I hadn’t planned on reviewing Dixit this month, but I figured I might as well since it was just featured on this week’s episode of Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop. Also, Dixit won the the Spiel des Jahres award in 2010, and I have to stay on top of my Spiel des Jahres blog series or it will crush me like a bug.
Dixit is a party game designed by Jean-Louis Roubira, who I imagine as a thin unshaven chain smoker wearing a black turtleneck sweater, drinking a cup of coffee at an outdoor cafe. I’m sure that’s wildly inaccurate, but that’s how I imagine most French game designers. Marie Cardouat created the amazing artwork on the cards. I imagine her in a straitjacket because you have to be a little wackadoodle to create some of these images. I’m sure she’s a perfectly sane French woman that eats pastries and wears nice hats. Dixit is designed for 3 to 6 players from ages 8 and up. Now, I haven’t tried this with my 8 year old, but my recommendation would be more like 12 years. Maybe French kids are really sophisticated. I don’t know. A game of Dixit should take you less than an hour. Actually, Dixit is more of an activity than a game, in my opinon, but I feel that way about most party games. I don’t care what it is. I think it’s brilliant.
Inside the large, almost Ticket to Ride size box, you will find 84 over-sized cards, 36 voting tokens, and 6 wooden bunnies. Yes, that doesn’t seem like a lot for your money, but the box insert acts as a scoring track and the cards are weird and wonderful. Each card is a unique piece of art and acts as the focal point of the game.
Each player gets a hand of six cards and one player will act as the storyteller, choosing a single card from their hand to place face down in front of them. That player will then say a phrase or sentence that they feel can be associated with the image on the hidden card. Now, all of the remaining players will choose a card from their own hand that could also be associated with the phrase or sentence and then add it face down to the center of the table. The storyteller will now collect all of the cards and randomly lay them out on the table so everyone can see. Each player, other than the storyteller, will now secretly indicate which card they believe is the storyteller’s card. Points are then scored, a new card is drawn, and the next player becomes the new storyteller.
The players and storyteller receive points based on the following:
- If all of the players chose the storyteller’s card, or if no players chose the storyteller’s card, then all players except for the storyteller get 2 points.
- If only some of the players chose the storyteller’s card, then the storyteller will receive 3 points and so will each person that chose the storyteller’s card.
- If a player that wasn’t the storyteller has players choose their card instead of the storyteller’s, then that player will receive 1 point for each player that chose their card.
For example, if it’s my turn and I have a picture of an unshaven chain smoker drinking a cup of coffee while floating through space, I might say “French game designer.” Hopefully, at least one person will choose my card so that I can get my three points. If one of the players puts down a picture of a mime walking against the wind on a giant chessboard, then I’m probably screwed.
Play continues until all of of the cards are drawn, or sometimes we play until each person has had a certain number of turns as the storyteller.
I really enjoy Dixit, and while it’s similar to other party games I enjoy, it has a unique quality that draws me back to it on a regular basis. I think it may have to do with the open nature of the kind of clue that the storyteller can give. If you know the people you are playing with very well, you can really have some insight not only in choosing the correct card for scoring, but also in the choice of the alternate card you propose to the other players.
I highly recommend Dixit as a game that should find a home in every game group. There is a card expansion available, and I’ve considered picking that up; however, the card set that was included in the base game has provided us with many hours of entertainment.
This is part of my Spiel des Jahres winner series. If you would like to comment on the 2010 winner, Dixit, then please do so on this post. If you would like to discuss or comment on the Spiel des Jahres award in general, please do so on the Spiel des Jahres series post.