Ice castles, lasers, and the race to sparkly gems: The Cool Aunt plays Robot Turtles

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“There are those who would say that 7 AM on Sunday is not the time for turtles with lasers. This is only because they lack conviction.” – Jean d’Arc, 1430 CE

I stumbled out of the guest room at about 7 AM last Sunday at our best friends’ house, and found my niece futtering around the living room impatiently. “Susi! Look! I set it all up for us!” Forsooth, Robot Turtles (Dan Shapiro, ThinkFun, 2013) was set up on the floor, ready for the race.

Our board set-up. Note that there are plenty of castles

I wondered aloud whether or not there might be too many castle pieces on the board, but she assured me that, since the ice ones would get melted by the lasers, there were just the right amount. So there you have it.

I was rushed through my morning ablutions and, without even the benefit of caffeinated beverage, plunked down on the floor. In a damp spot. “Oh,” she said breezily, when I mentioned the damp carpet, “[little brother] wasn’t wearing a diaper for a while.” She advised me to just scoot over. So I did. Because I’m the cool aunt.

Now I’ve played Robot Turtles before, and I’m reasonably confident about the intended rules, but, laser deployment notwithstanding, I’m pretty sure these weren’t they. I kept to my hand limit and laid out my cards and so forth. My wee opponent, on the other hand, spread her entire deck out in front of her, and selected an appropriate card for each turn, returning the card to the pool after use. This strategy served her very well. She melted every ice castle on her side of the board (an important goal), and did so by an impressively efficient path. I only just managed to squeak out a victory.

Then we all got dressed and went for waffles (and coffee!), and played Rhino Hero for hours at the coffee shop. Because I’m the cool aunt, but she’s also a really cool kid.

Not the actual waffle eaten. Even I’m not that cool, alas.

A few thoughts on the game:

If I had had enough experience with the base game, as it were, to write an actual review, I would give this game full marks. One thing I really admire about it is that it scales well to age. My niece might be too young right now to want to play by the intended rules every time (I’m told she has done it successfully before.), but she still enjoys it so much that she set it up all on her own for us to play first thing in the morning. There was still a game there, just not the one Dan Shapiro designed, or rather, not the one that he put in the rules. I imagine he saw perfectly well that some young players would use his tools to play other games. I’m not a mom, and I don’t have many kids in my life, so I don’t play a ton of kids’ games, but this, to me, seems to be a marker of a really brilliant kids’ game. I will keep this in my arsenal of Things to Buy for Other People’s Kids. And I will definitely look forward to a rematch next month when we go back to visit again.

Though next time, maybe I’ll put down a towel before I plop down on the rug… shake

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About Suzanna

Suzanna's passions are gaming, dogs, and writing. She also loves reading, travel, and cranberry juice. Above all else, she would have it be said that she is compassionate, funny, and too clever by half.
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One Response to Ice castles, lasers, and the race to sparkly gems: The Cool Aunt plays Robot Turtles

  1. I agree, don’t sit in the damp spot -and this is a great game.

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