Sunday, June 23, 2024

Does Ten Deserve a 10/10? 

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TEN is the newest super fast playing, easy to explain, yet still has strategy card game that can be played on your table. Published by the duo Flatout Games and Alderac Entertainment Group, TEN is similar to some others they both have worked on together like Point Salad, Cascadia, and Calico. In addition the designers, Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin, and Shawn Stankewich are a team that have developed some of the above-mentioned games, as well as many others that have had success. TEN is a push your luck card game that almost anyone can play where players try to collect cards to make runs of cards in sequential order in each color. The game provides some twists with currency cards and wilds that break the gameplay, generating different interactions and events that keep it fresh and engaging. 

What’s in the Box?

  • 129 Game Cards
  • 5 Reference Cards
  • 50 Currency Tokens
  • 15 Bust Tokens
  • 1 Rulebook
TEN card game cover

How Does it Play?

I didn’t get to be at Gen-Con when AEG had their big game night and played TEN with tons of people together, but I did receive the rules reference sheet they made for it, which puts everything you need to know how to play this game on a little handout. 

TEN big game night handout

Playing is straightforward, with players taking turns until all cards from the deck are gone. The active player draws a card and flips it over. If it’s a wild it is placed separate from any card already drawn and an action begins starting with the next player clockwise. Players will use their currency tokens to bid on the wild card. Players will need to make their bid count because each player only gets one time to bid, and the following player needs to either pass or bid higher. So the bidding will be fast as everyone will only have one turn to win the wild card. The winner pays their tokens and takes their card to add to their own tableau. After a winner takes their wild card, the active player continues with their turn.

TEN player tableau

The player who drew the wild card can continue and draw another card, or they can stop and take the cards they have drawn this turn. The player can continue to draw cards until they bust. They can bust by either drawing a net positive total value of 11 or more on the numbered cards, or a total value of more than ten from the currency cards. 

If you bust, you move the numbered cards to the market for players to later purchase and take a bust token worth 3 of the black tokens. All other players gain currency tokens shown on any cards in the pile unless it was a currency bust. The currency cards are then discarded and the turn ends. 

Whenever a player decides to stop drawing cards, they can either take all the numbered cards and all opponents gain currency listed from the combined currency level, or the current player can take the currency and move the numbered cards to the market. 

TEN card game on the table

After a player ends their turn by adding whatever cards or tokens to their area, they have a buy phase where they can use their tokens to buy any one card in the market. The numbered cards in the market each cost the value listed on that card. So the 8 and 9 will be more expensive than a 1 or 2. 

Players will be wanting to both increase their currency to either bid on wild cards or buy wanted cards from the market, and add numbered cards to their tableau. You want to create long runs of cards in each color to score points at the end of the game. Each card in the longest run of each color will score a point, and if you have a run of 1-9, you score 10 points. Wild cards can be moved around whenever throughout the game to best score points at the end. Whoever has the most points from their runs, wins the game.

TEN card game - different types of cards

The Verdict

Does TEN score a 10? I have to say a 10/10 is hard to handout. I think a game that scores a 10 would need to fulfill some requirements. 

Simple Rules – The game can be learned from the small reference card included in the game.

The game doesn’t take up too much time – The game uses different amount of cards depending on the player count. Doing this gives the game enough time to get decent runs, but doesn’t cause the game to become too easy giving you all the cards you ever would need to get a run of 1-9 of every color. The game takes 20-30 minutes.

Strategy included – The game gives players plenty of choices. You get to choose to press your luck and keep drawing cards or keep the ones you’ve drawn thus far. You choose to buy certain cards in the market. You get to choose if you want to bid on wilds. You get to choose if you want to collect numbered cards or currency. Each choice in the game is no overly complicated, you get to choose one thing or another. You always have 2 different choices, but then those choices might let you choose between another two things. As you can see in the rules on how to play, these easy one or the other choices provides for a great chart which continues till you either bust or you stop. 

TEN artistically on the table

Art and Colors – The art in the game is simple graphic design, but since the game doesn’t have a theme, the art used matches the game well. The colors are also bright and easy to spot out. The wild cards are unique in which you know they are wild and then can determine if it can be any color, or a certain color, and or any number or a certain number. 

I first didn’t expect much out of a game called TEN. I knew it was going to be a simple card game, but I was really blown away with the gameplay and all the decisions I had to make. Is this my favorite game? No. But this just climbed to the top of the list of games to play with new gamers, on top of my list for a games to play with my kids, and on the top of my list for quick fun games. After knowing and playing this game, I know exactly what it provides, and I really would recommend this game for everyone. Because of all the things Ten provides, and knowing that it has a home in everyones house, I give this game a 10/10. 

You can grab TEN at your FLGS

Images Courtesy of Alderac Entertainment Group

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