26 April 2020
But does it engage with its theme?
From the description I hoped Dreams of Tomorrow was going to be one of those rare games where the future is dreamy, but instead the future is terrible as usual and must be saved with dreams. You play a Dream Engineer tasked with travelling the Collective Conscious, collecting dreams and weaving them into sequences to send back to the past.
Which is to say that this is a rondel game (you go round and round the board) with set-collection elements, pretty art and some of the least intuitive graphic design I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a confusing muddle of more than twenty icons and symbols that aren’t clear, attractive or well laid out. This isn’t a game of weaving dreams, mostly it’s trying to remember what the icon with all the rectangles lets you do.
A shame, because there are nice touches here, and the mechanics are intelligent, well balanced and varied.
The Collective Conscious lets you gain resources to catch dreams and weave them, but it also lets you trigger the power of the topmost dream in your sequence, which can rearrange the pieces of the rondel, give you extra stuff or more moves, or let you swap dreams with other players.
But it’s not as simple as collecting powerful dreams. If you can create a sequence of dreams with matching symbols you get points for resonance, and with the game’s tight scoring it can often make the difference. And the conflict between the two leads to interesting choices and emergent strategies.
The game comes with two modes: pleasant night and troubled night, which unleashes a nightmare onto the rondel, plus a solo variant in which you compete against an algorithmic robot. It’s a nice package for several styles of play.
Dreams of Tomorrow never engages directly with its theme but its tone is never fierce or combative, and collecting the dream-cards is a pleasant way to spend some time, even if they never add up to anything more than points.
PLAY IT? Probably
Designer: Phillip Perry and Carla Kopp
Artist: James Masino
Time: 30-45 minutes
Players: 1-6 players
This review originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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