Commentary
12:30 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Your Move: Short Stories Meet Beautiful Artwork in 'Dixit'

Credit The Shifted Librarian / Flickr / Creative Commons

Last week, I asked a friend to introduce me to some lesser-known games that don’t take very long to play. He immediately pulled out a game called Dixit. When he told me that it’s a game about telling short stories, I didn’t really understand how short he meant.

One player is the storyteller for the turn - you choose a card, make up a sentence-long story about the picture on the card, and place it face-down. Each of the other players chooses a card in their hands that they think best matches the storyteller’s story, and give it to the storyteller, without showing it to the others. The storyteller shuffles all the cards together, places them face-up, and each player has to choose which card they think was the storyteller’s.

If either everybody or nobody chooses the storyteller’s card, everyone but the storyteller gets two points. However, if the vote is split, the storyteller and whoever found their card score three points. Players also score one point if someone else voted for their card.

Dixit’s gameplay is fun, but wouldn’t be nearly as good if the art on the cards were not so absolutely beautiful. The pictures are colorful fairy-tale fantasy paintings that really sparked my imagination, and the cards are larger than normal playing cards to give the art more room to speak and to make it easy to see across the table when played.

This game reminds me of games like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity because you can manipulate language in interesting ways to play the game, but the art and complete lack of text on the cards lends a different dimension that makes it feel a little more somber and contemplative.

Dixit takes about half an hour to play, and can be played with as few as three people, but it really does best if you have five or six players. The game is a competition, but the fun is less in winning and more in exploring the cards with your friends and letting the stories and conversation unfold.