Kickstarter Lagniappe: Dreams of Yesterday

NOTE: the crowdfunding link just went live here if you are interested in backing the project.

One of our frequent guests on Gumbo Live! and someone we can always count on for insightful thoughts about gaming and design is Carla Koop from Weird Giraffe Games. I love when Carla sends us a game to preview for the latest crowdfunding project because no two games are ever the same and there always seems to be some fresh twist on a familiar mechanic.

Dreams of Yesterday, a spiritual successor to Dreams of Tomorrow (a game we previewed with Carla right on our Gumbo Live! show four years ago), is a new small box card game that Weird Giraffe Games sent us this month.

It’s designed by Heather O’Neill, and has an unusual one to three player count. The theme is kind of futuristic, all about fixing our present collapsed timeline by grabbing artifacts from the past and rebuilding our broken future. That’s some pretty heady stuff. It’s not quite Knock At The Cabin drama, but it’s up there.

The gameplay is actually pretty simple. It’s a microgame, so there are only about a double dozen worth of cards in the box. (Yes, it is super easy to carry around, and can geaux right into your pocket or backpack when you are walking back and forth to Festivals Acadiens et Creole during Southern Board Game Fest.

Players will lay out a rondel of five double-sided cards in a circle of six spaces — leaving one space empty — and then start with a standard artifact and a resource card. From the starting spot (the blank space), players can move one or two spaces down the rondel, or more if they want to spend resources, and then draft the card at that new spot.

I say draft, but it is a lot more crunchy than that. The resource cards, which you need to build artifacts and urns, are free. They give you one or two cool resources to use on other cards. (No change back given though if you only use one of the two!) The other cards are tougher to get, because they take resources from your tableau equal to the cost printed on the cards.

The tableau is basically a museum storing a row of resources, and then two rows of artifacts. I think tableau is a great word here, because unlike your standard Everdell type tableau, where position of the cards never really matters, players are trying to get “runs” of cards with the same type of symbols on them.

But you not only get points at the end of the game for making those runs, the last card in the run also gives out special, game breaking powers to the player that has it. You could get extra movement, or purchase a card from anywhere, or get a free resource. You build your tableau the way you want your future to look!

So already we’ve got some pretty familiar mechanics: rondel, tiny little engine building, set collection. It’s the way that the designer puts it all together in one neat little package using only 25 or so cards that is the trick. The prestidigtation comes by way of making each card double sided — you can see what is generally on the other side, but using a card or resource to flip cards to the side you want is such a fun little way to generate some tension as you play.

And, of course, there’s a little bit of lagniappe. Sure, you have the resource cards which are free and will help you get other cards but really don’t score you any points. Sure, you have the artifact cards which cost you resource cards, generally speaking, and score you points, but you only get two lines of artifacts, you gotta play them in sequence to maximize your scoring, and you are always covering up some cool power you really like to use.

But the lagniappe?

Those urn cards.

There are only a handful in the deck, but each urn not only scores you some points at the end of the game just for capturing it (and they are expensive and hard to get) but they also give you bonus points for collecting other stuff. Staying focused on building up your resource or card power engine, while grabbing artifacts that fit in your line, AND keeping an eye on the urn cards that come out, that’s just a lot of game in a tiny little package.

While I love the way the cards look, I was a bit disappointed in the rulebook. Of course, we are playing from an early preview copy, and there is plenty of time for Weird Giraffe Games to fine tune the rules. But, I’m hoping to see a clearer example of how to set up the game and the structure of the turn. Other than that issue, it’s amazing how the designer was able to get so many tough decisions with just five open spaces and a couple dozen cards!

Keep an eye out for Dreams of Yesterday coming to crowdfunding on March 21. Until next time, laissez les bon temps rouler!

— BJ from Board Game Gumbo

A preview copy of the game was provided by the publisher. The copy is not a final production, and there could be changes to the rules and components during or after the campaign. Some of the pictures are courtesy of Weird Giraffe Games.

Leave a Reply

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: