Welcome to Board Games With OB, a somewhat profane, possibly semi-regular feature where OregonBeast gets a board game he likes and briefly explains how to play it and hopes you would be interested in playing it, too. Because board games are fucking awesome.
Rorschach. Depending on your personal preferences, the first thing that comes to mind is either a psychological exam or one of the main characters from Watchmen. But I’m taking about the exam version here. Basically, you’re looking at a picture, and explaining what you see in it.
That brings us to Dixit, the Rorschach test of tabletop games. The winner of the 2010 Spiel des Jahres (i.e. Board Game Pulitzer) Dixit is a game that depends on the successful interpretation of pictures, because that’s all that encompasses Dixit: A big-ass deck of cards with various pictures on them. Your ability to make some (but only some) of your fellow players understand whatever the fuck it is you’re seeing is your key to victory.
Want to talk about what you see in the pretty pictures? OK, let’s play some Dixit.
Players: 3 to 6
Gametime: 30 to 45 minutes
Designer: Jean-Louis Roubira (France)
Key Mechanics: Storytelling, simultaneous voting
Story: Well, honestly, none. You’re basically telling the story of the pictures on the cards.
What do you do?: Dixit is basically a game centered around a deck of cards. The cards have no words, just pictures. Each player has a hand of six cards. On each turn, one player is designated the “storyteller”. The storyteller chooses one of the cards in their deck, places it face-down on the playing surface and gives a quick explanation of what is on the card. The other players listen to the explanation, look through their own decks, decided what card best matches the explanation the story teller gave their card, and places it face-down as well. The storyteller then collects the group of played cards, shuffles them up, and reveals all the cards, with each card being assigned a number. The other players (besides the storyteller) look over the cards, then cast votes (using numbered cardboard chips) for which of the cards they believe is the storyteller’s. The storyteller then tells the other players which card is theirs, and points are distributed based on the voting.
This is where the awesome and incredibly tricky element of Dixit is revealed: The objective is to score points, but the maximum points are received when the storyteller gets some, but not all, of the other players to correctly guess his card. In reality, there are three possible scenarios out of the vote, each with its own scoring:
- Some, but not all of the players guess the storyteller’s card: The storyteller receives 3 points. Every player who correctly guessed the storyteller’s card gets 3 points. Every player whose card received an incorrect vote(s) gets 1 point per vote.
- All of the players guess the storyteller’s card: The storyteller gets no points. All the other players get 2 points.
- None of the players guess the storyteller’s card: The storyteller get no points. All the other players get 2 points. Every player whose card received vote(s) gets 1 point per vote.
So, as you can see, the most points are scored when the storyteller can give a clue obvious enough that the smart players can guess right, but the dumbasses can’t figure out what the hell the storyteller is talking about. You can also grab a few bonus points if you pick a card good enough for those same dumbasses to pick your card instead of the storyteller’s.
How to taste sweet, sweet victory: Two main options. You can either play to set number of points (30 suggested), or until the deck has been played through. Or whichever of those comes first. Your game, you call. YOU HAVE THE POWER. RESPECT YOUR AUTHOR-I-TY!
Variety is the spice of life: Since the entire game is pictures on cards, it stands to say that Dixit is expanded by putting more damned pictures on cards. Besides the original Dixit, there are added games/cards such as Dixit 2, Dixit 3, Dixit: Journey, Dixit: Origins, Dixit: Quest, etc. And honestly, there’s nothing stopping you more crazy bastards from taking the decks from multiple version of Dixit, mixing them together, and creating one giant Hulkfuck deck of Dixit and playing a game that goes to 972 or some other big-ass score instead of the standard 30.
So, what’s awesome about this game?
- Easy to learn: Say what’s on the card when it’s your turn, try to decide what is on the card when it’s not your turn.
- Fun artwork: People who are into art could probably spend all night analyzing a Dixit card deck for all of the shit that can show up.
- The score trackers are FUCKING BUNNIES, people! How could you not love that?
Watch it in action: In case my totally awesome description didn’t make things clear enough, you can watch a game of Dixit being played during season 1 of Tabletop.
Photos via BoardGameGeek