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.
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.
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.
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!