A far cry better than…..

On the verge of being too…..

Whoa, I forgot you were playing too…

These are the thoughts that bounce around when I reflect on the 10 Days In… series.

Number of Players: 2 to 4
Grade Levels: Middle and Up
Length: 20 Minute

NYS Standards:
Social Studies Standard 3: Geography
MS&T Standard 7: Interdisciplinary Problem Solving
AASL Standards:
1.1.2: Use prior/background knowledge as context for new learning
2.1.2: Organize knowledge so it is useful
4.1.5: Connect ideas to own interests, previous knowledge and experience

10 Days in… is a series of games from Out of the Box Publishing which includes Africa, Asia, Europe and the US. Each of the four games has players trying to make connections using destination and travel tiles so that , when lined up, they make a complete ten day journey.

Game play is exceedingly simple, each player swaps a tile out of their scrabblesque lineup with one of three face up tiles or the draw pile in an effort to have an itinerary that works. Think Ticket to Ride, but with one draw.

To make connections, players can walk between neighboring states or countries, fly between similarly colored destinations with a matching airplane, sail on a particular body of water or drive through on country to reach another.

10 Days is very heavy on theme, so much that it verges on tipping the scale away from being a good game. On the flip side, it screams curriculum and is an excellent introductory game for uncertain administration and staff.

Many other modern board games employ a myriad of game play mechanics and themes that impart a variety of needed curricular and literacy skills, but they are not as tangable. The 10 Days series is very obvious as players scour the countries and continents look to find a way to make their destinations connect.

That leads one other sore spot, the game can be rather self involved, offering very little player interaction. Each game I have played offered few breaks for interaction from the mental aerobics as I worked out:

  • which destination tiles need to be placed where and on my line and how can I swap and rearrange the two that I need to with my one swap a turn and make it less appealing to the other players and hope it doesn’t get covered up by, OH MY, he discarded Bulgaria which is adjacent to Serbia so I will rearrange my itinerary and fly out of Bolivia so I can…….
  • There are good skills being employed in any of these games. Players are definitely flexing their geography muscles, there is a reinforcement of prior background knowledge and players are learning to adapt and reassess their approach based on current and newly introduced information.

    As such, this is a game that should be in a core middle school library game collection. It is a very simple game that is overtly educational without being an “educational game”. I would have been remiss if I had not pointed out the few shortcomings that the series has but they are not enough to detract from the weight this game has, especially in a school environment.

    So if you are looking for a place to start building your school library game collection, the 10 Days series is a great launching pad that will engage starting gamers and appease any administrative critical eyes.