Thursday, July 28, 2011


ONIRIM by Z-Man Games
Published in 2010

Onirim is a 15 minute adventure in a dreamworld. The player is a Dreamwalker, who finds themselves trapped in a mysterious labyrinth. They only have some precious little time to escape the dream, or they will remain trapped in there forever!

Onirim is a solitaire card game, with simple rules and short playing time. Most of the cards represent the locations that the Dreamwalker searches through, while some other cards are dreams that may either help, or hinder the adventurer.

The goal of the game is to find and open 8 oneiric doors, which will allow the Dreamwalker to escape from their situation and wake up.

The base game comes with three optional mini-expansions, one of which is used in the following game. This expansion; "Happy dreams and Dark premonitions", brings good dreams to counter the bad ones, but also introduces the Dark premonitions, which will trigger ill effects as the game progresses.


I begin my search from the aquarium...

...but I am instantly interrupted by the first Nightmare.

This bad dream costs me some time, and it also causes me to lose my grip of some keys, that I otherwise would have been finding soon.

And right after this, another Nightmare appears. A bad start for this bad dream...

However, lingering in the aquarium pays off, as I discover the first door!

I get a hold of a key, which I use to gain a prophecy.

The prophecy shows that I should continue my adventure in the library...
It also allows me to avoid the next Nightmare.

So into the library I go, and quickly find a door from there.

After library, I move on to the observatory.

My progress in there is slow, so I decide to take another prophecy.

This prophecy shows a nice diversity in locations, and it helps me to find the first observatory door.

I also avoid another Nightmare!

I head into the garden. While there, I am able to get a third prophecy. This time no bad dreams are seen, and the prophecy offers nothing special for me.

A garden door is discovered.
Now I have one of each door, which means my quest is about half way through.

On the other hand, the fulfillment of the dark premonitions is also drawing closer.

I find my way back to the aquarium. There I find dreams, both evil and happy. The bad dream is avoided once more...

...while the happy dream helps me greatly, by chasing away one of the dark premonitions.

I search for the other door in aquarium, but I can't seem to find it. After a while I decide to go back to the garden.

I manage to find the other garden door, but while opening it, I get attacked by a nightmare! This nightmare surprises me and it costs me some of my precious time to get rid of it.

While garden is now solved, I still have three doors to be found. I move back to the observatory. There I find a happy dream, which removes another dark premonition.

I almost get stuck in the observatory, but luckily I had one of the garden keys still with me.

This key is no longer needed, so I use it for another prophecy. With this prophecy, I am able to find a third happy dream, as well as the way for the second observatory door!

The happy dreams continue to fight against the dark premonitions, cancelling them before they ever come true.

Quickly after this, the fourth and last happy dream is found. This dream helps me to exorcise the rest of the nightmares from my way. Seeing how I still have some time left, my escape from the dream looks likely.

With no nightmares to distract me, I easily discover the last doors...

The last Dark premonition happens, and destroys two keys from the dream labyrinth... but his doesn't concern be, as all the doors are open now!
I can just walk out.

And so I escape this strange dream, leaving the corridors and nightmares behind me. I wake up to have another dream some other night...


This game went pretty well, maybe even too well... No real challenge was to be found. The nightmares didn't cause me too much trouble, and the premonitions didn't trigger.
But Onirim has a great potential for challenge. The base game is easy, but once you start adding the expansions in, the difficulty rises up quickly.

Onirim has a surprisingly high strategic value in it. Eventhough the rules are simple, there is many ways and tactics to play the game, and while luck definitely plays a part in Onirim, skill is needed to become a good player.

Artwork is very surreal and messy, but what should be expected from a game that sets in a dreamworld. I would've personally liked to see more diversity in the pictures, now there is only a handful of different scenes to be seen.


There is a two-player variant included in the Onirim rules, but I have never tried it. I'm sure that it would be quite enjoyable as well, but Onirim is great especially for quick solo experiences.

Easy to learn, quick to play, small in size, and cheap to buy, Onirim is a very good choice for almost everyone interested in card games.

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