Dreams of Tomorrow Review

What’s the weirdest dream you’ve ever had? Or a recurring dream that you’ve had? I know that I frequently dream that I’m starring in some famous TV show or movie, and when I wake up I’m worried that I’m not going to make it to set on time. Then I realize that I’m not a famous movie star, nor do I have the money of such a star. And then I am sad.

But despite my own personal issues, I would say that many of us have had very vivid dreams that we still remember long after we’ve had them. But I doubt that any of us have ever had dreams that would save the world. Well, now that might change…

You Make My Dreams

Dreams of Tomorrow is a 1-6 player game released by Weird Giraffe Games. Each player takes on the role of dream engineer, seeking to send visions to the past in order to save the future. You know, as one does.

These dreams will be woven by using artistically designed cards that you will collect as you and the other players move around a card-based rondel. On your turn, you might collect resources (like hope or creativity), which will later allow you to catch a dream. This allows you to select a dream card from the Dreamscape (essentially the market) and add it to your collection.

On later turns, you might decide to activate that dream’s ability, which could provide several different benefits. Perhaps you’ll gain a big chunk of resources. Maybe you’re able to move your player token a few extra spaces around the rondel. For some dreams, you might even be able to modify the rondel, moving the cards that make up the player action board around or flipping them over to change the path of play.

 

Dreeeaaam Weaver

Later on, players will want to take some of the dreams that they have collected and begin to weave them into their dream sequence. This is how points are scored. Each dream is worth a number of victory points found on the card. 

In addition, matching the symbols found at the top and bottom of the cards will give players bonus points. Some cards feature several symbols, providing you with many matching options, while others have no symbols at all. You’ll have to be careful as you acquire dreams through the game to make sure you’re maximizing those bonus points. 

When a player has collected their fifth dream, the current round is completed, points are tallied up, and the player with the most wins!

You Make My Dreams Come True

One thing that you’ll immediately notice about Dreams of Tomorrow is the artwork. The visuals are stunning and certainly give the feeling that you’re peering into someone’s dream. They’re not overly surreal like the cards in Dixit or Mysterium, but they still possess an otherworldly quality that fits well with the theme.

Speaking of the theme, the designers have really put in a lot of effort to bring this futuristic idea of dream engineers to life in the game. This is evident even in the rulebook, as little bits of story can be found spliced throughout the different sections. While I appreciate the dedication that has been shown, I just was never really

 able to buy into the concept. I often found that it made understanding the gameplay more difficult as I read the rules because I had to interpret everything in terms of the theme.

Familiar ideas like a market or a rondel are called the Dreamscape and the Collective Consciousness. I struggled to remember what each thing was and had to continually go back to previous pages to remind myself what was going on.

 

Dream Walkin’

Speaking of the rondel, I was initially hesitant about the card-based movement system. It felt cheap and almost like the publisher was just trying to cut costs. But once I started to see how the cards could move around and even flip, I quickly changed my mind. The mechanic is one I can’t recall seeing in a game and provides for some interesting strategies for players.

After we eventually deciphered the rules and wrestled with the heavy amount of iconography, we were able to sit down and play the game. We were worried that the complex theme and instructions would lead to a complex game, but we were mistaken. 

The game is actually quite straightforward once you get into it. On each turn, players are able to move one to three spaces, but there’s generally an obvious choice for where to move. You generally want to collect resources, then move to a space to collect a dream, then eventually move to a space to weave that dream into your sequence. Rinse and repeat.

I did appreciate that some of the rondel spaces provide a bonus for the other players. Usually this means that every other player gets one of a resource while the active player gets three of that resource. I felt that this quickened the pace of the game, and I was satisfied with the overall timing of our playthroughs.

Dream Alone

Dreams of Tomorrow is one of the only games that I have actually played solo. This wasn’t necessarily by choice, but when you’ve got a new baby in the house, you sometimes have to do what you’ve gotta do.

This was once again a situation where I was surprised by the game. I was expecting to be bored and to quickly tire of the solo mode, but I was wrong. I actually may have enjoyed the solo version more than when I playtested it with other people.

The reasons for this success is likely due to the very well-built rules for solo mode. On the “AI” opponent’s turn, several things can happen based on a random draw from the dream card pile. This was where I really saw the rondel flip and movement in action. The board was always changing, so I had to frequently modify my strategy in order to be successful.

My solo games were always close – I won two of them by a point, and then lost the third game by two. To me, this can’t be a coincidence – I believe my results suggest that the solo mode is very well balanced.

Don’t Dream It’s Over

I have had a really hard time writing my final analysis of this game because I have such disparate feelings about Dreams of Tomorrow. I’m a big fan of the artwork and some of the mechanics, but it’s in support of a theme that doesn’t really work for me due to its unnecessary complexity. 

This complexity stands out even more when you realize that DoT, at its heart, seems to be a very simple game. I think that, in the hands of more strategic players, this game could play a little differently, but in all my games, we simply gathered resources, got the cards we wanted, and then finished our dream sequence as soon as we could. 

I appreciate the many different dream abilities (they even require their own rulebook), but I will say that I never truly figured out the best way to implement them. Part of what makes me think that there’s something more to this game that we just didn’t find was my experience with the solo mode.

Perhaps my biggest issue with Dreams of Tomorrow is the difficulty that I had bringing it to the table. As I tried to explain the rules and started to use the terminology, my friends quickly lost interest. I eventually had to give up and just start saying things like “the market” and “your set collection”. They also had a heck of a time with all of the iconography, and it took about 20 minutes before they really got into a groove with the game. I personally would prefer a quicker acclimation for a 45 minute game.

All in all, I love many of the ideas brought forth by Dreams of Tomorrow. However, I don’t know how often I’ll be able to bring it to the table. With the right gaming groups, I think that this game will be a hit. Personally, I believe that other games from this publisher like Animal Kingdoms (actually a Galactic Raptor game) and Fire in the Library will be hitting our table much more often.

You can order a copy of Dreams of Tomorrow or any other wonderful titles from Weird Giraffe Games through their website or at your FLGS. OBF was given a review copy of Dreams of Tomorrow. 

Highs

 

  • Strong artwork that fits well with the theme
  • A unique rondel mechanism that provides interesting strategy opportunities
  • A very well-developed solo mode

 

Lows

 

  • The theme is overly complex for my tastes
  • There’s a lot of iconography and game-specific language