Okey Dokey from Tasty Minstrel Games proves that it’s dangerous to judge a game by its box. The whimsical animal band draws you in with a panda bear as the conductor. Immediately you assume the game is for children and the name all but confirms it.
Don’t be deceived by the cute little animals my friend. In this box is a cooperative filler game that can only be won through good communication and careful planning. Animals from throughout the area are lending their talent to put on a music festival and they need your help.
The game can be played with up to 5 players and even has a solo mode that is pretty good even though I’m not personally a fan of solo gaming. Everyone is trying to manage their hand of cards that consist of 5 different colors (or suits) with numbers 1 through 8. The little illustrations on each card of animals playing instruments are super cute and work well with the theme.
I really only have one gripe with the game and I want to get it out of the way early so I can move on to how much I’ve enjoyed Okey Dokey. The name of this game is horrible. I’m not a game designer or developer, but I am a consumer. This name would literally repel me away from the game as my eyes scan the shelf of my local game shop. I don’t feel like it fits the theme and it feels too child-like for a game that I think most adults would actually have a blast playing.
Now that this moment of discomfort is over, let me tell you how Okey Dokey was a surprise hit for us!
Communication is Key
Okey Dokey is a cooperative game that forces players to communicate with one another without oversharing. Players cannot share information about the numerical values of the cards in their hand or show other players their cards.
However, players can tell others about the color of their cards, share ideas on what they could play on an upcoming turn or make a suggestion to others. Being limited in your communication really works well to get people engaged and think about their upcoming moves.
The game comes with 4 difficulty settings that can be changed by adding 1, 2 or 3 cards that act as wild cards. This is really great since the game can be modified to suit the group you’re playing with. With younger kids, you can add more of these cards to make the game more fun. Each player receives a hand of cards and will receive a new card each time they play one until the deck runs out.
A card is placed in one of 5 rows on your turn and play is limited to filling one column at a time. If player 1 starts a row with a blue card, that row will remain blue for the entire game. Cards have to be laid in ascending order in the row. For example, if there is a red 4 card, the next card would have to be a red 5 or above with 8 being the highest number available.
On your turn, you can play a card from your hand or play a “reset” card that is available on the table. These black and white reset cards allow a sequence to start back at the number 0. Players have to be cautious about using these cards since there are only 2 of these per row.
When a player uses a reset card, they get a chance to exchange up to 2 cards with the deck of cards if cards are still available in the draw pile. This is a great way to shed high numbered cards that aren’t helpful early in the game or get a wider variety of colors into your hand.
When the players have played a total of 50 cards, 10 cards in each of the 5 rows, you have won the game. It sounds easy. Deceptively easy.
Hitting the Right Notes
I’ve played the game with family members, casual gamers and even people who spend lots of time gaming. It’s been so cool to see how they interact with Okey Dokey and how each player communicates around the table.
We started by playing on the regular difficulty which was pretty relaxing and we came out victorious. The hard difficulty was a little tricky and had everyone at the table rethinking their strategy when we felt the sting of defeat. The game had us cheering when worked together and played a perfect final round to end the game.
The players all lose if someone at the table can’t take a turn or one of the rows cannot be completed. The more players at the table, the more spread out the cards become. This can be tough as you come to the end of a game. You really have to strategize without giving away the values of the cards in your hand.
This game is definitely family-friendly and players get better the more they play. The artwork screams “child’s game” but Okey Dokey had a table of adult men asking to play again. I have a real concern that people won’t give this game a chance because of the theme or vibrant artwork.
I’ve been very impressed with the experiences I’ve had with Okey Dokey. It’s a filler game that doesn’t overstay its welcome, has great artwork and forces everyone at the table to interact. You can fit two or three games into an hour and it’s very easy to teach. I really enjoy the adjustable difficulty and the way that reset cards keep players in the game when they don’t have a great option in their hand.
Don’t pass up this great little card game. Okey Dokey is sure to be in our bag when we travel and show up as a filler on game nights with friends and family. Now, tell that elephant to start the vocal warm ups. The band takes the stage in 5 minutes.
You can purchase Okey Dokey at your local game shop or on Amazon today.
Tasty Minstrel Games provided us with a copy of Okey Dokey. This in no way influenced our opinion on the game.
- Players must communicate for success
- Adjustable difficulty is great for families
- Light-hearted gameplay with surprising depth
- Game feels slightly different at each player count
- The name……is terrible
- Game becomes less difficult the more you play