Dixit Odyssey

Summary
Game Author: 
Game Publisher: 
Game Subject: 
Mechanism: 
Min Players: 
3
Max Players: 
12
Time: 
30

Description

Dixit Odyssey is a new edition of the instant classic game Dixit released initially in 2009. Odyssey adds support for additional players, taking the maximum players up to 12, by replacing number selection tiles with a pegboard for each player to mark selections. Otherwise, the regular game play rich in creativity and empathy, remains the same.
The beauty of Dixit is the open nature of the gameplay; each round the active player looks at their hand of beautiful art cards and selects one that they will play for the round. The active player then announces the card with some word or phrase that captures some aspect or essence of the image. All of the other players must then also select a card from their hand that they feel best represents the word or phrase given by the active player. Once all the cards are added to a face down pile, the active player shuffles them and then displays them face up in an array. All of the other players then record the number of the card they think came from the active player.
The twist to this otherwise simple mechanism comes in the scoring. The active player wants some, but not all, of the other players to pick the correct card. If either everybody or nobody picks the active players card, he or she gets no points. The active player must therefore be subtle, but not too subtle. Clever, but not too clever. The other twist in scoring is that the other players around the table have an opportunity to steal points by picking a card from their hand that best matches the active players word or phrase. For every selection of a card played by the non-active player, the player that played the "impostor" card earns a point. These two twists are what elevate Dixit from a simple social game to a master study in creativity and empathy. There is a certain art to selecting a card and matching up a word or phrase that captures the essence of the image without being either too subtle or too obvious.
What this really means is that Dixit is a game of empathy. Players cannot focus on their own interpretation of the cards, but must think instead about how others will view the selected card. Empathy is a hard skill to teach, but games like Dixit provide opportunities to practice the skill in a natural environment. Instead of trying to explain empathy ahead of time and hold it up as an instructional goal, have players reflect after the game. How did they decide what card to select? How did they identify a word or phrase that would be successful? Successful players will likely reference that they thought about what others would see within their card selection. That, you then explain in a bit of just-in-time instruction, is what we call empathy.