Phataskippy's guide to Phantasms, part 7: Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares.

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Phataskippy's guide to Phantasms, part 7: Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares.

This guide is intended to help new players, and those struggling with Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares.  It is not intended to cover all of what the Spirit can do, or to propose a "correct" playstyle.  It is hopefully a good starting spot for players to gain an appreciation and understanding through playing themselves.

Theme

Bringer, or BoDan to those who want to die horribly every night for the rest of their lives, doesn't damage or destroy, instead he uses visions of destruction to terrorize those he chooses.
It is effective though, because while a flood is terrible it is explainable, but when the entire town having the same vivid nightmare, only to wake up and see the town wasn't washed away can shake people to their core.  The kind of fear that causes people to abandon their homes and start a new town up in the hills, or maybe off the island altogether is the domain of Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares.

Unique mechanics.

Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares cannot destroy anything but its own presence.  It can remove, but it cannot destroy.  It also only counts damage per power, when a power card would cause damage, even damage from Dahan or beasts, you count to see what it would destroy, resolve the push and fear, and any left over damage disappears.  For this reason Bringer loves situations where one spirit has damaged towns or cities, but hasn't finished them off.  Bringer can then "destroy" them without dealing as much damage or resetting the damage already done, you just push the damaged towns.
With Bringer's spirits may yet dream, you can flip fear cards face up so you know what they are going to do.  You can flip earned fear cards or unearned fear cards, and you don't have to flip the top card, you can flip any fear card that is face down.

Role and basic strategy.

Your job on a team is to drive the terror level advance.  Make up for you lack of destruction by hastening the easier win conditions.
Dahan are key to your survival.  Protect them and win ravages.  Don't lose your Dahan, even if you have to slow your advance to reclaim Dread Apparitions don't let your Dahan die early, they are your only source of destruction until other spirits can come help.

Starting your game.

Most spirits have at least two really good starts, but to me, Bringer is the #1 exception to that rule, as it has one clearly better way to go.
Your goal is to unlock the moon element on your energy track by turn 3, although turn 4 is fine if your situation and card luck dictate it.  You start with 2 plays, 2 energy and cards that are well suited to get you a flipped fear card and tier 2 Night Terrors both of your first 2 turns.
Your innates are key, especially flipping fear cards, and once you have moon unlocked you can start unlocking all of your innates every turn.
Your early growth you want to gain cards and spread out, so your third growth option is your go to each turn.  If you get to turn 3 and have no element luck feel free to reclaim one and make a second sacred site.  It isn't ideal, but you are better off not spreading as far than missing your fear bonuses.
After you unlock moon you have a decision to make, you are 2 from that any element, and 3 from a third card play.  I find the any element path better, as it helps my major powers, but others may find 3 cards a better route if the game looks to last.
Once you have moon start grabbing major powers, you should have a good amount of cards that help you get your innates, so for major powers you don't need to worry about lining up elements as much.

Guide to power selection.

My minor powers priority list:
1. Elements.   Your innates are awesome, and your minor powers exist to feed them.
2. Defend.  Dahan are your only way to destroy invaders in your board early on, defend cards are fantastic.
3.  Powers that destroy towns or that deal 2+ damage.  1 damage is nearly worthless to you.
4. Fear.  You make this on your own, the others are better.

Major powers it is important to remember your damage to fear exchange rate.  +3 fear, push 1 town is roughly equal to 2 damage.  I like major powers that give me 3+ damage, as that equals 5 or more fear.  Also, remember that Bringer loves powers that destroy beneficial tokens or Dahan, as you get to skip that part of the power.
For major powers, your card play is limited and your innates should be good without majors feeding them, so the priority is a bit different for me:
1.  Damage and destruction, don't go for thresholds you won't reach easily, and love those "destroy all Dahan" clauses.
2.  Huge bursts of fear.
3.  Elements.

Some perfect powers for Bringer.

Call of the Dahan ways.  Moon and beast, you should always meet the theshold and replacing towns with Dahan is great.
Entrancing Apparitions.  Moon and air, defend and a fast gather.  Really strong.
Volcanic Eruption.  Who cares if you can't meet the threshold.
Cast down into the briny deep.  I mean who doesn't love that card.
Poisoned land.  Damage.

Final tips.

