Board Game Bonanza: The Journey is the Destination

by Edward Boice

The Ten Days In series provides some of the fun of traveling without all the hassles.

Game Title: Ten Days In (series)

Publisher: Out of the Box Publishing

Game Type: Casual, Family-friendly     Number of Players: 2-4

Expected Play Time: 30 min.

With Labor Day approaching, you might be looking to plan one last summer getaway. It could be fun to backpack in Europe, but that takes time, money and planning. If you’re stuck in your house for whatever reason, the board game series Ten Days In (TDI), could offer you a chance to take a globe hopping trip without ever leaving your couch. TDI is a fun, family-friendly board game that can scratch your travel itch and create a little competition between you and your fellow 10-day trippers.

According to Boradgamegeek.com, TDI began its journey in 2002 as Europa Tour. The game, published by Out of the Box Publishing, grew in popularity, with the publisher eventually changing its name and spinning off the game into five separate titles. The game has since guided players on tours across the United States, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

In each version of the game, a 20 ¾” x 17” board displays a continent or country and the countries or stares within it. Players aim to plan a trip across the continent, but are restricted by the vagaries of travel represented on the cards they draw containing methods of travel and locations. The countries or states are each colored in one of five colors. Along one of the edges of the board is a draw pile of cards. Three discard piles can be placed either beside or below the board. Every player should have two wooden card holders. Slots on the card holders are designated with labels for days 1-10. Pictures and names of countries or states and vehicles are printed on the cards, while the game logo is printed on the reverse.

The game begins with players taking cards one at a time. Each card is placed in one of the ten slots in the card holders (players may select any slot, but this cannot be rearranged later). The player must place the card in one of his card holders before taking a new one. The player takes cards until he has filled the slots for days 1-10. Each card consists of either a location or a method of travel. Players decide who takes the first turn and the game begins.

During every game, players have the same objective: to travel around the continent or country in ten days. To do so, players must follow certain traveling guidelines depending on the pictures on the cards. There are four possible options for moving around the map: walking, flying, sailing and a fourth option unique to each game in the series.

If two countries border each other or are connected by a bridge, it is possible to walk from one country to the other. The two country cards are placed next to each other in the card holder to signify walking.

Flying uses up three day slots, consisting of two countries and a plane card. Four different plane cards are colored green, pink, yellow, orange, and blue, the same colors as the countries. The plane card must be in a slot in between the two countries the player wants to travel to and from. In order to travel, the countries and the plane must have the same color. For example, a player must fly from France (which is pink) to Sweden (which is also pink) using a pink plane card. If one country or the plane were another color, the move would not be allowed.

Sailing is similar to flying in that players must place the vehicle card between two countries. There are different sailing cards for each ocean around the continent. As an example, in TDI Asia, there are two kinds of sailing cards: the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Players can only place ocean cards if the two adjacent country cards border the ocean. This means a player can sail from India to Saudi Arabia with an Indian Ocean card, since both countries border that ocean.

TDI Asia also incorporates railroads as a vehicle card. On the board, there are railways laid across multiple countries. There is no single railway connecting all the countries, so paying attention to whether two countries have a connected railway is crucial. A player could travel from Russia to China using the China Railroad. Keep in mind the cards are just marked “Railroad,” and they can be used for any of the named railroads on the board.

In two games, TDI Africa and TDI The USA, cars are available as vehicle cards. Cars allow traveling from one country to another, through a middle country, provided they all border each other. Like the other transportation cards, the car card is placed in-between the two countries. A possible move could make would be traveling from Chad to Mali with a car, since Niger is between the two countries.

While TDI The Americas (different from TDI the USA) does not have a fourth transportation card, boats can be used to “cruise.” There are five oceans to travel: North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, and the Caribbean. A player can travel to and from oceans just like walking to countries. Within the rules, a player might have three straight cards of oceans, like North Atlantic, South Atlantic, and South Pacific; these cards can be traveled between because they border each other.

In the beginning of the game, after players pick their initial ten cards, their cards should look something like a ten-day trip. It will not be complete as some of the different types of cards will not be arranged correctly according to the rules described above. Players will have to use the cards in the draw and discard piles to replace those cards which don’t follow the rules.

Once per turn, players may take one card from the top of any pile. The card a player selects is switched with one of the cards in his card holders. The unwanted card is then placed on any discard pile. If there is a card in a player’s holder that he would like to place in a different spot, he should drop the card onto the discard pile and pick it back up on his next turn. The players keep switching cards until one is able travel from country to country for all ten days. The first player to travel across the ten days following the rules wins.

Since picking cards is completely random, it is hard to make a detailed game plan. The game tasks players with improvising and making educated guesses on the fly. While picking cards, a player should keep track of all the discarded cards so that he knows if a needed card has been discarded in the past. By keeping track of the discarded cards, a player will know not to hope for those cards in the draw piles. Instead of trying to wait out one specific card, the player should try to keep an eye out for multiple options that will work with his cards.

While the random drawing of cards can make the game seem more about luck than skill, it allows for interesting traveling situations, keeping the game fresh by making every game a little different. The creative process of organizing the cards you receive throughout the game means you and your friends can come up with a fun story around your travels. Whether walking on foot, sailing the seas, or flying, TDI’s journey is imaginative and creative fun. Bon voyage!