You jump into the doorway just as the police speed past you. As you head up stairs to your apartment you relax, having just gotten away with the heist of a lifetime. As you reach the landing of your floor, you suddenly see a flashing light and a siren begins to ring out over the whole apartment building. You have lived here for 15 years, you would know if there was a siren or alarm of some description in this building. Suddenly a SWAT Team surrounds you from every angle and your only exit is a window. You run and lunge out of it to the roof next door. Your fingers grab the roof but try as you might you can’t seem to pull yourself up. You begin to slip, and next moment you are falling and just as you are about to hit the ground; you wake with a fright. You are covered in sweat and trying to figure out where you are, it felt so Lucid. Was it a dream or was it a nightmare?
Set up for Lucidity is very easy. Each player takes a Dreamer Card, a glass sleep marker and a Rules Summary Card. Then you set the 4 Nightmare Cards to the side & Place the 80 dreams (dice) into the bag and shake to mix them. Place the bag within reach of all players. The player who last had a bad dream goes first and play continues clockwise.
On your turn, do the following in order:
- SET LEVEL OF CONTROL
At the beginning of every turn, you must decide how deep you wish to delve and how much control you wish to exert over the dreams you encounter.
- DRAW AND SELECT DREAMS
Randomly draw dreams from the bag equal to your control (the number beneath your sleep marker). Then pick two dreams out of those you have drawn, and return them to the bag.
- Blue dreams of THE DEPTHS try to drown players in dice.
- Green dreams of ENVY have a higher chance of gaining and losing Power.
- Yellow dreams of IMPRISONMENT try to lock you in place through exhaustion.
- Dreams of PRIMEVAL FEAR are high risk and high reward. They are the only dreams to have a 2 power symbol, but also the only dreams to have a Hunt symbol.
- ROLL AND RESOLVE DREAMS
Roll the remaining dreams and then resolve them by looking at the symbols rolled and placing them on the matching rows on your card.
Non-shadow dreams – Always resolve dreams matching the following four symbols first:
Re-rolling dreams – You may choose, at any time, to spend a Power on your card to reroll all unresolved dreams matching that dream’s colour. Place the spent Power on the Nightmare card matching that dream’s colour (if that Nightmare is unclaimed) or back into the bag (if that Nightmare is already claimed).
- HUNT – Place in your hunt row.
- EXHAUST – Place in your Exhaust row.
- POWER – Place in your Power track.
- SHADOW – Place in the Shadow row matching the rolled dream’s colour. Then resolve the Shadow effect as listed below.
- CHECK FOR FILLED ROWS
After resolving all rolled dreams, check to see if any rows on your dreamer card are filled.
Hunt row – If you have 4 dreams in your Hunt row, the Nightmares have found and eaten you. You are eliminated from the game. Return all dreams on your card to the bag. You still count as the “next player” for various abilities, but otherwise do not take further turns.
Exhaust row – If you have 3 dreams in your Exhaust row, you are exhausted and might lose Power. Draw one random dream from the bag but do not roll it. Instead, lose all Power on your card matching that dream’s colour. Return that dream and all lost Power to the bag.
Shadow row – If you have 3 dreams in any Shadow row (or 4 dreams if you are playing a 2 player game), you become a Nightmare. You always become a Nightmare of the same colour shared by your most-filled Shadow row. If there is a tie, you may choose between the tying Nightmare colours. Return all dreams (except those in your Power row) to the bag. Take the matching Nightmare card and place it over your Shadow rows. Take all dreams on that Nightmare card and place them in your Power track.
Then end your turn. On future turns, you play as a Nightmare
- REST OR DRAW AGAIN
If you have a filled Exhaust row, or you are at the end of your sleep track then you must rest. Otherwise, you may rest or draw again. By resting, you regain some of your willpower and shape the dreams you have collected so far. Return either: 1 dream; or all dreams on your dreamer card to the bag. Then end your turn.
If your Exhaust row is not filled you may choose to press on. You gain more insight, but you begin to lose control over how many dreams you encounter.
Any player who has a Nightmare card is considered to be a Nightmare player. Nightmare players are not dreamer players. As a Nightmare, on your turn, you must decide whether you wish to consume Power or send minions to attack a dreamer.
