For better or worse, Okey Dokey is reverse Hanabi

Both are small box cooperative board games. Both have you putting cards down in a particular order. Both require limited communication. The big difference between the two is in Okey Dokey, your hand faces you, instead of your teammates.

Is that enough to turn my negative review of Hanabi into a positive?

Designer: Hisashi Hayashi

Publisher: Tasty Minstrel Games

Okey Dokey is all about columns and rows. Your goal is to end up with five colour coordinated rows, where each row is numbered from 1 to 8 in order of lowest to highest. You will have a hand of random suited cards. And each turn you’ll need to add one to the rows on the table, with a couple of caveats. The card must be of higher value than the card to its left, and each column must be completed before you can play a card in a new column.

There are two reset cards for each colour. These reset the row’s current number back to 0. But you can’t save these for too dangerous a situation as each column requires 1 reset card. No more, no less.

Shows 5 rows, with numbered cards ordered from lowest to highest. Some rows have a 0 in them which has reset the count.
It should look a little something like this

Finally, communication is limited. You can talk about what suit you want to play, how many of each suit you have, and if you’d like to play a reset card for a suit. Any further communication, or revealing of your hand, is punishable by death. Or a discouraging sigh and glare from a certain board game reviewer.

If at any time a player doesn’t have a legal move to make. Then everybody loses.

Okey Dokey is a light fun game, that bridges the gap between non-gamers and gamers. It’s light rule set makes it easy for everyone to pick up and play. It’s quick play time, and cute animal theme, means that no mistakes are taken too seriously.

Which works well, because the fun is generated from these card playing restrictions forcing players to put down cards they’d rather not. And then watching the whole table groan, as they now have to play around said cards.

It also leads to great dialogue such as:

“I would like to play green”

“I too would like to play green”

“I know you think you’d to play green, but I would REALLY, REALLY like to play green!”

Watch out Tarantino.

While this gets a laugh from me watching, if I’m involved in the conversation I’m thinking; do they have a better card than me? Do they have another card they can play? Do I have another card I can play? Then I have to make the call on what I’m going to do.

All of the components in Okey Dokey, including a rulebook, and deck of cards.
Everything that you get in the box

While Okey Dokey has a simple ruleset it involves a lot of communication and thought to get your first victory. That said, once you have your first win under the belt, it’s easy to replicate – even on the harder difficulties. Reducing Okey Dokey‘s replayability if you want to play it 20 times in a row. But if you want a filler that you bring out for a game or two every couple of weeks. You’ll find a nice little game that suits your niche.

To compare it back to Hanabi, while they both suffer from having a lack of theme I think Hanabi is the better game in terms of strategy and thought required. But Okey Dokey is more light hearted fun. It also does a better job of policing itself, and not allowing players to ruin the game with overt body language.

Thanks for reading my review, I’m currently ranking all my board games in one list numbered from 1 to 8, and then some. You can see Okey Dokey’s initial ranking below.

Initial Rank: 16

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David Norris

Lover of dogs, books, comics, movies, anime, television, video games and most importantly board games. My site is all about the latter, and my journey through the glorious hobby.

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