It has been a while since I posted a review. My job has been very consuming but I should count my blessings. Recent evenings at home had me pulling out some games to play with my wife. 10 Days has always been a favourite series for us due to the ease of play, short play time and quality of components. 10 Days in Asia was my first purchase in this series but certainly will not be my last.
There is a lot to like about this game from a components standpoint. The size of box is similar in size to Hive so it makes a very nice tag along when I bring some of my coffin or TTR games to a group meeting. The box contains 4 sets of laquered card holders which are a nice gloss black. The days 1 through 10 are painted on in a bright yellow. I noticed that all 10 Days games have a thematic colour scheme and I like the black/yellow theme applied to the diversity of Asia.
The game board itself is a little unique in that it is not really a play surface but rather a frame of reference to aid gameplay. Each country is brightly coloured and rail lines criss cross the map. Oceans are clearly marked and overall the game board is really nice because it is compact enough to allow gameplay on a small surface such as a folding bridge table.
The cards are great, indicating the country, population, capital city as well as the colour that is used in gameplay. The cards are a compact size, sturdy and bright. One thing that I noticed is that the cards are much better quality than 10 Days in the USA which are warping in my collection. Additionally , there are forms of transportation: boats, rails and airplanes.The Asia cards have a nice semi-gloss finish. Very nice.
Players take turns drawing and then placing a card in their card rack to form a continuous 10 day journey across Asia. I like that there is a certain amount of strategy in initial placement as players attempt to form a logical sequence of countries adjacent for walking or attempting to connect via rail, air or sea. Those forms of transport consume one of the days, making it easier by having to connect fewer countries. The winner is the individual that makes the journey first.
Players must discard a tile once taking a tile and the game moves along at a good pace.
Decisions are difficult. I have played many times using different tactics and find that the random element dictates my strategy. Often I begin in the Far East only to then switch it out in order to capitalize on an opportunity to connect in the Middle East.
There are a number of reasons that I like this game. There is an amount of geography that helps as a learning tool. I always get a little fuzzy remembering where Tajikstan is relative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Turns are quick so it tends to keep players engaged throught the entire game. A single game takes an indeterminate amount of time so it is difficult to pin down but I have never seen a game longer than 30 minutes and that is stretching out the most extreme length I have seen. This game is brilliant with 2 players, nice with 3 although I find it a little chaotic for 4 players. There is a lot of luck with 4 players but, if that appeals to you, go for it.
I admit that the mechanics are simple. I admit that the subject is a little simple as well. Thematically it works for me. As for the mechanics being simple I like to have that available for a light evening. My wife loves it and that makes it fun for me. Brownie points are a bonus.
I am also suprised that my heavier gaming group also likes to see this making an appearance and that is another benefit. I find that this rounds out my collection nicely.
One final thing that I find is that I like the rail system of Asia much more than the automobile option of USA or Africa. The car mechanic is a little abstract for some. For this reason alone I rank it higher than the other games in this series and suggest for someone considering a first purchase from the series.
Thanks for reading. Feedback is always welcome and allows me to improve my review skills. Oddly enough, it also helps me to teach games to newcomers.
The Soot Sprite
A nice concise review of a nice light game!
10 Days in Asia was one of the first games I bought. My wife really liked it, and so we wound up with Europe, Africa and The Americas to play 40 Day monstrosities (way too time consuming and frustrating for the return...)
Like you, Asia remains my favourite, both for the region and for the variety of transport. (My wife prefers Europe.) I'm embarrassed to say that our knowledge of world geography has definitely improved by playing these games ("Burkino Faso? Sure, it's over that way!")
I agree that 2 player is the best way to play this, fast and tactical. With 4 players it becomes a little too luck dependent and drags a bit.