New South Wales
Is this the real life?
Is it just fantasy?
Great questions, Paul, thanks for asking! Let me see if I can get you some answers.
Does this mean that after you awaken a nightmare, you can then no longer return those dice to the bag, and then if you fill the row again you lose? (Because it can't be awakened again?)
Correct! It's brutal, I know. And a little bit luck driven. In balancing, it helped increase the impact of an "awakened" Nightmare. Some playtesters found solo mode too difficult with that rule though, so you're welcome to specifically remove it if you're finding it too random. You're only playing against yourself!
(Keep in mind though that the prohibition against returning that colour of dice to the bag is only during the Draw and Select Dreams step - so you can still remove them at the end of your turn, or using things like the Lady of Primeval Fear's special ability to kill Spooks.)
I also have a timing question. When resting, do I move the spooks before or after removing exhaustion/shadows? So for instance could I move a spook and then remove it by resting?
You're right! That is a bit unclear in the rules. Page 11 says whenever you "choose (or are forced) to Rest". So the Spooks move when you choose to Rest, but before you select dice to return by resting. (You can move a Spook and then remove it by Resting.)
Another thing to keep in mind on timing here, if a Shadow row fills up due to Spooks, it doesn't actually Awaken the Nightmare until your next turn, when you check for filled rows. So there is still a chance you can roll a red Shadow and move that filled row's fourth Shadow to your Hunt row.