1.  Learn to use the flipped fear cards well, and earn one every single turn.  That way when you start gaining more than one a round they are still face up.  Earning and using the flipped cards well is my #1 key to getting the most out of Bringer.  When flipping fear cards think about if you will have enough time to incorporate that card into your planning, you may want to pass on flipping earned fear cards if they will activate that turn, s o you can set up and plan your next turn with the flipped fear card's effect known.
2.  Dahan, Dahan, Dahan.  Can't stress enough how big it is to keep them alive and destroying invaders in ravages.  Defend abilities are huge for that reason.
3.  Spread out and win battles late.  Your Night Terrors innate and Dread Apparitions is a deadly combo.  Mixed with Dreams of the Dahan and that any element space giving you a beast icon you can easily take down an entrenched army of invaders.  Late game with your 4th growth option you can leap across the island and turn the tide of large battles.

I hope you enjoy, and that this guide can help others learn to love this spirit.

Edited by: phantaskippy on Aug 9 2017 - 8:10am
phantaskippy
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Yes, it is the first one I've posted, but it will be part 7.

Chaosmancer
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Just finished a solo game with Bringer last night.

 

One thing I learned was that the beast element is clutch. You have an easy time gaininy moon and air, but Beast is a bit harder and without it you go from 3 fear with Night Terrors to 1, a drastic drop.

 

Bringer is also the first spirit where I've leaned heavily into the minor power game. I had plenty of energy for a long time, so I never felt a big need to go with my other growth option, and if you can get the right sets you can be just as effective chaining new minor powers as you are working towards a major.

 

Midnight Dreams does not need to be forgotten when you gain a major power. I didn't have a big concentration of dahan in my lands (I was trying to manuever them and ended up with them scattered instead) so it never seemed fully worth it since I was only gaining 1 or 2 energy, but it gives you important elements and if you've got plenty of minors you have other powers to forget and you can play the major next turn instead of immediately. That being said, if you've got the energy to pull of a major power from this card, it might be worth it to cause some mayhem.

 

Also, Tsunami and other powerful cards rock. I generated 9 fear with Tsunami late in my game and that was barely scratching the surface of the kinds of numbers you can hit with the right power at the right time.

 

 

 

I'd missed the part about not being able to destroy Dahan though, that is awesome, though you can still add blight if the card calls for it which is less awesome. Blight is hard for this Spirit to stop or deal with, because a lot of damage powers tend to be slow so it is hard to move towns before they blight the land.

TakeWalker
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Aww, I thought Bodan was a cool name. :(

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phantaskippy wrote:

Yes, it is the first one I've posted, but it will be part 7.

That explains my confusion.

tedv
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Remember that powers which add blight still add *real* blight to the board, such as Poisoned Land, and this blight can cause a real destruction of presence.

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tedv wrote:
Remember that powers which add blight still add *real* blight to the board, such as Poisoned Land, and this blight can cause a real destruction of presence.

... but not BoDan's[*] own Presence. EDIT: I was 100% wrong, see below.

(Of course Ted knows this.)

[*] I'm ready for my punishment now.

tedv
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I thought that if Bringer plays a blight adding card on a land with spirit presence, like Insatiable Fury of the Swarm, it adds real blight, and the game rule you follow when blight is added is that spirit presence is destroyed, both for Bringer and other Spirits. The presence destruction is caused by the blight rule, not the card itself, so Bringer adding blight via a power card won't prevent the destruction of any spirit presence.

The special rule exemption for "Bringer can't destroy anything except it's own presence" is specifically for cards like Growth through Sacrifice which cause you to destroy your own presence. That needs to be a real destroy for power level reasons.

Note that this is why Heart of the Wildfire's special rule has to specifically exempt it's own presence from being destroyed by blight when the blight was generated by a Spirit's powers/rules. It's the blight rule that destroys the presence, not the power.

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Oops! You are 100% correct. I was mixing up these two special rules.

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@Chaosmancer:

What order did you grow in?  You need the air to make sure you can flip a fear card you rifst two turns without reclaiming, and from that point it is 3 turns to 3 cards, or 2 to moon, both of those let you get tier 3 terrors, but the energy track method is more reliable.

I also find that few minor powers let Bringer have big impact late game like the major powers can.  I'm curious because so far I haven't made card play focus work well for me.

tedv
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Card play focus is good if you get one or two minor powers with really good elements on them. I normally take a power card my first turn, and that usually decides whether I'm going for card plays or energy. There's a reason the spirit can't get more than 3 card plays, and it's not that "we wanted the energy track to be strong and the card plays track to be weak." Bringer would actually be really overpowered if it could get 3 card plays after its first two presence placements.

