Shortly before SPIEL we spoke to Shadi Torbey about the Oniverse and its new home in Patience spoken. We've known it for a while, but it's finally been official for a few weeks now. Not just the latest title Stellarion finds its way to Germany, but also the title that started the Oniverse comes thanks to HUCH! (again) in German. The planned release date is spring 2023. In our test of the English edition, we show how the game is doing at a proud age of 13.
The idea of Shadi Torbey's own publishing company is as old as Onirim itself. We already presented the publisher and the latest title of the Oniverse last year. Now that not only Stellarion for the first time, but also Onirim will finally be available again in German, we took a closer look at the first game of the Oniverse.
The game was originally localized by Pegasus in 2012. But it had been sold out there for a long time and also contained “only” three expansion modules. OUCH! is now bringing the game back to Germany and there are also all seven expansion modules here.
As a dreamwalker, the players are in Onirim trapped in a dream maze. They can only escape if they find all eight Dreamgates before the deck is empty. Nightmares lurk in the maze, making it difficult to escape. With the expansion modules, the challenge can be expanded as desired.
A component is in the small box of Onirim particularly prominently represented: maps. There are 169 of them. There are three types of cards in the base game: Locations, Doors, and Nightmares. In addition to a small character and two rule books, that's all you need to play Onirim needs.
The game preparation is also very clear. The 76 cards from the base game are shuffled. Then you draw cards until you have five locations in your hand. Drawn nightmares or doors go to the temporary discard pile (Limbo). As soon as you have five cards in your hand, the Limbo is shuffled back into the big deck.
The way through the dream labyrinth
In the first step of each turn you decide whether to play or discard a card. Played cards are placed next to each other in a row and form the dream labyrinth. The only rule is that you can never have the same symbols on adjacent cards. The symbols are sun, moon and key.
If three cards of the same color are next to each other, you may search the stack for a door card of the corresponding color. You place these face up in your own play area. The deck is then shuffled.
If you choose to discard, the sun and moon have no effect. A key triggers a prophecy. You can draw five cards from the deck. One of these cards must be discarded and the other four can be placed on the stack in any order.
In the second step of your turn you draw five cards from your hand. If you drag locations, they simply come into your hand. Doors are thrown at the Limbo. If you have a key of the same color in your hand, you can discard it immediately and place the door open in front of you.
If you are unlucky enough to have a nightmare while drawing, you have to choose one of four possible negative effects. You either discard a key from your hand, place an already discovered door in Limbo, reveal the top five cards of the deck and discard all locations (any nightmares and doors you may have drawn go to Limbo), or you discard your entire hand and draw five cards from your hand as at the beginning of the game.
In the last step of a turn, the Limbo is shuffled back into the deck.
You win the game when you have all eight doors open in front of you. If you don't do this before the stack is empty, you lose.
Modules for variety
A total of seven modules are included in the box in addition to the base game.
With the "Dream Catchers" you have to catch lost dreams as an additional victory condition. Since the entire limbo of a round always goes into a dream catcher, you have to be careful that at least one is always free. When overloaded, all cards from all Dream Catchers are returned to the deck and one is destroyed.
The module with the book icon allows you to cast "spells". They are important because the doors with this module must be found in a specific order.
In the “Good Dreams and Dark Premonitions” module, you have to deal with the dark premonitions that give the game its name. Their negative effects are triggered when certain conditions are met. The "Good Dreams" help to move safely through the dream labyrinth despite the negative effects.
The other four modules also add exciting little aspects. All modules can be combined with each other as desired.
Number of people: 1 to 2
Age: from 10 years
Playing time: 15 minutes
Long-term motivation: good
Genre: solo game
Core mechanisms: set collection, hand management
Author: Shadi Torbey
Design: Élise Plessis
Official Website: Onirim
Year of publication: 2010/2023
Cost: still unknown
It's not surprising that Onirim on BGG is the highest ranked game of the Oniverse. Even after more than 10 years, the game in no way feels outdated and offers fast and variable solo gaming fun.
The game idea with hand cards that you have to create in sets is certainly not revolutionary and the theme is more of a nice accessory than a carrier of the gaming experience. For a small solo game that can be played in less than 15 minutes, this is certainly not the most important aspect.
The cards are of good quality, although they will inevitably suffer at some point from all the shuffling. For me, they survived almost 30 games relatively unscathed. Sleeves are always an alternative. Then unfortunately the practical inlay is too small, in which there is also a lot of attention to detail. The now classic hinged lids are a small but nice detail that makes the Oniverse stand out.
The optics are also in Onirim just like you know it from all other games of the Oniverse. Personally, I always like them, even if not everyone will like them.
The rules are also very well written. In the manual for the many extension modules, each module is introduced with a small flavor text.
The gameplay is very fluid and fast. Just one thing to keep in mind: you have to mix a lot. In a game, the number of shuffles quickly reaches double digits. Of course, that's not a lot of fun, but it rarely hinders the flow of the game, especially if you can elegantly avoid one or the other nightmare.
There are enough tactics here for such a fast game. With the simple rules and fast playing time, there is always a good portion of luck involved. If you only have suns in your hand and the last card on display is also a sun, discarding and drawing quickly becomes monotonous until you finally draw a key or another suitable card.
Winning the base game is quite possible and has a nice balance. It is also very pleasant to play with a module. Depending on which modules you combine, it quickly becomes very difficult here and you have to hope for good card combinations, otherwise not all tasks can be fulfilled.
With their varied challenges, the modules encourage new games to be played, even if the core of the game remains simple. The replayability here is probably higher than in any other comparably compact and easy-to-learn solo game. Nevertheless, the limits are reached here at some point.
For a quick game Onirim is actually always time. I usually have two or three games in a row. If the physical game is too "heavy" or too "big" to take with you, we also recommend the great app implementation of the game.
Last updated on 7.03.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API