Thursday, September 8, 2016

Project Dreamscape Review

Quick Look:


Designer: Sarah Reed and Will Reed
Artist: Julie Okahara
Publisher: Undine Studios
Year Published: 2015
No. of Players: 1-4
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Find more info on
Ahhhhh.....There is nothing like a good night's sleep. That is until the nightmares begin—you know those awful dreams about work and what you forgot to get done around the house. Oh and those ones about that guy named Freddie. Wake up!

In Project Dreamscape players are trying to manipulate their dreams in order to make them come true via a new scientific breakthrough. The dreamer who can tap into and control their dreams the best becomes the ultimate dreamer!

To set up Project Dreamscape players will shuffle the Sleep Deck and give each player a face down card (Z card). Then players will draw five Sleep cards placing them in a row face up next to the Sleep Deck creating the Dreamscape. The one through five Z Shield tokens will be placed under these five cards with five being the closest to the Sleep Deck and one being the furthest indicating the cost of each card.

Set up for a two player game.

Players are now ready to begin. The starting player is the player who can remember the most interesting dream, and they will take the active player token. Once the game gets going players will have two card stacks in their play area: the Deep Sleep Stack for Z cards (face down cards used for purchasing Dream cards) and one for their REM stack (where players play their Dream cards). On a player's turn she does the following three steps:
  1. May take a Z card from the Sleep Deck to add to her Deep Sleep Stack. These cards are used for purchasing Dream cards so the more you have the more Sleep cards you can buy, however beware as they also count as negative points at the end of the game.
  2. Must purchase a Dream card (or cards) from the Dreamscape or previously reserved cards (I will come back to this later) to add to her REM Stack. Please note that she cannot change the order of her REM Stack unless she is using a card's power. The cost is indicated buy the Z Shield tokens under the card. For example the card furthest from the Sleep Deck cost one Z card while the closest cost five Z cards. Z cards are not discarded after purchase only turned sideways to indicate being used. Once a card is placed into a player's REM Stack she must take one of the actions indicated by the dream type (symbol on the card). I will discuss these actions below.
  3. Prepare for the next player. To do this she will slide cards in the Dreamscape towards the least expensive spots then draw new Sleep cards to fill in the empty spots. All used Z cards are turned back up along with any reserved cards (I promise to get back to reserving).
As mentioned above when you play a Dream card into your REM Stack you may take one of the dream type actions (there are two dream types per card). Here are some of the dream type actions (I am not including the actions from the expansion deck):
  • Floating Free - Pull a dream from somewhere in your REM stack and play it on top.
  • Interrupted Sleep - Flip a card over in the Dreamscape.
  • Night Terror - Choose an opponent who must discard one of their Z cards.
  • Lucid Dreaming - Reserve a card from the Dreamscape by placing it in your player area sideways (to indicate it is not available on this turn). This card will now cost only one Z card to purchase and play into your REM Stack on a later turn. Reserved cards that are unused at the end of the game go into your Deep Sleep Stack and will count against you at the game's end.
  • Perfect Respite - Gain a Z card which can be used immediately.
  • Recurring Dream - Replay the Dream card that is under this one.
  • Collective Dream - Copy the top Dream card of an opponent.
  • Shifting Dream - Rearrange the Dreamscape.
Once a player has completed the three steps play goes to the next player clockwise who will complete the three steps. Play continues until there are not enough cards in the Sleep Deck to replenish the Dreamscape in step 3. At that point players add up their points based on their Rem stack and subtract points equal to the number of Z cards in their play area giving them their final score. The player with the most points wins!

Points are scored based on the number of cards adjacent to one another with matching dream types (symbols). See scoring example below.

Scoring example: There are three green dream types adjacent to one another thus
scoring 4 points. There are also three orange dream types adjacent for another
4 points. Finally there are two pink dream types adjacent coring another 2 points
for a total score of 10 points.

There is an expansion that came with my game that allows you to trade out different dream cards (dream types) to change up play. I imagine you could also add the cards to make a longer game. There is also a variant that allows you to use the first player token (The Sleep Token) to discard a Z card or to use the token as a Z card. Finally the is a solo variant as well which plays pretty similar except some of the dream actions are altered since there are no opponents.

Final Rem Stack for both players. The player closest to the camera wins,
however it was close--31 to 25. I hope I added those right.


Rules and Setup:
Project Dreamscape is a pretty simple game mechanically and thus the rule set is very simple and straight forward. You can easily learn this game in a short amount of time and get others playing quickly. I liked the image examples that are included, always a big help, and the fact Undine separated out everything into steps is a big help. The only gripe here is the verbiage, I almost wish they had included a terms section. That being said still pretty easy to get through.

Set up is also very easy allowing players to start playing right away.

Theme and Mechanics:
The theme of Project Dreamscape is awesomely fresh! The idea of manipulating your dreams to create a reality is cool, although once you get into it you really aren't thinking in terms of dreams, but more in terms of symbols. Still cool though.

The main mechanic of creating chains reminds me a lot of the Impossible Machine by Glowfly Games where you are linking machine parts together. The similarity stops there through as the chains you create in Project Dreamscape are your own and don't go away once the machine is turned on.

In it's purest form this is a set collecting game with special card powers that let you manipulate how you collect and how you create your sets which adds a nice layer of strategy.

Game Play:
Game play is super fast, we were getting through games in less than the published 30 minutes and regardless of the number of players. Since there are the same amount of cards in the Sleep Deck it gets played through at the same rate thus the time of play remains the same.

As I mentioned above the game is super easy to play (harder to master) so it works well with younger kids. Again I wasn't able to get my boys to play this yet but I could see both of them (9 and 7) being able to play with no problems. The publisher recommends 10+.

Artwork and Components:
The first thing I noticed when Sarah started sharing her project on Facebook was the incredible artwork by Julie Okahara. Bam! 10 out of 10, the artwork is amazing! It definitely has a dream like quality to it which draws players in and helps tie in the mechanics and theme.

This is a final version of the game and the component quality is very good. The cards are thick with a linen finish and the tokens are sturdy chip board punch outs. A+ on the box as well, everything fits nicely with a little room to spare if your are into sleeving.

Whats in the box?

On a side note my boys keep wondering why some of the people have holes in them. I will have to figure this one out. Leave a comment if you know.

The Good:
The artwork has to be the number one thing here. It is hard to look past this game if you see it on a shelf. The cover really pops and makes you want to stop and check it out. Next would be the solid mechanics and game play. There are no wasted mechanics with Project Dreamscape, everything seems to have a purpose.

The Bad:
There is not a lot that is bad here (I seem to say this a lot). One long term concern might be the re-play-ability of this game. Is it classic enough to stand the test of time or is there more replay value in it than I am seeing? Only time will tell (and if I remember I will tell).

Final Thoughts:
This is a fantastic short and sweet game for the entire family, one that will also work well as a filler game at your next game night. Not too heavy that it excludes beginners and not too light that more experienced gamers won't enjoy it.

This one will defiantly be going on the shelf and seeing it's fair share of action (my wife really enjoyed it).

Players Who Like:
Card games like The Impossible Machine, Fluxx, UNO, Phase 10, and other set collection games will love Project Dreamscape!

I am giving Project Dreamscape 7.5 out of 10 super meeples.

7.5 10

Check out Project Dreamscape on:


About the Author:

My name is Dane Trimble I am the Advertising Manager for a national magazine by day and a husband, father of four, and board gamer by night (and mornings). I have a passion for board games as I believe board games help bring families closer together while providing kids a unique way to learn many diverse skills. And they are down right fun!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment