Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Think Fun Robot Turtles Game Review #RobotTurtles

Games are a great way to teach kids, mostly because they learn by doing. At least my kids do!  So when the opportunity to review Think Fun's Robot Turtles board game came up I jumped at the chance. Soon the game arrived and I will say that I was very impressed by the box graphics and the box its self, which was nice and sturdy.  This game was made to teach preschoolers the essentials of learning computer programming. Both of my kids have done some programming on the old computer box using various programs.  Sonshine had taken to the idea of programming immediately.  Teenie on the other hand didn't really understand, like it or want to even try.  This game is marketed towards parents with preschoolers, but both of my kids (ages 9 and 13) were eager to try it.


I opened up the box and found that all of the pieces are made of a very study cardboard and the graphics on them are bright and colorful.  Then I saw the game instructions, which was more like a book.  I was immediately put off. Probably because I have the attention span of a three year old and I just wasn't in the mood to read all that. But the kids insisted so I sat down and took a look.  Thankfully, the instruction book is broken into easy to understand sections.

The object of the Robot Turtles game is for each player to get their turtle to their corresponding jewel.  There are no winners or losers in this game, and the goal is to get everyone to finish.  Which I thought was kinda lame, but it is aimed toward younger kids, so whatev's...    This game has different phases of game play and advances as your child's skills advance as well.  We wanted to give the game a fair chance so we started at the very beginning phase of the game.  The parents role in this game is to be the turtle mover and make sound effects, essentially acting as the computer. The kids are to give the commands such as forward, turn right, and turn left and to manipulate the command cards.
Unboxing Robot Turtles, well made, great quality!

Sonshine immediately decided that he game was lame and babyish and did not want to play, so I took his place. I also relented and let Teenie move her own pieces, but only if she made her own sound effects. So me and Teenie played the game advancing through each stage and introducing the "Unlockables."  These are new obstacles and abilities for your turtles, such as walls, crates and lasers to melt ice walls.  There is even a "bug" button that gives you a redo if you mess up.  For older kids and more advanced players there are other options. As you get a better understanding of the game, you are given the opportunity to use a "write program" command as well, so that you are essentially making all of your moves at once to get to your goal. The last component of this game is the "function frog" card, where you try to get to the jewel using the fewest moves possible. Introducing the "function frog" card give you the ability to make a series of moves in one turn.

While we had fun the first time we sat and played this game for almost two hours, I still wasn't sure if I would want to play the game again and neither was Teenie.  Too many rules.  So I sat the game aside for a few days.  Then I went online to the Robot Turtles website to see video instructions, and additional game board setups.  It was then that I noticed that this game had a very open ended setup. So I broke out the game again and so we could give it another try.  This time, in addition to letting Teenie move her own pieces, I also let her set up the game board.  We wanted to make it harder so instead of putting the jewels in the middle of the board, we set them up on the opposite sides of the board.  We also took away the "bug" button, so no re-dos!  It was definitely much more fun and made for longer game play. Our second round of playing we incorporated all four jewels scattered around the board with obstacles and who ever collected the most jewels won.  Yes, we did have a winner and I will gladly say that Teenie beat me both times!
Teenie setting up the board and getting ready to beat mama!

All in all, I would say that this game is well made and while it has an interesting concept, the rules themselves hinder all of the fun this game COULD be. We will definitely play this game again, but we will be playing by our own rules. If I were the manufacturer,  I would encourage rule play but also encourage creativity in this game as well.  After all, if they wasn't creativity in programming we would never have access to all of the information and technology we have available to us nowadays.

About Robot Turtles (Ages 4 and up, MSRP: $25.00)
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!


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.