5 Board Games and Card Games About Sleep

Sleep is a struggle for gamers, right? There's always a new level, new quest, or old challenge you just need one more chance to beat. Even with occasional stopping points, the blue light from computer monitors and TVs can seriously impact your sleep quality.

Experts recommend shutting off electronics before starting your bedtime routine, but that doesn't mean you're stuck with a dull evening. How about a board or card game instead?

We've got a list of good ones with quality art and excellent stories. Each one revolves around, you guessed it, sleep and dreams. They’ll give your eyes a rest from the computer screen, and since they all have multiple players, you can prove once and for all that gamers really do have a social life. Let’s take a look.

When I Dream - Board Game

Asmodee When I Dream

Designer

Chris Darsaklis

Publisher

Drawlab Entertainment

Release Date

2016

Players

4-10

Est. Playing Time

20-40 minutes

Our first game is a simple one. You choose from four different roles: Dreamer, Sandman, Fairy, and Boogyman. The dreamer must guess what the word is on the card using single word clues from the other three players.

The catch? Only the Fairy has the Dreamer’s best interest in mind. The Boogyman tries to throw the Dreamer off guessing and the Sandman wins points by switching sides. The Fairy and the Dreamer get points when the Dreamer guesses correctly, and the Boogyman gets one point when the Dreamer guesses incorrectly.

You can play with a few more players, but the upside here is that each role is equal. Unlike other games where some roles have juicier parts than others.

The cards are illustrated beautifully by 20 different artists, so your inner art graphics snob is satisfied. Although it’s a bit more expensive than comparable games, it’s beautifully done and allows that gamer imagination to shine.

You can meet all the artists on the website and might see a few of your favorites. The only downside is the number of cards is small, so if you play enough, you’ll start to remember the visual cues. Hopefully, there will be some expansion packs to reinvigorate gameplay.

Pleasant Dreams - Card Game

Pleasant Dreams: A Card Game of Nightmares

Designer

Aerjen Tamminga

Publisher

Aerjen Games

Release Date

2015

Players

1-2

Est. Playing Time

~10 minutes

Pleasant Dreams is a psychologist-created, two-player card game that explores meaning and symbols in dreamscapes. If you don’t have a partner, you can alter the rules for a solitaire version.

It began as a Kickstarter, and when the original goal was met and surpassed many times over, it expanded into the beautiful game you get today. The art is gorgeous, calling on many influences including the original dream girl Alice (of Wonderland fame). Players try to fend off nightmares and hold on to happy pieces of their dreams. You know things are going to get worse, but exactly how? Only the deck knows.

It’s a haunting game that plays quick, between five and ten minutes for most two player games. It covers those time when you need a quick game to play but still need something with some substance.

It goes beyond just simple card play. You have to get into your opponents head as you each progress through dreams. Prolonging good dreams have the potential to go very wrong if nightmare cards come into the mix, and it’s all about mitigating those effects. Very strategic and very addictive.

Sleeping Queens - Card Game

Sleeping Queens 10th Anniversary Tin Card Game

Designer

Miranda Evarts

Publisher

Gamewright

Release Date

2005

Players

2-5

Est. Playing Time

10-15 minutes

Backing down from the surreal land of dreams, Sleeping Queens is a lighthearted game invented by a six-year-old who couldn’t sleep. It’s a card game in which you collect different queens while trying to steal queens from others or put them to sleep.

Six-year-old Miranda Evarts who couldn't sleep one night. During her tossing and turning, the idea for the game hit her and the next morning, she and her family made it a reality.

The object of the game is to wake as many sleeping monarchs as you can. With jesters, dragons, and dastardly potions, it's a fun competitive game of strategy and luck. It has quirky rules that everyone should find fun (Can’t have a dog queen and a cat queen. They’d fight, duh), but the rules are easy enough that everyone can learn to play pretty quickly.

Don’t be fooled by the creation story. The art is stylish and the cards are well made. Whoever gets the most queens or gets to 40 points (the cards are each worth points) wins, however, my kids and I usually play until all the queens are gone so the game lasts longer.

Dreams - Board Game

Zoch Verlag Dreams Board Game

Designer

Olivier Grégoire

Publisher

Zoch Verlag

Release Date

2016

Players

3-6

Est. Playing Time

~30 minutes

Gods, dreams, constellations, and a trickster. Dreams the board game brings in all those elements to create gameplay that puts you in the seat of the old gods. There are 72 cards with pictures. During each round, four of those cards must be transferred to the night sky. The gods don’t know that a human trickster is in their midst and the human must evade detection.

The one trickster must guess the chosen words without revealing they have no clue. The others must guess the trickster. Players construct the picture star by star until the constellation is complete and everyone guesses.

Dreaming used to have an element of myth and spirituality. This game puts you in that frame with gorgeous artwork and a little more detail than a simple card game. It seems simple, but it requires a lot of deduction. Game time hovers around 40 minutes, and you need at least three players to make it work.

The art is stunning as usual. It mimics some of the classic role-playing card games you love. It has just enough elements to add some fun, but nothing too complicated to teach a person new to the game.

We like the homage to the old gods and that each role is weighted equally. No waiting for more substantial roles to make their moves.

The Shared Dream - Board Game

Designer

Matthew Tarulli

Publisher

ODAM Publishing

Release Date

2017

Players

2-4

Est. Playing Time

~2 hours

Ok, ok. Enough with the simple games. You want a full-scale RPG. We get it.

The shared dream draws on dice-based combat and checks with a storyteller and characters with base abilities. You’ve woken up one morning after a shared dream with all the players. As the game progresses, those dreams become a reality. It’s divided into two parts, human during the “day” and during the “night” enemies make moves. It’s up to the humans to mitigate the effects of the nightmares and the spawning of enemies.

The game has all the elements of RPG that you love with gorgeous artwork. The mini-figures could be a little better, but the theme of the game is a welcome change from the endless fantasy style games of most RPGs.

The downside is that the rules are complicated for newbies, so you’ll need a set group of players who have learned the game inside and out to get into the gameplay fully. It’s worth it if your weekly game night needs some fresh gameplay.

It has an extension for a single player to work through a dream, so if all your friends are busy, you can still get your fix.

Conclusion

None of these games sacrifice the artwork or story you love in your virtual gaming life. Taking a break from video games isn’t a death-by-boredom-and-bad-graphics sentence, and it'll help get you away from the computer screen. Each of these sleep and dreamy games satisfy that urge for engaging gameplay with creative elements and stories that unfold with the contributions of each player. A few of them you can even play yourself when you don’t want to people that day.

What dreams may come? Let us know your board & card games suggestions in the comments below.

  • Updated August 16, 2018
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