Snakes have invaded the mole rat space station and the mole rats need to escape! In Mole Rats in Space you work together to save the mole rats from the snakes, gathering important items before making it to an escape pod. With perils at every turn, you must cooperate and plan ahead in order to survive.
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2-4 players, 20 minutes, ages 7+
2-4 players (3-4 optimum), 30-40 minutes, ages 8+ (but 7+ seems accurate)
Recommended children’s or family game. High player interaction, steady tension builder, great for mixed ages.
In the Box
- 4 mole rat minis
- 4 medkit tokens
- 4 equipment tokens (toothbrush, duct tape, map, and food)
- 12 snake tokens
- 46 cards
- 1 game board
- 1 challenge envelope, sealed
Like other Peaceable Kingdom games, the game component quality is top notch. It is made to withstand repeated play by children with sturdy cards and tokens.
The iconography is easy to decipher once learned, using intuitive symbols so children do not have to be readers to play.
The mole rat miniatures are incredibly cute, and the fact that they have little backpacks to carry equipment in was an instant win for our family. It is little details like this that capture the imagination and bring us closer to theme.
The goal of the game is for everyone to collect the four pieces of equipment and make it to the escape pod. If you do this, you win! Unfortunately there are snakes that have infiltrated the space station, and more on the way, so it will take some planning and the help of your fellow mole rats to succeed.
Everyone loses if:
- a mole rat is bitten by a snake twice (the antivenom in your medkit will heal the first bite)
- a mole rat is shot into space via air shaft
- a snake gets into an escape pod
- you run out of cards to play
A turn consists of playing a card to move mole rats and/or snakes, discarding the card, and drawing a new card. Everyone plays with their card face-up in order to plan ahead. This is very important because while you and the other mole rats are trying to escape, more snakes are spawning, snakes are getting closer to the escape pod, and you’re running out of time.
This game gets everyone involved as each person’s move needs to be carefully choreographed, taking into account the cards other players have. As the game progresses things will get more tense as mole rats start using up their anti-venom and snakes start stacking up. Everyone will get in on the problem solving, trying to figure out the best way for everyone to work together and win. When we played our wins were triumphant with cheers all around the table. Our losses were met with groans and cries of, “we were sooo close!”, but still with the satisfaction of a game well-played.
When I first set up the game and read the rules I thought it would be too simplistic. My kids were used to playing much more complex games, and here was a game where you only play a card each turn. Man, was I wrong. This is the most intense children’s game I have played, and the strategy involved is much deeper than initial appearance, making for a very satisfying game experience.
I played 2, 3, and 4-player games. The 2-player game was too easy for me and my teenager, but would probably be fine for children playing alone. The 4-player game was the most challenging.
Once you’ve played the game some and have three wins under your belt, you’re invited to open the sealed challenge envelope. My kids are especially eager to get their three wins so they can see what challenge is in store for them. This is a fun way to keep the excitement up, and add something new to the game once the basics have been learned and mastered.
Games like Pandemic and Forbidden Island are the classic recommendations for cooperative games because they are among the best representations of the genre out there. They were both designed by Matt Leacock, the same designer for Mole Rats in Space. You can definitely tell because Mole Rats in Space embodies the same tense ticking time bomb feeling of the other games in a more child-accessible game that reads as a spoof of Snakes & Ladders. If you like Pandemic and have children, chances are you will enjoy playing Mole Rats in Space with them.
Because of the critical thinking and teamwork skills needed to play this game, I can see many applications for it in classrooms, social skills groups, and various children’s teams. Because players are working together, it will handle mixed ages well. Players who like to take control, or older children when playing with younger ones, may need help remembering to let others voice their opinions and be a part of the planning process.
If your children are sensitive to losing, or have a hard time in tense situations, this may not be a good match for you. That being said, because of the cooperative nature of this game, it may be the perfect opportunity to practice the art of losing since everyone loses together.
All in all, this is a fantastic cooperative kids game. It was fun for the entire family and, once learned, is easily played without supervision. My 16-year-old even said she would bring it out to play with her friends, proving that even older kids will get enjoyment out of it.
At only $20, I definitely recommend it.