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All dixit

Published on January 15th, 2011 | by Amanda

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Dixit and Dixit 2: Prettiest Board Games Ever?

Our first board game re­view of the year, and the first on the new TrulyGaming.com site, is for a game that is one of the most beau­ti­ful that we’ve ev­er played and it’s ex­pan­sion. This is more of a par­ty game than a board game, and fea­tures art nice enough that we want­ed to hang the cards on our walls. Pub­lished by French com­pa­ny Li­bel­lud, and re­leased in the USA by As­mod­ee, Dix­it is an easy-to-learn fam­i­ly-friend­ly game that com­bines a bit of Ap­ples to Ap­ples with Balder­dash. Dix­it 2 of­fers a bunch of new cards and art, al­low­ing ad­di­tion­al re­play but not ex­pand­ing the num­ber of play­ers or of­fer­ing any oth­er mod­i­fi­ca­tions- not that we mind­ed too much!

The game won “Best Game of the Year” awards in sev­er­al coun­tries for a good rea­son- it’s suit­able even for non-gamers. We brought it out at hol­i­day par­ties with­out fear of bor­ing or up­set­ting ei­ther those who are more in­to twitchy video games or those who hate games in gen­er­al. The idea is sim­ple- there is a sto­ry­teller and two to five oth­er play­ers each round, and each play­er has a hand of cards. The cards are sim­ple- on­ly a unique pic­ture on each- and the art­work is the crux of the game. As a sto­ry­teller, your job is to tell a short sto­ry- a sen­tence, phrase, even a word or po­em- and then se­lect a card from your hand that fits. The oth­er play­ers al­so choose the best card from their hands, and ev­ery­one places their cards face down in the mid­dle. Once ev­ery­one has cho­sen, the sto­ry­teller dis­plays all of the cards so that the oth­er play­ers don’t know which card is the source of the sto­ry. The oth­er play­ers then vote on which art piece they think is most like­ly to have been the sto­ry­teller’s. Ev­ery­one draws ad­di­tion­al cards and the sto­ry­teller po­si­tion ro­tates each round.

Score­keep­ing is a bit com­pli­cat­ed, and the rules vary slight­ly if you’re play­ing with 3 peo­ple (not rec­om­mend­ed) ver­sus play­ing with four, five, or six to­tal. Sad­ly, you can’t play with more than that, lim­it­ing the par­ty a bit, but team­ing up does work. Suf­fice it to say that your goal as a sto­ry­teller is to con­coct a vague-enough sto­ry that oth­er vot­ers do not all se­lect your card cor­rect­ly… but keep in mind that at least one vot­er must for you to earn any points. The game ends when the card deck is ex­haust­ed or when a play­er reach­es 30 points.

It’s a unique and ut­ter­ly un­ex­pect­ed game, one that fea­tures a bit of strat­e­gy and a fair amount of left-brained imag­i­na­tion. Kids can play eas­i­ly with adults, and it’s a great ice­break­er game. We just wish it was playable with two play­ers or larg­er num­bers (an ad­van­tage of Ap­ples to Ap­ples for in­stance). It’s well-de­signed, and if the name doesn’t quite strike you as suit­able, it’s at least fair­ly mem­o­rable. It’d make a great iPad or iPhone game, though a good part of the fun lies in fig­ur­ing out the peo­ple you are with, and look­ing for clues- the way they set down the cards, the ones they look at or skip over, the sub­tle tastes they are like­ly to demon­strate. And this ver­sion isn’t quite suit­able for trav­el, though it’s easy enough to con­struct a pouch and score­sheet that works.

84 cards are in­clud­ed in the orig­i­nal game, which is re­quired for use with the ex­pan­sion. Dix­it 2 adds an­oth­er 84 new im­ages to guess with. With a six-play­er game, you may use up all of the cards, giv­ing some play­ers a lim­it­ed ad­van­tage if they have seen them be­fore- but we found that it didn’t make too much of a dif­fer­ence. It takes about five min­utes to learn, less than that to set­up or cleanup, and is suit­able for ages 8 and up. We high­ly rec­om­mend this one, at un­der $30 and avail­able on­line, and we can’t sug­gest it high­ly enough for those tired of the same old board game rou­tine. The ex­pan­sion is a bit less ex­pen­sive, and al­so worth a pur­chase, though it’s a good idea to try out the ini­tial edi­tion and see how of­ten you play.

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