Game Review – Dingo’s Dreams

img_2502

What happens when a dingo, koala, kidna, and kanga fall asleep? They all dream of course! What do they dream of you might ask? Like any other animal, they dream of wandering the lands far and wide. Unfortunately, these animals have gone into a coma and can only be awoken if they can navigate their dreamscape and find their way home.

Designer: Alf Seegert
Artist: Ryan Laukat
Publisher: 
Red Raven Games
Genre: Family, Tile Placement
Players: 2-4
Play Time: 20-30 minutes
Number of Logged Plays: 6

Buy it on Amazon via He said, She Said Games

Skip ahead to find out:
Game Overview
Game Play
What He Said
What She Said
Our Pros and Cons
The Verdict

Game Overview

img_2503In Dingo’s Dreams each player will help navigate their spirit animal through the dreamland to lead them home. Each player will have a 5 x 5 grid that will make up their dreamscape. These tiles will be flipped over in a BINGO type fashion as walkabout cards are revealed. Players lead their animal home by matching the pattern on the round’s dream card. Beware of hazards though because they’ll prevent you from winning if any of your animals are in those spaces.

Game Play

Dingo’s Dreams has two phases in a round that players will repeat until there is a winner.

img_2505Walkabout:

In the walkabout phase the “Dreamer” (the player who is drawing from the walkabout deck) flips over the top card and shows everyone what it is. Everyone will find this tile in their dreamscape and flip it over so that the animal side is showing.

img_2428Dreamtime:

At the beginning of the game, the players will have one extra tile (Active Tile) that isn’t included in their 5×5 grid. In the first round, this tile will always be the titled animal tile. This extra tile must be placed at the end of any row or column, which will force the entire row/column to shift. The tile that gets pushed off of the 5×5 grid will become the new “Active Tile” that will be placed during the next Dreamtime phase.

Once a player(s) get their dreamscape to match the dream card pattern they will yell out their animal’s name to indicate they’ve successfully lead their animal home. Tiles on unmarked spots on the Dream Card can be either face-up or face-down and don’t affect a player winning the game.

img_2507

Hazards
Hazards are a variant that can be added to the game to make it more challenging for players to navigate their animal home. If players choose to play with this variant, they will select an icon on the hazard setup card that will cover up four spaces. The only limitation to this is that players cannot select an icon that would conflict with a spot on the selected dream card.

If players have any animal tiles on a hazard location, they are unable to win until they move the animal tile off that spot. This makes it quite a bit harder for players to complete the dream card since they’ll have to consider all the hazard locations during the Dreamtime phase. This variant also creates the possibility that no player wins, which means the end of the game is triggered by the walkabout deck running out or all players conceding.

He Said

img_2509

I can’t say I’ve really ever been a huge fan of Bingo since you’re just sitting around waiting for your numbers to be called. It’s not exactly engaging, but it can pass the time if there are prizes involved. I don’t think I’ve ever finished Bingo and thought that it was a really satisfying experience. Dingo’s Dreams makes it a bit more interesting by giving you the power to manipulate your board to win the game.

The Lone Dingo Pack
After playing a couple rounds of Dingo’s Dreams, it’s very apparent that this game is just about your own animal. Just like Bingo, there isn’t any player interaction so you aren’t able to affect other players. Lack of player interaction isn’t a big problem though because the dreamscape in front of you slowly evolves into a complicated puzzle.

img_2428The first couple rounds of the game are a crap shoot on where to use your active tile because the board will change rapidly. This made it feel like there isn’t really an opening game strategy. As the game goes on, this changes as the number of tiles that you can flip over dwindle. Should I shift over this row and hope for this card or try to do a surefire move that might take more steps? This created a good amount of interesting decisions as you shift your dreamscape around to try to be the first one to lead your animal home. Although the game does give you some interesting decisions to make, it still felt like I was at the mercy of the random card draw.

