With the girls off at college, I’ve been walking down memory lane a lot lately. Not only am I pondering what life was like when they were younger, but I’m also looking back at my own youth and the time before Scott and I had kids. It’s not that I’m trying to relive anything, but conversations circle around to days gone by for a number of reasons. As an example, Madison is in a long distance relationship with her long-time boyfriend and asked how Scott and I handled a similar situation when we were her age and attending different universities. Or any number of “Gen X” memes on social media stir up long-lost memories. My memory isn’t what it used to be and sometimes games remind me of that. While Vivid Memories from Floodgate Games is based on this concept, it isn’t a memory game. Whew.
The object of Vivid Memories is to collect memory fragments and arrange them on your individual board, scoring points for doing things like connecting various sections. There is a bag full of colored tokens that are arranged on Moment cards where players take turns collecting them. But it’s all right there in front of you and the only thing you have to remember is that you have a secret objective that will score you extra points at the end of the game. So don’t let the thought that this is about memory steer you away. You can play it solo or with up to three others. The only thing different are the number of tokens placed in the bag and moment cards available each round. Each player takes a board along with a set of scoring markers. Aspiration tiles are shuffled and distributed to be kept secret for end of game scoring. Fragment crystals of each color (based on player count) are placed in the bag with the remaining added to a general pool in the center of the table. Moment tiles are shuffled an set within reach of all players.
Vivid Memories takes place over three rounds consisting of four phases each: Prepare (setup), Remember (collect fragments), Reflect (individual actions) and Reward (scoring). Again, there isn’t anything you have to actually memorize. In case it isn’t obvious, I get twitchy when playing memory games that involve recollection of something from earlier in the game. Vivid Memories is kind of a mix between a set-collection game and a puzzle game.
Each round is exactly the same with the addition of a final scoring at the end of the third round. During the Prepare phase, Moment tiles are revealed equal to the number of players plus two. They are arranged in a line in the center of the table then fragment crystals are added based on the number of players.
The Remember phase is the meat of the game. During this phase, players will take turns collecting fragments from the row of moment cards. But it isn’t as easy as grabbing what you want. Fragments are only available on the outermost cards AND there are restrictions. On their turn, a player may collect one, two or three fragment tokens. It can be ONE of any token from the cards on either end. As an alterative, collect two of the same color from one end of the line. In order to select three, they must be different colors. Always working from the same end, if a card is emptied then it is collected by the player and the fragments on the next card are immediately accessible.
This is where some puzzle skills need to be employed. The interior of the board consists of empty hexagons surrounded by empty spaces that display various fragments. Points are scored for completing connections between the various empty spaces of similar colors. This is accomplished by filing in the spaces with the fragments collected from the Moment tiles. As soon as the fragments are acquired, they are placed in one empty hexagon anywhere on the board.
If a Moment tile was cleared during the Remember phase, it’s claimed by that player and placed alongside their board. Points can be scored not only for matching the configuration on the scoring side of the tile, but also for any that align with the aspirations card. Before it can be scored, the actions on the front of the card will be used.
See what I mean that the Remember phase was the biggest part? The Rewire action is part of that but only applies if only one fragment was collected. Rewiring is the process of moving the fragments to different parts of the board. Select one hex and move any number of those fragments to adjacent spaces or move any number of adjacent crystals to fill a space. These actions are a good way to accomplish the objectives on either the edge of the board or the Moment tiles.
We’re finally up to the third phase, Reflect, which happens when the final Moment card is taken from the row. Players simultaneously reflect upon their boards and take the actions available across the top. Each may be used once per round. These actions, similar to Rewire, allow players to collect or exchange fragments (from the bag or supply, not from other players) or rearrange the location of fragments already on their board. Moment tiles that haven’t been scored will take up one of these slots until it’s been achieved. At that time, it’s removed and the action is again available. Rewards, the final phase of each round, is simply scoring the various options. These include Moment tiles (for each hex that matches the tile), Connections (a multiplier between the number of spaces involved in the connection times the number of slots on the edge that are included) and Core Memories (the spots filled by connections). The player with the most points after three rounds is the winner… even if their real memory is failing!
Vivid Memories has simple enough rules that younger players can play with some initial direction from adults. At the same time, the puzzle-ish nature gives it the feel of a light strategy game. It’s currently available directly from Floodgate Games as well as from Amazon. Check with your local game store to see if they stock Vivid Memories or other games in the Floodgate line. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with news about new releases including a Kickstarter for a legacy version of Sagrada.
What is your earliest childhood memory?