Dream Apart

Jewish fantasy of the shtetl.

Dream Apart gives us demons and wedding jesters; betrothals and pogroms; mystical ascensions and accusations of murder; rabbi’s daughters running away to be actresses or bandits or boy soldiers; the sounds of the shofar ringing through cramped and muddy streets, of cannon fire, of the wolf’s footfalls in the snowy pine forest; asking “What do you do next?”

In Dream Apart you play a Jew of the shtetl, a little mostly-Jewish market town in the Eastern European countryside. In the cities, the industrial revolution has begun. Prussia, Russia and the Hapsburgs have devoured the small countries between them. Surrounded by an often hostile Christendom, by wild forests in which anything might creep, and by the invisible creatures of the Unseen World — angels, demons, ghosts, and dybbuks — the Jews of the shtetl try to outwit or outlast those who would do us harm. We feud and reconcile, bargain and gossip, celebrate and mourn, and snatch a little joy and love while we can. Life in the shtetl is sweet as raisin pastries and bitter as horseradish: may it be the Divine Will that it endures another season…

In a Nutshell

Jewish fantasy of the shtetl.
Immerse yourself in a fantastical version of history.
For 3-6 players across 3-4 hours.

A game of belonging outside belonging.

By Benjamin Rosenbaum
Art by Zev Chevat and Ezra Rose

Content Notes

Dream Apart includes themes of violence, war, oppression, and anti-Semitism. When you play, your group can decide what to focus on and what to avoid, and tools are included to make that process easier (pages 11-14).


Download the Dream Apart Play Kit.

Belonging Outside Belonging

This book contains two games of belonging outside belonging. Dream Askew (by Avery Alder) explores the story of a queer enclave amid the collapse of civilization. Dream Apart (by Benjamin Rosenbaum) explores the story of a Jewish shtetl in a fantastical version of nineteenth-century Eastern Europe.

Both games use a simple no dice, no masters system that puts the focus on relationships, community struggles, and player choice.

Buy Now

A picture of a softcover book of both Dream Askew and Dream Apart.

The book is available in both softcover and hardcover. It comes with a PDF copy of these two games, along with everything you need to print before playing.

A mockup of a tablet displaying an image from each of two games: Dream Askew and Dream Apart.

The PDF is also available as a standalone product. It comes with everything you need to print before playing either game.

Reviews and Actual Play

One Shot played a game of Dream Apart on their podcast, and the first episode is available here!

The +1 Forward podcast did an episode on Dream Apart, available here.

Don’t Forget Your Towel put together a three-episode series on Dream Apart, and the first episode can be found here.

Read Gabriela Geselowitz’ thoughts on the game in her article for Tablet.

Beau Sheldon interviewed Benjamin Rosenbaum and Avery Alder about their games over at Thoughty.

What People Are Saying

I think a LOT about Benjamin Rosenbaum’s introduction to Dream Apart, because it does a really good job of explaining exactly my problems with the good/evil dichotomy of high fantasy, and the necessity of deconstructing it in your games.

-Riley Rethal, editor of the Doikayt games anthology

I love Dream Askew / Dream Apart not only because it’s a good “product,” with great premises and execution, but because its “belonging outside belonging” system tag helped me understand my own goals as a game player/maker but also break from a limited understanding of “game system.”

-Austin Walker, host of Friends at the Table

Dream Apart was nominated for three Ennie awards: Product of the Year, Best Game, and Best Setting.

The Outliers

The Outliers is an eclectic zine containing setting notes, character ideas, micro-fiction, and other ruminations on belonging outside belonging from a wonderful crew of ten collaborators. It’s a supplement for Dream Askew and Dream Apart.

Available in print or pdf.

Want to peek inside? Click here for a look at all ten contributors, and what they’ve brought to the table.