Tag Archives: Dixit

Imagination Land – An interview with Libellud’s Paul Neveur

When talk on The Little Metal Dog Show turns to party games, a few titles normally get mentioned. Werewolf (or one of its variants) always comes up. Wits and Wagers is always a good bet (pun not intended). But the go-to-game? The winner of the Spiel des Jahres from 2010 – Dixit. It came from out of nowhere, gaining fans from around the world at an incredible pace thanks to a winning combination of simple gameplay, beautiful art and downright charm. I recently got to chat with Paul Neveur from Libellud (the game’s publisher) about their success, how Dixit came to pass and their plans for the future.

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So, let’s begin with you, Paul – who are you and what do you do at Libellud?

I’m Paul Neveur, I’m 23 years old and I work for Libellud with Régis Bonnessée (the boss of Libellud). I manage our current roster and get to test future games while looking for new games, ideas and designers. It is also me that receives prototype games – I’m the first point of contact for the authors.

How did Libellud come to be? It’s still a relatively new company – what is the story behind how it was formed?

Libellud was born in 2008 and was really created to publish the game Dixit. Regis met Jean-Louis Roubira, the designer of Dixit and loved the idea and the concept. Thus the adventure began – a good idea since Dixit is one of the most rewarded games of recent years! Jean-Louis and Libellud wanted to work together because they believed in the same ideals – they had the same desire to create Dixit. They believed in the potential of the game. It’s a history of trust.

So as an independent producer, how did Libellud start getting the word out about Dixit?

In the beginning, it’s was a “bouche à l’oreille”. In English, I think you would say we relied on word of mouth? In 2009 Dixit won the “As d’or”, the award for the best game of the year in French. This prize (and others) saw the game grow in popularity in France, then word spread to the rest of the world.

Why do you think Dixit has such broad appeal? Gamers around the world seem to have fallen in love with it!

Because Dixit is a simple game. It is intergenerational. It brings people together and cultivates the players’ imaginations. Winning or losing is not important in Dixit. We just want to have fun and be together with our friends and our family.

The all-new set-up - you have no idea how much I want this.

I agree – Dixit is one of the most social games I own. Now, you have expanded the game with Dixit 2’s collection of new cards already, but recently announced a new addition: Dixit Odyssey. Can you tell us what we can expect from that?

Dixit Odyssey is offered as a standalone game, allowing it to be played independently from Dixit or Dixit 2 and will be playable by 3 to 12 players. This new Dixit brings along its fair share of new surprises – it offers 84 new cards bringing the player further into strange new worlds populated by mysterious inhabitants. To represent and illustrate this new universe, Pierre Lechevalier (aka Piérô) has created the illustrations for the cards while Marie Cardouat (who illustrated the first two sets) has taken care of these illustrations’ colours.

The big thing, as mentioned, is that Dixit Odyssey offers new game contents that can handle up to 12 players: a new foldable game board, voting pads and tokens – and most importantly, rabbits with increased stability! It also introduces, for players who so desire, new methods to play Dixit with more than 6 players, in addition to the “classic” rules. Finally, the box has space for owners of the originals to store all of their cards together.

Libellud isn’t just about Dixit, despite it’s incredible success. What other games do you produce?

In September 2010 we produced “Fabula”. It is another beautifully illustrated game that requires using your imagination based in the world of Grimm’s tales. At the Cannes International Games Festival, we previewed Bugs & Co – a very fast, addictive and crazy party game. Of course Dixit Odyssey will be produced (for France first!) and we also plan to release a fun game themed around cooking: Et Toque. This game is scheduled for release around the end of the year.

So some exciting plans are afoot! Now, one final question: you must have played Dixit many times. Out of all of cards in the game, which is your favourite card and why?

Yes, I have played Dixit many, many times, but I always find a new way to describe my cards. My favourite card is… well, I actually don’t have favourite card because they all speak to me in my imagination. If I must choose, I love the card with a castle in the sky. For me, it represent the author Kafka – he is one of my favourite authors.

A selection of cards from Dixit, including Paul's favourite!

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Dixit and Dixit 2 are currently available, while Odyssey should be out in a couple of months. If you’ve not tried it out, I’d seriously recommend giving it a go – it’s so unlike anything else you may have played before!

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Just My Imagination – Dixit review

Who do you play with? It’s an important question. You may not have taken a step back and considered the people you choose to play your games with, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. That’s down to Dixit. It’s not a game for everybody, but it’s definitely one that I think everyone should try out…

Originally published in 2008, Dixit took the Spiel des Jahres prize earlier this year – and as usual, there was outcry amongst certain elements of the gaming community. The fact that this party game (which is in no way a derisive term) walked away with the award caused a fair bit of consternation amongst some people, many saying that yet again the jury had chosen the easy way out. A kids game winning the previously prestigious prize? It’s all downhill from here on in, they said. However, I reckon that most of the haters hadn’t actually got their hands on a copy, because if they did… well, I reckon there’d be a few changed minds.

