Team Digger Review
Stats at a glance
Who doesn’t love a team of adorable pups?
Today we’re looking at Team Digger. It’s designed for children ages six and up. Games typically aimed at the younger crowd have to walk the knife’s edge regarding gameplay. Too complicated, and it defeats the purpose. Too easy/boring, and parents and siblings will be hesitant or not want to play.
When looking at Team Digger, I want to answer three questions.
- Is Team Digger compelling for young children?
- Is Team Digger fun for adults?
- Does it have any educational value?
These are the three specific things I look for in a good kids’ game, and that’s what I’ll be looking for when I pop open the box. So get ready; we’re digging deep with Team Digger.
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Brief Overview of Team Digger
Team Digger is a cooperative programming game. Players control several dogs and lead them to various hiding spots where they’ve buried bones and have to uncover all of the bones to win.
Unboxing Team Digger
Inside the box, you will find:
- 9 Dog Park Boards
- 1 Gameboard Frame
- 4 Dog Pawns
- 80 Cards
- 15 Object Tiles
- 1 Collection Board
- 1 Cover Tile
- 1 Leader Card
The components and production value are rather well done, and all have a purpose in the box.
The Dog Pawns have a heft that makes them feel sturdy and are marked with an easy-to-read L & R for identification. This is extremely important in a programming game; they look and feel great.
The board itself is colorful enough and made from good cardboard stock, so it should have a long shelf life, and there shouldn’t be any warping.
How to Play Team Digger
As I mentioned earlier, Team Digger is a cooperative game. The object is to have your team dig up four bones before they dig up five unwanted items.
Each player will have a handful of cards. The possible cards are:
- Walk (move forward 1 space)
- Run (move forward 2 spaces)
- Turn Left
- Turn Right
Players can trade with each other as often as they want to get what they need. On a player’s turn, they must string together five cards to move their dog and potentially dig up an item.
Players must navigate their dog to a dig spot to dig up an item and end their five cards with a Dig Card.
Chasing Your Tail
In a charming move, there’s also an option to have your dog chase its tail. If you play at least 4 Turn cards on your turn, your dog is considered to have chased its tail. It’s just adorable, but it’s also functional.
If you spend your turn chasing your tail, you can peek at one of the hidden dig tiles to see what’s underneath. This a great way to get ahead, especially if you’ve already uncovered several unwanted items and are close to losing.
There are three different types of objects that our pups can potentially find underground.
Bones are, of course, the most valuable and are the main winning objectives. You’ll always want to uncover bones first.
Unwanted Objects are precisely what they sound like. You don’t want to find these. If you uncover 5 in a game, you lose.
Wanted objects are a bit different. Your dogs will like them but won’t help you win or lose the game.
Team Digger’s objectives are pretty straightforward. Uncover the four bones before you uncover five unwanted objects.
If you want to increase the difficulty, you can change the number of unwanted objects in play. This shifts the odds and makes the game more challenging.
Pros & Cons of Team Digger
- Low Frustration
- Variable Setup
- Minor Directions Issue
Team Digger is cooperative, but more importantly, it has a low level of frustration. Every player will have to work together but also want to work together. This takes a lot of stress away for players who don’t want a highly competitive experience. This is very important in a family game aimed at younger kids.
The variable setups with the board and the number of unwanted objects in play change gameplay and ensure that Team Digger doesn’t get stale after a while.
Finally, the components are excellent. I like the dog meeples, the cardboard is all high quality, and I liked the graphics.
The only minor con is that I had to clarify a few rules for my playtesters. They weren’t used to reading board game rules, and they had a few rules clarifications that they needed help with.
One that came up was that they were unsure if they could turn the dog after it was on a dig spot and then dig on the 5th card. This worked regarding my understanding of the rule, but it needed some clarification.
They also have a rather lovely rules summary video on their website, and it’s also printed in the instruction booklet. It was just a minor rules clarification that was easily solved, but that’s the only problem I saw with the game.
Team Digger Review (TL;DR)
Team Digger is a cooperative programming game where players control dogs attempting to find buried bones.
Players can trade cards and program exactly five actions together on each turn to get their dogs to a dig location and then dig for buried bones.
Players win by digging up four bones or lose by digging up five unwanted items.
At the beginning of this article, I asked three questions.
Is Team Digger fun for young children?
I would say yes. The theme works well. The cooperative elements ensure that everyone plays fairly and works well together. The graphics and pieces all support the gameplay and theme. Finally, it’s cute and fun.
I would say that’s a success in the “fun for kids” column.
Is Team Digger compelling for adults?
When I was playtesting this game, my family had a blast with it. They were new to programming games, so this was new for them and we all loved dogs, so the theme was spot on. The game was a lot of fun, and they really got into the tension as we kept digging up unwanted items. Stringing together five actions at a time makes it challenging enough that you will have to pay attention.
So the verdict is… Yes. I would say it’s compelling enough for adults. I consider it a very early stepping stone to get to bigger games like Flash Point.
Does it have any educational value?
Team Digger has very rudimentary programming built into it. It’s a great way to introduce the concept of programs to young children. It also has players constantly trying to think five steps ahead and dealing with the probability of a wanted or unwanted item.
As a teacher, I can see having this in my classroom as either a reward for younger students or you could build a lesson around probability.
Team Digger hit all three of the criteria I was looking for. Fun for adults, fun for kids, and has educational value. It’s precisely what you would want in a kids’ game, and it’s cooperative to boot.
We hope you enjoyed our Team Digger review! Have you tried this early development programming game before? What are your thoughts about using board games in the classroom? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think! We’d love to hear from you.