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20 Dreams

If you enjoy storytelling party games, then 20 Dreams is one that's a little different from the pack. It's a game where players will be identifying the emotion that the storyteller is trying to convey.

In 20 Dreams, the 2–6 players all have their own coloured set of 20 cards where each card represents an emotion. There's a similar set of white cards that show the same emotions. In addition, there's a deck of 60 face-down picture cards. Each of these shows an object or activity, and they just so happen also to be painted in an Andy Warhol pop art style. Players take turns as the 'Dream Teller'. They flip over three picture cards and they take but keep concealed one of the white emotion cards. They then tell a story that begins 'Last night I had a dream...', makes use of the three picture cards and which ends '...and I woke up feeling...' The other players have to select the card from their deck that they think matches that concluding emotion.

As with all storytelling games, you get out of 20 Dreams what you put into it. If you've a group of players who enjoy fabricating tall tales, you'll get a kick out of this game. If you're with an uninventive and unimaginative crowd, then 20 Dreams will be more of a nightmare. There's scoring - the Dream Teller collect the cards that are correct and these represent points. Wrong answers go to a 'penalty box' discard pile from where they are treated as negative points against your colour, so there's an incentive in getting the right answer even tho' that is giving points to another player. Nevertheless, we enjoyed our Board's Eye View plays most when we played 20 Dreams as a cooperative game where our aim was to maximise our collective score (ie: minimise the cards in the 'penalty box' discard pile). This was actually the recommended mode of play for a two-player game, so it didn't seem a huge stretch to extend this to more players. The fun is to be had, after all, in the storytelling rather than scorekeeping.

Even tho' the rules are sweet and simple, we did encounter a small hiccup in the, as expected, prohibition on the Dream Teller using the target emotion word in their story. Strictly speaking the rules as worded would allow players to cheat by deliberately referencing all the other emotions still in play so that the players get the target emotion by a process of elimination. The rules require a white emotion card to be taken out of the deck at random at the start of the game, so there's a modicum of protection against this (the cheat would at best take the choice down to 50/50) but we fell back instead on a house rule of our own where the Dream Teller was penalised if they used any of the words on any of the emotion cards. We had extra fun listening out for slips and it added an extra layer of fun to a game that was otherwise more challenging for children than for adults.

On that note, by the way, like Feelinks (Act In/Blackrock), 20 Dreams is another game that primary school teachers might well want to add to their kit for use in Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) lessons or Circle Time, as a vehicle for encouraging children to talk about their feelings.

#20Dreams #cardgame #CircleTime #PSHE #storytelling #cooperative #partygame

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