Following on from last night’s post about board or card games for large groups, I notice that I’ve forgotten the best large group game there is. The reason I “forgot” this game is something I’ll address toward the end of this blog. The game I’m talking about is a favourite in our (mostly non-gamer) group and we’ve played it literally hundreds and hundreds of times, sometimes many times in one day. That game is:
Dixit Odyssey (3 – 12 Players)
Dixit is a game of interpretation and getting to know your friends better. Each player is dealt five (or six) cards with brightly coloured artwork on them (and nothing else). They keep their hand hidden from other players. One player is then designated “the storyteller” and that player chooses one card in their hand. Then they choose a word, a topic, a phrase that this card reminds them of. For example, the first card pictured below may remind you of the bit in Snow White when she’s left in the woods as an infant. So, you could choose that card and place it face down on the table stating “Snow White”.
Each player around the table then chooses a card in their own hand that may remind them of the phrase “Snow White” and place that card, face down, on top of the Storyteller’s card. The pile is shuffled and dealt out below numbered spaces on the board. The group’s task is then to vote secretly on which of the cards they think was the Storyteller’s original choice. Obviously you’ll know which card is your own, so you won’t vote for that one. But there will be many other cards on the table to choose from, depending on how many people are playing.
Points are scored for choosing the correct card and if someone incorrectly chooses your card. The first player to reach 30 points wins. But it’s not about the winning! It’s about the balance of your topics. If you choose a topic so obviously portrayed on your chosen card and everyone guesses correctly then you score nothing – much too obvious – and everyone else gets 2 points. If you make your topic so obscure that nobody guesses correctly then you’ll also score nothing, while everyone else gets 2 points. The sweet-spot is choosing a card relating to a topic that you think SOME people around the table will guess, but not everyone.
This is what’s so beautiful about this game. When I play it with Aimee, my fiancée, we usually get each other’s cards right since we know each other quite well. But there’s the odd occasion when someone makes a reference to, say, Alan Partridge and the whole table looks blank-faced and bemused while I am secretly bouncing with joy as I am an expert in Partridge.
This game has been described, by more people than I care to remember, as “the most fun you can have while undergoing therapy” and it’s a fairly accurate description. Just like the Rorschach test this is a game of interpreting images and letting your subconscious make a connection with some random topic.
We love this game. It’s amazing. It’s so much fun, it’s quick to play, it’s always over too soon and there are enough cards in OUR box (the base set and almost all the expansions, adding up to over 500 unique cards) that it can easily be played again straight away. It’s a game that causes an itch that needs to be scratched and scratched! However. I’ve played this game a lot in a short space of time and what tends to happen then is you draw on the same references for cards you’ve had before. It’s no problem when you play multiple times through a 500 card deck with eight players all in one day, but if you do that a few times a week then your imagination switches to Automatic and the same references tumble out. That’s the only bad thing about this game and it’s no issue at all as long as you leave sufficient time between plays to refresh your head and gain some more points of reference.
I recommend ‘Dixit Odyssey’ over the basic ‘Dixit’ because it has a higher player count and a less cumbersome score track (a flat 1-30 ladder rather than a pretty but bulky circular pond) for your rabbits (oh yeah, your scoring piece is a bunny!) to hop up. That said, this really is a game that never feels complete. The more cards they bring out for Dixit the more fun you’ll have. This game rocks!