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phantaskippy wrote:

@Chaosmancer:What order did you grow in?  You need the air to make sure you can flip a fear card you rifst two turns without reclaiming, and from that point it is 3 turns to 3 cards, or 2 to moon, both of those let you get tier 3 terrors, but the energy track method is more reliable.I also find that few minor powers let Bringer have big impact late game like the major powers can.  I'm curious because so far I haven't made card play focus work well for me.

 

I actually goofed a little.

 

I went for the air first, and was working down the energy track, but then right before I hit moon I switched for the card play track for a turn or two. I got the Moon before the end of the game, but I don't think I hit 3 card plays til the end of the game.

 

Maybe it was just that I was lucky with my draws, all of my minors fit incredibly well having moon and beast and even air sometimes. Call of Dahan ways was nice (though I don't know if it was ever clutch), Veil of the Hunt let me manuever explorers on more than one occasion and so on. They were just the perfect cards for the situation and gave me a lot of flexibility, where many of the Major powers are big hammers you only use once every turn or three, the minors let me build the situation that made Tsunami actually useful.

 

 

 

I have to ask though, I suspect the answer is very different in games with 3 or 4 spirits, but is seeing the next fear card really so powerful? In my solo game I eventually stopped checking because I could never change my strategy to take advantage of any effects, so I don't really see where this ability is so useful. It is nice to have, sure, but it rarely seems to be as powerful as I've heard people make it sound.

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Chaosmancer wrote:

I have to ask though, I suspect the answer is very different in games with 3 or 4 spirits, but is seeing the next fear card really so powerful? In my solo game I eventually stopped checking because I could never change my strategy to take advantage of any effects, so I don't really see where this ability is so useful. It is nice to have, sure, but it rarely seems to be as powerful as I've heard people make it sound.

I found it super useful single player, because I could decide if Fear was going to take care of a situation for me so I could focus my defense elsewhere.  Several games I have allocated defense in a particular place as a fast power, only to later learn that I should have put it elsewhere since Fear was going to defend the same place.

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Chaosmancer wrote:
 I have to ask though, I suspect the answer is very different in games with 3 or 4 spirits, but is seeing the next fear card really so powerful? In my solo game I eventually stopped checking because I could never change my strategy to take advantage of any effects, so I don't really see where this ability is so useful. It is nice to have, sure, but it rarely seems to be as powerful as I've heard people make it sound.
Yes, it is. It's more useful the further ahead you know what it will be and the higher level the effect is. Note that you do not have to turn over the next card; you can turn over any one, including one from the middle of the stack.
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It is strongest early game, when you can flip cards before you earn them, and can use that knowledge while planning your turn.

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If I'm earning two cards in a turn, I'll flip the second one, so that I can keep that effect in mind when resolving the first.

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If I'm earning two cards in a turn, I'll flip the second one, so that I can keep that effect in mind when resolving the first.

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Chaosmancer wrote:
I have to ask though, I suspect the answer is very different in games with 3 or 4 spirits, but is seeing the next fear card really so powerful? In my solo game I eventually stopped checking because I could never change my strategy to take advantage of any effects, so I don't really see where this ability is so useful. It is nice to have, sure, but it rarely seems to be as powerful as I've heard people make it sound.

You can reveal any fear card, not just the next one you're going to resolve. I usually reveal the first fear card we haven't earned because it gives us at least one turn to plan for it.

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Didn't know it could be any card, that is interesting.

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You also sometimes need more lead-time to take advantage of some of the Expansion Fear Cards, since they key off tokens that you may or may not have the ability to manipulate Right Then. So what you want to flip may depend on whether you're playing with them.

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I had an interesting experience with my first game playing Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares.

So far, I've found the Fear mechanic to be interesting, fun, and critical to the game progress. Getting the extra bonus before the Invader Phase is a great reward that really adds to the flavor of the game, and sometimes provides a key tactical benefit. We quickly found that earning one or two Fear cards each round put us on a good path to victory. We'd not yet seen an outright Fear victory, though we'd made it to Terror Level III on several occasions.

