August 10, 2011

Book and Board Game Match-Up: Dealing with Dragons and Dixit

The Book (by Patricia C. Wrede): Take one bored princess.  Make her the seventh daughter in a very proper royal family.  Have her run away.

Add one powerful, fascinating, dangerous dragon.
The Princess Cimerone has never met anyone (or anything) like the dragon Kazul.  But then, she's never met a witch, a jinn, a death-dealing talking bird, or a stone prince either.

Princess Cimerone ran away to find some excitement. She's about to. --Back cover of my well-used copy.

The Game (from Asmodee): One player is the storyteller for the turn. He looks at the 6 images in his hand. From one of these, he makes up a sentence and says it out loud (without showing the card to the other players).  The other players select amongst their 6 images the one that best matches the sentence made up by the storyteller.

Then, each of them gives their selected card to the storyteller, without showing it to the others. The storyteller shuffles his card with all the received cards. All pictures are shown face up, randomly, and every player has to bet upon what picture was the storyteller's.

If nobody or everybody finds the correct picture, the storyteller scores 0, and each of the other players scores 2. Otherwise the storyteller and whoever found the correct answer scores 3. Players score 1 point for every vote gotten by their own picture.  The game ends when the deck is empty or if someone reaches 30 points, so he wins.Otherwise the greatest total wins the game. --Board Game Geek Description

It's pure, happy coincidence that Dealing with Dragons and Dixit alliterate.  The book is an old favorite -- one of the first books I actually owned (as opposed to pilfered from my mother).  I read it, re-read it, and then kept my little brother up late at night reading it to them.  Dry humor, adventure, and fairy tales turned on their head at every turn: what's not to love?

Dixit has the same nostalgic, fractured fairytale quality.  Each card feels like something I've read somewhere, but can't quite name.  Half the fun of this game is the tantalizing, mind-tickling art.  The other half is chewing over how to describe your card.  Optimally, when it's your turn, you want one -- and only one -- other player to guess your card correctly.  Describe the card too obviously, and no points.  Too obscure, and you have the same problem.  It ends up being a delightful balancing act.  If I quote The Princess Bride to describe the swordsman, will everyone guess it?  No one?

Dealing with Dragons has been on my shelf since elementary school.  I played Dixit for the first time this year.  Both make me feel nostalgic and happily wrap me up in myth, fairytale, and adventure.


  1. Dixit means said or spoke in Latin. Just thought I would point out the daily dead language connection. :)

    Dixit sounds like a fun game.

  2. Cool! I didn't know that, but I always love learning about dead languages.

  3. These sound amazing! I've heard of the book before, but not the game. I'll have to get my hands on both!

  4. I'm pretty excited for when my son gets a little older and I can re-read these to him -- nothing like reading a book to a child to make it all new again.