3-6 Players (However, 4+ is better)
“Perfect nonsense goes on in the world. Sometimes there is no plausibility at all”
― Nikolai Gogol, The Nose
This is the best thought I could think of to describe the game of Dixit, a game where it appears that players are making sense of nonsense! Dixit plays like Apples to Apples in the opposite direction that is far more visual. It requires that you to come up with a perfectly apt description of your own VERY surreal card that also leaves your opponents guessing.
The trick is, the description cannot be too easy or too difficult because at least one person needs to get it right for you to score. It is very likely that you are confused at that description. (I know I was the first time I played!) Let me explain the game play and then, hopefully, it will clear it all up!
First, each player is dealt six incredibly beautiful and exceedingly surreal cards. Each image is unique and makes you feel like you have drifted far into the rabbit hole, past even the furthest of Alice’s imaginings. The storyteller (active player) chooses a card and describes it. Now this is where the explanation comes in! Let’s say I chose this card:
You could say “A boy with bubbles traversing hills”, but it’s not likely anyone else would have a card that would match that description. As your opponents selections are sorted out, they secretly vote for the card they think is yours using color coded chips. If everyone guesses your card, all your opponents gain 2 points and you gain none.
Let’s say you wanted to make it harder, so you just say “Green”, as it is likely that most of your opponents would have a card fitting that description as they play a card from their hand. However; if no one chooses yours, as there is a “greener” card available, your opponents all gain 2 points (plus a bonus for anyone whose card was chosen by others) and you still get 0!
There is a third option, and this is your goal! Let’s say you said something like “The Final Frontier”, alluding to the Saturn-like shapes of the bubbles, and the fact that the child is obviously traveling. There may be better options out, or not. If one person guesses my image, I get 3 points and they get 3 points, plus a bonus for anyone choosing their card. All other players get 0.
The game is played until someone’s rabbit-shaped meeple reaches 30 points on the board!
Dixit is an immensely fun game, and it is VERY family friendly. Since there is no reading involved, young children can play, however; expect them to be more of a “wild card” to your strategy. I’ve played 5 or 6 times with my 4 year old and only the last time did she start giving clues that didn’t directly describe the card! I would recommend a lot of patience with children under 7 or 8, but once they have the hang of it, it’ll be worth it!
This game helps children to learn storytelling skills, helps broaden appreciation for art and gives them a very strong ability to articulate thoughts concisely and to comprehend metaphor. If you are looking for a tool to help your child facilitate story telling, Dixit cards can be used similarly to Rory’s Story Cubes. Randomly select cards and ask your child to tell a story about what is happening!
I have recommended this game to friends who do not describe themselves as “gamers” or as liking games because it is very simple and very entertaining once you have the hang of it! Much like Apples to Apples there is a lot of replay ability in the 84 card set, though eventually, you might want to look for more options. Asmodee currently has 4 readily available expansions that each add 84 cards to the base set. They even designed the box to accommodate expansions!
All-in-all, Dixit is a must have staple for all family game shelves!