids. For example, turning left and moving forward twice is different than going forward twice and turning left. It is a sneaky way to instill in children the importance of the order of operations in programming.
You might have heard about this game in the news. Maybe you’ve seen someone who has it. Maybe you’ve seen it reviewed on a website. But, you’ve looked everywhere for it. It appears it was only released on Kickstarter and there might be a few copies left online. But it’s crazy expensive. Guess you will never have a chance to get it for your family, right?
Guess again. Here is some wonderful news direct from Dan Shapiro (the game’s creator):
Thinkfun, one of the top publishers of kids educational games, is releasing a shiny new version of Robot Turtles this summer. And for anyone who preorders, they’ll include a really cool expansion pack.
Check out the link here:
We really enjoyed playing as a family. The biggest draw has been the scaling difficulty. It lets my sons play together despite their vastly different abilities. My 4 year old loved the basic game, and was super excited to have a robotic turtle with lasers. My 8 year old liked coming up with 3 card at a time moves in advance, and my 20 something year old brother-in-law liked writing his entire program up front (he was even able to experiment with function commands) . The game uses simple concepts to sneakily teach computer programming concepts and kids enjoy it. From an educational standpoint, it doesn’t get much better.
We definitely think it’s worth preordering a copy for your family.
Love the review! We read this and got the game for our little guy, age 4. HE LOVES IT! We keep it simple for now but will up the skill level as he gets older… and we love that that’s possible! “Scaling ability”, as you wrote, is right on!
We are a low-screen time family with very limited gaming but really enjoy our board games and also want our child to not miss out on the computer basics. This really fit the bill!
Turtles with lasers, does it get any better?
Thanks for the great review, it totally helped!