10 Days in Africa

Ten Days in Africa is an innovative game of strategy and luck for 2-4 players. Definitely strategic, with enough luck to keep the game surprisingly fun.

Like Hasbro’s RackO, the object is to put ten randomly selected cards into some sort of sequence. You fill the wooden card holders with cards one at a time. Once a card is placed, it can’t be moved – only exchanged with a card from the deck or one of three discard piles. Unlike RackO, the sequence is topological, rather than numerical. A win depicts a path, by foot, car, and/or plane, that leads from country to country to country, spanning all ten cards.

At first, we found ourselves thinking more than we really had to, so playing time for the four of us was more than an hour. The rules are a paragon of brevity and elegance, but it took a while to gain a proper appreciation for the geopolitical innuendos of the African continent. And it took another while to understand the implications of the different modes of travel. Or the significance of the three, face-up discard piles and the strategic covering up or revealing of the cards thereupon.

It’s a learning that is easily curved by playing. Just make the first game not count. Consider it an opportunity to play with a set of wonderfully thick little cards that fit everso handsomely into their wooden card holders; a chance to get a bit more familiar with the geopolitics of Africa; a learning experience. A learning-geography-like learning experience, as a matter of fact. As a matter of fact, the most fun I’ve ever had learning geography. Even though the map could have really been a map of anywhere. In fact, maybe precisely because the map could have been a map of everywhere. Which probably explains why you might also consider buying Ten Days in the USA, or, for that matter, Ten Days Almost Anywhere – the Paris Metro, perhaps? Downtown Kabul?

As we were finishing the first round of the game, one veteran Games Taster said: “let’s remember this experience. It’s a benchmark for the kind of excellence the Major FUN Award represents.”

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