The Ten by Ten Challenge

Last week I shared that I had not been getting the most out of my collection. I proudly purchased games that would add richness of play, as well as variety and longevity. Despite the time I took in making my purchases the sad reality is that many of my games go underplayed, with one or two completely unplayed. This was not satisfactory for me and consequently I resolved to amend this injustice by setting two challenges. To gain a greater appreciation of my collection I resolved to play ten games ten times throughout this year. To ensure I was making the most of all the games in my collection I aim to get to the end of the year without a single unplayed game in my collection. As a side benefit to these goals I am hoping to gain a depth of insight into my games and gaming skills.

This week I will walk you through the first 5 games of my 10 x 10 challenge. I will give a brief reason behind selecting these games and share what I love most about these games. 

Ghost Stories:

Antoine Bauza’s Ghost stories is in my top 5 favourite games of all time. You play as Taoist monks defending your village against hordes of demons and monsters that will herald the coming of Wu-Feng, the lord of hell. Ghost Stories is a cooperative game for 1-4 players meaning that on nights when I am home without anyone to game with and nothing else to do I can pull it out for a solo adventure. The game requires you to set up the board by randomly placing the village tiles. Around the village tiles you will place your character boards which are double sided with different character abilities on each side adding to the randomisation of the game set up. This with the monster deck of card means you will never play the same game twice. This games packs a lot of challenge and will have you second guessing every move you take. A perennial favourite I will never fatigue from replaying Ghost Stories.

Ghost Stories board game ten by ten challengeGhost Stories… it ain’t easy.

Pathfinder The Adventure Card Game:

Pathfinder the Adventure Card Game was created by one of my favourite designers, Mike Selinker. Having worked on Dungeons and Dragons, and Pathfinder the Role Playing Game, Selinker created Pathfinder the Adventure Card Game to provide the adventure and action elements of a role playing game without the need for a GM. This is campaigning made simple while still taking you on a journey through a wonderful set of stories from the Pathfinder RPG universe. As you play the game the mechanics makes sense and provide a great introduction to RPG’s. We have a house rule for this game, when defeating a boss monster you need to finish the battle with a cheesy B grade movie finishing line.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game ten by ten channelPathfinder Adventure Card Game


Spyfall is a recent addition to my collection, but one I fell instantly in love with. Alexandr Ushan knocked it out of the park with this very clever social deduction game. Spyfall comes crammed full of cards and plastic bags to divide them up into individual games. Each games takes 8 minutes to play meaning that you will want to keep going again and again. Spyfall can very easily be used as a quick filler or played as a fun and engaging hour of play. On my first play through I was overwhelmed with how much we laughed and play acted our way through the hour. A must for any collection.

Spyfall social deduction card gameSpyfall a recent, but must have game.

Small World:

Phillippe Keyaerts has designed one of the most exciting area control games in my collection. This game is perfectly scalable between two to 5 player offering multiple boards that ensure each number of players is perfectly accommodated. The mechanics of Small World utilises tribes with abilities paired with special powers. These are interchangeable meaning that each play will offer you new experiences with each race as well as providing new challenges from your opponents. Yet despite the variety these pairing are incredibly well balanced with even the best tribe/power combination never feeling too overpowered. This game is fun, beautiful, and offers plenty of challenge. No wonder it is my second favourite game of all time. 

Smallworld board game in the ten by ten challengeSmallworld a fun and beautiful game.

Twilight Struggle
While Small World is my second favourite game, Twilight Struggle designed by Ananda Gupta and Jason Matthews is my number one. Another area control game this is not a light game by any means. It certainly does not fall into the category of war games like Axis and Allies or epic adventures like Twilight Imperium III, but at 3hours this game is long enough for me with enough head to head I feel like I am at war with my opponent. As the struggle progresses you will play through historical events of the Cold War. The game offers multiple ways to lose but only two ways to win that pressure you to outplay your opponent at every turn. This game punishes unfocused play and the war effort can turn very quickly. As you play card you will be forced to trigger events that relate to your opponent meaning some hands of cards can simply mean spending your turn trying to minimise the benefits your opponent receives, like trying to find the best in the worst situation. A rather fervent and strong community has formed around Twilight Struggle with websites and books dedicated to unpacking game play and strategies. I am no where near as dedicated as many of its fans, but I still count it as my favourite. 

Twilight Struggle board game in the ten by ten challengeTwilight Struggle a true favorite

That is the first five games I have chosen for my 10 x 10 challenge with my reasons why I think they are worth playing. Next week I will share the other five games and follow that up with the insight I have gained form committing to this challenge. I hope in some way this might inspire you to appreciate your own collection. 

Article by David