Some time ago I introduced a friend to this game at a cafe. Being a wise old friend who could remember being taught Latin at school in the early 1930’s he passed me a use piece of trivia. Dixit is Latin for “He said”. And that is a little clue to this amazing game of getting to know people in a very funny and interesting way, because somewhere in the process you get to know yourself a bit better.
Dixit is a fantastic game for groups that may not be very experienced in modern gaming, party situations, or as a great change from heavier games. I have played this with children from 8 and over, even 90 year olds. It stimulates interesting conversations where people get to share their thoughts and how they think.
Dixit was the 2010 Spiel Des Jahres Winner, the highest award for board games in 2010.
Aim Of The Game
Dixit is a story telling game, where some imagination helps. Based around a collection of unique artworks by a French painter, you have to use not so obvious clues to get some, not all, other players to guess which is your card in a lineup of unique cards. The trick is getting some people to guess or deduce correctly, just not everyone. First player to 30-points wins.
Sound interesting? Read on.
What Is In The Box
Dixit comes in several variants, the original base set of Dixit (plays 3-6 players), Dixit 2 (an additional card set to expand and variant), Dixit Odyssey(a base set that plays 4-12 players), and Dixit 3 (an extra card set to expand the game outside the USA, in the USA this is a complete base set). As each game uses the same base rules, expanded only by the Odyssey rules for over 6 players, each can be treated as a simple expansion of the others differing only in the scoring board and voting components.
For this review I shall focus on the original game and later on compare notes about the other variants.
In the Dixit box you will find a set of 84-unique large cards, all interesting and a little wacky artworks by themselves. A scoring track is built into the box. There are 6 sets of voting counters, 6 cute wooden rabbits to denote the players on the scoring track, and a simple yet clear 2 pages of rules and examples.
Setting Up The Game
The game sets up in a few minutes. Each player chooses a rabbit and matching counters. The rabbit is placed on the scoring track, the counters placed upside down in front of the player. The cards are shuffled, then dealt so that each player has 6-cards. A starting player is determined any way you like.
Playing The Game
It is in the game play that things get slightly more complex, the hardest part is about using your imagination.
The starting player is the first Story Teller, each player in turn will take on this role as the game progresses. The STory Teller must look at their cards, and create a clue about their card such as you might find written in a book. The clue can only be a single sentence long, which could be a word or sound through to something much longer, a snippet of conversation, whatever. Just 1-sentence.
When you look at your cards this might not seem so easy, some of the artwork is rather radical, some inspiring, always amazing. The trick is that you just don’t want to describe your card as you will not do well. More on this to come later.
Having given your clue, you place your card face down in front of you. The other players now look at their cards and try and find a card that best fits your clue, sometimes this is easy, sometimes you can see nothing so you through in a card you don’t want to use yourself when you are Story Teller. The cards are placed face down on the Story Tellers card.
The Story Teller now shuffles the cards, and lays them out in a line, careful not to make comment or reveal clues about the cards as he lays them out. The Story Teller should note a sequence to the cards, declaring the cards lineup 1, 2, 3, etc.
The other players look at the cards, trying to figure out which card is the card the Story Teller chose, they can help deduce this as they know which card they put into the mix. Having made a decision which they think it is, they secretly choose a vote counter of the corresponding number. Once all players have chosen the counters are revealed and placed next to the card voted for. A quick note is you cannot vote for yourself.
The Story Teller now reveals which is his card, typically sparking comments of “YES!!!” to laughter to “Oh my god! Really???”
Now here is the trick.
If nobody guessed the right card, the Story Teller gets no points and everyone else gets 2-points.
If everybody guessed the Story Tellers card then the Story Teller gets no points and everyone else gets 2-points.
If some, not all, players guess correctly then the Story Teller and those players each score 3-points.
Each player except the Story Teller in addition scores 1-point for each vote their card received.
With the rabbits adjusted on the scoreboard the next player becomes the Story Teller and we repeat the cycle.
The game ends when a player reaches 30-points.
Alternatively it could be played to give each player an even number of turns as the Story Teller.
Our family loves this game, it is always different and interesting each play, and new players make this more challenging again. The play is light and easy, yet you have to get your imagination working to see something in the cards, find a clue and guess right.
Players who are not the Story Teller are always trying to put in cards that seem similar to the clue, sometimes you get many very similar or equally plausible cards, so you have to guess or try and think like the Story Teller does. If you have someone you know at the table you can try and pitch the clues in such a way that they know what you are thinking, its clever play which sometimes falls flat and ends up as egg on your face when your wife says “what do you mean you don’t remember that?”
From our own experience I can recommend adding an expansion set of cards, this will give you plenty of fresh thoughts as you may otherwise feel after a few games that you have been there and done that. Yet this is still the challenge, when you play with the same people you need to create new clues each time you use a card which I find part of the fun challenge.
For teachers this could also be a great game to get kids thinking or writing creatively, even just usiung the cards alone or modifying the rules to suit the classroom.
I own Dixit and Dixit 2, and recently played Dixit Oddessy. I have not played Dixit 3. My personal thoughts are that Dixit as a base game is better, even though Oddessy goes up to 12 players. If you want more than 6 players then Dixit just requires some extra counters as you may choose to vote once or twice. Oddessy comes with a small peg board with numbered peg holes, you select which cards you vote for using small pegs, and the points are limited to a maximum of 3 extra points.
My other thought is that Dixit and Dixit 2 use the same artist, Odyssey and Dixit 3 use a different artist. The two styles of art are to me not a great match, the originals are much more colorful and sharp to look at, the new artist is in my humble art critic mind inferior work. The scoring tracks in Oddyssey and Dixit 3 are more practicale on the table, yet I find the original track has a greater thematic feel, I just keep it to the table end corner or on an adjacent table to keep it from being knocked.
This game is fun, a great way to get to know people in a very off-beat way. Ann and I have played this many times and we are still learning about each other.
If you need something different in your collection, have friends over and like to have interesting conversations, then this is a game you might really want to add to your collection.
Game type: Party card game
Mechanism / Skill: Bluffing, voting
Number of Players: 3-6 (5 or 6 is best, 4 better than 3)
Playing Time: 60-90 minutes
Ease of Play: 5 / 5
Ease of Setup: 5 / 5
Ease of Learning: 4 / 5
Fun Factor: 4 / 5
Replay-ability: 4 / 5 (5 / 5 with an expansion)
Strategy Rating: 1 / 5