Full Disclosure: This preview is based on a prototype copy sent to me by Weird Giraffe Games.
The Kickstarter campaign for Dreams of Tomorrow can be found here:
What is Dreams of Tomorrow about?
Dreams of Tomorrow, designed by Philip "Falcon" Perry and published by Weird Giraffe Games, is a game set in a post-apocalyptic future. You are a dream engineer, and your job is to weave together dreams to send back into the past—dreams that are vivid enough to stick with the dreamers when they awake, and to convince them to take action and change the world before it can all go wrong.
In the multiplayer version of the game, players are racing to collect the best dreams and weave them in arrangements that earn the most victory points. The first player to weave together five dreams will trigger the endgame, but that player won't necessarily win—victory points are determined by a combination of the VP values on the dream cards themselves, and by a second factor called "resonance." Clear, coherent dreams are more memorable to their recipients, so players also score bonuses for weaving together dreams that bear matching symbols and thus "resonate" with each other.
The most interesting part of Dreams of Tomorrow, however, is the mechanism used to take any action in the game, whether gathering resources or weaving dreams. Players all move on a rondel that represents their collective consciousness, the space in which they work to engineer dreams. This rondel, however, is not static—the dreams you catch and weave have actions on them that allow you to manipulate the collective consciousness, either to bring desirable actions closer to you or to push your opponents' desired actions away from them. It is a fascinating mechanic that forces you to rethink your strategy constantly, and it is easily the biggest selling point of this game for me.
When it comes to solo play, Dreams of Tomorrow has a lot to offer. Carla Kopp, the publisher of Dreams of Tomorrow, is quickly becoming one of my favorite solo mode designers. Her interest in robots and in creating challenging automated opponents is on full display in this game, and she leaves us with not one, but three AI players to challenge. Automated players earn points for every turn they take, which puts solo players on a tight timer. Additionally, the robot players constantly mess with the rondel and disrupt players' plans, which really adds to the fun of playing against them.
What I like about Dreams of Tomorrow
I really like Dreams of Tomorrow. It is a chilled-out, relatively simple game with hidden strategic depths. I love manipulating the rondel to help set up future plays, and I also love pitting myself against the robot players. The level of thought that went into this game makes me feel appreciated and catered to as a solo player, and the result of that careful thought is a truly fun and quick-playing solo game.
Possible Concerns about Dreams of Tomorrow
The one thing that is true of pretty much all games from Weird Giraffes is that they can be passive-aggressive, but are never aggressive-aggressive. You will have very little direct interaction with other players. For me, that is fine—maybe even preferable. But if that's not your play style, you should know what you're getting into.
Should I back it?
I am absolutely going to back Dreams of Tomorrow. If you want to support small publishers who cater to solo gamers, this is a no-brainer. There is just so much to appreciate about this game, from the rondel mechanic at its heart to the extremely well-thought-out robot opponents that make Dreams of Tomorrow such a pleasing solo experience. I wish that all publishers put so much thought into their games.