I play “Robots” with my kid. I’ve tested the game with other kids and it seems that for ages 5 to 7 they like it. I’ve talked about the game to several adults and it seems they like too, so I thought maybe writing about it here may be useful for somebody to enjoy some summer days.
One player is the Robot. The other one is the programmer. If there are more players, it can be several robots and several programmers. If players are older, you can make the game more complicated making robots cooperate or programmers cooperate. If not, you make pairs 1-1 or 1 programmer – 2 robots if the number is odd.
The programmer must turn on the robot, pressing the ON/OFF button (robot chooses where’s the button: nose, ear, belly, whatever).
Then, the robot say “hello”, and the programmer asks for the list of commands available (like “Hello, robot, give me the list of commands”). The robot says the list of commands available, for example “Run, stop, jump, sing a song, somersault, say something in a different language”. Then, the programmer thinks a program, and loads it to the robot (speaks the list of orders, loudly, to the robot). Then the programmer presses the START button (Robot choses where it is) and then the robot has to perform the program without errors.
If the robot performs correctly, wins one point. If it fails, looses one point. The programmer can design another program (maybe longer, maybe with some conditional expression) and tries the limits of the memory of robot.
If the robot is tired, needs to charge batteries, or whatever, the roles programmer/robot are interchanged, and the one with more points in a certain amount of time or rounds, wins.
If the programmer does not like the list, of commands, she can ask for updates, and maybe some new commands will be installed (and/or other uninstalled, who knows).
Please be creative with the list of commands, or the game will be very boring.
Depending on the operating system which runs the robot, it will give more or less options to the programmer, and the behaviour will be more evil or good. Robots shouldn’t behave too much evil, though, otherwise the programmer will erase their disk and install Debian on them to make them obedient 😉
You can play with a third person being the Robot manufacturer, who controls the robot, even sometimes overriding the programmer instructions (if the robot has an OS which is not free software). Robot will win one point obeying the manufacturer, but if there are more robots, will loose one round of playing because the programmer got angry and turned it off or reinstalled the software.
The manufacturer and the programmer cooperate if the robot runs free software, though. Together they can expand robot memory (for example, lend a piece of paper where to store the program), or create new commands, fix bugs, or whatever.
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