This Is What Dreams Are Made Of
The game comes with eighteen dream cards (three are blank to create custom dreams), which gives players many goals to complete. Each map can also have different hazard added to them adding variability to each dream card. When you add in the hazards, it really takes the game up to the next level with the decisions you need to make. Not only do you have to figure out how to setup the board to give you the best chance of winning, but you also have to make sure no animals are on hazards when you complete the goal. This makes things a lot more challenging as you shift your tiles around, but it could also lead to frustration if you were one tile away from winning, only to get foiled by a hazard.

I felt like the little bit of frustration was worth it because it makes the game more engaging. You have to consider more variables with hazards rather than just shifting tiles into the correct position. The rule book says that this could lead to no players winning the game, but throughout the three games we played with hazards, we didn’t run into that situation.img_2506

One of the best game we played had a fairly difficult dream card paired up with the only hazard that could be applied to that card. You could feel the tension near the end of the game as each walkabout card was revealed, just waiting for someone to yell out their animal name. Then right as you’re one move away from winning, you get victory snatched away from you when someone else completes their dreamscape first. You yell out “Check!” and huddle around their board hoping they had an animal on a hazard, but alas they didn’t. All the tiles get shuffled and you set up your board again in anticipation for the next dream card to get drawn.

Final Thoughts
Overall, I had more fun with this game than I thought I would. It had moments where you got to make interesting decisions and moments of excitement as the walkabout card you gambled on gets drawn. The artwork is very pleasant to look at, especially the dreamscape tiles when you first set up your board. It’s a quick and easy game to teach and pretty intuitive since everyone already knows how to play Bingo. It still suffers from the same problem as Bingo for me in that the game is a little too random. I’d recommend this as a family game or something you can bring out to start or end a game night. If you know someone who loves Bingo, this would be a great gift for them.

She Said

I’ve been anxious to get my hands on a copy of Dingo’s Dreams for quite some time. Calvin was a little skeptical because the game mechanism is essentially the game Bingo, but I’m very happy that we purchased this game.

img_2424

And Dingo Was His Name-o
First off, this game has a great theme with super cute animals. The concept of the animals navigating a dreamscape is interesting and does tie into the actions you complete. I also like how you have to yell out your animal’s name if you win.

This game is very light and simple to understand, but it does have some strategy to it. It’s almost like a giant puzzle, and you really have to think ahead to figure out where everything is going to shift once you slide in your active tile. Remember those sliding puzzles where you had to slide each square into place to make the image complete? Well, this game is very similar to that, but you’re trying to beat the clock because someone else could complete it before you. There’s nothing worse than being one away from winning when someone else yells out their animal’s name.

One strategy I would suggest is having a row where you can always place your active tile without ruining your whole plan. In addition, it’s helpful if you keep your animals as close to the edge as possible. I found myself often pushing my koalas off the edge of the board so I could easily place them where I needed them to go next turn. But with this game, you really have to think a few steps ahead, and if that’s not your forte, it may get frustrating for you.

img_2508It Was Only a Dream
Some of the dream cards are easier to complete (single row of five) and some are definitely more challenging (all four outer rows), but that’s what keeps the game interesting. I will say that I wish it came with a few more options for dream cards, but you could always just create your own because the game does offer blank ones.

If you’re looking for an extra challenge, the hazards add an interesting element. They make things a little more difficult because you can’t win with an animal in one of the designated spaces.

Final Thoughts
Overall, if you’re looking for a quick and easy pickup game, Dingo’s Dreams is a great pick. It has a super cute theme with an easy to understand game mechanism. Although it can be a very solitary game, meaning you can basically ignore the other players. But if you put out the effort to make the game more competitive and feel like a race against the clock, it’s very fun to compete against one another in a bingo-style game.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Cute theme
  • Great artwork
  • Easy to understand and explain
  • Implementation of active tile adds some strategy to the game
  • Hazards add an extra challenge

Cons:

  • Very solitary
  • Too much randomness

The Verdict

He gives this game out of 6 Kidnas out of 10.

She gives this game 8 Koalas out of 10.

Buy it here from Amazon

Read More on Board Game Geek

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s