The premise is simple. From a deck of 84 oversized cards, each player is given a starting hand of 6. Someone is chosen to take on the role of the Storyteller, meaning they must select one of their cards and describe it in a certain way. The choice of how this is done is entirely theirs – you could describe it in a full sentence, a phrase, even a single word. The card is then placed face down on the table as all the other players then choose a card from their hand that they think best fits the description given by the Storyteller. These are all shuffled then flipped, and all players (bar the Storyteller) then vote on the one they believe inspired the original description.

Now, here’s the trick. The Storyteller can’t be too obvious. If everyone votes for their card, they get no points (but everyone else does). However, you can’t be too obscure or abstract, because if no-one chooses your card you also fail to score. You need to find that middle ground, nothing too off-the-wall, but not explicit. If even one person chooses your card, you’re a winner. You can also score a point if someone casts a vote for your non-Storyteller card – some rounds can really see you boost your score, especially if you find the right answer while everyone else votes for your selection.

Dixit, as much as I enjoy it, certainly isn’t a game for everyone. At first play, newcomers to the game will raise their eyebrows and go “What?”. A quick demo soon sorts this out – just choose a card at random and ask everyone playing to describe it in an interesting way. No matter what card is chosen, I can guarantee that each person will come up with a different idea. It’s a game that requires imagination and thought – and, it must be said, a little bravery. Having played it several times, you can really get a handle on how some people’s thought processes function. Where one may see a scene overflowing with possibilities and hope, another may think it filled with danger and chaos. Have a look at the card below and see what you come up with.

Dixit card

A typical (and typically odd) example.

As you can see, Dixit has a style all of its own. Each one of the cards is beautifully painted and completely different to anything I’ve seen before. The game has an almost dreamlike feel to it – skies filled with letters, monstrous handbags… in the world of Dixit, anything is possible. Add to this the strange scoring track (rabbits leaping around the platform that has been built into the box) and you can see that this is no ordinary game. It requires you to let yourself go a little, to be a kid again. And isn’t that what games are all about? Being playful?

So far, I’ve only played Dixit with friends. So far, I think it’s one of the best games I’ve played this year. Perhaps (for the more serious gamer) it’s a bit too light, but the frivolities of Dixit make me smile. It’s a beautiful game, quick to play and truly fun with the right people. It requires a certain level of understanding amongst the people involved, an almost unwritten rule that no description is too strange or curious. If you’ve got a group like that, I really recommend seeing if you can get your hands on a copy – Dixit may even teach you a thing or two.

Dixit was designed by Jean-Louis Roubira and was published by Libellud (amongst others) in 2008. It was awarded the Spiel des Jahres in 2010 (as well as countless other awards from around the world). It’s available from fine online retailers and will cost you around £30. It’s also already got an expansion if you want to check it out: a new deck of cards imaginatively titled Dixit 2.

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News & Stuff – July 2, 2010

The big news of the week, of course, is the announcement of this year’s Spiel des Jahres winner. The SdJ is one of the biggest prizes in gaming with nominees and winners able to expect a healthy boost in sales worldwide, despite the award only covering games released in Germany in the past 12 months. Former victors include classics such as Ticket to Ride and El GrandeDominion took the title last year. While complaints about the lack of ‘heavy’ games on this year’s shortlist were many – Fresco being the only game that could be considered so – the actual winner that the panel chose was Dixit by Jean-Louis Roubira (and art by Marie Cardouat). The premise of Dixit is that one player acts as a storyteller, choosing one of the cards in their hand and coming up with an esoteric sentence about it – other players then choose one of their own cards that they think would also fit, and the chosen cards are all shuffled together. The other players must then choose which image was selected by the storyteller – if everyone (or no-one) gets it correct, the storyteller gets nothing but the others get points. In the case of there being a split decision, points are awarded to those who were correct and the storyteller, and the role moves on to the next person. 

A very very pretty game.

 

I’ve got a copy on the way, and after a few plays I’ll let you know my thoughts on it. For now though, the forums that are exploding with bile because Dixit won should just chill out. The SdJ panel are notoriously random (Niagara, anyone?). Awards mean nothing if people don’t like the game (or even the concept behind it), and complaining won’t make them change their minds. If Dixit isn’t for you, then so be it – go play something you enjoy instead. There’s plenty of other games out there. Like Agricola

Agricola has been one of the biggest names in games since it came out in 2007, hovering around the top of their best games list and regularly getting to the tables of gamers around the world. Naturally wanting to continue his success, designer Uwe Rosenberg has been keeping the game alive with extra expansions (like card decks) but now has gone full on with the announcement this week of Agricola: The Goodies. What was originally meant to be a small print-run of 2500 copies in English (with a further 500 in Spanish) sold out within a couple of days of being announced – to stop people from being ripped off, the producers have announced that more will be printed shortly. Most of the stuff that comes in the box is already available in Germany – hence the English / Spanish only printing, but if you’re lucky enough to pick one up, you’ll be getting four new decks (including the X-deck of aliens!), double sided player boards, a bunch of stickers and… you guessed it, a huge pile of wooden animals, vegetables and resource tokens to pimp your copy. 

