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Subject: Onirim Solo Play Impressions rss

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Wade Nelson
United States
Golden Valley
Minnesota
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Onirim is a very good-looking game. The art is very cool, the theme fits in with the mechanics well enough, and the game takes place is an uncommon setting. The game doesn't look like anything else in my collection, so it gets bonus points for that.

The game play in Onirim is very simple. There are four colors, and each color has three card types: sun, moon, and key. The four colors don't have the same number of cards, i.e. some colors are more scarce than others. The idea is to play, in one single row, three cards of the same color to open the door of that color. There are eight doors, two of each color. The catch is that you cannot put two identical symbols next to each other, and all the cards you play go in the same single row. You get five cards, and play one card at a time followed by a draw. If you draw a door card you can open it immediately if you have a key card in your hand. If not it goes in the limbo pile. If you draw a nightmare card then you're going to have to have to resolve it by sacrificing something. If you manage to successfully draw back up to five cards, then the limbo pile gets shuffled back into the draw deck.

The base game for Onirim isn't terribly difficult. I played at least a dozen games and won at least 60% of them. It's light-weight and pretty enough to look at, but it suffers one pretty heavy flaw: the shuffling. That step I mentioned above that says you shuffle the limbo pile into the draw deck when you draw back up to five cards? That's going to happen a lot. Once you get the rules down and can play quickly, you'll spend a third of your time shuffling. It really detracts from the enjoyment of the game. I don't want to shuffle the deck every minute or two in a ten minute game. I don't want to shuffle the deck every minute or two in any length game.

If Onirim were just the base game and a lot of shuffling, I wouldn't be terribly pleased. Luckily, the game comes with three expansions. I won't go over them individually, but they do add to the game. I especially like the first expansion, which requires you to acquire the door cards in a specific order. The expansion also introduces spells that can be used by spending a certain number of discarded cards, which removes them from the game. Since the game ends when you win or the draw deck runs out, being able to use discarded cards to manipulate the draw deck adds an extra layer of interesting to the game. Of course there's still the shuffling, and with this expansion the shuffling is absolutely necessary. One of the three spells you get allows you to look at the bottom five cards of the draw deck and put on on top. It's really only useful post-shuffle, so to use it to your advantage you can't skimp on your shuffling duties.

The other two expansions add some interesting cards and abilities, but they also complicate the game and make it take up more room on the table. I like Onirim with the first expansion because it's small footprint (You really don't need to set out the expansion's book acquirement order cards), moderately difficult, and quick to play (except for the shuffling). The second and third expansion mean more rules, more table space, more time, not a significant change in difficulty, and no less shuffling.

In the end, I think Onirim is a decent game. Having read the cooperative rules, there are better two-player small-package card games out there, so I really only see myself playing Onirim solo. I wish that there wasn't so much shuffling, because that's what really keeps me from playing it more. I managed to get the game for under ten dollars, which is a pretty solid bang for the buck.

The Good:

- Cheap
- Small footprint (without 2nd and 3rd expansion)
- Great theme & artwork
- Moderately difficult with 1st expansion


The Bad:

- Shuffling
- Shuffling
- and more Shuffling


The Verdict: 6.
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Andy Andersen
United States
Michigan
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Thanks for the review.
 
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Mark Johnson
Canada
St.John's
Newfoundland
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“Brothers, oh brothers, my days here are done, the Dornishman’s taken my life, But what does it matter, for all men must die, and I’ve tasted the Dornishman’s wife!”
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"Oak and iron guard me well, or else I'm dead and doomed to hell." - Andal proverb.
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I agree with you about the shuffling. This would make an amazing iOS app though.
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Wade Nelson
United States
Golden Valley
Minnesota
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Eeeville wrote:
I agree with you about the shuffling. This would make an amazing iOS app though.


I agree... Android too
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Clare Marie
New Zealand
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The most beautiful things in nature stay that way because most humans are too lazy to ruin them ...
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Nice review .. Yes its a bit of a shuffle-fest so I've cut a little out by way of claiming won doors next time they come up or searching for them the next time I'm shuffling limbo cards in, instead of immediately ..

I'm shocked that people are finding the base game so easy though, 60% wins for you and another reviewer wrote 80% - for me it's more like 10%
I've read all the threads here and took note of the designers replies so I know I'm playing correctly, I must just suck lol .. But it's fun regardless!
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