In another of our regular board game spotlights, Zatu Games gives it’s looking orbs a sweet polish and rolls them adeptly towards Dixit, the 2008 game from designer Jean-Louis Roubira, artist Marie Cardouat and publisher Libellud.
Dixit is all about the abstract, which is unusual if you think about it. Games rarely call for this kind of thought process. Creative thinking, sure, but not raw, abstract creative thinking, certainly not in civ builders, war games or even single play epics. It’s difficult to apply the principles of 19th century art to a big war. You’ll get paint on you. And you can’t manage resources like a cubist.
Dixit is, essentially, a set of images. Abstract ones. They range from the relatively interpretable like a clown standing still and sad in a spotlight, as they all do when the laughter dies down, the audience is gone and they realise what they truly are, to the less relatively interpretable, like a man submerged in sand conducting an orchestra of perched birds.
Players (4-6) each have six of these images in their hand. Every turn, one player is the storyteller, and must choose an image from their hand and come up with a short phrase, sentence, poem, sound that they feel represents the image. So, for example, if the image is of a child with his back turned to a weeping soft toy, they might say ‘growing up’ if they’re feeling morose.
The other players then choose one from their own hands that they feel might fit ‘growing up’, maybe a tree or something. The storyteller shuffles their cards in with those of the other players and lays them face up, at which point the other players must guess which picture was the storyteller’s.
If no-one or everyone guesses correctly, the storyteller scores nothing and every other player scores two. If a player or two guess correctly (but not all of them), they and the storyteller score three. Players whose image is chosen erroneously score one point per vote. First to 30 points wins.
The game is therefore an exercise in creativity and prediction, like constructing lego while being chased by a puma. Going too obvious or too obscure with your clues will stop you getting points, so you’re forced to try and figure out how your opponents think to best tailor your phrases to include some whilst excluding others.
Libellud is a French board game publisher best known for Dixit and its many sequels and expansions. There have been various Dixit expansions since the original launched back in 2008, including Daydreams, Revelations, Origins and Odyssey.
Another of the publishers main titles is Seasons - which sees players take part in the legendary tournament of the 12 seasons! The French company also focus heavily on family and children's games such as Hide The Kids and Loony Quest.
Marie Cardouat is a French illustrator who stumbled into board game art when she responded to an ad from the makers of Dixit. Her gorgeous abstract artwork is the game’s defining characteristic.
Jean-Louis Roubira is a French game designer best known for creating Dixit and each of its equally enjoyable sequels.
Order Dixit today
They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. If you’d like to describe one in about four, buy this game from Zatu Games today!