I’m always trying to get my kids interested in coding. This isn’t always easy, especially with my 11-year-old. He wants to spend his day playing Minecraft, not designing Minecraft. We find things here and there to get him learning, but I’m always on the lookout to get him more into it. I believe that coding will play a role in his adulthood in some fashion. But whatever he does, it has to be fun, because he’s 11. And we are competing with his desire to play games. So, when a coding game comes along, well, we have hit the best of both worlds. Enter the game Rover Control, a new coding board game from ThinkFun. (This post contains affiliate links.)
Rover Control: A Board Game That Teachers Coding
Mission Mars Rover
To start you pick a challenge card. The card gives you instructions on where to start, where to end, and the “program” you must follow to get from the start to the end. The code might say red-green-red. So you look at your board, can color in white segments in that order to get from start to finish. Then your rover follows the program and you have solved the puzzle.
My 11-year-old has enjoyed playing it! He started with the beginner boards and has worked his way up to intermediate. Of course, now he’s feeling challenged to get all the way through to the final expert board.
I tried a few myself. The first couple cards were naturally easy, but as you go through the levels there are checkpoints, two rovers to move, checkpoints, soil samples to take, and special decision spots. The challenges build very nicely. You get a good base with the easy one and can work your way up to harder ones!
The game is recommended for ages 8 and above. I can definitely see younger kids being able to do some of the beginner boards too!
You can play this coding game alone or collaborate with others. My son, however, did not want to collaborate. My attempts to help him were met with “Mom, shhh. I’m thinking!” This isn’t a bad thing either. I liked that he wanted to work it out on his own. Maybe as he works through some of the challenging ones, he’ll look for input from me! But I know so far, he has felt a lot of pride in accomplishing them all on his own.
Our one small complaint is that the game comes with dry erase markers – which is perfect as it makes the game boards reusable, but they are hard to close and I can see that they may dry out quickly. In which case, you might need to buy replacement markers. However, I can say, this will allow us to share the game with others and I’d rather have to buy a new marker or two instead of a new game or two!
Add This Coding Game to Your Game Stash
We are definitely keeping this game on our shelf as we work through all the cards in Rover Control!