Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Alan R. Moon


No. of Players:
2 - 4



Back in the 1970'ies travelling games like Deutschlandreise were in high esteem as family boardgames, but today it must be conceded that this old classic seems to be rather outdated. All those years back the popularity of such games could be explained both by the limited choice of available games and the longing of parents to play "edutainment" games with their children. Deutschlandreise was one of the games to fill this gap in the geography branch, but even though the game was reproduced several times, today the simple dice-related travelling mechanism will not attract many gamers anymore.

Quite interestingly, the old classic was produced by RAVENSBURGER, and today it is once again RAVENSBURGER who is trying to revitalize this genre with their newest game 10 TAGE DURCH DEUTSCHLAND. Being designed by Alan R. Moon and Aaron Weissblum, this game is a Germany grounded addition to their successful series of 10 days in… games. Already the well-known names of the two authors suggest that this game should be more than simple dice-rolling and card-drawing, and indeed 10 TAGE DURCH DEUTSCHLAND can score with a simple but catching playing mechanism.

The gameboard shows a rough map of Germany which is split into 44 regions of five different colours. The included deck of playing cards contains one card for each of these regions, and in addition 10 train cards (2 of each colour) and 5 bus cards are shuffled into this deck so that a drawing pile is formed. Each player receives a card-stand which he places in front of himself, and these card stands can hold a total of 10 different cards.


It will be the aim of the players to assemble a row of ten cards in their stand, and in order to finish and win the game this row must correspond to the travelling continuity rules. These rules are fairly straightforward, and so the travelling continuity is unbroken if region cards standing next to each other on the player's stand are shown as neighbouring regions on the gameboard. So, in the most simple case a player can win the game by assembling a row of cards showing a continuous chain of 10 neighbouring regions, but here it must be remembered that each region card only exists once and so a player may find himself blocked by other players keeping the required cards. At this point this trains and buses come to relevance, since a train can be used to link two regions of the same colour anywhere on the gameboard, provided the used train card has the same colour as the two regions which the player wants to link. Buses on the other hand effectively serve as jokers, meaning that they can be used as a "wildcard" to bridge one region for which a player is missing the right card. Finally, a full route of 10 travel cards needs a normal region card at its beginning and its end, but if these rules are matched the first player to successfully assemble a complete, unbroken route with ten cards will have won the game.

This leaves the question on how the players gain their travelling cards. At the beginning of the game each player is dealt a random hand of 10 cards from the shuffled deck, and the players take up their starting cards one by one and position them on free slots of their stand. There is no possibility to switch position with another card on the player's stand once a card has been placed, and despite all efforts to arrange the cards well right from the beginning there always will be considerable gaps in the players travelling routes at the beginning of the game. The remaining card deck is placed at hand for drawing, but the topmost three cards of the deck are revealed and placed next to the deck to form three discard piles. Then, during a player's turn, the active player draws one card from the deck or takes one of the topmost cards from one of the three discard piles, and then this card must be added to the player's row of travelling cards on his card stand. However, a card moving into the row means that a gap must be made, and so the player has to discard one of the cards from his stand in order to make room for the new card. The discard goes to one of the three discard piles and now can be taken by one of the following players.

Quite incredibly, these are all the rules which 10 TAGE DURCH DEUTSCHLAND needs to work, and as it turned out the game (or better "gaming concept" since different versions are available for different regions around the world) truly revamps the genre of travelling games. Players still can make a lucky draw when taking an unrevealed card from the deck, but watching and using the three discard piles with their available top cards is a much more promising way for winning the game. Even though the routes of all players remain secret, the cards taken and discarded by a player allow some speculation which regions this player could be interested in, and so the players should try to adjust their own travelling routes and discards in order to maximize their winning chances.

As indicated earlier, this simple mechanism features some degree of addiction, since the game is rather fast-paced and offers some basic player interaction due to the limited availability of each card. With these elements in place, especially families now are able to play a modern and attractive alternative to outdated travelling games like Deutschlandreise, and indeed the comparatively short playing duration is a high incentive not to play once but several games in a row.

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Copyright © 2013 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany