Friday, 7 March 2014


Plays: 2Px2.

The Game

Okiya is a 2P abstract game. In a way it is a more sophisticated tic-tac-toe. You play on a 4x4 grid. You try to make a row of four discs or a square of four discs. A third way to win is to block your opponent from making the next move.

Player pieces are red and black.

The gameboard is randomly set up every game. Every tile has two features, e.g. in the bottom row, from left to right: Rain and flower, cactus and note, rain and cherry blossom tree, note and cherry blossom tree.

The key difference with tic-tac-toe is the placement restriction. The first player plays his piece on any border space. Each space in the grid is a picture with two features, e.g. rain and leaves, bird and flower, cactus and moon. Other than the first disc played, every disc must be played on a space which shares a same feature with the space where the previous disc was played. This is how you can restrict your opponent and control the game. It is also how you can run out of moves if you are not careful - i.e. there are no more available spaces sharing the same feature.

The Play

Wai Yan taught Chee Seng and I this game at It's quick to learn and play, but it can be quite thinky. It's a perfect information game, so like chess you can spend a lot of time thinking of all the permutations - if I do this he may do this or this and then I would have to play here or here etc.

Chee Seng and I played twice. He won the first game by forcing me to become unable to play a disc. I won the second game by successfully making a square. I didn't really think too far ahead, just about two turns ahead.

The Thoughts

Okiya looks like a light filler, but it feels a little serious to me. It's not hard to think a few steps ahead so I think people will tend to do that, which may slow the game a bit. There is variety since the playing area is randomly set up from game to game. The way the restriction works is interesting because it is not only about limiting your opponent's next move, it can also be about how you force your opponent to give you good moves after his next move. And of course this is where you have to think far ahead of the many possibilities.

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