A new game has emerged on Kickstarter that teaches kids how to build a mechanical computer powered by marbles. Turing Tumble uses the computer to solve logic puzzles and learn how computers work. The game’s creator, Paul Boswell, wanted to teach his kids how to code, but couldn’t find a way that was interesting enough for them. So he came up with Turing Tumble.
Each Turing Tumble game comes with a book of 51 puzzles for players to solve. They start easy and escalate to very difficult. The puzzles show off new concepts that can be used in the harder puzzles later in the book. To make the game even more interesting, the puzzles are integrated into a comic book style story about a female space engineer who is trying to escape a deserted planet.
There are 6 different types of parts that players can put on the board. The ramp directs the balls to either the left or the right. The crossover lets the ball paths cross over each other, arriving on one side and exiting on the opposite side. The bit adds logic, storing information by pointing to the left or the right, like a 1 or 0. The interceptor stops the computer from releasing any balls. The gear bit stores information by pointing left or right and also turns other gear bits that are connected with gears. The gear bits are what make the computer “Turing complete.” Players have to put the pieces perfectly in order, or the game won’t work. Each puzzle has a different objective and a different solution.
As the game progresses, different aspects of coding are introduced. In puzzle 19, binary numbers are introduced. From that puzzle on, binary puzzles are integrated into the puzzles in some way.
To receive the game, backers must donate $60 or more. For $60, backers will receive one complete Turing Table game. For $70 or more, backers will receive Turing Table, 8 extra gear bits and 4 extra gears, a digital copy of the puzzle book, and 3 CAD files of all the parts. For $100 or more, backers will receive all of the above rewards, as well as a Turing Tumble puzzle book signed by the creators, their name in the puzzle book and a Turing Tumble t-shirt. For $110 or more, backers will receive 2 Turing Table games. For $160 or more, backers will receive 3 Turing Table games. For $260 or more, backers will receive 5 Turing Table games and a complete set of extra parts. For $1,000 or more, backers will receive their own Turing Table as well as 20 extra copies for a school of their choice. Turing Table has received $277,718 of a $48,000 goal.
To learn more about Turing Table, visit the Kickstarter page here.