I always like the idea of these hidden role social deduction games. The general idea is that most of you are working towards a goal or sharing some knowledge while one or two are simply trying to work out what they don't already know without being found out.
Spyfall arguably revitalised the genre, though games like Mafia and Werewolf have been around a long time in one guise or another. But I have a dirty secret - I don't like Spyfall. Despite this I'm still excited for what When I Dream promises to bring to the table, and the ways it will hopefully avoid my Spyfall bias.
When I Scheme...
My problem with Spyfall wasn't the idea, but the execution. There is almost too much leeway in deciding what question to ask. The Chameleon deals with this by giving all players a common theme and only requiring them to say one word. Whereas Insider flips this all on it's head and has one player trying to help the rest of the players guess a word, but without giving themselves away.
When I Dream seems to be a mix of these. One player becomes the 'Dreamer' and dons a blindfold, while the other players take the role of 'spirits'. Spirits are either good, naughty or tricksters, each having a unique goal.
The spirits will draw a card which depicts an element of the dream and take turns trying to communicate it to the dreamer using only one word each. Once the dreamer guesses, the spirits draw another card and this goes on until the time runs out.
The good spirits are trying to get the dreamer to guess correctly, the naughty spirits want the dreamer to guess wrong, and the tricksters want an even amount of right and wrong answers. When a dreamer makes a guess the card will go into a good or naughty pile.
The round ends with the dreamer trying to recall the entire dream as they guessed it, with storytelling flourishes should they wish...
When I Dream
When I Dream excites me for a number of reasons. I particularly like the roles. The idea that this group of 'spirits' are trying to work out who is on their team, which might seem pretty obvious at first but the trickster role mixes this up. In fact because the only person who needs to work out the roles is the blindfolded dreamer, I can imagine some real fun and mind games between the spirits.
The restriction of one word takes the pressure off the spirits to some extent, although they will still need to think creatively. The dreamer role is the most demanding with memory, deduction and story telling required, but it is not essential for every player to take on this role.
I absolutely expect when I dream to join Insider and The Chameleon in my collection as a unique deduction experience and a great game for players of all experiences. Hopefully I will be proved right!