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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Can be taught in minutes
  • Bad luck isn’t hugely punished
  • Quirky solo mode

Might Not Like

  • May be difficult if you’re colourblind
  • Takes up a surprising amount of space

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Ten Board Game Review

TEN review

Are You Feeling Lucky… Punk?

I used to think I wouldn’t like “press your luck” games. I’m not a fan of games which are based purely on luck and you have little to no control over. It’s probably why I didn’t enjoy The Isle of Cats very much. It’s still a good game, but it doesn’t do it for me. This year however, I was introduced to one of my favourite games – Quacks of Quedlingburg. The chaotic style of the mechanic meant I could get behind it and I started to look for other “press your luck” games.

The one that hit my doormat most recently is a simple little game by AEG and Flatout games, the same collaboration that brought us Cascadia and Calico. Today’s game is TEN, a press your luck and set collection card game with massive appeal. It’s a game you can teach in minutes and doesn’t take much longer to master. The name will come up a lot but I promise, it’s not subliminal messaging! I assume so anyway…

How To Play

Gameplay is very simple. Firstly, you set up the deck for the number of players. There are four colours of cards, blue, pink, green and orange, ranging from one to nine, as well as some wild cards. More on those in a minute. Your goal is to complete runs of the four coloured cards, scoring a point for each card in that run. If you can go from 1 to 9, you score ten points. Most points = winner! Back to the set up. Shuffle the deck together. On your turn, you draw a card. If it is a number or a currency card, place it face up in the tableau, next to the deck. You repeat this and sum up the total of the cards each time you play a new card. If the total value of the cards is higher than ten, you go bust.

I mentioned currency cards, didn’t I? These are differentiated by showing the number of currency chips you would get. When these come up, your running total drops by the number of currency shown, between 1 and 5. So if you had a two and a six showing and you chose to continue, firstly why, you maniac?! And secondly, if you drew a five-currency card, your total drops to three. However, if the total of the currency cards is more than ten, you go bust.

As I said, there are also wild cards, which is indicated by either:

  • a black number on a four coloured background, which can be used in any set or;
  • a black # sign. On any of the four backgrounds, it can be used as any number in the set or if it is the four coloured background, it can be used absolutely anywhere. 

The wild cards do not get placed in the tableau. Instead all players will now bid for the wild card, starting with the player to the left of the active player. Highest bid wins. 

When you chose to stop, you can choose to either gain all the numbered cards or all the currency. If you take the numbered cards, your opponents get the currency. If you choose the currency, you take the tokens to your personal supply and the numbered cards go to the market. Bear in mind that you can only have up to ten currency tokens at any one time. 

If you took the number cards and did not bust, you may choose to buy a card from the market, paying a number of currency tokens equal to the face value of the card you want. 

Finally, you’ll probably want to know what happens if you bust, right? If you bust, all number cards go to the market and the currency cards are discarded. You gain a bust token, worth three currency, and all your opponent’s gain the currency shown. 

Final Thoughts

I took TEN on holiday with me and brought it out one evening when everyone else was tired and only two of us fancied a game. It’s a very quick game, and super easy to explain. My playing partner did express surprise at the length of the rulebook (16 pages) but that’s only because the writing is a little larger than usual and full of pictures and diagrams. The box is also relatively small, so you can easily carry it around. The colours are bold but one thing that does strike me is that I’m not sure how colourblind friendly it is. The cards are suited, but you have to study the cards very closely to be able to see the subtle background differences.

Something I’m noticing with the Flatout games is they’re ensuring that their games have a solo variant, and TEN is no different. You play against a dummy player called JEN, because of course, but the strategy is pretty much the same to a two-player game.

I really enjoyed playing TEN. I think it’s a worthy addition to any collection and it’s cheap. It has excellent replayability because of the randomness and the strategy is quite involved. Playing with different player counts does create a different environment because the cards you want may disappear very quickly. I also like how the deck varies between the different player counts. You get more cards, which means more opportunities to fill out your sequences but also opportunities for your opponents to scupper you.

Everything is public information so you can’t hide your plans and you can draft just to be annoying to your opponents because any duplicates can be spent as one currency. I love that it can just fill a gap between two bigger games, with a group of mechanics that are very different to most big games. This is a brilliant palette cleanser. It's something to rest your mind or to give you a new challenge to wind down. So long as you don’t mind the quick maths part of the game, that is.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Can be taught in minutes
  • Bad luck isnt hugely punished
  • Quirky solo mode

Might not like

  • May be difficult if youre colourblind
  • Takes up a surprising amount of space

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