OuiSi first impression

When the package with OuiSi [ pronounced as “we see” in English, and meaning “yes-yes” in French and Spanish] arrived, lovely pictures on the box immediately got my attention. So when I expressed my willingness to try out the game with our kids,  my husband – clearly a fan of war games rather than artistic, use-your-imagination ones – happily put the box on my desk.

However, after reading the instructions – which can be shortly summarized as – there are no rules, just use your imagination and admire the pictures – my initial enthusiasm faded a bit. Will such artistic photos draw the attention of two highly competitive boys  (6 and 8 year old) ? Without hardly any scoring system and rules? I was hesitant but decided to give it a try.

We started with OuiSinoes version of the game. Each of us with 10 cards at hand, carpet as a gaming board and the only rule was to put next to each other any picture from your hand that “fits” the others, and then fill in your hand back to 10 cards. 

Kids started slowly, hardly connecting single photos, but after some encouragement from my side and hints to pay attention to shapes, objects, colours, materials visualized on the photographs they quickly caught the drift and after a few rounds they could use their whole hand and find matching patterns between the cards. I was surprised, but it worked exactly as the authors of the game predicted – we’ve just used our imagination and went with the flow… 

Boys clearly had a lot of fun and showed creativity that I didn’t even expect them to have 😉 when explaining why one cart matches another. We quickly ran out of space on the carpet (with still plenty of cards unused) and had to conclude our first OuiSi game. Again, the kids surprised me by not asking about a winner or a score, which I thought would be a showstopper for them.

Instead they asked if we could play again.

So, we did. This time I decided to change the option and went for the OuiSi Trainmaker variant – where you need to match just one card to the previous one – so in a way it’s a bit more strict than our “match anything to anything” previous game. Seeing how creative kids can be in finding the patterns, I limited the hand to just 5 cards. This time the game gave them a bit more challenge, but again after 2-3 rounds of complaints that “nothing is matching” their imagination kicked in and as previously – carpet size turned out to be our game ending point. 

We repeated the game a few more times, modifying the rules a bit each time and enjoyed it every time. 

For me personally the true beauty of the game comes with the pictures. They usually reflect some close-ups of different objects, giving the whole game a very artistic and simply beautiful flavor that I’ve enjoyed very much.

So to summarize our OuiSi adventure:

For whom: kids (4+) and artistic – oriented adults. Not for the typical competitive war-gamer for sure 😉 As the authors suggest and I wholeheartedly agree – OuiSi might be a good game for teachers working with kids to expand their imagination or story telling skills ect.

Number of players: depending on the variant the rulebook suggests  2 to 7 players,, I think 3-4 being the optimum, as it might be harder to coordinate a bigger crowd of kids.

Complexity: super simple

Playing time:  up to 30 minutes – another words – until you/ kids get bored, or you run out of carpet space.. With so many pictures I find it hard to imagine you will run out of cards in any variant of the game.

What I like: artistic photographs that are the essence of the game

What I do not like:  I admit that even being the artistic spirit in the family, I do miss a bit stricter rules (it’s more a clue-book rather than rule-book) and scoring system. To be fair – there are some options for competitive versions of the games, but they are also more suggestions rather than rules. Finally it worked fine for us, but simply it’s not something I’m used to I guess.