Onirim Strategy

Have you ever had a bad dream that you can’t wake up from? For me, it is always me trying to run, but not being able to move. I have found that my arms still work in these dreams, so I am able to drag myself along to try to escape. This cooperative game is based on that kind of dream.

In Onirim, you are trapped inside a dream and have to figure out how to escape by finding keys, doors, and matching locations to unlock enough doors to escape. The game is very fun to play, but it is also very hard to win. The deck is stacked against you. Additionally, you are going to have to shuffle those cards a lot, so if your shuffling technique is 52 card pickup, this is not the game for you. (Fortunately, they just released an app version of the game that shuffles for you.)

Here is my strategy, but you will still lose 50% of the time, roughly.

  1. Discard your keys to gain information and kill the nightmares
  2. Target all the same color so you can safely discard the remainder
  3. If a Nighmare card appears, do the following if possible.
    1. Use a key
    2. Lose 5 cards if you have a set or moon cards in your hand
    3. Discard your hand if you don’t need the cards there.
  4. Calculate the remaining cards so that you don’t discard something necessary

Discarding Keys

The game allows you to do a few things with keys.

  1. If you have a key in your hand and draw a door, you automatically unlock it
  2. If you draw a Nightmare, you can kill it with a key in your hand
  3. You can discard a key to rearrange the top five cards of the deck and discard one.

I like to use the key to rearrange the top cards because you usually will remove a Nightmare card, and you can arrange the cards to get exactly what you need in the order that you need them. Additionally, if you draw cards you don’t want, but there is a door, you can put that first in line to give you a chance to reshuffle to get what you need.

There are a few caveats to this.

  1. Don’t discard a key if it is the only way left to open that color of door
  2. Don’t discard a key if you already know what the next draws are, wait until you actually need it
  3. Don’t discard the key for the color you are focussing on.

Target a Color

In your initial draw, you will have more of one color. Start with this one and try to open all the doors of that color. If you do, it gives you significant leverage for the rest of the game in discarding those colors of cards. There are more Red and Blue cards than Green and Brown, so consider going for Red or Blue because you have better chances. (That being said, don’t discard your Green and Brown, or you won’t be able to complete the in the end.)

The caveat to this is that you don’t want to completely ignore the other colors. Take advantage of whatever appears to maximize your chance of winning.

Nightmare Appearance

Almost always kill a nightmare with a key if you have one, unless it is your only chance to open a door. If you don’t have a key, you have to decide which is worse. If you have the cards you need to open a door, and especially if you have moon cards, you are better off discarding from the top of the deck. If you don’t need the cards in your hand, discard them instead.

Calculate Winning Needs

There are 16 red, 15 blue, 14 green and 13 brown cards. Each set of cards only has 4 moons, so don’t discard them if you can help it. If you know you have already used or discarded all the moons, you know you can’t discard the keys for that color. Often, you will know that the game cannot be won before you get to the end of the deck.

Have fun, I hope your dreams come true.

What other strategies have worked for you?

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