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ThinkFun Code Master Programming Logic Game,Logic Games
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From the manufacturer
Programming Logic Game
In Code Master, your Avatar will travel to an exotic world in search of power Crystals. For all 60 levels, you’ll have to use programming logic to help your Avatar collect the Crystals and land at the Portal. Think carefully, in each level, only one specific sequence of actions will lead to success.
Using the specified Action Tokens, create a program that will lead your Avatar to collect all the Crystals on the map and land at the Portal.
Teaches Programming Principles:
This fun adventure game builds planning, sequential reasoning and problem solving skills in addition to teaching more complex coding concepts such as loops and conditional branching. It’s an offline approach that will get players of all ages to take their first step in becoming true Code Masters.
- 6 Crystals
- 10 Maps with 60 Levels
- 12 Guide Scrolls
- 12 Action Tokens
- 8 Conditional Tokens
- Instructions with Solutions
Steps to Play
Select a level and its designated Guide Scroll.
Place the indicated pieces on the Map and tokens on the Guide Scroll as outlined.
Determine the sequence of Action Tokens needed to navigate the Map, collect the Crystals and land at your Portal.
When you’ve reached the end of your sequence, collected all the Crystals and made it to the Portal ,You Win.
Safety WarningThis product contains small parts and is a choking hazard so not suitable for children under 3 years old.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
But it's a puzzle, not an educational game. Any decent puzzle will get some brain cells moving and thus has some educational value, but this is fairly boring as a puzzle, and makes it a chore to learn the one basic coding concept that it revolves around.
Flow charts, which are important in computer programming, are used in solving the puzzle. But the flow charts here are very simple, and the challenge is to fit your pieces into the flow chart that someone else has already drawn. This is mostly a tedious trial-and-error process, and doesn't do much to develop actual coding skills which involve the quite different job of figuring out what flow chart will get your job done. We could just as easily say that an alphabet book develops coding skills, because the letters A, B, and C are used as variables in many programs.
The instructions are badly written; didn't it occur to anyone at Thinkfun to try them out on someone? In addition, it gussied up the game with irrelevant complications. The rules explain that red tokens run, green tokens slide, and blue tokens jump. Got that? But actually, it's irrelevant. They all just move in exactly the same way.
The "art" backgrounds are uglier than I would have thought possible: computer-generated valleys and forests made of cubes, by someone who apparently learned all coding and no aesthetics.
Finally, there are 12 action tokens, plus an avatar, all 13 of which are male. The copyright date is 2015. Enough said.
If you'd like your children to learn coding skills, I recommend "Scratch," a free program created at MIT for just that purpose. (I have no connection with Scratch or MIT.) Or get them a good book and read or talk about it together, and trust that if and when the time comes that coding will be a good thing for them to learn, they'll be able to do so.
The first thing I liked about this game is that it's for one player... even though he's a terrific big brother, the four year age gap between he and his next-in-line sib means he's typically playing down at their level, and it doesn't help that the small gradeschool he attends is without the ability to provide enough challenges for him since he catches on so quickly. This game will let him challenge himself! In it, you receive maps showing where your avatar begins, the locations of the crystals, along with the location of the portal to bring you to the next level. You then write a program - using a guide scroll and specified number of action tokens - to move your avatar across the map to reach the portal with all of the crystals in hand. Your avatar then moves to the next level, ready to harvest the next batch of crystals!
I appreciated her suggestion, but I still needed to satisfy my undiagnosed OCD-ish personality by checking out the company that manufactures this game. Founded by a husband and wife team 32 years ago (originally called Binary Arts), their goal was to make learning fun and - boy - they sure have accomplished what they set out to do! They have so many terrific products that focus on logic and problem solving, STEM and creative thinking, visual perception and reasoning, and word/language skills. Product offerings range from toddler to adult, with the majority being in the 8+ age bracket, all reasonably priced (i.e. the MSRP for Code Master is $19.99) and just SO interesting!
I think you can tell that I'm REALLY excited about this company, and I've already begun listing Christmas gift ideas for all four grandkids, with so much to choose from... logic games for both younger and older kids, hands-on puzzle games, yoga games to coax kids into exercising and away from the TV, educational card games, bingo-type games (called "Zingo!") to boost academic skills, construction sets (our grandson plans to be an engineer and will LOVE those!), math dice games, toddler and family games, even a couple of games where you solve a mystery and try to escape a room before time runs out! I've already placed an order for a few "brain fitness" games for my dear mom - want to do my part in keeping that mind of hers sharp!