Recommend
15 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

Dixit» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Dixit: A fantastic game for families/groups with YOUNG children rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
James Peyster
United States
Dist of Columbia
flag msg tools
So what is there left to say about Dixit that warrants a review seven years after its release and long after everyone with even a modicum of interest in gaming has already played it? Well, as a parent with 6 and 5 year old daughters, I wanted to comment on Dixit as a family game for families with young children because I think a lot of people overlook it given that (1) there is nothing in the game explicitly themed or designed with kids in mind, and (2) the game is so popular with adults. I was guilty of this myself. However, when I was badgered into letting my kids play Dixit with me over the holidays, I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY by the experience.

First off, let's be clear about one thing: Of course you will play Dixit differently with young elementary school-aged kids than you would with your adult game group. For clues, you won't be using 1990s Simpsons quotes, or referencing classic novels, or memes from adult pop culture. Much simpler clues will be required. But what shocked me was how wrong I was in my preconception was that this change in clue difficulty would result in a ruined (or mostly ruined) game experience.

Whatever was sacrificed in terms of foregoing the really tricky or puzzle-y clues was more than made up for the way in which Dixit gave me a new insight into my kids' creativity and the way their minds worked. I was fascinated with the choices they would make that I had never expected. Almost every round I found myself asking them "What made you pick that card for that clue?" "Why did you vote for that card?" And so frequently their answers surprised me and delighted me with their quirky originality and humor. Kids look at the world very differently than adults do. Plus, each kid is his or her own unique person, and a game like Dixit can give a child a tremendous vehicle to foster their own unique ideas. I genuinely felt like I learned about my own children through this game experience, and that is a real gift.

One of the things that makes Dixit so good for kids is that there is no reading, and the mechanics are really simple. It took literally two practice rounds (i.e. less than 5 minutes) before my kids understood the entire game. It took a little while longer for them to master the details of the scoring system, but that's no big deal.

After learning the rules, the only other learning curve for the game is helping them understand not to make their clues too literal or easy. But even that happened surprisingly quickly--within one full play of the game. At first I encouraged them to start with one or two word clues, and to make those clues "hard". For a kindergartener, that meant a clue like "Green" for a card with something green that is prominent in the picture. Or an adjective like "Weird" or "Scary" or "Brave". But very quickly I found my kids taking the next step in their clues and being a little more clever. And, of course, you as an adult in their lives (be it a parent, uncle or aunt, mentor, or whatever), can help them with that learning process by occasionally making your clues slightly harder. Make a movie reference from a movie you know they've seen or a reference from a book you've read to them. Show them how they can explore what these beautiful cards *remind* them of rather than merely describing the picture itself. Again, you will be pleasantly surprised by how quickly they pick up on this and start to do it for themselves in their own clues. And the more creative they get in their clues, the more fun it is for you as a parent/family member/friend to see how their little mind works--not to mention the game itself gets even more fun and less different from a normal game with adults.

Another great thing about Dixit is how the game is not "easier" for adults than kids. I try my absolute hardest on every turn with my kids, and my win rate is really no better than theirs because it's just as tricky to calibrate clues to be neither too easy or too hard for a kid audience as it is for an adult audience, and also just as hard to interpret a kid's clue as an adult's clue once the kid has fully mastered the game. For this, Dixit is really special. It is rare to have a game that is fun (i.e. not some awful roll and move game) AND actually allows an adult to compete hard against kids and have that competition be an even playing field.

Finally, while there will ultimately be a winner (And that's okay! Kids should learn how to lose!), there are so many opportunities in the game for every player to have winning moments. When one of my kids gives a really clever clue, even if it's a clue that nobody understands in the moment, we make sure to cheer for them and praise them for their creativity. Same when they have a really neat reason for picking a card in response to someone else's clue. Celebrating creativity begets more creativity, which not only makes the game better for all players, but also has lasting effects for kids in other non-gaming aspects of their lives.

In sum, I cannot recommend this game highly enough for young families and school groups. Dixit is a rare gem in that it is a game every gamer should have in their collection, but which also works amazingly as a kids game. Give it a try on the next rainy day when everyone is stuck inside and looking for something to do.
17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
'Bernard Wingrave'
United States
Wyoming
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you for this review. I agree with a lot of what you said. This is a game that many kids are drawn to because of the art.

I will say that whether a child can play the game effectively or not depends a lot on the individual child. Some kids have more difficulty picking up the "don't be too obvious with your clues" aspect than others (definitely true in my extended family), but it's OK to have a child who is learning play with partner who is older and can help facilitate things. We have done this, and the game was enjoyable.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Gibbs
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
While I may never play with children, I do like that this sounds like an awesome choice with kids, even young kids.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oskar 10101
Netherlands
Den Haag
flag msg tools
Pretty much everything you wrote resonates. It was and is a blast playing with my young kids. Was really surprising how well they can play this and come with the most surprising clues I never would have thought of. Win ratio is pretty balanced as well. Overal incredible accessible game from very young to (very) old.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mikko Saari
Finland
Tampere
flag msg tools
http://www.lautapeliopas.fi/ - the best Finnish board game resource!
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just got this game to play with my family (my kids are 9 and 7), and it was a blast, so I have to agree with you here. The game works so well.

I think one of the best parts of the game is that it is so rewarding to play. The scoring is of course absolutely mandatory – you need to have the goal in mind in order to make the clue-giving have any purpose – but at the same time it doesn't matter at all. It's just so exciting to see what kind of cards other players play to your clues and to try to guess which is the right card that nobody seems to care how the scoring goes.

There's enough luck involved in the combination of clues and cards that if you fail, you can usually blame it on bad luck, the clue-giving is vague enough. In our first game, there were zero hard feelings involved, which is great.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matthew Palen
United States
Corcoran
Minnesota
flag msg tools
My kids like this game, but they always use clues like scary, creepy, weird, bizarre, people, animals etc. Those words cover 50% of the cards so it just becomes a random guessing game. This works for them because they invariably get points from the random guessing, but I find it renders the game meaningless. I'll still play it with them because they enjoy it, but it just feels like a broken game to me or maybe there is some rule or something we're missing.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nicolette Tanksley
United States
Jackson
Missouri
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My 4 and 5 year olds play this with my husband and I on a routine basis. The 4yo has some trouble coming up with a clue that has the right amount of ambiguity sometimes, but we enjoy it none the less. Some of the art is kind of creepy, so there are a few cards I routinely pull out of the deck if I see them. We don't use the voting tokens yet, but can see adding this to the game in a couple more plays. Thanks for the lovely review...we heartily agree and recommend.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls