Even naked mole rats get by with a little help from their friends (you!).
Mole Rats in Space is a cooperative game, designed by Matt Leacock for Peaceable Kingdom, that challenges players to be the heroes and help their naked mole rat friends escape their space station.
In a space station far from Earth, the naked mole rats are hard at work keeping the space station in tip-top shape. However, one morning, the alarms blare as the worst intruders ever infiltrate their safe space—snakes! (Quick aside here: Snakes are terrifying to me because they don’t have any feet. Think about that. No. Feet.) Players of the game are recruited to work together to help the mole rats gather their emergency equipment and make it to the escape pod before time runs out and the snakes prevail!
How do the snakes prevail? A couple of ways. If players run out of time because a player has no card to play on their turn; a mole rat gets bitten twice by a snake; a mole rat goes down an airshaft and is shot into the abyss of outer space; or a snake goes up the ladder and enters the escape pod.
To start out, each player chooses a mole rat mover (which are super cute and colorful) and is dealt one card. On their turn, players play their card, move the appropriate amount of spaces as determined on the card, and then discard it and take a new one. Each card moves both the mole rats and the snakes. Sometimes a card will ask to move any mole rat or any snake—and kids can work together to figure out the best move for all players. If a mole rat moves through a space with a snake, they get bit and have to return to the start (Remember: Two bits on one mole rat means those pesky snakes win!). There’s a quick and handy guide in the instructions for players to use as they get used to both the symbols on the cards and the board’s obstacles.
The cards’ illustrations are big and clear, and the simple symbols allow younger players to focus more on the strategy together than having to struggle to deduce what the card is asking them to do. The illustrations on all of the game’s components are colorful and fun, keeping kids engaged. Once kids have beaten the snakes three times, the game provides a challenge game, which adds five cards with BIG movements on them to make the game a little bit harder. These challenge cards are marked with an orange border so they can easily be swapped into or out of a game.
What’s great about Mole Rats in Space—and all of Peaceable Kingdom’s games—is that it’s fully cooperative. This game challenges kids to work together to solve a problem. They rely on one another to come up with the best strategy. Cooperative games encourage teamwork, sharing, and listening skills that kids might not always get in competitive games. And while a little competition is healthy for everyone, you can’t ever get enough cooperation.
Fun fact! Naked mole rats are one of the only socially structured cooperative mammals on earth. They work together to maintain a colony. Naked mole rats and the Toy Insider team all live by the same philosophy: “Teamwork makes the dream work.”