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    Review: Dixit

    March 4, 2015

     
    Quite simply, Dixit is one of the coolest games in the store. At its base form, it’s a gorgeous, accessible imagination-based party game that can be learned in about two minutes. It’s equally appropriate for kids and adults and can be played with three or more, and, like many of the games on our shelves, it’s only as fun as the people you’re playing with. So grab a box of Dixit and get your favorite people together for at least thirty minutes of fun!

    Dixit is entirely based upon communication between players using large, tarot-style cards with crazily beautiful abstract artwork on them. The rules of the game are ultra-simple, with the goal being to move a player’s wooden token to the end of the score track. Each player starts out with a hand of six image cards, which can represent any concept that can a player can imagine. The proceedings are played in rounds in which a player gets to take on the role of a storyteller, of sorts. The storyteller’s job is to secretly choose a card from her hand and communicate the content or concept of the picture on that card using some measure of verbal conveyance only. It can be a phrase or a lyric, for example; a single cryptic word or even a concise poem – anything that gets the point across. The chosen card is kept secret from the other players, and is put face-down in the middle of the table.

    It is then each other player’s task to choose a card from their own hands that could be described or construed along the lines of the verbal clue the storyteller just offered. So in this way, Dixit is a type of bluffing game where the players are using their imaginations – as well as what they know about how the other players think – to pick cards that could also be described by the storyteller’s portrayal. Once they’ve chosen a good card, each player’s choice is also placed face-down in the center of the play area. The cards are then shuffled up so nobody knows who placed which card, and the storyteller flips over each one in turn so that everyone can get a good look at them. They should be designated with numbers (1-6, depending on the number of players) for easy reference.

    Now things start getting really interesting. Every player except the round’s storyteller covertly takes a voting chip that matches their token’s color and gets ready to reveal it. The chips are also numbered 1-6 and are used to represent a player’s vote of which card they think was chosen by the storyteller. All votes are placed down secretly and then revealed all at once to start the scoring for the round. And scoring can seem complex, but it’s easy once it’s been done a couple of times. Each player that correctly guesses the storyteller’s card is rewarded with three points. Each person other than the storyteller who receives a vote gets one point for successful ‘bluff’, but the players who guessed erroneously get nothing out of the deal. The storyteller also scores three points if anyone correctly votes for his card. But there’s a catch, of course! The storyteller only gets points if his card gets at least one correct vote AND fails to get at least one vote. This mechanic (à la Klaus Teuber’s Barbarossa) provides a built-in regulator to ensure the storyteller’s verbal clue is not so easy that everyone guesses it, and not so abstract that nobody guesses it. Dixit is all about subtlety and creative use of the cards. No one said it was going to be easy!

    It’s pretty obvious that it will be a different experience every time Dixit is played, especially if the people who are playing tend to change. One might think that good communication skills are necessary to enjoy it, but we’ve found that Dixit is really a litmus test for understanding how people think, as well as how they describe the things they imagine. It’s extra-fun to put couples to the test to see if they’re really on the ‘same wavelength’, as so many claim to be. And some special satisfaction has come from playing with people who grew up speaking other languages, as the way that they tend to describe some concepts has proven to be distinctly different and really very interesting at times. All of this points to Dixit being much more of a creative social experience than just a board game.

    Asmodee has a huge hit on their hands with Dixit, and it’s been one of my very favorites in the store since the week it came out. Virtually anyone can play, and it’s easy to teach and jump right in to get the creativity flowing. There are numerous expansions available that add more cards into the mix – and you’re going to want more of these gorgeous cards! Keep a copy in your closet or in the back of your car and be prepared to have your friends accuse you of being the ultimate arbiter of joy when you bring a box of Dixit out. But don’t take my word for it. Check out what the TableTop crew have to say about Dixit!
     

    -Darren

     
    If you like: Barbarossa, Apples to Apples, Balderdash
    You’d definitely enjoy: Dixit
    MRP: $34.99
    Designer: Jean-Louis Roubira
    Produced by: Asmodee