Okiya Board Game – Blue Orange Games

The main thing to remember in all of these things is that not everything has to be a huge epic main course, consisting of multiple parts and flavours. Now more than ever, the simpler flavours are going to be more likely on the menu, as those with more eccentric and complicated tastes will have to stay away, as like so many places as the moment, the restaurant is closed.

Okiya is the simplest of dishes, almost an appetiser, like Tapas but filling. Like a great dish, the presentation will get those saliva glands going, while the simple strategy will have you walking away feeling slightly full but not overly stuffed. It’s theme is there as a garnish but not necessarily part of the flavour.

Your aim is simple, you either want to form a square or a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line with your geisha tokens in the four by four grid. The grid contains stunning looking background titles, which you swap out as you take turns to play. The clever thing behind it is that you can only replace a tile that matches one feature of a previous tile that was swapped out. Each of the tiles have two features, like leaves and a bird, or a bird and a flower, and as long as you continue the train, then you are free to swap out any tiles with your Geisha token. You continue on until you win and then you’ll rack up everything up and play again.

There is a lot to like here. The chunky tiles are extremely tactile and make a lovely clunk sound when placed on the table, and they’re big enough to really show off the stunning art in all it’s glory. The art is simple and bold, with strong lines and colours for each of the tiles. It creates a striking table presence when it is set up, but doesn’t take up the hugest amount of space so it would even suit on a smaller coffee table setting.

Okiya is one of those games where you end up having to force your opponents hand in order to win, sometimes playing sub optimally in order to win out in the long game. The most obvious play isn’t always the way to win, and multiple plays will have you scratching your head across multiple decisions as the game will force you to have to decide. It’s a game that unwraps it’s depth over a period of time, but unlike those of a bigger table presence, you’ll find you’re not waiting too long before you are pondering rather than playing. And because the set up and tear down is so wonderfully quick, it will end up at the table a lot more often then not, as it doesn’t need a rules refresh, you can just get it set up and play.

I really like the art and presentation, I don’t see the immediate connection between the theme and the mechanics, but as an excuse to adorn cardboard with this elegant style, I must confess I’m not complaining too much. Okiya is a decent tile laying mild brain burner that rewards repeated plays. It’s going to be something that both seasoned gamers and the more casual players will have fun with.
Certainly worth picking up a copy for those wanting something striking for the table.

Designer – Bruno Cathala
Illustrator – Cyril Bouquet

We were provided a copy of Okiya from www.coiledspring.co.uk
We were not paid for this review

    If you would like to support more written pieces on the blog then please consider backing us on Patreon. www.patreon.com/werenotwizards


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply