Tuesday, September 6, 2011
So you have a party coming up and you need something to do.
You're sick of trivia games, since all the questions have been answered. You're sick of Apples to Apples' slow slog to the end, when half of the players are trying to keep the guy one card away from winning.
You need a new game you can explain easily, will get people involved but doesn't drag, and rewards social cleverness over more abstract strategy.
The game you want is "Dixit."
Dixit is boxed like a board game, but the beautiful board is just a scoring track. Sure, you move the little wooden bunny score counters along it, but the cards are where the meat of the game lies.
It's a game that requires subtlety. You need to communicate what you chose without it being too obvious. This adds a lot of interesting nuances. As a consequence, you get to know the other players better. You get to know the little in-jokes people have as they employ them to clue in their friends. You learn of people's interests as they draw from them to craft their clues.
Play starts with each person getting a hand of cards, each with a wonderful, whimsically surreal illustration. The first player selects a card, and then says something. What you say could be a quote, a poem, a phrase crafted on the spot -- anything really -- but the aim is to have it represent the card you chose.
Play continues as other players each select a card from their hand that they think matches what the first player said. All the chosen cards are then shuffled and revealed in a random order. Each player then votes in secret for which one he or she thinks is the card the first player chose.
For instance, a friend of mine selected a card of a gentleman in a suit and top hat walking down stairs. The man in the picture looked calm and dignified, qualities my friend strives to embody. Consequently, the clue he came up with was "A perfectly ordinary walk."
I knew my friend considered himself a rather dapper fellow, so I chose the most dapper card.
Where the game gets clever is the scoring. You get points if you voted for the card chosen by the first player; you get a point for every vote the card you chose gets. If you were the first player, you get points if some of the players chose your card but not if every other player chose it, or if all the other players chose it.
To go back to the example of my dapper friend, not everyone knew him but I did, so he and I both scored a few points.
After totaling up all your points, everyone draws a card to replace the one they played, and the next player takes the lead and chooses a card and says something. You continue until the deck runs out of cards.
If you need a party game, or just something to stimulate lively conversation and interaction when things around the house seem a little dull, Dixit is an excellent choice. Designed by Jean-Louis Roubira and published in France by Libellud, the game is distributed by Asmodee for a suggested retail price of $34.99.Walla Wallan Noah Hinz is a tabletop and electronic games aficionado. A graphic arts student at the Evergreen State College and working on art projects and game designs, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.