ThinkFun Robot Turtles STEM Toy and Coding Board Game for Preschoolers - Made Famous on Kickstarter, Teaches Programming Principles to Preschoolers
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- Cardboard, Cardstock
- Made in USA or Imported
- Trusted by Families Worldwide - With over 50 million sold, ThinkFun is the world's leader in brain and logic games.
- Develops critical skills – Gameplay provides a stealth learning experience, where players learn key programming princples in a fun, easy to learn way. Inspired by the Logo programming language, Robot Turtles lets kids ages 4 and up write programs with playing cards.
- What you get - Robot Turtles is one of ThinkFun's best games for kids ages 4 and up. It was designed by programming expert Dan Shapiro and was the most-backed board game in Kickstarter history when first released. For 2-5 players, includes What you get cardboard and cardstock components.
- Clear instructions – Easy to learn with a clear, high quality instruction manual. You can start playing immediately!
- Parents and children play together - Robot Turtles was designed for parents and children to have a fun play experience together, which makes this preschool game a great gift for either parents or boys and girls ages 4 and up.
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CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
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From the manufacturer
A Fun Way to Learn Code!
The most backed board game in Kickstarter history sneakily teaches preschoolers the fundamentals of programming, from coding to functions, while making silly turtle noises! Takes seconds to learn, minutes to play and provides endless learning opportunities. Before you know it, your little one will be writing computer games rather than just playing them!
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!
Two words: Robot Turtles. This game teaches kids 4+ the ins and outs of programming in a fun, tactile game. Perfect for 2-5 players, this game has levels of increasing difficulty, introducing obstacles and more complex Code Cards. Beginner to Advanced levels will make it a family favorite for many years!
From the Manufacturer
Robot Turtles is a board game for kids inspired by the Logo programming language. It provides crucial brain development and computer programming skills to children as young as 4 years old in the context of family fun. 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.
WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts, not for children under 3 years. Ages 4+
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I haven't explained the sub-routine element to her yet, but the instruction sets are so limited that I really wonder how often anyone uses these in a meaningful way. Sub-routines are an important element of streamlining a program. But, this doesn't seem to be a practical component of the game.
I probably am being generous with three stars, because I wish I didn't buy it. But, it was so well done that I gave it one or two mercy stars.
It's a very simplistic game, and while it offers different ways to play for different levels of skill, there's never much complexity or challenge, unless you set it up to be really challenging by placing lots of obstacles in your way. There isn't any game mechanic that inherently introduces challenge, or makes it necessary to adapt or react or think on the fly. You just place tiles in your way, then show how you'd get around them.
For a 9 year old this got old pretty fast, even faster for me as the parent. There wasn't enough "game" to it to make it fun enough to want to play more than once, and if it's not fun and game-like, I might as well just sit her down and teach her coding concepts myself.
Actually, the best thing to do would probably be to look around the internet for the various free resources for teaching kids coding. A lot of them are much more fun and just as effective. Check out Thinkersmith and their offerings for instance.
It's great that there's more and more stuff to introduce coding to kids, just have to be aware that each item probably only fits for a very narrow age range. If it's simple enough for preschoolers, it's probably too simple for 2nd and 3rd graders.
In just a short while, Robot Turtles has become my son's favorite board game. That's saying quite a lot, as our collection of games runs across the tops of half a dozen bookcases and stretches almost to the ceiling.
Since I won’t be explaining how to play Robot Turtles, I wonder if some of my comments below might make more sense after skimming through the rule book: [...]
SETUP (2 out of 5)
This was my least favorite part of the whole experience (in fact, the only part that wasn’t overwhelmingly positive). I’d stop just short of calling the setup a negative experience, but it was definitely less than ideal. I suppose I should take most of the blame (?) since there was a note in the box suggesting a grown up spend some time (I estimate you’ll need about 15 minutes) learning how to play before bringing a youngster into the mix to actually play. But the excitement of opening a new box and “Hey, we’re gonna play Robot Turtles!” was too much for my son not to hang around while I learned the rules. After a while of hanging around and “Why aren’t we playing yet?” he began to lose interest. Of course, 10 seconds into our first official game and he had forgotten all about the waiting.
