The artwork makes this game stand out. It completely immerses you into the world it is trying to bring to life.
Theme and What is it?
Of Dreams & Shadows is a cooperative board game set in a dark fantasy world where players take on the role of Champions who journey from the underworld ruins of a long-dead people to the heart of untamed forests where otherworldly creatures dwell in a quest to save their realm from certain doom.
Of Dreams & Shadows will tell a story as the Champion players collaborate actions around the board.
To set up, all players choose a Champion and place the Champion card, starting equipment and initial coins in front of them. You place your Champions standee on the starting location printed on your Champion card.
As a group, decide which of the three Villains to play against. Then, follow instructions on the Villain card to place monsters and shadow tokens on the board. There is a starting task for the whole team on the Villain card.
The game plays over two acts. In Act One, the Champions prepare for the final battle. After five turns, the final boss villain will enter the game for Act Two and make the game harder. The Champions must equip themselves heavily in Act One to overcome in Act Two. They only have five turns in Act Two to defeat the villain.
As far as mechanics there is not really anything new. The overall objective is the Champions are cooperatively fighting together against the common villain using dice.
In Act One, the Champions take three actions in initiative order. They can travel (move), gain resource cards, cast a spell, rest, etc. Then, they may combat on their space with a Foe. After these two steps, the Champions resolve scenarios and events from various decks progressing the story.
In Act Two, the Champions will only take actions and combat. If all Champions are defeated or the Champions have not defeated the villain by the end of turn 5 in Act Two, they lose and must read the defeat card.
I enjoy fantasy-themed games so was willing to give Of Dreams & Shadows a try. A lot of thought went into the game to keep the overall cost down. This game has standees instead of miniatures, etc. There is nothing wrong with this. It is just something I noticed compared to other games of this genre.
Game Build Quality
The components are of high quality. The game board, standees are robust cardboard.
I, personally, prefer miniatures and I think they are better than standees for three reasons. One, they are just better and less hassle. Two, as a miniature painter, it gives me two reasons to purchase games. And lastly, less wear and tear. I understand that makes the price point higher, but it is still overall better.
The card quality is about average. I prefer the linen card type but these are up to part with most games. I sleeved them anyway to make shuffling easier.
The artwork makes this game stand out. It completely immerses you into the world it is trying to bring to life. It is high-quality artwork.
Of Dreams & Shadows is highly influenced by RPGs. It does a great job of offering this experience to its players using cards instead of a GM. But, there can be limitations with this and it adds a little more randomness to gameplay, which is not necessarily a negative.
We enjoyed our immersion into this dark fantasy story and we came out with a win.
Age Range & Weight
GreenBrier recommends this for an older audience. This is not a children’s game. It features dark fantasy and horror. I agree with their suggestion of 14+.
Of Dreams & Shadows has a lot of depth and tactical, strategic decisions within it. This is not your Friday night family game.
Overall, my feelings are mixed about this game. Of Dreams & Shadows is not a horrible game by any means. However, it offers nothing new and exciting that I have not seen before. It was fun to play but mechanically is very similar to other games.
The replayability is also very low. It has a legacy feel to it without “tearing” up cards. With only three villains and not a lot of scenarios and event cards, playing the identical games will eventually happen.
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