Accessibility TL;DR. Dreams of Tomorrow uses clear iconography and a high-contrast color scheme, making all cards and player boards easy to see for colorblind and low vision gamers. Individual player colors are easy to distinguish up to 4. Some colorblind gamers might need assistance when playing with 5 or 6.
Introduction and Gameplay
Dreams of Tomorrow, designed by Phillip Perry and published by Weird Giraffe Games, is a set collection game with action selection along a shifting rondel. It plays 1-6 players in about 45 minutes. From the publisher:
Players are dream engineers trying to save their present by sending dreams to the past. Longer dream sequences that are better connected have a higher chance of getting through to the dreamer, but there’s also certain dreams that are more impactful than others.
The black and white cards serve as the rondel of action spaces. Players move around those eight spaces to take one of four primary actions:
- Collect resources (Experience, Creativity, and Hope) that are tracked on each player’s card.
- Purchase a card from the market (Catch a Dream) by spending Experience.
- Activate a previously-purchased cared (Weave a Dream Sequence) by spending Creativity and Hope. This makes a Special Ability available later.
- Special Ability (Activate a Dream). This can change the rondel order, direction of a player’s travel around the rondel, etc.
First Play. I learned Dreams of Tomorrow straight from the rulebook, and initially I struggled to understand the mechanisms. The story-forward writing replaced commonly-used game terms with thematic ones, which I found confusing at first. Using “Catch a Dream” instead of “Purchase a Card” added a second level of learning that didn’t click right away. If the standard terms had been included in parentheses, or a short glossary mapped common actions to the theme, I would’ve learned faster.
Once I “got it,” I enjoyed the puzzle of this game quite a bit, and any remaining questions I had during play were easily addressed by the player aids.
Subsequent Plays. My favorite element of Dreams of Tomorrow is that shifting rondel. Modifying the action locations and switching player direction around the board were fun and made me feel clever. I discovered “yes, that move is perfect for me!” and “take that, punk dream engineer!” opportunities – sometimes both in the same move – that felt particularly satisfying.
Party of One. Solo mode introduces one of several robot opponents, similar to the solo variety in Weird Giraffe’s Big Easy Busking. I enjoy this feature in Carla’s solo modes, as it provides more replayability than most solo experiences, especially when I play multiple games back-to-back.
Carla Kopp is a long-time advocate of accessibility; in particular, she takes special care for the needs of colorblind and low-vision players. She has written a useful introductory essay, Getting Started with Color Blind Accessibility, that I recommend to all game designers and publisher. I am encouraged by this quote and share Carla’s philosophy regarding accessibility in gaming:
“I try to make all my games colorblind friendly, as it’s super nice for colorblind people, but it’s also great for everyone else… Less ‘not fun times’ should mean the entire experience is more fun.“
Dreams of Tomorrow continues that legacy with easy-to-see iconography throughout, using a very clear white-on-black graphic design with high contrast. Basic shapes (triangles, squares, stars) are used with great effect for set collection.
The only color-required components of the game are player pieces, and the color palette makes it easy for most colorblind players to pick an easily-distinguished meeple (I prefer white). At 5 or 6 players, however, I might struggle to distinguish among the darker player colors (I think they are black, blue, and purple). I don’t play very many 5+ player games, but if I did, I would simply mark up two of these meeples with a sharpie to aid in distinguishing them from one another on the shared rondel.
Dreams of Tomorrow finds a way to combine action selection, set collection, and a rondel game board into a delightful package. The stand-out game mechanism is player-directed shifts to the rondel and movement direction throughout the game, which opens up a lot of possibilities. Colorblind and low vision players are in good shape here; they are unlikely to encounter barriers during play.
Dreams of Tomorrow is available direct from the publisher at Weird Giraffe Games.
Image Credits: Header and Game Box: Weird Giraffe Games. All others: Brian Chandler.
Disclosure: Colorblind Games received a complimentary copy of this game from the publisher for this review.