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ThinkFun Robot Turtles Board Game
- Teach Children as young as 4 the basics of computer programming
- As children gain confidence they can go on to more 'unlockable'
- No reading required and it takes seconds to learn how to play
- Educational game designed to be played with parents or an older sibling
- Teaches skills required by the new National Curriculum
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|Shipping||—||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||Available from these sellers||MMP Living||Smart Games Online||Amazon.co.uk||Cute Little Clothes US||Amazon.co.uk|
|Age Range Description||4 years +||—||8 years +||4 years +||—||—|
|Are Batteries Needed To Power the Product or Is This Product a Battery?||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|EU Toys Safety Directive Age Warning||Not suitable for children under 36 months||Not suitable for children under 36 months||Not suitable for children under 3 years. For use under adult supervision||Not suitable for children under 36 months||Not suitable for children under 7 years. For use under adult supervision||Not suitable for children under 36 months|
|Item Dimensions||33.02 x 28.58 x 28.58 cm||22.86 x 33.02 x 5.08 cm||6.35 x 27.3 x 23.81 cm||20.32 x 26.67 x 8.89 cm||2.54 x 20.32 x 15.24 cm||6.35 x 22.54 x 20.32 cm|
|Number of Players||2-5 Players||4||1||1 joueur||2||one or more|
This product is subject to specific safety warnings
It's no surprise that Robot Turtles is to date the most backed board game in Kick starter history- it cleverly teaches pre-schoolers the fundamentals of computer programming while providing lots of fun and silliness. It takes seconds to learn, minutes to play and provides endless learning opportunities.
One thing you should know from the start is that it's not your typical board game. Naturally, there are rules you have to follow and there's a beginning and an end, but there's no single winner. In Robot Turtles, everyone plays to get their Turtle to the matching Jewel. It doesn't matter who gets there first, everyone can win. It's not about competition, but about having fun AND-shhhh, don't tell the kids-learning.
The inventor of Robot Turtles, Dan Shapiro, is a programmer and a dad. He came up with Robot Turtles to give his kids what he feels is the single greatest superpower-the skill of programming. He created the game just like a video game with cool obstacles and powers that you can unlock along the way-this keeps the game fresh. The recent changes in the UK National Curriculum mean that Children will have to learn basic computer programming at Primary school - Robot Turtles gives your little Turtle Masters the opportunity to learn basic coding in a fun way - without parents needing a background in computing to help them!
Players dictate the movements of their Robot Turtle tokens on a game board by playing Code Cards: Forward, Left and Right. When a player's Robot Turtle reaches a jewel they win! If they make a mistake, they can use a Bug Card to undo a move. The game has many levels so, as the players advance, they will encounter obstacles like Ice Walls and use more complex Code Cards (like lasers to melt the walls). Play continues until all players collect a jewel, so everyone wins. Beginner to Advanced levels will make it a family favorite for many years. It includes a large Game Board, 40 Tiles, 4 Robot Turtle Tiles, 4 Jewel Tiles, 4 Code Card Decks (45 cards in each deck) and instructions. 2-5 players can play at once and everyone who gets the Robot Jewel wins.
Set up the game board with the Turtle Tile in the corner and the Jewel Tile in the center.
Use Code Cards (Forward, Left, and Right) to program the Turtle.
Reach the Jewel Tile and unlock the next level of play!
Once the basic game has been mastered, introduce new challenges through unlockable levels of play. Introduce obstacles, planning ahead through the ‘write program’ feature and function frogs, a key part of real programming. Increasing difficulty makes Robot Turtles a great game to grow with.
Describe your product in 3 words.
Innovative, educational and fun!
How did you come up with the idea for this product?
I’m a software guy who’s been programming since I was 7 years old. I invented Robot Turtles as I pondered these questions in the shower one morning: 1) Why are kid games either pure luck or a frustrating exercise in trying to lose on purpose, without the child noticing? 2) How old does a child need to be to learn to program? (Do they even need to read?) 3) What's something cool I can do with my kids this afternoon? I got out of the shower, printed out some generic robot clip art, and told my four-year-old twins that I had a new game for us to play. We started experimenting with the rules. The kids couldn’t get enough of it. I got so excited that I took a leave of abscence from my job at Google and spent the summer working full time to develop it.
What makes your product special?
