Dixit, released ten years ago (2008), is a card based party game from publisher Libellud. Designed by Jean-Louis Roubira, with art from Marie Cardouat, the game sees 3 – 6 players telling stories and guessing from illustrations which one matches the narrative. Taking around 20 – 30 minutes to play a full game, does points being on offer make playing Dixit worthwhile? Let’s find out!
Each turn one player will assume the role of the storyteller. Using one of the six cards in their hand they come up with a sentence, word or noise, which they say out loud to the other players. The other players around the table then select a card from their hand that they believe is similar to what the storyteller described and passes it to the storyteller. After shuffling the card they chose with the cards passed to them, the storyteller then flips the cards over, revealing the illustrations.
Once the cards are revealed the non-storyteller players get to vote on which was the storyteller’s, with the obvious limitation of not being able to vote for their own card. If none or all of the voters chose the storyteller’s card then the voters gain 2 points, with the storyteller gaining nothing. However, if this is not the case the storyteller and any player whom guessed correctly gains 3 points. Any incorrect votes gain the voter whom played the card a bonus point. This creates an interesting dynamic for the player taking up the role of storyteller, a twist on normal word association with it being beneficial to be vague. Though, remember, at least one player does need to pick correctly!
This means that voting by consensus isn’t always the best idea, so it is best to go with what you think the answer is. It can also open the door for players to use specific in-jokes or meanings to hint to only a selection of the other players. Either way, the points are balanced in the perfect way to always make it worthwhile selecting the correct answer for the voters. The game officially continues with the next person clockwise becoming the storyteller until a player reaches 30 points or the deck runs out. If you’re low on time, however, it is possible to simple reduce the point total required to win.
To date I have not found a single person whom has not been at least somewhat captivated by the stunning artwork that adorns the Dixit cards. Even players whom have been dragged into playing come out the experience having had fun and commenting on the gorgeous cards. Libellud made the right decision when choosing the card quality too, with cards often being shuffled and used, having a decent strength to them will help the game be playable without marks or scuffs for much longer. The scoring markers and track are almost oddly bunny themed but they do a good job nevertheless.
The base game includes 84 cards, with a full 6 player game seeing a total of 36 initially dealt out. While this amount might sound like it could limit the replayability due to all the cards being seen each game, I’ve found the opposite to be true. Especially when playing with the same group of people having the same cards coming up allows players to start forming meta like sentences and in-jokes. Remember whom you’ve made these with though, as try to use an obscure reference with the wrong group and chances are no-one will guess the right card!
It is hard to review Dixit without commenting on the elephant in the room that is the sheer quantity of available expansions. Coming with different art styles each adds another wave of cards, so just when you think things might be getting stale there is a way to breath life back into the game. These are by no means mandatory though, with countless plays providing incredible numbers of combinations of cards. With the way the rounds are driven by different words all it takes is a few new players or new thoughts for the experience to stay fresh, without new cards being included.
Going into Dixit, the game hadn’t been painted in the best light with comments such as “Mysterium takes Dixit’s cards and makes it into a game” found online. Having sunk time into the game I can say Dixit works on its own, at providing a very simple, fast, party game experience. There isn’t much depth or strategy, there is little in the way of puzzling things out, but the game excels at being entertaining. To the extent that the storyteller role can even encourage shy/unsure players to come out of their shell, having the option or only say a single word or even noise, whilst fully participating. Whether it is for the full 30 minutes the box recommends or a handful of rounds, as a filler title, there is fun to be had: that’s why Dixit now sits proudly on my gaming shelf.
[Editor’s Note: Dixit was provided to us by Asmodee UK for review purposes. The game is currently available on 365 Games for £24.99. It is also available from local UK board game stores, find your local store here]