When I Dream: A Party Game of Clues, Social Deduction, and Memory | Casual Game Revolution

When I Dream: A Party Game of Clues, Social Deduction, and Memory

When I Dream

Fairies, Boogeymen, and the Sandman, have all come to play in your dreams. Can you figure out which is which?

When I Dream features beautiful, fantastical artwork from multiple artists and some pretty unique components, but how does the gameplay stack up?


One round is played for each player in the game, allowing everyone the chance to be the dreamer. The game comes with a deck of cards. Each card is double-sided, and each side has an image, and a word at the top and the bottom which is an element of the dream. When the game is set up you shuffle these cards and place them on the miniature bed in the center of the board. The bed hides one of the two words on the cards.

Fairy, Boogeyman, and Sandman role cards are taken from the box at the start of the game. The number of each varies depending on the player count, but you always have one role for each player.

At the start of each round, the dreamer shuffles the role cards and deals one facedown to each player except themselves. The extra role card is set aside for the duration of the round and each player secretly looks at their own role.

The dreamer then puts the sleep mask over their eyes. The top card from the deck is moved to the bottom, the sand timer is flipped, and the dream begins. The word that is currently visible on the top of the deck is an element of the dream that the dreamer is trying to guess. Each non-dreamer player takes turns saying a one word clue (it cannot be a word derived from the element word, something that merely sounds similar, or be the same word translated into another language). However, not all the players want the dreamer to correctly guess, and therefore will give misleading clues. The players keep taking turns giving clues, until the dreamer guesses. The dreamer may only guess once for each card. Once the dreamer has guessed, the card is either placed on the yellow side of the board (if the guess was correct) or the blue side of the board (if it was incorrect). The dreamer is not informed if the guess was correct. Players then start giving clues for the next card in the deck. If a player ever gives an illegal clue, the card is placed before them as a penalty.

Dreamers are always allowed to pass on a card if they have no idea, and a player is allowed to pass if they cannot think of a clue. Once the timer runs out, the dreamer may make a final guess on the current dream word if he wishes to or he may pass. Then the dream is over. Before the dreamer takes off the sleep mask, he attempts to recount his dream, trying to mention each element that he guessed.

Once the dream is over, players reveal the role cards and points are calculated. The dreamer scores one point for every dream card on the yellow side of the board and scores two extra points if he mentioned all of them when he recounted his dream. Fairies score one point for every card on the yellow side of the board. The Boogymen score one point for each dream on the blue side of the board. The Sandman is seeking balance between the two sides. If the number of cards on both sides of the board is equal, he scores one point for each card on the yellow side, plus two extra points. If there is only a one card difference between the two sides, he scores the number of cards on the side that has more. If there is a difference of two or more cards, he scores the number of cards on the side that has fewer.

After everyone has been the dreamer once, the game ends. Players count up their score, subtracting one point for each penalty card they may have, and the player with the highest score wins.

When I Dream Components


When I Dream is immediately visually arresting. The components, from the bed that holds the deck of dream cards to the sleep mask for the dreamer to wear, are creative, thematic, and detailed. For a game that is all about dreams, you want the artwork to be fantastical and whimsical, and it’s exactly that. Each picture draws in elements of both the words listed on the card, to the point where you don’t always know for sure where one element begins and the other ends. There are also multiple artists featured in the game, so there is a nice variety between the dreams. However, it should be noted that the artwork itself is not part of gameplay (just the words contained on the cards).

There is a real challenge in trying to listen to the clues and figure out who you can trust and who you can’t. This social deduction element sets the game apart from something like Codenames or Muse, and the dependence that the dreamer has to put on hearing over sight makes this social deduction element even more fascinating as you can’t rely on visual cues you might use in other games. The storytelling mechanic, with the dreamer recreating their dream and tying all the elements together, is also a fun little addition (if you don't mind some memorization) that doesn’t hugely affect the game, but is still enjoyable and leads to some fun moments.

The game does say you can play with up to ten people. While such a large player count is great for a party game it’s not the best for this particular one. Since the dreamer is up against a timer and it can already be difficult to keep track of who has given what clues when all you have is your hearing, it becomes difficult to keep track with a larger player count. People are also going to be giving clues less often, so you just have a lot less information to go off of when figuring out who to trust. The game length also is bogged down with that many players.

Each of the roles is enjoyable and offers their own challenges, and it is fun to see how each player tackles them. Trying to give misleading clues, for example, can be tricky — you don’t want to give away your secret role by being too obvious, but you still need to steer the dreamer in the wrong direction.

When I Dream is creative and lovely, with some unique ideas mixed in with some tried and true mechanics. Try it for yourself, and discover what’s in your dreams.

Pros: Fantastic components and visuals, nice range of roles, interesting social deduction elements

Cons: Should not be played with a large player count