Out of the Box is the publisher of Apples
to Apples, one of our family's
favorite games. So, I jumped at the chance to review 10
Days in Asia, expecting another high-quality, family-friendly product. I wasn't
disappointed and our family has a new favorite!
We have many board games in our home and are especially drawn to well-produced, sturdy products. 10
Days in Asia is a very durable game; included are the game board, thick cardboard tiles and wooden tile holders. It's comparable to a Ravensburger game in quality, and a pleasurable tactile experience.
The game board is a black-line map of Asia, from Israel and Russia all the way to Japan and Papua New Guinea. The tiles are printed with either countries or transporation modes (airplanes, railways, or ships). The object is to create a ten-tile path in any direction through Asia. Two countries can be connected either by a border (these are placed right next to each other) or by a transportation mode. Countries on the same railway can be connected by a railway card; countries bordering the same ocean can be connected by a ship card; and countries of the same color can be connected by a plane of that color.
After being dealt ten tiles, players organize them on their rack in any way they like. The catch: You can't move them after play begins; you can only replace them. On your turn, draw a tile (from the pile or one of three discard piles), swap with one in your rack if you want, then discard. The winner is the first one with ten connected cards on his/her rack. Simple and easy to learn!
The challenge and fun is in finding the countries on the map, and moving them around like a puzzle until they're connected. The first couple times we played, the most often-heard question was "Where is Khazakstan/Yemen/Brunei/any other small Asian country?" It was fun and interesting to find them on the map. After getting familiar with the map, we enjoyed developing strategies for winning quickly. The games are short so we played several rounds in one sitting.
I was especially pleased that my nine-year-old could play the game without help and could win as often as the older players; the game is definitely family-friendly. Additionally, some geography games require memorization in order to win, while this game does not, which makes the learning a natural by-product of constantly looking at the board to plan paths.
We own another geography board game which isn't very fun (although it's highly educational) and if I bring it out, I'll be met with sighs of resignation from my children. By contrast, 10
Days in Asia is exciting to play even if you're not interested in learning geography, and you will indeed learn a good deal of geography while you play! Games are also available for Africa, Europe, and the US, so you could buy one for the area you're studying and include games in your geography studies. If your family enjoys games, and would like to absorb some more geography in a natural way, I hope you'll give it a try.