It is believed that solitaire card games came from the Baltic region of Europe in the 18th century. Its also thought that these solitaire games were a form of fortune telling. Today we take a look at the game Hoki a fortune telling legacy solitaire game designed by Dave Davignon and Armine Tahmassian and published by Mek Mek Games. Hoki is an Armenian word meaning soul and is also a term of endearment. Hoki is currently running their Kickstarter until February 23rd.
What is a fortunetelling legacy solitaire game? I had to dive in and start playing to figure it out. I know what all those are separately but how do they fit in together? First off the answer is elegantly. The way the game is laid out is very story driven, you learn the game by reading out of the instruction books which are broken down into chapters and acts. Reading that the instruction manual has chapters and acts will make players think the instructions are long. They are not. They let you in on what you need to know as you advance through the game.
The first Act covers the basic play of the game. Players start with a 24 card deck. The deck consists of 3 colors and each color has one of each of the 8 shapes. To deal the game out is super easy, players deal a hand of three to the "woman" (the story in the instructions will tell players all about her) then the player will deal 3 piles of six face down (This is the mirage) and finally 3 cards face up in a discard pile. When the player is ready to start they flip over the top card of all three piles of the mirage.
Players will make one of three kinds of matches to move cards from the mirage to the discard pile. First if the player matches 2 cards with the same color then they may move one to the discard pile, if two cards match symbols then a player may move both to the discard pile. If there are three cards with the same symbol this is called a Gleam and you then put all 3 cards into the discard pile. The last move a player can do is to shift a face up card over to another stack in the mirage. A player may only shift a card if there is no other play available. When you have managed to get all the cards into the discard pile you have "cleared the game".
I found it hard to stop playing Hoki
I have covered the solitaire part of this "Fortune Telling Legacy Solitaire Game" So how does the legacy and fortune telling come into it all? I am glad you asked. Once a player moves through the book and start clearing the game then a player will start swapping cards into the deck depending on the last match they made. There are 8 ways you need to clear the game in Act 2. The cards in Act 1 and Act 2 are similar and when a player has swapped out all 24 cards its on to the next act. Act 3 is where the fortune telling comes in. Similar to Act 2 players will be swapping in cards when they start clearing and meeting the now 24 matches to complete the evolution. The cards in Act 3 resemble what you might find on a tarot card deck. They have a very interesting picture and a title now in addition to the color and symbol on the card. The game will come with a book on how to read your fortune when you get this far.
Since there are only 24 cards in the deck at a time the game plays fast. Players will play each game in under 5 minutes after the first couple of plays. I found it hard to stop playing Hoki, I wanted to clear the cards every time but realistically that's only going to happen maybe 25% of the time. Since the games are so short it did not seem like I was loosing 75% of the time. In real life I was upwards of losing 85% of the time. I still was having fun and excited to share it with my wife.
Hoki is a unique solitaire card game that evolves as it plays. It will have players coming back to it time and time again. The game doesn't take long to play but it takes a while to master making it a fantastic solo experience. There are lots of really interesting and neat add on with the kickstarter to bump up your experience. I also really enjoyed the aspect of fortune telling that was layered into the experience.
Year Published: 2023
Recommended Ages: 10+
Time to Play: 5 minutes
A copy of Hoki was provided to Bert's Tabletop Games for review purposes by Mek Mek Games.