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Subject: BoardGame Generations — Okey Dokey rss

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Kenton White
Canada
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Ontario
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Okey Dokey

I really like the idea behind Okey Dokey. Players work together creating a musical symphony, which is represented by coloured notes of ascending value. We try to place the next note in the sequence, matching the colour. Each row must be kept in step, like musicians in an orchestra. Once one coloured card is played, we must wait until a card of each other colour fills the current column before continuing the first colour.

Should we play a high value card too early, there are rests to help out. Rests reset the coloured row, allowing us to place any value card we want. Only 2 rests can be played in each row, and at least one rest must be played in each column, so players must plan ahead.

As a solo game, Okey Dokey is easy. Ridiculously easy. If you have perfect information — know all the possible choices available — the puzzle behind Okey Dokey is trivial. The challenge comes when you add other players in the mix. Looking at your hand of cards, not knowing what the other players have, its not obvious what you should play! Does someone have a red 8 they can play on the red 7, or should I reset the red row? I have the perfect blue card to play this turn, but all my other cards are orange — could that mean no one else has an orange card to play? And so on.

(The completed tableau has a nice table presence.)

Even if you could ask players for information about their hands, Okey Dokey would still pose a challenge. But we are forbidden from discussing what cards we have. We can suggest what colour we would like to play next, but that is pretty much it. With these restrictions, Okey Dokey is a very challenging co-operative game.

Perhaps too challenging for my family. Despite really simple solitaire-style rules, Okey Dokey was not a great fit for us. First there is the theme. Each coloured row representing a musician in an orchestra is very clever but perhaps a bit of a stretch. Both of my sons commented that the cards had nothing to do with music (except the rest card). In this sense the theme was distracting — treating Okey Dokey as an abstract game may have been better. My family kept trying, and failing, to see the musical aspect.

Then there is the hand manipulation. Cycling cards from your hand that aren’t needed now is central to this style of game. In Okey Dokey, when you play a rest or equals card (a card that is equal to the value of the previous card) you can discard and redraw cards. With a rest you can discard up to 2 cards, with an equals card you can play a card underneath the equals. These exceptions were a bit complicated for my family (try telling a 6 year old to get rid of cards!), a jarring contrast to the simple play-a-card, take-a-card flow of the main game.

Finally, for a small game Okey Dokey has a large footprint. By game’s end, you will have a 5 by 10 grid of cards taking up much of a normal table. This is not a game for quick sessions in a hotel room or around a coffee table with friends (if anyone has suggestions for reducing the required table space, please let me know in the comments).

Don’t be deceived by the whimsical art and small package — Okey Dokey is a serious, difficult game. Its basic solitaire style game play could be simple enough for families, but the extra discarding rules make this too complicate for ours.

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Peter S.
United States
Sacramento
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kentonwhite wrote:

Finally, for a small game Okey Dokey has a large footprint. By game’s end, you will have a 5 by 10 grid of cards taking up much of a normal table. This is not a game for quick sessions in a hotel room or around a coffee table with friends (if anyone has suggestions for reducing the required table space, please let me know in the comments).

Simply play the cards mostly on top of one another, such that the left-hand number and suit is all that's shown. (It's all you really need to play.)
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Kenton White
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ErsatzDragon wrote:
Simply play the cards mostly on top of one another, such that the left-hand number and suit is all that's shown. (It's all you really need to play.)


Thanks! I'll give that a try thumbsup
 
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