Dixit: To Be a Party Game or Not to Be a Party Game
Party Games are those types of games which are designed for groups of people, no matter who those people are. They are aimed towards making people laugh and have a good time. As such, they tend to follow certain formulas or common characteristics. They usually have goofy names (Balderdash) or themes (Cranium), and can allow a large number of participants. Most of them allow players to bring their outside experiences into the game as well, which gives breathing room for everyone to make their own fun.
Dixit refuses to follow the conventions of party gaming while still trying to pass itself off as a party game at the same time. Dixit’s core mechanics seems to give the promise of a party game, which the outer layers of theme and design disagree. Dixit stands apart from other party games through its more dignified theme of storybook fantasy. But does its attempt to disguise itself work or not?
Dixit consists of each player having a hand of cards with somewhat abstract, artistic pictures on them. The player whose turn it is chooses a picture and gives a phrase to go along with it. Then each player chooses a picture from their hand which best suits that phrase. This is where the party game aspect comes into play as participants are able to bring their own creativity and experiences into the phrases they choose. They may choose to go for inside jokes or perhaps pop culture references, whatever they can to make people guess their card.
The key here is that whatever phrase they choose cannot be too easy or two hard. You will only get points if at least one but not all of the other players choose the right card out of all the cards selected. So you have to tread a fine line on how obscure your “story” that goes along with your card will be. This is a clever rule but can also prove too be too tricky for some players.
The theme of the game is what makes it not match up with the conventional idea of a party game. Dixit is all about storytelling and has a very light and feathery design. The game comes with six rabbit tokens (adding to the fluffy Peter Cottontialish theme), six chits for each player, the deck of cards, and a board which is actually a part of the box. I like the board-in-the-box idea a lot, though once again the artwork gives a very fantastic, un-partylike theme.
The highlight of this game however is the cards. There are 84 cards all with unique pictures which are very interpretive and a lot of fun. For example, there is a card of two ants sword-fighting, a flower picking its own petals, and a kid stuck into a light-bulb. The artwork is simply wonderful and very dream-like. Again, not the goofy, wacky themes of most party games, but very much its own distinct style.
So is Dixit a party game? Yes, though it refuses to follow convention and conform to the usual exclamation-mark branded games which make up the party genre. This gameplay is similar to Balderdash, through trying to make people chose your own made up ideas, and Apples to Apples, by other players choosing the best card option with what they’re given. Yet its still very much its own game.
Dixit, however, it not for everyone. The dreamy theme may turn away some of the more casual gamers looking for a silly fun time, but even those who look past that may be stymied. This game requires creative personalities as well as players who are good at subtleties, and will intimidate anyone else. But with the right group, Dixit can be a lot of fun and can also provide some neat visuals along the way.