Ten is a push-your-luck title published by AEG where you are drawing cards to collect sets but are trying not to exceed the value of ten between drawn cards (therefore busting). The more sequential sets one has, the more points they can earn. If a player has an entire sequence of nine cards they get an additional point as well!
The set up is simple, the number of cards in play depend on the player count. Other than that, it is dealing even numbers of cards and five white currency tokens.
On a player’s turn, they draw as many cards as they want but cannot exceed card values higher than 10 or lower than -10. It is appealing to get more cards to potentially get more of a sequence for final scoring. Number cards add value whereas currency cards (with black dots) subtract value.
Whenever drawing a wild, an auction begins. This part of the game sets Ten apart from other push-your-luck titles. Players bid their currency tokens to try and get the card. Sometimes the cards that would come up wouldn’t be highly desired but once in awhile a gem would come up like a wild number and color card. Sometimes if the other player(s) don’t have a lot of currency it can make it easy to win an auction with little money lost. After the auction phase, the active player can continue drawing if they wish (at their own risk).
There are two ways a player’s turn ends — either they pushed their luck too far and bust or they played it safe enough. If the player busts, they have to choose whether to take all the number cards they drew or all currency card values drawn. If number cards are chosen as the turn reward, everyone else gets the currency card value in token form. There’s another benefit to not busting as well, players get to partake in a Buy Phase where they can get cards from the market. How do cards enter the market you ask?
There are two ways cards join the marjer. When a player busts, their number cards drawn that turn all go to the market however players who bust don’t get to participate in the market. Players who bust do get a bust token worth three currency and this doesn’t count towards the maximum of ten currency each player can have. While this is one way to get more money, busting is unfortunate because it makes it slower to gain cards for one’s sequences. The other way for cards to join the market is if a player doesn’t bust but chooses to keep the currency value of the currency cards.
Only one card can be purchased from the market at a time and costs the numeric value on the card one wants to purchase. Individual cards are also worth one currency if discarded to make a purchase. We didn’t like only being able to buy one card even though it is a mechanic to keep things fair.
End game is simple! The game is over when the deck runs out but the last active player can still purchase from the market if they don’t bust. One point is scored for each card in an unbroken number sequence of individual color and ten points total if one completed an entire color sequence. Scoring is fast!
This game definitely had the luck element to the max and sometimes that made it hard to strategize other than purchases from the market or deciding to go for more currency or cards at times. However, this game feels like a good one to teach kids counting with subtraction and addition of drawn cards. For people who like wagering games, it has that energy to it as well.
Language Barrier Playability: this game is super easy to explain. It is a single player game but we decided to play at the same time since there are 18 cards and you only need 9 per player. So while this is technically a single player game, it is easy to explain and can technically be played with another player with a language barrier very easily.
Replayability: Moderate. The game cam be replayed multiple times relatively shortly, however the mechanics get a little repetitive early on.
Artwork: Minimalist. The cards are decorative and are easy to read. They have minimal art and that’s not a bad thing.
Quality: Good. The box is well made, the cards are smooth and matted preventing them from slipping from your fingers as you play. The currency tokens are subtly marbled and fun to flick on the table but a few of the pieces have small nubs and are not perfectly rounded.
Strategy: Light. The only strategy on this is based on luck. The game is a matter of knowing when to stop pushing your luck.
Instruction Manual: Great. Easy to follow, short and includes rules for a solitaire version of the game!
Organization: Great. The cards fit neatly into their own slots and the tokens fit inside a small bag (included) as well. The game also has marked cards for three or four players than can be set aside in a separate slot. This comes in handy as we tend to play with two players. Be prepared during gameplay that cards do take up a lot of table space.