Robot Turtles: the board game that teaches preschoolers to program


Looks fun, I’m in.

Looks like a great version of this idea for kids! Another game in this idea space, but aimed a little older is “Robo Rally” ( ) from the great Richard Garfield (of Magic: the Gathering). It includes a lot more direct competition between players (shooting at each other, pushing each other into pits, etc.) so I wouldn’t want to play with 5-year-olds, but in my 20’s this was a great beer-n-pretzels kind of game.

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The problem I had with RoboRally is that there was no way to predict the other player’s robots would be on any given turn, so it was ineffective to try to engage them. Whenever I played the game, I would act as if the other robots didn’t exist and simply program mine to go as directly as possible to each target. It was not a terribly fun strategy, but it worked well–I never lost a game.

I wanted to back it, but it won’t ship to Canada for the discount price (no option to pay extra shipping on that price - though I know that it costs very little more to ship across our particular border). Our collective loss I guess.

If past projects are any indication, once kickstarter does its thing the company will do business the old fashioned way and hopefully add international options. I’m keeping an eye out on their site for more plans. If they don’t go beyond KS till after christmas, thats fine too. I plan to buy it sometime next year.

@ee0r: Thanks! I talked to Richard… wrote about it here.
@Simenzo: You might get a kick out of the “Galapagos Rules for Grownups” that are included (well, as a downloadable PDF) with the game. In that version, ignoring your opponents is a viable but usually nonoptimal strategy. Optimal strategy is usually a mix of stealth (write your program without revealing it) and anticipation (figuring out what your opponents will do - from a fairly small menu of choices - and route around it).

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@rocketpj Unfortunately Kickstarter doesn’t let me charge a ‘fair’ price to everyone - I have to charge the same for Canada and Cambodia if I’m using KS infrastructure. See the FAQ for details (and an apology!) if you’re curious
@Faiz_Imam: The best way to back it internationally right now is to find some friends and go in at the heavily discounted 3- or 10-pack level, which brings the price down around $40 including shipping. It may be available again some day but I have no idea how or when or where.


Hi Dan, I’ll definitely give the Galapagos Rules a try–I became a Robot Turtles backer back before you hit your original goal. I’m amazed and excited by how well the project has been going! Clearly you have tapped into a need/desire with your game.

I, too, was super excited to get this for my 4 year old son. But not for $60, which is what it costs for Canadians to get it.

Edit - saw the 3 pack option, I’m gonna see if I can dig up any nerdy parent friends to go in on it with me :slight_smile:

Hmm, I wonder if it would be practical for @danshapiro to drive up to Vancouver and mail the Canadian orders from there? I’m guessing there is a premium for mailing from the U.S. and it wouldn’t be that much of a schlep from Seattle.

Well, that itself would have its own logistical issues - if there was a ton of orders, does he rent a truck to drive them all up there? What does he tell customs at the border? Etc. I’m perfectly happy to try to get in on the 3 pack option, if I can.

Right now I have 20 tons of orders. Literally. :smile:

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Thanks so much for being there from the start!

Yeah, I can imagine that hauling it up there and using Canadian mail is not practical and sounds pretty goofy. Still, I used to work for a mail order company and that’s what did (albeit we outsourced the work of trucking across the border). Our Canadian orders would get hauled over the border in bulk and then dropped into the Canadian mail to go to individuals. It was a major cost savings.

Interesting. I’m kinda stoked for an RPG-based educational idea I had earlier today, and have been pestering my peers about in order to draft in some collaborators. It’s just a wildly optimistic back-of-an-envelope scheme at the minute, but I would sure appreciate any advice you might be able to give if I can rally some troops & get it going. Would it be okay to PM you with a few questions at some undefined point in the future @deanputney & @danshapiro? Advice re kickstarter funding & game publishing would be more useful than an unobtanium mine, I’m sure. I will endeavour not to be a pest…
(the nerd hivemind of BB, with it’s predilection for RPGs of all stripes would no doubt be a useful resource also, folks)

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