Sometimes when you sit down for a board game, you want something really deep and thinky. Something with meaty decisions where one bad choice will suddenly set you back for the rest of the game.
Other times, you want something silly and fun. And short
Lunchtime games can be very short.
Okey Dokey is the perfect example of the latter of those choices.
Designed by Hisashi Hayashi, art by Ryo Nyamo and published by Tasty Minstrel Games, Okey Dokey is a cooperative card game where all players (1-5) win or lose together.
Basically, you are trying to put on a music festival by placing cards representing different performers in the correct rows and columns. Each colour of card has to be in the same row, and cards must be played in ascending order.
However, each row can be reset twice back to zero. In fact, each row must be reset twice and to make it worse, only one row can be reset per column.
Players take turn playing a card from their hand. A column must be completed before you can go on to the next column. Assume the table was like the picture above. You could not play a blue card again until one of each other colour (and one reset, don’t forget) has been played.
This can be really annoying if you have the blue Two card ready to go.
The game’s difficulty level is determined by how many “equals” cards are shuffled into the deck. Amateurs have three, Standard two, Advanced levels have one and you could be a masochist and not have any equals cards in the deck.
An Equals card can be played on any colour and it’s basically a stopgap measure as it is considered the same value and colour as the card before it. For each equals card in the game, you will have one card left over after you fulfill the winning condition. This can be very important.
In this game, you are at the mercy of the card shuffle, and it can be incredibly difficult to win. In fact, we played three times and lost all three, with increasing futility.
If you can’t play a card legally, then you lose.
So how do you win? You have to play cards so that you have 50 in the tableau which means you’ll have five rows of ten cards (8 cards plus the resets). Once you do that, you win!
There are rules for how much you can reveal to your fellow players. You cannot say “I have a red 4.” You can say “I have a really good red card. I want to play it” or “I have two red cards.”
And that’s it! The box says that the game can be played in 15-30 minutes, and that’s either accurate or way too long, depending on what happens. Our first game where we came semi-close to winning took 15 minutes. The two games after that where we lost very early took six and seven minutes respectively.
You definitely have time for this, maybe even on your coffee break.
Does Okey Dokey make beautiful music, or is it a shrill trumpet interrupting your sleep?
I have to say that Okey Dokey is a really fun game if you’re in the mood for a (very) light card game.
The cards are very good quality, the artwork is amazingly cute and the gameplay is interesting.
Yes, you are beholden to the way the cards are shuffled, but that’s the case in any of these games. It has some similarities to The Game (yes, that is the name of it) in that players are playing cards cooperatively in a certain order and they can’t reveal which cards they have.
Zee Garcia of the Dice Tower said on his video review of Okey Dokey that it’s what The Game wants to be when it grows up.
I can’t disagree.
This is a very simple game, light as a feather, but you have more to do than you do in The Game. More decisions to make and the constraints the game gives you are a bit harder. There’s nothing more frustrating in this game than to have a perfect run of a certain colour and not be able to play any but the first because you can’t play that colour again until the column is full.
Be aware, though, that this can be a bit of a table hog, though it wasn’t as bad as I had pictured it. You are going to be creating a tableau of 50 cards, ten columns and five rows, so make sure you have some space. We did manage to get it on the round kitchen table in our work lunchroom, so it’s actually not too bad.
But it is definitely not a TV tray game.
Okey Dokey is a great game in the “filler” genre, if you don’t mind cooperative games. It plays fast, is great to look at, and is a lot more interesting than some fillers I’ve seen.
You won’t go wrong if you check it out.
Note: This game was provided to me by Tasty Minstrel Games in exchange for an honest review
Review written after 2 plays