How I spent 10 Days in the USA

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Today we played the board game 10 Days in the USA – well a card game where the board serves as a map with specific colour coded States. It was an interesting ten days – so here’s how it worked out….

The game is made by Out of the Box and you can read the full details, rules and a video of game play on their website. There are others in the series such as Africa, Americas, Europe and Asia – you can even play one or more titles together.

For our first play – I really enjoyed it and think it might become a favourite! It’s won a pile of awards so give it a go.

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In the well made box you get the large map, wooden painted card holders and a stack of really sturdy cards to mix up. The quality is really good and the game only cost us £11.49 incl postage.

The card racks have large slots in them – so it’s not difficult if you have limited hand mobility to place them. This would be easy to translate into Braille or textured cards. Players will need to be able to distinguish colours of red, green, blue, yellow and orange both on the board and cards themselves. However, this could easily be adapted for people using symbols or tactile overlays.

You need to be able to order cards and plot a route, remembering three basic rules. The box suggests an age of 8 yrs or over.

So, the game is about placing cards in one of the ten slots on your rack…. so onto game play.

GAME PLAY

It took us a while to figure it out – one of those ‘it’s easy once you’ve tried it’ type of games.

So the idea is to make a journey, starting and ending on any State. There is 1 card for each State.

Your journey is over 10 days (10 card slots) and in each slot you will have either a card with a State on it, a plane or a car. A car or a plane is assumed to take up one of your days!

  • Step one – fill up your rack!

Take it in turns to pick up a mystery card from the pile and make a decision where in your rack it will go. Once you have placed it, the slot is filled and it can’t be moved during the filling up process! So place them carefully. The next player takes a card and does the same….. you keep going until your rack now has ten cards in it (States, cars or planes).

The strategy starts with the filling process because you need to keep in mind three rules.

The three key rules are simple.

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  • Here is the first rule. If you want to fly from one State to another, there must be a plane card in the middle that is the same colour as the States.

In this picture, only an orange plane can take you from Rhode Island (coloured orange on the map and card) to Washington (also coloured orange on the map and card). So this was how I chose to spend days 1, 2 and 3, flying from Rhode Island all the way to Washington. I was a bit jet lagged after that one and the in flight magazine was as rubbish as always.

Be careful – there are only a handful of plane cards in the game! The rule book tells you how to fly to and from places like Alaska and Hawaii. I didn’t bother with Alaska – too cold for me but Hawaii …. maybe I’ll stop over in the next game.

  • Rule number two – you can drive from one State to another – but you must only pass through one bordering State in-between.

I placed my Kentucky card , then a car, then Alabama (top picture below). That made up Day 8, 9 and 10 driving from Kentucky to Alabama.  (Note I had to start Day 1 on a State and end with a State on Day 10). After three days of the best BBQ chicken wings and ribs in the USA (so I hear) I arrived feeling full and fat.

Like plane cards, there are only a handful of cars in the game!

  • Finally, if you have two States that are next to each other, you are assumed to be able to walk across the border – so the cards go next to each other on the rack. I played Iowa on Day six and walked to Missouri on Day 7! My feet ached a lot after that.

IMG_3046Changing cards

So your rack is filled with places and vehicles next to each other that don’t fit the rules – so now it’s a game of pick up and put down to try to make your journey fit the rules over the full 10 days.

You have a pile of mystery cards (face down) and you are asked to place three face up (the discard pile).

So now, it’s your go – you can choose to take one of the cards you can see face up – or pick up a mystery card.

If you like the card, you swap it for one on you rack. Now for a bit of strategy…. the card you are throwing away from your rack, can be placed on any one of the three discard piles, face up. So if you know that another player might need one of these, you can sneakily stop them from picking it up by throwing away your card on top.

If you pick up a mystery card and take an instant dislike to it – onto one of the discard piles it goes.

Now your go has ended – time to see what the next player does.

Remember, there is only one card for each State – so throw away and pick up wisely.

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Why I liked this game

Firstly, I’m rubbish at knowing where anything is in the USA – so it’s educational and the State cards have the capital city on them.

Secondly, you can easily see the map and you don’t actually play on the board – so it’s very adaptable.

Thirdly, you have to really think hard where to put the cards, right from the start and try and remember which cards you are looking out for!

Lastly, it does’t take too long and their is a bit of luck involved too.

What I didn’t like

From the start, there were some cards on my rack which I definitely didn’t want to accidentally throw away. It’s easy to forget your master plan and have a ‘oh s&*t’ moment as you throw the one and only card for that State on the discard pile by accident. Hence we got out some buttons to put in front of the cards on our racks to indicate ‘whatever you do, don’t throw these away’.

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