Disclaimer: This preview is from a reviewer’s copy of the game that was provided by Weird Giraffe Games to Open Seat Gaming, but opinions are our own based on several plays of the game.
Game: Dreams of Tomorrow
Publisher: Weird Giraffe Games
Designer: Phillip Falcon Perry
Artist: James Masino
Main Game Mechanisms: Set Collection, Rondel
Number of Players: 1 to 6
Game Time: 45 minutes
Each turn consists of 2 phases: movement, and activating the space you land on. When moving you can go 1 to 3 spaces for free, or you can pay increasing amounts of resources to move up to 6 spaces. Whichever space you land on you must then activate the effect. Some spaces give you (and the other players) resources, some let you catch or sequence dreams, and 2 of them let you activate abilities on your caught or sequenced dreams.
The object of the game is to catch dreams (requiring 1 of the resources) and then sequence them (requiring the other 2 resources). Once a player reaches the target number of sequenced dreams for your player count, the end game is triggered and the round is finished. Players score points for the values of each sequenced dream, as well as for resonance. Resonance occurs when adjacent dreams in your sequence have matching colors on the top and/or bottom rows. The longer the string of matching colors, the more points you get. The player with the most points wins!
Review: I can’t start a review of this game without mentioning the art. James Masino did a stellar job with these beautiful dreamscapes and it looks fantastic. The color really pops out and the way that things are drawn are really reminiscent of dreams. I mean, come on. Look at them. The color, the fades, and the art makes it feel like you’re looking at something from a dream, and it’s really awesome.
The game is fairly straightforward, especially if you’ve ever played a game with a Rondel before. We learned the game in a few minutes and got playing. We started comboing off of abilities on the cards and working out what it was that we needed to do in order to get our dreamscapes bigger and bigger. I really appreciated the building of the dreamscape, how it covered special abilities and, even though you were trying to go for resonance, you also needed to consider if you wanted a special ability to be accessible later on in the game. That balance of decisions made it a lot more challenging when you’re playing the standard game.
The optional Night Mare (teehee) mode takes what is a pretty straight-forward rondel game and makes it chaotic as all get out. Everyone gets their first turn before it starts sewing discord and chaos, but then the Night Mare goes every other turn. When the Night Mare goes, they flip the top card from the dream deck, and then use the top symbol, compare it to what’s on a robot (solo play) card, and something wacky happens to the rondel. Cards get mixed up, flipped over, moved around, the whole 9 yards.
Let me tell you, the Night Mare is what the game needed to “crank it to 11” so to speak. It took it from a game I enjoyed to a game I really loved. On each and every turn, you need to think about what you’re doing and make necessary changes because I was going to be able to get to that space on my turn but the freaking horse decided to change everything on its turn. It’s fantastic.
Speaking of mixing up the board, that’s one of the main ways that players interact with one another – and honestly, it’s a fantastic way to do it. It’s not necessarily about “take that” (though it can be), but it’s more like “you have to rethink your next turn, but you aren’t totally screwed for the rest of the game.” Care Bears like the three of us really appreciate that in a game like Dreams of Tomorrow.
My only complaint – and it is minor as all get out – is that it takes a bit of time to get used to the symbology. But, in typical (amazing) Weird Giraffes fashion, Carla provided us with great player aids, which helps a lot. They’re easy to understand and have everything you want on there. The only thing I feel needs some adjustment is the direction indicator on the bottom left of the player card. Scott was a bit confused about it at first, since you’re going in a complete circle – so something indicating that it’s a full circle could be helpful.
Kickstarter Information: Dreams of Tomorrow is on Kickstarter right now, and it has about 2 weeks left! The game is currently funded, and they are working on stretch goals – including a mini expansion! One game costs $22 (plus shipping, which varies based on your location). You can also pledge at a $44 level, which gets you a copy and then gives a nonprofit organization a copy. Take a look and back it if you feel like it’s your cup of tea – we definitely consider it something to back, and are doing so ourselves!