There are people who will sell their grandmother for this.

 

Agricola: The Goodies is out soon, and will cost $60 / £40 – a lot of money for an expansion, but people will go mad for it. Knowing how popular the unofficial Agricola animeeples and veggieples made by the guys from Board Game Extras are (and how much they cost) it actually works out quite reasonably in comparison! However, think to the future… if this is The Goodies, how long will it be until we see The Baddies..? 

I don’t think it’s actually possible for me to do a news post without mentioning Fantasy Flight Games somewhere. This week is no exception, as a bit more information about their upcoming re-issue of the classic DungeonQuest was released from FFG Towers. Yes, it’s basically a prettier version of the truly hardcore dungeon crawler that we know and love (even if it destroys us nine times out of ten), but one thing really grabbed my interest. In a fantastic bit of cross promotion, all the heroes that come with the new version of DungeonQuest will also be fully compatible with several other FFG releases; namely Runebound, Descent and Runewars. Sure, it’s pretty much just a way for the company to get people interested in their other releases, but I think it’s a rather interesting idea. Will this see a rise in cross-compatible releases from other companies in future? A Small World map for Ticket To Ride from Days of Wonder, for example? Only time will tell. 

Yes, I'll invariably end up getting it, even if my last copy was cursed.

 

And that’s it for this week. In case you missed it, Episode 5 of the podcast is available through iTunes right now. If that’s not to your liking, you can always grab it directly from the site by right clicking and saving on this link here. Comments and questions to littlemetaldog@gmail.com as always, please! Have a great weekend.

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News and Stuff – 4th June 2010

After last week being a pretty slow one in news, this time around there’s loads to talk about – most notably, the biggie when it comes to awards. Yes, it’s that time of year again – the 2010 Spiel des Jahres shortlist has been announced. Five titles are up for the award this year:

* Dixit – designed by Jean-Louis Roubira, published by Asmodee

* Indentik (also known as Portrayal) – designed by Amanda Kohout and William Jacobson, also published by Asmodee

* A la carte – designed by Karl-Heinz Schmiel, published by Heidelberger Spieleverlag

* Roll Through The Ages: The Bronze Age – designed by Matt Leacock, published by Gryphon Games

* Fresco – designed by Marcel Süßelbeck, Marco Ruskowski and Wolfgang Panning, published by Queen Games

What surprised me about this year’s lineup is the simpleness of it all. I’d say only one out of the five is a reasonably hardcore boardgame (Fresco) and even I was able to play that without messing up too badly. Something else to note is the age of some of the nominees – A la carte first came out in 1989! The rule with the SdJ is that it needs to have been released in Germany within the last year, though, so original release dates don’t really matter. All five games have their good and bad sides, but for me… well, I’d like to see the nod go to either Dixit or Roll Through The Ages (and not just because RTTA designer Matt Leacock was on episode three of the show). There was also a special award (“Spiel des Jahres Plus”) for a game they felt deserved a particular mention – World Without End, the follow up to Pillars Of The Earth. The winner of this year’s prize will be officially announced on June 28th, and with luck you’ll be able to hear from them soon after on a forthcoming episode of The Little Metal Dog Show. Also, if you fancy giving Roll Through The Ages a go and have an iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad (you lucky bugger), it’s currently available on the App Store for £2.99 – bargain!

Staying on the subject of the triumvirate of Apple devices (well, the smaller ones, anyway) – The official adaptation of Carcassonne app was submitted to the powers that be earlier this week and is now available for purchase. Adding to the rapidly increasing selection of board game adaptations (of varying degrees of quality) is certainly a good thing, and from the development team’s Twitter feed it looks like this version will be on the decent side. Very early reviews are also very positive. Online multiplayer with push notification when it’s your turn seems to be the order of the day, as well as games against the AI. An official iPad version is also planned for release later in the year, but this one seems to scale up pretty nicely to the bigger screen. Will it be as good as the Xbox Live version though? We shall see soon enough!

Finally, this weekend sees the annual UK Games Expo taking place in sunny Birmingham. After starting small a few years ago, it has become the country’s biggest gaming event, covering everything from board and card games to wargaming, minis and even Live Action Role Playing. There are demos of games new and old, plenty of traders, talks, book signings and workshops, so plenty to do! I’ll be there on the Saturday, wandering around looking bemused – report to follow sometime this weekend.

That’s it for this week, but don’t forget to grab the latest edition of the show – currently on iTunes, it’s got interviews with SdJ nominee Matt Leacock and ace filmmaker Lorien Green. Should you fear Apple’s behemoth, you can grab the show directly from here! Just right click and save. Anything you want to tell me? Then email littlemetaldog@gmail.com or grab me on Twitter – I’m idlemichael. Thanks for reading!

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