On Aug. 2, a new board game will be released that will assuage parents’ fears that they aren’t doing enough to help their kids prepare for a career in a digital world — Code Master. While Code Master is a single player game, it can be enjoyed with a friend or by a parent-and-child team as they cheer each other on to solve the puzzles and get their avatar to the portal together.
In packaging that evokes Mojang’s beloved Minecraft video game, Code Master inventor Mark Engelberg has assembled a board game that effortlessly introduces “while” loops, “if-then-else” conditional branching, and more while the child (ideally age 8 or older) merrily puzzles out how to help their adorably pixelated avatar pick up power crystals and ascend to the next level.
The player unwittingly “writes” a program with his action tokens by putting them in a sequence on the guide scroll that directs the avatar’s actions. He even learns from his mistakes; if it doesn’t work, the instructions are encouraging, saying it’s a simple matter of “debugging your program,” so try again.
Rewards are built into Code Master: Every time the player reaches a portal, he is elevated to the next level, graduating from beginner, to intermediate, to advanced, and finally, to expert. There are 60 logic puzzles in the game to provide hours of brain-teasing challenges.
Code Master Programming Logic Game by Think Fun, $19.99, www.targe