Robot Turtles was launched on Kickstarter, where it became the bestselling boardgame of all time. Robot Turtles is a board game you play with your favorite 3-8 year old kids. It sneakily teaches the fundamentals of programming.
What has been the best part of your startup experience?
I realised this was something different than what I was expecting. It was getting people excited in some way that I just had no possible concept could happen, and then it was just like trying to keep up with this giant boulder rolling down the hill. The game went on to sell more than 20,000 copies in just four weeks. Robot Turtles is now in the homes of tens of thousands of families, and hundreds of schools as well.
Top customer reviews
The basic game is barely even a game. The child moves the pieces one square at a time forwards or turning left or right. That is pretty much it; there is no element of chance. You can add obstacles (mostly static) so they have to go around them - not really challenging since my kids worked out how to avoid walking into tables at around age two. There are crates that you push, so you could theoretically make a game that was non-trivial, but you have to do that yourself. There is an attempt to add a complex programming concept, but no real point as to why it is there in terms of game objectives. There's a lack of rules or sample scenarios to give you any chance of making this really interesting.
Furthermore, it isn't really much like programming (I am a programmer). You don't really make a program - more a history of your decisions, which is not the same thing.
So a nice idea, and fun for very young kids, but the game desperately needs something to ... well; make it an actual game. A dice maybe, some more rules, a winner and a loser perhaps.
The idea is that each player has a turtle that they move through a maze of walls, sliding blocks etc. to get the jewels. They do this by playing cards that are essentially 'straight on', 'left' or 'right'. You can either play a version where they play one card a time or a version where they play up to a specified (or unlimited) number of cards at a time. As we currently only have one child of an appropriate age, we've never played it competitively as it'd be trivial for an adult - only in a solitaire type mode. It might be more fun as a competitive game. I should also add that I have the kickstarter version and I'm not sure how exactly it differs from this version.
I have a few issues with it:
- it really needs a book of interesting mazes to go with it. One of the cards that it introduces is a 'function frog' that lets you do a sequence by playing just one card, but it's non-trivial to construct non-boring mazes which benefit especially from this introduction, and in solitaire mode, it's a bit pointless. In terms of introducing programming, without this, I feel that what it teaches about programming is rather limited.
- there are a lot of different rulesets that you can play with, which gets a bit confusing as you have to agree which rules you are playing with before you start. I can see why it does this in terms of gradually making the game harder, but it still doesn't quite work for me.
- It could do with more guidance (and ideally a small board for each player maybe with a different side for two different rulesets) as to how to lay out cards during play. I find that the cards get chaotic very quickly and a 4 year old isn't brilliant at following instructions, especially when parents are inconsistent!
- Overall, I'm not sure I totally enjoy the job of moving the turtle - it does get a little bit boring
- And a very minor thing, it's a bit of pain sorting out the cards again after each game
The concept is fairly simple, the idea being to teach basic coding principles to small children, through a fun board game. Now, there isn't any actual coding to be done, they'll not be learning Basic or Cobol but they will be learning how code is broken down into a series of discreet instructions that are carried out by the computer in sequence.
To do this the children have to guide a turtle across a gridded board to reach a the jewel that matches their turtle's colour. A basic program is written by placing cards - each of which give the turtle a command - in a line; an adult acting as the computer carries out the commands on the child's turtle. The basic commands are 'move forward', 'turn left' and 'turn right', when playing the game for the first few times, these are the only commands the child will need and they can be placed one at a time, the parent/computer following the commands as they are placed. They do encourage an adult to take on the role of the computer and to do so whilst being very silly indeed, this all adds to the fun but my repertoire of funny noises eventually ran dry.
As the child progresses and gets more skilled at basic coding, then more complex coding can be introduced. First of all is the concept of writing the code in one piece and only executing when it is complete, much like a real program. Obstacles can be placed on the board which require a bit more lateral thinking and introduce new commands. Eventually the child can be introduced to routines which are a series of commands that can be 'written' separately and then represented in the code by a special card that when encountered by the computer/parent will cause the turtle to follow that routine.
As well as being easy to learn, unlike many board games, there is the prospect of the game becoming more complex and challenging as the child's skill increases.
I particularly liked two things: that the game reduces actual screen time, whilst teaching important real world computing skills and that the design is resolutely unisex and doesn't seek to look like a boy's toy. Other than that, it is very well designed and made and, most importantly, fun.
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