How to Play
10 Days in Africa’s rules are very similar to the rules of 10 Days in the USA. Instead of just repeating myself again, check out my 10 Days in USA review in order to see a detailed explanation on how to play the game. The only rule that differs between the games is the rule regarding rearranging tiles. In the USA version you are able to use your turn to swap two of your tiles. In 10 Days in Africa you cannot swap tiles at all. On your turn you can only draw a tile and place/discard a tile.
Since 10 Days in Africa is one game in the 10 Days series, it is very similar to other games in the series. Since I have already reviewed 10 Days in the USA, in this review I will mostly address just the Africa version of the game. For my thoughts on the game as a whole check out my 10 Days in the USA review.
Overall just like 10 Days in the USA, I enjoyed 10 Days in Africa. While the game is not as good as Alan Moon’s other works (Ticket to Ride), 10 Days in Africa is a very solid game. The game is educational while also being pretty fun to play.
The main reason I thought the Africa version was worse than the USA version was due to the lack of the swapping mechanic. Maybe the game decided not to have the swapping mechanic since they thought the Africa version was easier which to a degree I agree with. The Africa version may be easier since there are less countries in Africa than there are states in the USA. To make up for that fact some of the countries have multiple tiles. With multiple tiles it is easier to get the tiles you need in order to complete your route. In addition to the multiple tiles, Africa has several large countries which makes it much easier to go from one side of the map to the other side. This creates more flexibility in travel in the Africa version of the game.
Even though the Africa map is easier to play, I think the game made a mistake eliminating the swap. Without the swap luck becomes an even bigger factor in the game. You can somewhat plan ahead by putting nearby countries together on your journey. That plan could go up in smoke though if you are unable to get the tiles you need to complete the route. With swapping you could change your route and fix problems that sprung up. You could re-purpose a tile by moving it to a different part in your journey. In the Africa version, if the tile no longer works you need to discard it.
One final issue with 10 Days in Africa is the fact that most people don’t know many of the countries in Africa and therefore sometimes it takes players quite a while to find the location of the tile they just grabbed. I can’t really blame the game for this problem though since the real reason for the problem is that people don’t know enough about Africa. I actually think 10 Days in Africa can be used as a learning experience for both adults and children.
Between 10 Days in the USA and 10 Days in Africa, I prefer the USA version. I prefer the USA version because in my opinion it is more challenging and strategic. I also really liked having the ability to swap tiles already present in your journey which isn’t allowed in the Africa version of the game. Despite not being as good as the USA version, I still thought the Africa version was pretty good.
Obviously if you did not enjoy one of the other games in the series, I would not recommend 10 Days in Africa. If you enjoyed another game in the series, I would recommend picking up 10 Days in Africa if you are interested learning about Africa or would like to try one of the multiple map variations (link to alternative rules). If neither of these appeal to you, I would probably pass on 10 Days in Africa since I believe the USA version is better.