My kids and I are wiggling turtles and beeping a lot around here lately. Nothing you should be worried about though; it’s all part of the board game Robot Turtles. This super-cute game was the most backed board game in Kickstarter history and teaches kids computer coding skills without a computer. How is that possible? Well, it’s easy – the goal is for Turtle Masters (the kids) to move their turtles from their starting position to their jewel. In order to do that they have to write code or, play cards showing directional movement, to get their turtle from Point A to Point B.
Start With the Basics
The game teaches the foundational skills of movement and code writing, using forward movement and left and right turns. Turtle Masters must pick a card showing the movement they want to make to move their turtle closer to the jewel, then lie their cards in a line as they move through the game. Once they reach their jewel, they have written a code showing how they achieved their goal. Building these sequences of motion are the foundation of writing code.
Once Turtle Masters have learned the foundation of the game and code writing, you can introduce obstacles into the game like ice walls, stone walls, and crates. There are many different game board set ups you can use to add these elements to your game play. The included manual shows a few formations, and others are available online.
Mastering Robot Turtles
We started with the basic game, without obstacles. On our second round, we added ice walls that we had to zap with our red laser cards to turn the ice walls into puddles that we could move through. On our third round, we added stone walls. You can’t move through these so you have to move around them to get to your destination. We had fun playing with the various obstacles and writing our codes.
The game is fun and easy enough for an attentive preschooler. I played with my seven-year old son and my almost four-year old daughter and it was easy enough for them both to understand and navigate. The trickiest part of the game is set-up. There are lots of cards and obstacle discs. My kids got to the game and played on their own before me so I had to do a lot of sorting and organizing to get the game in playable form, but the task only took about 10 minutes.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this game to anyone with kids who like board games, or those who wish to introduce their kids to basic coding skills. An entertaining and educational family activity that we all enjoyed.