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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Complexity that offers more than just placement and drafting
  • Depth from having multiple gameplay elements
  • Beautiful high quality components with gorgeous artwork

Might Not Like

  • Very heavy reliance on understanding the rules and complex scoring system
  • The lack of rounds meaning you can’t build up too much of a strategy
  • The theme seems to have a disconnect from the game play
Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

Vivid Memories Review

Vivid Memories

Welcome To My Dreams

At first glance of the game box you are transported into a magical world, a world of dreams, of possibilities, of, well, childhood memories. A time and place when things were happy. There were no adult woes or bills to pay. Flying kites and riding bikes were the call of the day. This is the promise of Vivid Memories. That is, until you open the box and you slowly wake up to the reality of the game as, ironically, those dreams become a distant memory. That’s not to say this game is bad, its just not what is expected from the look and feel of the game box and beautiful cards.

What Is This Game If Not A Memory

The premise of the game is around making connections using fragment tokens which supposedly mimic the firing synapses in your brain to rekindle memories long lost. Actually, the initial phases of a round of game play are much more similar to the placement and drafting of tiles in Azul than the whimsical fancies of dreaming. Much like Dreamscape, this is a very heavy game that appears to have very little to do with the game title. In fact you sort of feel like the title and artwork is more a marketing ploy than a reference to the gameplay itself. The game is still enjoyable though even if it doesn’t quite seem to be what it says on the box.

Components

The game box is simply beautiful! It’s bright and colourful and looks really pretty on your shelf, plus who doesn’t love elephants? if you purchase the Deluxe Version, the game tray is really well thought out, making excellent use of the space available to fit in all the extra components such as the game mat and the player token that you don’t get in the normal version. The player token is a really nice additional piece, if you’ve read any of my other reviews, you’ll know I’m a sucker for a good miniature and this kite mini meets expectations.

However, there is also a player card which depicts a kite on that can be used with either version of the game and this works just as well. You also get a good quality game mat within the deluxe version which helps direct you where to lay moment tiles as well as giving you space to place items such as spare fragment tokens. Whilst it wouldn’t affect your gameplay if you don’t have one, I am a fan of play mats and love not only how well this fits the game tray but how easy it is to just roll out and use. It’s also not too big so it doesn’t take too much table space.

The moment tiles included in the game are stunning and I haven’t been this enamoured with the artwork on cards since Dixit. However, I was expecting to use these in some narrative similar to playing Gloom but instead they essentially just give you points for matching patterns and aside from the artwork matching the game title they’re a little irrelevant.

I would have liked to have seen these used more than they were so feel an opportunity has been missed here. That said, they do have some special abilities which, if played, could help you really boost your score. For example, gaining specific colour fragments or swapping fragments for different colours. This links to the aspiration cards that are part of the game giving you a secret goal to boost your points at the end of the game so if you play to win these cards cleverly, they could really help you get ahead.

The fragment tokens are good quality and feel nice to handle. There are five different colours and each colour has its own symbol on one side so that anyone with issues such as colour blindness can still play with relative ease. Fragments are large enough to handle well, even with my chubby fingers, but small enough to ensure that the individual hexagonal player boards don’t need to be huge.

Speaking of the individual boards, there are 4 double layered player boards meaning you can concentrate on your own play area and not worry about your opponents and what they’re doing too much. Unless you are like my husband and enjoy ruining someone else’s play in which case you may want to peek over and try and guess what fragments they might be eyeing up.

You can place up to three of the fragment tokens within each empty sunken hex shape on the board. Now this does causes me issues! Because every fragment in your hex is connected to the hexes touching it regardless of placement. The fact that the colours don’t touch means you can’t always clearly see the connections.

You could have one hex with a blue, purple and yellow fragment and then another hex adjacent with a green, green and purple fragment but the purple may be nowhere near the other purple fragment even though by being in an adjacent hex it means they are a touching colour and therefore part of the connection you are trying to make. This lack of contact just made it really difficult for my very visual brain to spot where I had actually scored points or to plan strategically because I’d miss patterns to be formed. And trying to work out what patterns my opponent/s might be making… no chance! A cheeky glance could wield some ideas, but I found it best to just concentrate on my own game, trying to gain as many points as possible.

The scoreboard is quite nicely presented. Each player can choose a pair of player score markers represented with images from childhood games like various types of ball, a frisbee or a kite. One marker is placed on the score board which is simplistic and easy to use whilst you keep the other to remind you which marker is yours. On the back of the markers is the number 100 so if you reach the end of the 0-100 scoreboard you simply return back to the zero turning your marker over. I love the simplicity of the scoreboard but kept forgetting it loops like snakes and ladders rather than going left to right on every line so I had to really focus during the scoring phase to make sure I didn’t add extra points or do myself out of a point or two by moving my marker the wrong way.

Finally, you are provided with a black bag to keep your fragment tokens used during gameplay in so that these can be randomly selected during the Prepare Phase. In the deluxe version of the game this bag is embroidered with the game title which adds to the quality and premium feel fo the game, but it has no impact on gameplay if you have the standard retail edition.

Gameplay

Vivid Memories is a game for 2-4 players aged 13+ and is expected to take between 30 to 60 minutes per game. It is played over 3 rounds and each round has 4 phases.

