“Gateway games” are boardgames that act as a great entry point for folks when they’re just getting in to gaming. While they might still have a lot of strategic depth to them, in general their rules are succinct and straightforward so that there is less set-up and less to keep track of overall. Getting more people to play more games is one of our largest goals as well as being an incredibly rewarding experience, we highly recommend that you make room on your shelf for a couple gateway games.
This week’s featured gateway game is Dingo's Dreams, designed by Alf Seegert and published by Red Raven Games.
# of players: 2-4 [5 with KS version]
Length of game: 20-30 minutes
Dingo's Dreams is a beautiful, abstract, puzzle game, where you're trying to "lead" your animal through the dream world, back home. We saw this when it was on Kickstarter, but the theme description didn't quite click with us, because at it's core it's an abstract game so using the theme to describe the game left us unsure if we'd like it.
Thankfully for us, a friend did pick it up, and it was love at first play for us. Each player has a 5 x 5 grid of double sided titles in front of them, the top sides representing the "dream world" with color & location combinations, and the backs representing the animal you're "guiding home", a dingo, koala, kidna or kanga[roo], and a spare named animal tile. A card is revealed from the stack, and each player flips their location tile over that matches it, so it's now animal side face up. The spare tile is then inserted into a row or column of the player's chosing, and the tiles are shifted accordingly, maintaining the orientation of the ousted tile, location or animal side up. The goal is to be the first to arrange your animal sided tiles to match a pattern on a card, shouting your animal's name once it does. Dingo!
This is quickly becoming one of our favorite starter/filler games because it's simple to teach, has a little luck, a little strategy, and beautiful art. We tend to skip the theme/story when teaching, and just describe it as bingo meets a slide puzzle. We were able to grab a Kickstarter copy at GenCon, which adds a 5th player, and includes new animal tokens for a more challenging variant. One of the great things about this game is it can be really simple, choosing a card that allows for a Bingo style win for children or newer players, or more challenging with interesting goal layouts and a couple variants that require you to meet a second [or third] critieria.
Bonus points for: the art is really beautiful, have I mentioned that yet?