DiXit:The Cure for the Common Party (Game)
Excerpt from The Everygeek’s Guide to Happy Gaming*:
Party game (n) expletive: 1) Board/card game dug out from the depths of the game closet and dusted off when there is a congregation of 6 or more people consisting of over 50% females and/or close family members; 2) game of any sort within easy reach and easily understandable by the masses while intoxicated that would not ordinarily be tolerated by dedicated, hardcore gamers. See: Apples to Apples; Uno; Win, Lose or Draw; Beer Pong.
As can easily be seen from the excerpt above, the term party game is, essentially, a four-letter word amidst most serious boardgaming circles. For all intents and purposes, DiXit is a party game – the rules are dead simple, it’s easy to play both sober and intoxicated, and women, children and your parents will absolutely love it. DiXit, however, is much more than a party game – this little unsuspecting gem will capture your cynical gaming heart and make you want to party all night long. How do you like them Apples to Apples?
The rules, as mentioned, are beyond simple: each player is dealt six oversized playing cards containing whimsical and sometimes-dark or deeply entrancing works of art from Marie Cardouat. Play begins with a Storyteller – one player who chooses one of their cards and says aloud a word or phrase that exemplifies, but does not describe in full detail, their chosen card. Every other player then selects one card from their hands that they feel best portrays that word or phrase and hands it to the Storyteller. The Storyteller gathers the cards, lays them out randomly for the other players, and places numbers on them for identification. All the other players take one of their number tiles – numbered one through six – and votes for the card that they think is the Storyteller’s. If a portion of the players choose the storyteller’s card, they and the Storyteller move ahead on the scoring track three points. Every player who received a vote for the card they put down receives an extra vote.
The catch in scoring is that if all players choose the Storyteller’s card, then the Storyteller scores no points and everyone else scores two. This ensures that the Storyteller must be creatively vague when describing their card – if they say too much, they risk giving themselves away and scoring no points. It is this very simple play dynamic that proves to be the beautiful and artistic engine behind the game. Storytellers are encouraged to delve deeply into their literary and fantastical subconscious to come up with references that one or two players might instantly recognize while leaving the remaining players in the dark. Quite often, with a mixed group of genders and ages, the Storyteller’s clue will produce a round where there are several appropriate cards to choose from, producing fascinating results.
For instance, while on vacation at the beach recently, one Storyteller gave the clue “Elton’s Inspiration.” The cards below were handed to the Storyteller and laid out for everyone to look at and vote upon. Which one would you choose?
The votes were pretty evenly split – One player voted for #1, two voted for #2, two voted for #3, and one voted for #5. Every player seemed to recognize – at least subconsciously – the musical reference to Elton John, and so produced a truly close and interesting mix of cards. The correct answer to the round was #3; the Storyteller had “Candle in the Wind” in mind when she thought of the clue.
As I’ve mentioned previously, DiXit is a great game for all ages, and no matter who plays, the adults and kids will enjoy the experience. The recommended age is 8 and up, but for four games at our recent beach retreat, a very creative five-year-old played the game solo and very rarely fell behind in scoring. We were all shocked at how well she did – even her mother – and were also pleasantly surprised by the whimsical and often-strange clues she gave that provided variety. That said, however, when DiXit is played amongst a group of very creative, resourceful and mischievous adults, the results can be beyond hilarious.
On the same beach retreat, I held a card in my hand for eight rounds, and with each passing moment a story formed in my mind. By the time I had the opportunity as Storyteller, the story behind this particular card had birthed itself, and produced hilarious results. Below are three of the six cards from the round, one of which was mine. The clue was “The brown ones are crunchy.” Which would you vote for?
I can safely say that DiXit is the ultimate party game – suitable for all ages (as long as they can talk and hold cards in their hands), easy to understand, and, above all, truly fun for all involved. During your next get-together, leave that dusty old copy of Cranium in the closet and break out DiXit, instead. It will be a long time before your family and friends stop talking about how crunchy the brown ones are.
*There is, unfortunately, no Everygeek’s Guide to Happy Gaming, but there probably should be. Perhaps my next project?
Gameplay/Replay Components & Theme Fun
Gameplay is effortless and creative. Replay is definitely enhanced by addition of the expansion deck of DiXit 2. Beware, however; DiXit contained much more of a dark tone before the expansion, so if you intend to play with a mostly-adult group, you may want to hold off. The art by Marie Cardouat is fantastic, and the size of the cards really showcases the art. The cards themselves are of high quality and are easy to handle and shuffle. When you have a group of relaxed, creative players, you can't find much greater fun than in this box.
Overall score: 16 out of 18 - Don't host your next party without it.
DiXit is a game for 3 to 6 players, ages 8 and up, by Asmodeé.