Calling All Singles! Let’s Take A Trip to The Oniverse for Valentine’s Day!
Valentine’s Day: a holiday revolving around flowers, chocolates, cherubs, and mushy feelings. While there are plenty of games available for couples to play or even great ones for double dates, what about games for those without a date? February 14th isn’t just a day to show your partner that you love them or a day for kids to hand out cards at school; it is also Singles Awareness Day! For all of those singles out there, I want to invite you all on a fantastic trip through Shadi Torbey’s gorgeously designed Oniverse; a set of games that were made specifically for 1-2 players, but play far better solo!
Onirim 2nd Edition
(All photos of z-Man Games product were taken and edited by KristaG)
The first game in the set is Onirim. In the game, the player takes on the role of a Dreamwalker that is lost within a labyrinth. The player’s goal is to discover the eight oneiric doors before their dream ends and they are trapped within the labyrinth forever. As for the game mechanics, Onirim focuses on set collection through hand management to be able to collect the oneiric doors. Originally released by Z-Man Games in 2010, it was re-released in 2014 as a 2nd edition set that includes 7 mini-expansions: The Book of Steps Lost and Found, The Glyphs, The Dreamcatchers, The Towers, Happy Dreams and Dark Premonitions, Crossroads and Dead Ends, The Door to the Oniverse. Each of these mini-expansions can be either standalone expansions or combined together as they are all compatible. These expansions all add something to make the game easier as well as something to make the game harder. For example, in The Door to the Oniverse, there is now a colorless 9th oneiric door to find, but also cards known as “Denizens of the Oniverse” that provide one-time use abilities to aid the player on their quest. There is also an “Appendix” to the game that provides some special rules for use of the Little Incubus pawn to help with tackling Nightmares that can deeply effect a player’s chances of escaping before their dream comes to an end. These additional rules allow for a change in difficulty, which makes this a wonderful game for those new to gaming as well as gaming veterans. There are also several sets of promo cards available to add to Onirim’s already flexible status: the Mirrors set and the Sphinx, Diver, and Confusion promo cards. Each sets adds new twists to an already amazing game and still allows for co-operative play with a second player! Depending on how many of the expansions are used, a standard game of Onirim takes about 15-30 minutes to play.
Sylvion, the second game in the “new” Oniverse! Can you beat The Ravage?
Sylvion is the official second game in Torbey’s Oniverse and was released in 2015. I say “official” as originally the second game in the series was Equilibrion (a.k.a. Urbion). Urbion has since gone out of print with rumors of its return as a 2nd edition release sometime in the future. While still utilizing hand management, Sylvion is more like a tower defense type of game using a grid system to keep track of defenders and advancing fire elementals. In the game, a fire entity known as The Ravage has raised an army of 5 fire elementals and they are attacking the Grand Forest located within the Oniverse; it is the task of the player to stop the spreading flames, but to ensure the forest’s maximum vitality. However, the player is not alone in this battle. Sylvion’s fantastical flora and fauna have chances to make their appearances and aid the player as well as several fountains that can neutralize the carnage spread by the elementals. Just as with Onirim, Sylvion comes with several expansions and an appendix that effects the difficulty of the game. The two expansions included are The Elements and Extraordinary Feats and Betrayal. The “Appendix” has to do with the included red pawn known as The Ravage. By including The Ravage, the difficulty for Sylvion is greatly increased. Also released in 2015 was a 16-card expansion entitled “Below Ground.” A standard game tends to take me about 15-20 minutes, but can sometimes take a little longer if it is a particularly difficult game or I’ve had bad luck in my card draws.
Castellion, the tile-laying 3rd game in the Oniverse series!
Unlike the prior 2 (or 3, if you count Urbion) games in the Oniverse, Castellion is not really a card game. It is, instead, a tile laying game! This time, the player must defend “the majestic shape-shifting fortress” Castellion from the attacks of the Menace. Instead of including expansions in Castellion, there are 3 different levels of play: The School of Architects, The Admiral’s Academy, and The Menace. Each of these comes with it’s own “Appendix” about how to incorporate the Menace pawn and each level of play is, honestly, quite different from the others. There are, however, some similarities such as having to overcome 3 different Ordeal cards and constructing the castle according to the proper instructions using the tiles. Personally, Castellion is probably my current favorite in the series as I really enjoy tile laying games and Castellion is also, in my opinion, a little more like solving puzzles than a defense game; at least with the first 2 levels of game play. It was released in 2015. As with all Oniverse games, Castellion can be played in approximately 15 minutes. There are, as of yet, no expansions for Castellion.
Nautilion, a roll to move nautical adventure to save Happy Isles from Darkhouse and The Phantom Submarine! Nautilion is the 4th official game in the Oniverse and the most recent addition to the set.
Released in 2016, Nautilion is the latest addition to the series. Like Castellion, it is different from the other Oniverse games as it is not a card game. This time, Torbey introduces custom dice for a roll to move mechanic and a completely modular path in the game. The goal is to reach the Abyss before the Darkhouse’s henchmen reach the Happy Isles. However, the player must also assemble their submarine crew of 9 along the way. Nautilion includes 5 expansions: The Mercenaries, The Mages, The Reef, Heroic Actions and The Darkhouse. The only time players actually use the Darkhouse token is when playing with The Darkhouse expansion. As with the Onirim expansions, these simultaneously add both a hindrance and an advantage to the game. Though Nautilion is a roll to move game, this is not something to be discouraged by. There is an essence of push your luck (deciding to add a token to your stash or to your crew when there are only 4 of each type of token and tokens may be destroyed by the crew of The Phantom Submarine) mixed with various levels of strategy depending on difficulty level and expansion usage. Nautilion tends to take a little more time than most of the others, running between 20-30 minutes.
Any of these games make for a great single’s game night! They don’t take up a lot of space (Nautilion can be an exception to that depending on how you set up your token path) or a lot of time. There are, as I stated earlier, 2-player variants for a co-op experience, but I really do feel these games are much better as single player. I’m looking forward to seeing the possible 2nd edition release of Urbion and adding it to my collection. While there are other solitaire games out there, those belonging to the Oniverse are some of my favorite and they add enough variety – as well as replayabilty – to make for a great evening by one’s self. For all of the singles as well as the couples out there, I wish you all a fantastic Valentine’s Day!