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- Ages 5+ years
- 2-4 players
- A Creative cooperative building game
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Use your creativity to build solutions to help free the ants. Engineering Ants inspires kids to invent design and build. Players help each other, not play against each other. No one is left out.
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This item Engineering Ants
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|Sold By||e-Street Sales||4% for Change for Children||4% for Change for Children||4% for Change for Children||Amazon.com||4% for Change for Children|
|Are Batteries Required||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Item Dimensions||10.7 x 11.1 x 1.8 in||0.59 x 4.8 x 3.5 in||9 x 12.5 x 1.5 in||9 x 13 x 2 in||9.5 x 9.5 x 2.25 in||10.5 x 13.1 x 1.5 in|
|Item Weight||1.75 lbs||1.53 lbs||1.2 lbs||1.5 lbs||1.1 lbs||1.2 lbs|
Top customer reviews
Components: I was very impressed by the chunky card board building pieces, they are made of thick card board with inspiring cartoon art work.
The cardboard pieces have holes for the supplied blue plastic tubes and widgets. If you want to construct sturdy contraptions it is recommended to use small end caps on the widgets. My main complaint is that only 8 of those are included in the box- more would be nice.
Instead of using holes you can also attach pieces with the supplied plastic clips. Unfortunately these suffer from the usual problem that repeated use will scratch or break the cardboard. The instruction sheet offers free part replacements by contacting the manufacturer!
There is an 11"x11" four-fold game board and a single sheet of instructions. On the game board you need to place one anteater ("the enemy"), the ant engineers ("good guys"), and three little ant chits. The game uses a custom die with two anteater symbols and the number 2,3,4,3 (sic). Finally there are 18 obstacle cards.
All of these components fit into a generous flip-top box. The card board used for the box is considerably thinner than the pieces but should still be sufficient for its purpose. It would have been nice to have a tray or dividers in the box.
Gameplay: 6 obstacle cards are randomly drawn from the stack and placed on the marked spaces. Three are placed face-up, the others face-down (though in my opinion this does not make much of a difference). Please note that the board picture printed in the instructions is wrong, look at the real board to figure out the obstacle placement!
The ant engineers are placed in the center space. The anteater mover is placed on its starting spot which is 7 spaces from the ant hill. If a player rolls an anteater symbol or the ants land on an anteater space that token gets moved one space towards the anthill. Do that 7 times and it's Game Over. The three small ant chits are placed along the perimeter of the board. If you manage to move the engineers to those three spots and then back to the center, you win!
Players take turns rolling the die and moving the single shared engineer token. There are only a few anteater spaces and because you are free to move in any direction, it is unlikely that a skilled gamer will land on those. The most important spaces on the board are those containing the obstacle cards. If you land on a face-down obstacle card by exact count you turn it over and build a contraption to overcome the obstacle. If you land on a face-up obstacle card (by exact count or with excess pips!) you must also overcome the obstacle, but then get to free one of the 3 trapped ants.
That is the core mechanic- faced with an obstacle such as "Giant Waterfall", "Sticky Mud", "Piranhas" the players must combine the pieces to come up with a solution they all approve of before moving on. Will you build a hang glider to fly over the mud? Or maybe a pogo stick to jump through it?
Verdict: As with other edutainment titles, "Engineering Ants" suffers from the typical problem that its educational part is really well done, while the gameplay is very bland. There is almost no strategy- winning or losing is determined by the number of times you roll the anteater symbol. This makes gameplay very easy for young kids but it seems like a wasted opportunity for older kids/adults.
The manufacturer stresses the importance of co-op play, but this too falls a bit short since it is difficult for multiple people to build at the same time. Adult co-op games such as Pandemic or Escape give each player a separate task to reach a common goal. I would have loved to see this in Ant Engineers, e.g. one player builds a car engine, another attaches wheels, and a third moves the token to acquire more building pieces.
My four-year-old Lego fanatic loved building contraptions. Faced with the option to move around an obstacle space or having to build a solution he gleefully moved the counter onto the obstacle. After our first session he proclaimed that this is a great game- and that he wants to build more things, "but I don't need the game board!"