Friday, March 14, 2014

Dixit Journey: Family Edition

             Dixit is an unusual, captivating board game that unleashes the imagination.  It is not a high strategy game and luck isn’t really a consideration.  Dixit is a game based on communication, cleverness, and understanding the minds of your opponents.  This 2010 game of the year winner is very easy to learn and can be played by 3 to 6 people, ages 8 and up.  One game only takes about 30 minutes! If you are interested in Dixit style games, you will be glad to know there are many versions: the original, Jinx, Origins, Family Edition—to name a few.  All offer an enjoyable variation.  My husband and I (and the kids) play Dixit Journey: the family edition.  We have also played this version with our adult friends and it works with many age groups. We enjoy this version a great deal, so let’s learn how to play this thought provoking game. 

                When you open the box, you will find a scoreboard, 6 game pieces, and 6 sets of voting tokens. 


          Each game piece is a different color; each player will choose one game piece and place it on the starting space of the scoreboard.    


                You will also find 84 cards.  Once these are shuffled, deal six cards to each player. The players should not reveal their cards to the other players. The illustrations on these cards are amazing.  Every card is a miniature work of art! You could spend a great deal of time discussing the nuances of each card.


              The game also contains voting tokens.  The voting tokens come in 6 colors and are numbered 1-6.  All players take the voting tokens that coordinate with the game piece they chose. For example, if you choose to be red, you have a red game piece and red voting tokens.  Also, if 4 people are playing, those players only need the voting tokens numbered 1-4.  If 5 play, then you would need tokens 1-5.  

            By this point, every person has six cards.  The first player becomes the active player.  The active player chooses one card in his/her hand.  Next, he or she thinks up a clue that matches the card.  A clue can be just a word or phrase, a sound, a group of sounds, or a pop-culture reference.  It can be a line from a movie or its title.  It can come from a poem, book, or a play.  It could be an idiom, metaphor, or proverb. You could even sing a line from a song.  The box of this game says, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  That phrase rings true for Dixit as each card yields so many, dare I say thousands, of possible clues.
Creating a good clue is the key strategy of the game.  When a clue is done well, it will help you score points.  If not, your opponents score points.  When the active player states his or her  clue, the other players search their own six cards for one card that matches the stated clue.  Each player places his or her chosen card face down with the active player’s card.  The active player then shuffles together these cards and places them on the numbered spaces on the scoreboard.


Each player’s goal is to examine the cards and to find the actual card that was described and played by the active player.  This is tricky because everyone has played a card to match the same clue.  A player votes by placing a numbered voting token face-down on the table.  If a player wants to vote for the card in spot 2, he or she places the token with 2 face-down on the table.   The voting token is placed face down so other players cannot see it. The active player does not vote.
Once everyone has voted, the voting tokens are revealed and placed on the coordinating cards.  If voting token 1 is revealed, it would be placed on top of card 1. The active player then tells everyone which card was his or hers.  This part of the game brings so many surprises!


Now, it is time to explain how to score points in the game. This is important because it helps you to understand how to create a clue that scores.   The active player scores 0 points if everyone chooses his or her card.  That means that the clue was too easy or obvious.  If none of the players identify the active player’s card, he or she gets 0 points.  That means the clue was too obscure or difficult.  The active player can score 3 points, if 1 or more players find his or her card but not all the players find the card.  For instance, imagine 5 people are playing. If two people find the clue and 3 do not, the active player would earn 3 points. 
The other players can earn points too.  If everyone finds the active player’s card, the other players earn two points each.  If no players find the active player’s card, all the other players earn two points plus one bonus point per vote on their individual cards.  Let’s say the active player’s card is card 1.  No one votes for it but 3 people voted for card 2.  Whichever player played card 2 would score 2 points plus 3 bonus points.  This is a great aspect of the game-- no matter whose turn it is, all the players are engaged in game play.
Now that you know the scoring, you can understand how to create a clue.  Here are some tips for creating a clue as an active player.  Try to choose a clue that some people would know but not everyone—that is how you will score points.  For example, if you are playing with a group of people, some of which you know enjoy or have studied Greek mythology, you might give the clue “Fighting fate” for this card.


The clue refers to the three daughters, or Fates,  who determine the life span of every mortal by spinning and cutting the thread of life.  If you are playing with a different group, a clue referencing Greek mythology might not work.  Another possibility is to  use the idiom, “hanging on by a thread.” Another phrase that would go with this card is "Tug o' war."  That might be too obvious and result in everyone finding your card.  Remember, you want to make a clue that works well for your group.  Thus, you see that every card has infinite possibilities determined not only by the mind of the active player but by the minds of the other players in the game.  It takes skill to craft a clue that will score you points. Also, when you are trying to find the active player’s card, consider what you know about the person who made the clue.  This knowledge will help you choose.
           The cards that other players put out can make choosing the correct card difficult. Remember, the other players can only play the cards in their hands.  Sometimes, they really have to stretch to find something the matches the clue. Sometimes they have something that matches just as well as yours.   Let’s say active player’s clue is “fish out of water”.
          Here are some examples of card that might be played for this clue. Which one is the correct card?


             The original card is the first card in the 2nd row. 
As I play this game with other people, I am fascinated by how everyone’s mind is unique and different.
Give  Dixit a try.  My friends and I occasionally have Marathon game days (8-10 hours).  After a game of Catan, Carcassone and Lords of Waterdeep, Dixit is the break I need…. before we start a game of Smash-up or Smallworld.  I love that this is unlike the games we usually play and that it doesn’t take very long.  The game is fittingly called Dixit Journey—you never know where the cards will take your imagination!  Have fun!

No comments:

Post a Comment