Memory–the mental capacity or faculty of retaining and reviving facts, events, impressions, etc., or of recalling or recognizing previous experiences.
Dixit– an assertion made, but not proved.
Years ago, before I knew how to really research the board games I wanted, I asked on my birthday for two games based on their buzz alone. It was 2009 and the games I got were Chaos in the Old World and Dixit. Now those are about as different as two games can be. Lucky for me I loved them both and while Chaos still has a place on my shelf, I’ve definitely gotten more play out of Dixit over the years. It introduced me to the art of Marie Cardouat and to the concept of a game being non-linear in its strategy or approach.
If you’ve never played Dixit, it’s a little like the illustrated children’s book version of Balderdash. Each player will have a hand of six uniquely illustrated cards. In turn each will take on the role of the storyteller. The goal for the storyteller is to say a word, or phrase, or even just a sound that relates to one of their cards in hand. Everyone else selects a card from their own hands that they feel might fool people into thinking their card was the original. Once all the cards have come in the storyteller will shuffle them and lay them out for voting. Players will get points for selecting the original card and for receiving votes for the decoy card they put in. The tricky thing for the storyteller is they only receive points is SOME but not ALL of the players guess the original card. They have to walk the fine line of being too vague and too obvious with their original statement.
That may sound a bit like a kids game, but I’ve enjoyed Dixit with people of all ages. It’s great when you’re looking for something not overly competitive or for people who shy away from epically long games. Dixit has simple rules and the added benefit of giving you a hand full of beautiful art to stare at while you’re waiting for your next move. More than any other game I know, Dixit taps into your imagination to make decisions and plays.
Since the original, Dixit has come out with several expansions such as Odyssey, Journey and Origins. Each one giving other artists a chance to fill a new 84 card deck with images of fantasy, beauty, fear, and whimsy. Memories is the latest edition. This time the entrancing work of Carine Hinder and Jérôme Pélissier fill the cards. They are images of beauty in dark places, explorations of childhood joys and fears, glimpses of silly, magical worlds. Each card screams for a story to be told about it.
I see board games as art. There’s the literal art and components of course, but there’s also an art to how all the elements (mechanics, theme etc.) come together to form a whole. True game aficionados will compliment the elegance of a great game’s design. Dixit is just that; an elegant design. It intends for you to take tiny bits of inspiration and create something out of them. So few titles do that.
Memories is a really beautiful addition to the Dixit world. What’s nice is you don’t need to get all of the expansions in order to have the game work. The different sets can be mixed and matched at leisure. I think fans of the series will love the rich worlds that Hinder and Pélissier create and will enjoy making some new memories of their own.