Review – 10 Days in the Americas by Out of the Box Publishing

please note – the folks at Out of the Box Publishing generously provided a review copy of this game for review purposes

The latest in the 10 Days series of games is available from Out of the Box Publishing , this time covering North and South America and parts in between. Designed by Alan Moon and Aaron Weissblum, this chapter in the series continues with its simple and strong mechanics and OTB continue to use 1st class production to publish a striking visual game. This game has the players racing to be the first to put together a trip of connected points on the map by picking cards which represent countries and methods of travel. Each card represents one of 10 days either in a country or traveling via plane or ocean cruiser and you must create a continuous connected itinerary, starting and ending with any country card.

Components

A very nice thing about the 10 Days series is the visual approach. You know what to expect with each one of their games and the artwork is great for what the game attempts to do. The game board has a nice, colourful and clear map of the Americas and the connecting points for traveling.

A problem is that it can be a little difficult to see the difference between the pink and peach coloured cards without proper lighting. A niggle more than a major problem as you can work it out. An interesting and perhaps difficult change in the game is that there are a lot of small islands to contend with and unlike the other games in the series which I’ve played, these can be hard to see and find when you pull one of their cards. The board has a magnified section to help you see the islands and the connections between them better.

Gameplay

If you’ve played any of the previous 10 Days series games, the gameplay is very much the same. I really like that you can connect ocean cruiser cards for connected oceans which gives you a sense of a long journey. Traveling through the Panama Canal is nicely handled as well.

The frustration that comes from picking your initial 10 cards which must be placed in a starting order and then trying to pick replacements to eventually work your way to 10 connected journey steps is at the heart of the game and either you enjoy the frustration or you don’t. The luck element of the cards and the initial placement of your cards may not appeal to those who need strategic analysis in their games. In the 10 Days series, you just need to go with the flow and work with the cards that you pick. You do get to see some cards which helps but not always as you pick a number of them blind. And it certainly can be tricky to put the cards in a connected sequence but that’s the charm of the game for me.

Did it work for me?

Overall, I would say that this is an enjoyable game although not as good as the others I have played such as 10 Days in Africa or the USA and this is mainly a visual issue for me. Unlike the other games which are easy enough to see, this game requires you to shift your focus back and forth between the larger map and the magnified map of the Caribbean islands and this can be a bit more confusing and not as intuitive. A larger map would have been preferred but then it wouldn’t have fit the same format as the previous games in the series so I can understand the design choices that were made. Also there seems to be an imbalance in the 4-player game in that there are more Caribbean Sea cards than the other oceans and made it tough to put a run of cards together. More plays may tell a different story. Also this may work better in a 2 or 3-player game. I do like the traveling across 2 continents in this game which gives a grander scope. An enjoyable game, but not the best in the series.

Family friendly?

Yes it is and a nice way to increase knowledge of geography. Certainly, a minimum age of 10 is warranted as this will frustrate the little ones.

Boardgames in Blighty rating – 6.5 out of 10 – a good, solid and enjoyable game and nice addition to the series

For further information about this game and any of the other 10 days series as well as the other games published by Out of the Box Publishing go to http://www.otb-games.com/

Comments from the Gaming Group

Tony

I pretty much knew what I was going to be getting with this one, as I have played all the previous four games in the 10 Days series (USA, Africa, Europe, and Asia). The main difference in this set from the standard 10 Days rules is that you can have sea travel cards next to each other in your route (obviously only for seas/oceans that are geographical neighbours). Unfortunately, I felt this was the weakest of the series so far. There were some grumbles about the fiddliness of the Caribbean islands, which are so small that there is a separate ‘blow-up’ of that area placed elsewhere on the board, but there are still so many of them, with connections to different places (often outsdide the blown up section) that it can be hard to keep track of. However, my personal issue was the relative strength of the ‘Caribbean Sea’ transport tile, combined with the fact that there were so many of those in the game (five compared to two of each of the other transport tiles). I suppose in theory having so many Caribbean Sea tiles should mean that most if not all players should end up with at least one, but in the 4-player game I played in, one player ended up with three and I never saw one, with the result that he won the game after only four or five rounds. The best I could muster was a run of four tiles, whereas in other 10 Days titles, people almost always end up with just one or two tiles out of place on their rack when it finishes. Additionally, in this title only a single country (Brazil) has two tiles, which makes it much harder to build up routes (earlier titles usually have three or four countries with two tiles). So sorry, it may have just been bad luck in the game I played, but if I’m feeling in a 10 Days kind of mood (which I often am), it’s always going to be one of the earlier titles I’ll opt for. 2/5

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