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OK Play

This game from Big Potato could scarcely be simpler. It is a travel version of ‘five in a row’.

A key selling point of OK Play is that it is so simple to learn and play that it can be played regardless of cultural or language barriers. The game comes with an illustrated rule sheet which doesn’t quite dispense with words, but play is pretty much instinctive: players take turns to lay tiles adjacent to other tiles to try to get an orthogonal or diagonal row of five while blocking others from doing the same.

OK Play comes with four stacks of chunky plastic tiles that slide onto a stick. The sticks fit onto a flat mount and that has a clip on it so that the package can be fastened to a backpack or satchel: hence the travel aspect. There is no box but the components look fairly indestructible. Sadly, the same can’t be said for the outer packaging: it’s impossible to free the game from its plastic display wrap without destroying the packaging in the process. That means you are left with a boxless game that cannot be shelved without leaving it exposed to dust and the elements. I guess, as the game’s name suggests, Big Potato expect you to play OK Play rather than pack it away.

If you’ve ever played any other ‘five in a row’ game, you’ll already be aware of OK Play’s strengths and weaknesses. It can be a tactical challenge as a two-player game but may be frustrating played with three or four because you will often find a losing player is in the position of choosing who to block and therefore picking the winner. Because there is no board, the OK Play version of ‘five in a row’ is freeform, designed to be played on any flat surface: again, fully in keeping with the travel game theme.

OK Play is attractively packaged, adding to its player appeal. I found that people seeing the colourful tiles fastened to a bag tended to ask what the construct was, and, when told it was a game, they wanted to see and play it. Job done, Big Potato. Longer term, OK Play is more likely to be brought out for repeat plays by children rather than adults. Just remember to clip it all together when you’ve finished because you don’t have the option to box it away…

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