So, I figured that Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares would be an outright asset to our victory over the Invaders. At first, of course, I was generating huge amounts of Fear, regularly earning at least two Fear cards each round. However, after seeing how helpless Bringer was at keeping the Invaders at bay on its home board, letting Blight get out of hand, I started to pick up a couple Defend powers. This had almost the opposite effect I wanted: whenever I used the Defend powers, my Fear production dropped off precipitously, and I wasn't actually good at anything. So, I left off the Defending and resumed Fear - generating it at an accelerated clip, and despite an ever-increasing level of Blight and torrents of Invaders, we won a Terror victory.

I found the win totally unsatisfying. Playing a game with Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares turned the game into a matter of playing cards that let us move some counters up, until we moved enough to win. We simply had to try to do this before the Invaders did too much. The board, what the Invaders were doing, the other spirits, Presence - none of it was really relevant to Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares. It just had to care about ticking up these little counters until we reached VICTORY at the bottom of the Fear Deck. In some ways, that's thematic to the spirit - but it made for a very unsatisfying game.

Playing Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares convinced me that Fear should not cause an outright victory. It absolutely should make the Invaders more demoralized and make victory easier over the course of the game, but I think having "You win!" at the bottom wasn't really as fun as it could have been. I would have liked to uncover an effect at the bottom of the Fear deck that has the Invaders running in terror from the island, the spirits, and the Dahan, but continue the game until the "no cities" condition from Terror Level 3 is met.

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Bringer is not as helpless at defending its home board as all that.  Pushing is nearly as powerful as real damage if utilized with a delicate hand, and Bringer starts with both a Defend power and enough Dahan manipulation to bring the hurt on anything you can't push away.


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Were you playing Bringer solo?  Because that is pretty much Bringer solo, you try to survive long enough to win from fear.

If it was a multiple spirit game, you can't just focus on fear.  You want to stage fights with Dahan, and use damage to push towns around and generate fear.

Bringer really shines when you can nuke a built up land, generating huge fear, and push the towns and explorers to places others (spirits or Dahan) can destroy them.

I realy like Bringer paired with someone like Ocean or Fangs, who are good at destroying but are somewhat limited in where they can reach.

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Bringer/Ocean is one of my favourite games that I've played - and a lot of it was me (Nightmares) looking after most of the island, protecting and manipulating and letting the Dahan fight. It's a potent spirit in its own right.

In defence of fear victories, it makes a lot of thematic sense in that, after facing sufficient opposition, people are going to get the frick frack out of there, and gameplay-wise having a race condition can make a satisfying end if you're close to the end of the fear deck; I've found it to work well.


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Oh, if you don't like the straight fear ending, try having the empty fear deck mean invaders no longer explore or spread out, and you just have to clear lands that are built up.

You still advance the invader track, but don't explore ever, and don't follow events that put things in empty lands.  Thematically I see it as the invaders abandon the colony, and those that stay aren't venturing out, but they are still trying to hold their land.

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phantaskippy wrote:

Oh, if you don't like the straight fear ending, try having the empty fear deck mean invaders no longer explore or spread out, and you just have to clear lands that are built up.You still advance the invader track, but don't explore ever, and don't follow events that put things in empty lands.  Thematically I see it as the invaders abandon the colony, and those that stay aren't venturing out, but they are still trying to hold their land.


That sort of reward at the bottom of the fear deck makes a lot of sense to me.
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To add to justification for the Fear Victory, think of it this way:

  1. Terror Level 1:  Invaders are not afraid
  2. Terror Level 2:  Invaders are afraid on their own, but feel safe in towns and cities
  3. Terror Level 3:  Invaders feel that small towns no longer offer protection and they only feel safe in cities
  4. Victory:  Invaders no longer feel safe anywhere, even in cities, and flee the island abandoning their cities.
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Phantaskippy, can I suggest that you edit your guide to make it clear that you can flip any fear card? This is a common mistake, and makes Bringer of Dreams & Nightmares significantly stronger if you play it right. For instance, it's not really that crucial to flip a Fear card every single turn, as long as you're strategic about which card to flip.

This is (now) a FAQ, but I think it won't occur to many people to look it up.

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You might want to review the topic title.  I'm not sure what Dreans are.  


Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and laminate their women! - Guise, Prime Wardens #31

 
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Powerhound_2000 wrote:

I'm not sure what Dreans are.  

Dream Beans.

They are delicious. It's how Bringer eats. It turns invader thoughts into tiny little morsels for easy consumption. Plus they go well in stew. Bringer looooooves stew.

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Thanks for the advice, edited.

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Thanks and thanks for the guides. 


Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and laminate their women! - Guise, Prime Wardens #31