Trying to teach children how to count and add numbers can often be challenging. 10! the board game strives to remove some of the difficulty by making learning a fun and shared experience instead. Anything that disguises learning as fun or even something that is sought after can be a huge boon for both children and their families.
At first glance, I was skeptical about 10! It looks simple, and it is, but therein lies its appeal. There isn’t a huge instruction manual to lean and then have to teach your child. Add two dice rolls together and place a tile on the corresponding number. The first player to cover all their tiles wins; it is that simple. For the gamers out there, that might sound like pure luck, but older kids will develop a bit of strategy because you may place a tile on the number that corresponds to the dice total or one of the values of the individual dice. If you roll two fives, for example, it is probably better to place the tile on the 10 spot instead of on a 5 spot. This is because your chances of rolling a five, either combined or on a single die, is high. For adults and older kids, factoring in these percentages will help solidify a win. For younger kids, it really isn’t about winning or losing, but the fun of learning to add and experiencing those chance dice rolls.
Playing the game with a pair or trio of siblings is fun. Some kids count out loud, others squirm in their chair while trying to keep quiet about the fact that they’ve already solved the problem of 6 + 3 while their sister is still pointing to the dots on the dice. The game comes with only two sets of player tiles, so technically it only supports two players, but often in our household, especially with games like this, we play on teams and don’t generally keep score. Two copies would be needed to really support more than two players.
Included are variant rules for extending the game and/or playing at a higher level of difficulty. One variant has players first fill up all the available spots, as in the normal game, but then race to remove them using the same dice rolling mechanics used to place the tiles. Another variant called “The Long Version” restricts players by only allowing them to place tiles in numerical order, starting with the 1 tile. I did not play this version as it seems entirely luck based and would indeed result in a long game.
As an educational game and a learning aid, 10! the board game does an adequate job. While luck is a big factor, the game also lends to teaching a bit about probability. If your little one is destined to become a board gamer later in life, learning to bet on probability will certainly help them. 10! can also be used as a type of gateway game for young children. My little one is a bit too young to actually add two numbers together, but he is learning to recognize and call out numbers. He also knows what a game box looks like and every time I receive a new game in the mail he gets very excited. This is the type of game that I can start playing with him now, having him match the numbered tiles to the corresponding number on the board, while having him tell me the names of the numbers. This allows him to play games with me, which he really wants to do, and allows me to incorporate a learning exercise while not having to worry about cards being bent or things like that. The dice are also fairly large, which discourages them being put into a mouth and makes them less likely to become lost.