I was quite excited when I saw this project on Kickstarter. Robot Turtles is a game marketed towards parents of young children. Okay, so I wasn’t planning on spending hours playing it myself, and I don’t have any children of my own at the moment. The reason I was so excited by this project was because it is an example of how games can be used as powerful tools for teaching children seemingly complex topics. In this case, Robot Turtles disguises programming techniques as a fun game for children ages 3 and up.
Players: 2 – 5
Time: 5 – 15 min
For children 8+ and for us “grownups”, a fast paced rule set called, Galapagos Rules, was developed. This means that as children grow older, they do not have to stop playing a game that they loved when they were young. Robot Turtles was created by Dan Shapiro, a software Engineer working for Google. Obviously the guy knows a thing or two about programming. However, it turns out that he is also quite brilliant at designing games.
The game itself consists of an 8 x 8 board—the turtles’ world—18 step cards, 8 turn left and 8 turn right cards, and a bug card, along with 48 punch outs, including gems and various items used to make the game progressively more difficult. The goal of the game is for the player to have his or her turtle reach a gem. As each person lays down a card, the designated turtle mover who is usually the adult in the case of when children are playing, then moves the player’s turtle based on that card. In reality, the arrangement of cards acts as a simple program.
One current issue is the lack of availability. It seems that Shapiro hadn’t really planned on marketing the game beyond the original Kickstarter project. This is quite a shame considering that the project received 13,765 backers and a total of $631,230 in funding.
Amazon seems to continue to have some games in stock. In addition, to keep track of other possible locations to buy the game, make sure to bookmark the Robot Turtles website.
Availability is no longer a concern since production rights have been purchased from Shapiro. We now list Robot Turtles for sale, with the help of Amazon.com’s aStore system.