10 Days in Asia
List Price: $27.99
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(Worth 2,299 Funagain Points!)
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The 10 DAYS in ASIA game contains a Game Board Map of Asia, Australia and New Zealand, 56 Destination Tiles and 21 Transportation Tiles for making connections by train, boat or plane.
The 10 Days series manages to make geography fun by taking elements seen in boring games such as Rack-O and turning it into an engaging game. The first three games (USA, Africa, and Europe) were all quite similar but had minor differences that kept them different other than their geography. I was fairly excited about 10 Days in Asia (Out of the Box Publishing, 2007 - Alan Moon and Aaron Weissblum), for several reasons. One, I live in Asia, and it's nice to have a map with countries that I know and/or am near. Secondly, each game in the series feels different, and I was anxious to see what was involved in this game. Thirdly, I could finally play 40 Days around the World! (more on that later).
For those who've never played a 10 Days game before, this one is certainly a good introduction to the series. A quick rundown of the rules follows…
The game board is placed in the middle of the table, depicting Asia from Japan to Papua New Guinea to Turkey. Each player takes two sets of racks - each numbered from one to ten, with slots to place ten tiles. A stack of tiles is shuffled and placed near the board. Starting with one player, players draw one tile, placing it in any open slot in their racks. This continues in a clockwise method, until all players have filled their racks. The rest of the tiles form a draw pile, with the top three being turned over face up next to the stacks, forming three discard piles. One player is chosen to go first, with play going clockwise.
On a player’s turn, they may draw either one of the face-up tiles of the top card from the draw pile. They then can either place the tile they took in the rack, replacing the tile there (which then goes to one of the discard piles), or discard the tile they drew. Players are attempting to complete a 10-day journey, connecting all their tiles together. Tiles are either a country, a railroad, a ship, or an airplane. There are several rules concerning the tile's order.
If the draw pile runs out, the discards are shuffled to make a new deck, with three more cards being laid face up. At the end of a player’s turn, if they can show that all of their ten tiles are connected in the proper order, following the above rules, they win the game!
For my thoughts on the basic game, see my 10 Days in USA review, but I do enjoy the new features in Asia.
In conclusion, while you certainly don't need Asia if you have the other games, it's a worthy addition to the series and would make a good jumping point. However, I think the best reason to get 10 Days in Asia is to play 40 Days around the World!!
40 Days around the World is a variant that can be played using all four basic games of the 10 Days series thus far. It certainly can be played with less (and I'm sure more - when they add Australasia and South America), but four games seem quite wonderful. You see, Out of the Box Publishing kept this in mind when designing the games, because they used the same colors on all boards. Even more importantly than that, Russia and Turkey (on two boards) are the same colors; so it's like an extension to the map.
Basically, 40 Days around the World is the same game, except you use all four games and must get forty tiles in a row instead of ten. Nothing is official, although I got all my ideas from OOTB, but here is what I did to play.
And that's basically it - the game has a similar feel, except it's much more epic in feel. Games take at least twice as long, and sometimes it can feel daunting to connect two spots. (In one game it took me a while to connect Iraq and New Jersey, but I managed). I don't know that I would recommend the game with more than three players, as downtime is greater (there's a lot to think about!), but it's a tremendously fun two-player version.
Oceans are very important, and you'll find a lot of people grabbing Europe and Asia cards to get the very powerful Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. However, cars are also quite useful, and I will draw a USA card in hopes of getting one of them, even when traveling in Asia. Airplanes become very important, as they are really the best way to get all over the world quickly. Since there are forty airplane tiles, colors are a bit easier to come by but expect them to be grabbed quickly. Played together as a group, the 40 Days around the World is easily one of my favorite games, taking the fun of the 10 Days series, and making it a tremendously strategic game. As I said, it's worth owning all four games just for this.
"Real men play board games"
Dull mechanics that essentially amount to waiting for the one or two cards you need to end the game prevent this game from standing on its own as a game, so the only potential it has is as a tool for learning some geography. Here it also fails, or at least it's hard to imagine why one would choose it over simply studying a (much better) map.