Published on October 15th, 2010 | by Greg0
Traveling the Americas + Pirates: New Out of the Box Games
We’ve been busy playing games, but haven’t had a chance to review many since our round up earlier this year. Luckily, Out of the Box sent us some of their latest titles to check out and keep us busy- we still find ourselves playing some of their other games, but would the two new ones compete?
First up is 10 Days in the Americas, part of a series (others cover the USA, Africa, Asia, and Europe). The goal in all of them is to learn some geography while playing a family-friendly game. Two to four players compete using both location and transportation cards to chart a ten-day course, where the first to complete a connected journey wins. The locations include North and South America along with the Caribbean, and modes of travel include airplanes of course but also cruise ships- color-coded to limit your options as you draw new cards and are forced to plan your route.
This is definitely a game with an educational bent- adults might find themselves a bit bored after the first round, since the replay and strategies aren’t that deep. It can be a good springboard to discuss different countries and places with younger folks, especially students. And we can recommend it for that use- the materials are solid, it’s easy to pick up and understand, and works for ages 10 and up (though we found younger to work just fine). But folks without kids probably want to pass this one up, as it was fairly dry. At $23 or so, it’s reasonably priced, and widely available now. For further fun, you can combine the series together to create a “round-the-world” journey over 20 days- a neat ‘expansion’.
The other Out of the Box game we’ve been testing is Pirate Versus Pirate. This one is for only two or three players, and works better with three. It also appeals to a broader range of ages- not simply because of the listed 8+ on the label, but also due to the fact that older players will find it more amusing. You lead a band of pirates on a triangle board, with cute figurines and three possible roads to victory. Basically, you can play elimination, or use strategy to acquire special coins- of course, everyone is fighting over the coins and blocking the paths. Dice add a bit too much randomness for serious gamers, but anyone looking for something light (in the vein of Ninja Versus Ninja) will be pleased to put on their eyepatch and speak in their best piratical accent. Games are fast, and there are some easy rule changes to shake things up- learn and play in simply a few minutes. The under $20 price tag makes this a great gift for younger teens, and those looking for a swift, cute, family game that doesn’t take too much space or time.