CONSUME POWER – You reach out and drain the power from another player (Nightmare or dreamer). Choose a dream in any player’s Power row, that matches your Nightmare’s colour. Move that dream from their Power row to your Power row.
Then end your turn.
SEND MINIONS – Randomly draw 2 dreams from the bag. Choose 1 of those dreams to return to the bag and give the other to a dreamer. That dreamer must roll and resolve that dream.
Then end your turn.
ACTIVATING NIGHTMARE ABILITIES – When a dreamer would resolve certain symbols on a dream matching your Nightmare colour, you take that dream as a Power, and may activate additional abilities. Each Nightmare card describes what symbols are taken as Power, and what ability can be activated.
The game can end in three ways:.
POWER VICTORY – At the end of any turn, if any player has 15 or more Power, each other remaining dreamer player takes one final turn and then the game ends. It is possible for one player to gain 15 Power and choose to end their turn, but then lose when the next player gains more than 15 Power and ends their turn.
NIGHTMARE VICTORY – If all players are Nightmares or have lost the game (due to filling their Hunt row), the game ends immediately.
DREAM VICTORY – If any player must draw a dream, but none remain in the bag, that player rolls all dreams they hold and the game ends after they have resolved those dreams.
The player (whether Nightmare or Dreamer) with the most Power wins the game. Either they found the Power to escape their terrors forever, or they have become the most powerful nightmare.
This year, I have had the pleasure of playing several awesome Australian Games and the rise in not just games but high quality games is so refreshing. Now speaking of high quality Australian games; Lucidity is up there as one of my favorites from this insurgence of Australian games of late.
I know most aren’t always a fan of dice rollers but personally I enjoy rolling dice; there is something almost therapeutic about it. So when I heard about Lucidity I jumped at the chance to review it, as it sounded like rolling heaps of dice every turn. But Lucidity is far from your everyday dice roller, in fact I probably wouldn’t even call it a dice roller as that would take away from the intelligence and the simple yet beautiful mechanics of this game. You do roll a lot of dice, but you could have quite easily drawn cards or moved meeples around a board. I like that you get to roll dice rather than do the card drawing, as it adds a little more suspense to the game. It really feels like a part dice roller, part push your luck & part strategy game.
On our first play through, having read the rules and watched a how to video I thought to myself, this is easy, I’ll become a nightmare ASAP and just overpower everyone. But this is really not the case, and at times there can be a real hindrance to become a nightmare too early, especially in a 4 player game. You really have to be careful and not go too hard too soon, yet don’t be the last person as a dreamer otherwise it can get quite messy.
Lucidity has this beautiful balance to it which I really like and misjudged a little when I thought being a Nightmare would mean more power. I like that you have just as much chance of winning or losing whether you are a Dreamer or a Nightmare and that there are three ways to trigger the end of game. When I first read through the rules, I thought this could be an issue yet after playing the game it works much better than I originally thought. I do believe it is this balance that could have made or broke this game and they have handled it beautifully.
Ok now to the Art and wow, this is so amazing. The Gothic style nightmares are done in black and their signature colors just pop… and scare you a little bit too. There have been handled so beautifully, they embody the nightmare they are portraying and give them such a unique characteristic without making them not fit into the same world. The player cards and even the box art is quite simple and yet effective in a black and grey style with only the nightmare colors being used in small places. Not to mention the eye on the rule book which has so much detail. Making the iris the colors of the nightmares is so striking and it just jumps out at you, it is truly stunning. Despite the fact that this is just a prototype and the designs are still being tightened and improved, you have 80 dice in this game, all of which have custom faces on all 6 sides. It is this level of detail that really makes this game one my recent favourites.
That being said, this game isn’t faultless. We did find that once all but one of the dreamers become Nightmares it made it very hard for that dreamer to really do much other than have turns of rolling dice of other nightmares and getting them points. This actually happened to us twice in our play throughs and though it wasn’t a massive issue it did get a little boring for that player.
Overall, Lucidity is up there with one of my favorite games out of this big brown land and even if you don’t enjoy dice rolling games I would say give this one a chance, as it is a lot more strategic and less dice roller than you think. I honestly think a few people may write it off but it will truly surprise you.
Lucidity is due to hit Kickstarter on the 13th of June and is a game that I think will surprise any that play it. I would highly recommend this one.