Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Thursday 7 December 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- When I Dream

Game: When I Dream

Publisher: Repos Productions

Designer: Chris Darsaklis

Year: 2017

When I Dream was originally a limited print run release at Essen 2016. It got a lot of positive feedback, so far Essen 2017 it was reprinted by Repos Productions, and Asmodee definitely put a lot of marketing effort into the release. At Essen I believe they had a full sized bed and lots of people walking around in pyjamas, and in the run up to the show they even sent a copy of When I dream to space with a weather balloon (surely a tongue in cheek response to the release of Clank! In! Space!). So after all that hype, does When I Dream live up to expectations?

When I Dream is a party game for 4-10 players where in each round one player plays the dreamer and all of the other players are 'dream spirits' giving you limited information about your strange and surreal dream, represented by the word cards in the centre of the table. The dreamer is blindfolded and the other players around the table are each dealt a role. The role will determine whether you want the dreamer to guess words correctly or incorrectly. The fairies want the dreamer to guess right answers, the bogeymen want wrong answers and the sandmen want an even distribution of right and wrong. A round lasts 2 minutes and you go round the table giving one word clues until the dreamer makes a guess. The dreamer gets points for correct answers but also for reciting a dream from memory containing all of their correct guesses.

You could play the game without trying to figure out the roles that anyone has, but you'll do a lot better if you can identify the player who is always lying to you or identify the good guys. The bogeymen are, of course, designed to confuse you and make this identification harder. As someone who really does not enjoy social deduction games, it's nice to find that this is the element of the game that I was surprised to enjoy the most, because it is weaved so subtly into a clue-giving word game.

Lovely components and artwork!
On paper, it never sounded to me like there was a much of a game here, but once you play the game a few times, so start to realise how important it can be to tune in to other players. As a sprite, it's helpful to figure out who else is on the same team as you. As the dreamer it's great if you can catch on to the loyalty of some of the players around the table and start to figure out who you should always be ignoring.

When I Dream is a social game, not to be taken too seriously. We've played the game with groups of 4, 5 and 6 players and definitely think that it is better at the higher player counts. With just 4 players there isn't enough duplication of the 3 different loyalty cards, so you're often fighting your cause alone. We've found that it can be really hard to win if you're always dealt the bogeyman, although it's best to lie earlier on in the round because it's hard to come back once the dreamer starts ignoring you. I'd like to try When I Dream with more players, but I'm not sure if you'll lose some of the subtle deduction elements in the game because you'll hear fewer clues from each individual player and it will be harder to keep track.

I'm not sure When I Dream will become a staple party game in the same way as Dixit or Telestrations, but we're having fun with it and it certainly offers something slightly different in the genre. It's a lovely production and would definitely attract attention at a convention or playing at a public venue. The mask, bed and artwork are all great, although the artwork has sometimes been confusing when we introduce the game, as it has no real game purpose other than to look nice.

I'm excited to try When I Dream with family and work colleagues over the festive period and for The Yellow Meeple it's a 6.5/10.

When I Dream was a review copy provided by Esdevium Games Ltd. It is be available for an RRP of £26.99 at your friendly local game store or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk/.

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