Discover a world of dreams.

What does one say about a game like Etherfields, from story-telling game masters Awaken Realms? Intriguing, mysterious, daunting, imaginative, weird, ambitious, confusing, unique and (of course) dreamlike are adjectives that spring to mind. One thing’s for sure, there’s very little like it among games out there.

I missed the Kickstarter, but a fortunate trading opportunity came up and I managed to score a full pledge. The first thing I did, as usual, was to create this rules & reference. But even after creating it I’m still not sure how the game plays, exactly. Like many Awaken games, there is a series of mechanics to do various things, but the bulk of the gameplay lurks in hundreds of beautifully illustrated cards, and in the journey you go on as you explore them. In this case I believe there’s an enjoyable deck building element as well. Again, as always, the miniatures are lovely but unnecessary, a fact that always makes me delay painting them – it’s difficult to put so much time into painting miniatures that you may only use once.

For the moment, I’m concentrating on Awaken’s more recent game ISS Vanguard, and Etherfields still sits here, waiting for me to discover it. I wonder if it is most effective as a shared experience or a solo one (perhaps a bit of both?) – Awaken’s story games demand a long commitment, ‘forsaking all others’ for some time, which is a difficult thing to ask of several players. In any case I’m certainly looking forward to beginning my dream explorations. I’ll let you how it went when – or if – I return …

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Update Log

Date Version Changelog
Dec 2022 1 Original release


  • Steve says:

    Thanks for your efforts on this particularly as you are not playing it yet. If ever there was a sprawling game that needed an ordered concise rules summary, this is it. It is beautiful if ( at times) frustrating. However persistence is rewarded as it slowly reveals itself. I am some thirty hours in and still unsure of what’s going on. Quite possibly Awaken Realms have finally captured our dream state in game form. It should be applauded for its uniqueness alone.

  • Steve says:

    Yes, you would get more from this game solo. Trying to get a casual group to digest and collectively interpret the rules would detract from a fun session. Also I believe your casual group would find the need to store an individuals progress at close of play a bit tedious. Don’t get me started on tear down, won’t be doing that again. When I restart a solo session It stays on the table until I am done.

  • Solo it is then! I’m doing much the same for ISS Vanguard.

  • Ian Sutton says:

    I like it a lot.
    The game is definitely designed to be learnt from the tutorial (rather than the rulebook), but bizarrely AR didn’t give clear directions to that tutorial (c.f. arguably going a fraction too far the other way with ISS vanguard). The early fan created ‘getting started’ guide is invaluable.

    I think the aspiration of the designer was for this to be a multiplayer experience, especially in the layout of the board. Be it Covid lockdowns, solo gamers being more prevalent than anticipated (or merely more vocal), the major voices were from a solo perspective.

    One lovely positive, is that it can be a solo game, 2P, 3P, 4P and I believe even 5P with the reaper, and each of those player counts can be used within the same campaign. That ability to rope in a new group member, or progress without a regular, is very handy indeed.

    As for the rulebook, I think it’s a decent reference guide (with handy index), but the tutorial should definitely be completed before trying to do anything more than a cursory read of the rulebook.

  • Sascha says:

    I dont if it makes any difference, but is this document based on the new 2.0 rules or the original ones?

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