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Invasion of the Cow Snatchers

Lower Age: 6+
Year Added: 2019

Invasion of the Cow Snatchers, by Thinkfun, is a board game intended for children aged six and up. It comes with a large plastic game grid with a transparent cover, a set of sixty challenge cards with varying levels of difficulty, five cardboard “Crop Circle” tokens, one silo, nine walls of varying colors, each signifying the maximum number of cows that can pass above it and six magnetic tokens that include one red-colored bull, four cows and a UFO. 

In order to play, the player first picks up a challenge card of the desired difficulty level, organize the parts on the board to match the picture shown on the front side of the challenge card and cover it with the plastic cover. Then, they place the UFO at the indicated location on top of the plastic cover and try to plan a path so they can catch all the cows on the game board. As more cows are picked up, the stack grows taller and fits over fewer walls, forcing players to plan their moves ahead! The last constraint to watch for is that the red bull needs to be picked up last. As the game progresses, the number of restrictions increase in order to continually challenge players.

Due to the strategic nature of the game, it helps in developing problem solving abilities by encouraging the child to think outside of the box and come up with a strategy to solve the problem effectively. As a consequence of the game’s highly tactile nature, paired with an engaging theme, it helps in making the child more patient and less prone to give up on tasks easily. It further promotes spatial reasoning skills as it helps develop the ability of solving problems of navigation and thus, strengthen the engineering thinking capabilities of children. Invasion of the Cow Snatchers takes the premise of a ‘60s sci-fi movie and turns it into an engaging strategic puzzle that challenges children’s spatial reasoning and critical thinking skills!


Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about:

Test the solution, Analyze a solution, Make improvements to the solution


Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift:

 A problem to be solved by developing a new or improved object


Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift:

Critical thinking, Problem solving, Perseverance, Iterative design



Overall ratings:

  • Children Reviews

    • Rating:  4.2 out of 5.0

    • Feedback: 

      • "I like it because it’s silly. The game is fun"

  • Parents Reviews

    • Rating:  4.0 out of 5.0

    • Feedback: 

      • "Good concept, a bit complicated. When adult held set up to prevent movement child liked game."

  • Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews

    • Rating: 4.3 out of 5.0

    • Feedback:

      • "It is a really nice game which promotes the player to think outside of the box and keep trying."

      • Invasion of the cow snatchers is a game that promotes pattern recognition and requires decision making to make effective predictions.”