FIRST THOUGHTS (5 out of 5)
After a few rounds, we were hooked. As a parent considering what’s happening in my son’s brain while he plays, I was super excited that he was learning the basics of programming in a hands-on, screen-free environment. As a kid looking to have a blast, my son was literally jumping around the room with excitement as we learned the ropes, solved our first few challenges, and created our own challenges to solve (more on this in a minute)
CHARM (5 out of 5)
Robots are great. Robot turtles? Even better. Throw lasers in the mix, and you’re golden. I don’t know how much of this was carefully crafted scheming, or if the inventor of Robot Turtles just happened upon a great combination of images and imagination. Whatever the case, my son loves everything about the game. And any game that requires players (adults, especially) to make funny robot noises earns extra points in my book.
EDUCATIONAL VALUE (5 out of 5)
"Teach Your Kids to Code Before They Learn To Read. It’s the first board game for little programmers!” Yep and yep. But for me, it’s more than that. Or, I should say, those statements pack quite a punch. Cause and effect, learning from mistakes, short and long term planning, communication, problem solving… These are all fantastic things for a kid to engage in, and Robot Turtles has them in spades. And lasers! Everything is always better with lasers.
Since my son is only four and we’ve yet to tap into the more complex features and options of the game (Function Frog, for one), the thing I’m most excited about from what I’ve observed while playing is that in taking turns as the Robot Mover (and map designer), my son has an opportunity to use (and thereby further develop) his creativity. The board is a blank slate, and after a few moments he’s set up an adventure for me to guide my turtle through. I look forward to watching his creativity blossom as we continue to play this year and on into the future.
REPLAYABILITY (6 out of 5)
To me, this is where Robot Turtles really shines. The game has a series of "unlockables" designed to gradually increase the complexity of the game as players are ready. The game starts out rather basic, which was perfect for my four year old. Within a few rounds, he was chomping at the bit to learn what new cards and pieces would do. Over the course of that first few evenings, we brought in one, then two, then three of the unlockables. The difficulty ramped up nicely, and continued to hold my son’s interest, while also providing a within-reach set of challenges. However, we’ve really only scratched the surface. The combination of unlockables and alternative game modes means Robot Turtles will continue to grow in complexity as my kiddos grow in stature and ability.
Oh, and speaking of replayability, I just stumbled across the Galapagos Rules ([...]) for adults and older kids and realize the game has even more potential for expansion than I originally thought.
If I could, I’d give the game 42 stars out of 42. (Especially since ThinkFun has some videos in the works to make that first-time setup process a little easier.)
Well done, Dan Shapiro! And nice addition to an already outstanding lineup, ThinkFun.
In case it helps anyone take my comments with an appropriate grain of salt, here's some background: I'm a father of four (4yo, 3yo, and 18mo twins), a JH/HS math teacher, I've purchased just about everything ever released by ThinkFun (games, apps, you name it), and I've never written an Amazon review before.
UPDATE: AGE RANGE
Prior to writing this review, all of my Robot Turtles experience had been with my four year old. Amazon and ThinkFun list the age range as 4+, but the box I have (possibly from the KickStarter printing?) says 3+. I tried teaching my three year old this afternoon. He’s a bright little guy and typically enjoys games, though he isn’t quite as focused as my four year old (he’s 17 months younger, so that makes sense). He has no problem playing a few rounds of other games (Zingo, Connect 4, an extremely modified version of Monopoly), but this experience was a frustrating mess. I don’t think he’s ready for it, and to save us from further anguish I plan on waiting about 6 months before giving it another go with him.
My grandson loves this game, and I love that it makes him consider his moves carefully and will encourage him to plan ahead. This will probably be a good game to introduce before chess.
Top international reviews
My five year old totally got the sequence thing really quickly and there doesn't seem any way to expand the game beyond that.