During set up each player is given a board. They chose a score marker pair, placing one on the scoreboard at zero (non 100 side up), keeping the other by their board. Players are dealt an aspiration card which shows their secret colour for the dream connections they are aspiring to score extra points from. So, if your aspiration is yellow, you would score an additional point for each yellow fragment within a hex on your board, 2 points for each yellow connection made (where you move a fragment to the outskirts of your board) and 5 points for each moment tile that included a yellow fragment within its scoring.

Then begins the Prepare Phase. Here, moment tiles are shuffled and depending how many players there are a specific number, i.e. 4 for 2 players, are placed within reach of all players. You take out a specific number of fragment tokens and place them in the bag provided, again depending on how many players there are so for a 2 player game this would be 11 of each colour. You then place a specific number of fragments randomly on each moment tile, again depending on the number of players so for a 2 player game there are 4 fragments per moment tile.

The next phase is to Remember. During this phase each player takes it in turns to take fragments. You can opt to take 3 different coloured fragments, 2 fragments of the same colour or just 1 fragment. You then place these fragments in any empty hexagonal shape, which I like to refer to as hexes, on your board. The cool thing about taking 1 fragment is that it gives you this special power called rewire. I guess if you’re not busy taking all those fragments you have more time to dream thus solidifying those memories in your brain. During the rewire action you may choose one hexagonal to move 1 or all fragments to adjacent cells or you may choose adjacent cells to move fragments into 1 empty hexagonal. This can be really useful if you have 2 fragments of the same colour in the same hex and you want to make strong connections.

How do you get moment tiles then? Well if you take the last fragment from a moment tile (or card, which is effectively what they are) you then continue taking fragment/s from the next moment tile following the same rules for picking up. The difference here is when you clear a moment tile you get to keep that moment tile. That’s right, that memory is now yours. Will you remember riding your bike or imagine fighting monsters in a fantasy? Whatever the memory or dream might be you an extra ability with each one that aids scoring. These moments could also count towards your aspiration at the end of the game so you do want to collect these wisely.

The following phase is Reflect and here you can perform actions based on either the moment cards you have or on the free actions shown at the top of your player board.

Free actions allow you to nudge fragments into another hex, speculate so you can pick up a random extra fragment from the bag (if there is one available), swap one fragment for another or combine two fragment tokens for a fragment of your choice. If you have moment tiles you have to cover up a free action to place it on your board. You may choose to use the moment’s action straight away which means you turn over this card and look at how to score from it. As soon as you have a scoring combination you must score it and remove the card from your board. The more correct combinations you have, for example the moment might ask for a blue and purple fragment to be together in a hex, the more points you score. This means sometimes it can be worth waiting to use the action until you can score well from the card. However, choosing to wait does remove a free action from this phase.

It’s during this stage that the game gets much more strategic which reminds me or of games like Tantrix and how you make connections there. Due to the complexity of scoring you need to carefully plan your moves for optimum scoring but as you don’t know what fragments your opponent will take you may have to replan on the fly after they’ve made their move/s if they steal the fragments you were eyeing up! There are multiple ways of scoring but because there are only 3 rounds this strategic part to the game doesn’t give you as much scope to set up your gameplay as some other games such as say, Qwirkle, where you match tiles rather than make the connections this game requires.

Finally we have the Reward Phase. This is effectively the scoring phase. You’ll look to see if you’ve made any connections, if you have any core memories and if you’ve achieved any moment tiles to score points. This is relatively straight forward but as mentioned before because of the placement of fragments in hexes you need to look really carefully at what colours are making connections and where to.

Once you have finished three rounds of completing these four phases the game ends and you finally score your aspiration card. The person with the highest score wins.

Final Thoughts

I did like Vivid Memories, I’ve played it several times now with different players and enjoyed it each time. If you fancy something like Azul meets Tantrix then this should be right up your street! However, it is can be quite rule heavy and therefore difficult to get to grips with what is actually required. It’ll possibly take you at least a few games to get the knack to aiming for and scoring bonus points.

Unfortunately, where games like Ticket to Ride involve you making connections that very obviously have a purpose linked to the theme of the game, I feel this game was lacking in that department. I also felt like 3 rounds wasn’t really enough to start building up your board and make good scoring connections and core memories so I felt it came a little short in allowing me the freedom to go for bigger goals like the 18 point core memory which I’ve only ever managed to achieve once! At the same time, adding more rounds might make the game drag on and become too long a game for the style.

Essentially, whilst this game promises Vivid Memories but what you are actually doing is collecting stuff, the coloured fragments, and putting them in a pattern on the board. The moment tiles gave the feeling that they might be used in a similar way to games like Mysterium but then that dream, pun intended, never really came to fruition and I was left a little wanting.

Overall though, the artwork is pretty, the components well made and I did like the fragment placement game play, this is definitely a game that won’t collect dust on my shelf.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Complexity that offers more than just placement and drafting
  • Depth from having multiple gameplay elements
  • Beautiful high quality components with gorgeous artwork

Might not like

  • Very heavy reliance on understanding the rules and complex scoring system
  • The lack of rounds meaning you cant build up too much of a strategy
  • The theme seems to have a disconnect from the game play

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