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My Dixit houserules and practices

Dixit is a cardgame from 2008. Here is how I like to play it.


Drawing, not dealing

Everyone is responsible for drawing new cards as they play cards, instead of there being a “deal cards” phase. Don’t worry about getting out of sync, there is no advantage to having too few cards. Just draw up to handsize when you notice it.

Honest guessing

You have to guess the card that you really thought that player played. Even though there are often situations where that’s strategically bad (because you want to give that player fewer or more points). That’s why this house rule: guess honestly. This is obv an unenforcable rule unless you are The Shadow that knows what lurks in the heart, but, I find that having an explicit policy is good.

Discard plays

When you don’t have an OK play, it’s allowed to play your worst card to get it out of your hand. You don’t have to play your least-bad card. However, if you have a card that’s even remotely OK, play it. Obviously, for this and the “honest guessing” rule, be Postel about it: check yourself but don’t be a goof that lectures others about it.

A quiet time

Do not let people kid around about the clues (or go “I don’t know what that is”) until after the round has been scored. That can spoil someone’s clue! Of course say it again if they didn’t hear it or they forgot it.


Split scoring

Do the two or three point thing first (“Too easy”, “Too hard”, or “Just right”), and only once those points have been handed out, do the extra single points.

The Teach

The three points I like make sure to convey right away with a new group is the drawing not dealing, the split score, and the honest guessing policy. Anything else here can wait, or be shown by example.


Gather all the cards that people have played in the turn, make sure−by looking at the backsides of the cards−that they’re all facing the same direction before you shuffle them.

Also, flip them up quickly (either one by one in rapid sequence, or as one combined flop), and then let people take them in all at once, in good time. Do not do the thing where you say the clue for each flip, and especially don’t do that if you say the clue in a different way each time.

“Guess” your own card

When using the original tiles, which I like (over the pegboard from Odyssey), once everyone has selected a tile, it’s good if people place them on that card. (People should take care to not do that until everyone has selected a tile, of course.)

I like it when the clue-giver also marks a card, the correct one. That way people can see right away what happened.

Deductive scoring

Sometimes it can be a fun minigame to see how few questions you need to ask before scoring. For example, you know that people don’t guess on the card they’ve played (that’s not allowed) and you know that they haven’t played the card that you yourself played. That way you can, by process of elimination, suss out who should get extra single-points. A fun party trick.

Downtime thinking

When there is downtime, think of your next few plays when it’s gonna be your turn to say a clue. Have a few spares in case those cards you have in mind leave your hand before then (do not hang on to them in case there is a perfect fit for someone else’s card).

Don’t neglect a good guess

I’ve sometimes done well in this game even when most of my clues have been too easy or too hard, if I’ve been consistently good at guessing.


One thing that has made me sour on the game is references. That’s when you know another player has read the same book or seen the same show as you have, and that the others haven’t, and you give clues that really tie in to that reference. This problem, I don’t have an answer for. Not only is sprinkling in some references fun, it’s also hard to say what even is a reference. All language, expressions, words… it’s all references in some sense. The problem is that every injoke or nod can feel like a jab for someone else. This game is best played with strangers, which naturally leads you into relying less on references, and also when there are references, they’re a way for strangers to bond over a shared experience.

Alternate scoring method for the Stella variant

Stella is a Dixit variant that comes with word cards, lantern track and tokens, and some pretty low-quality erasable marking boards & dry-erase pens. You can use scrap paper to mark your cards if you don’t wanna use the whiteboard. Just make a four by three grid (that’s like five lines #), making a note of where “moon” is so you don’t get confused.

If you have a scoring track & bunnies from Dixit or Dixit Odyssey, that’s gonna be great to use with this, but even if you don’t I still hope this sparks some ideas on how to learn, run, and teach this li’l game.

First, everyone marks cards and places their lanterns on the lantern track as per usual. The most confusing part of the game is the scoring method so that’s the only thing I’m rewriting here.

Then flip the person who’s the highest on the track to the one-star side. Everyone else should be on the two-star side.

Then starting with the person who has the start player token (“first scout”), they point to one card they’ve marked.
Then everyone else who marked that card raises their hand.

If at least one other person did, you and everyone else who marked it gets as many points as are showing on their lantern token (two for most people, one otherwise).
If exactly one other person marked it, you then also get one extra point each. Getting this “super spark” point “separately” helps make it clearer what’s going on.

If no-one else did, you “fall”: move your lantern token to below the bottom of the track. You no longer score this round but still need to raise your hand to help other people score. Unfair but true!

Then circle that card on your marking sheets, or even flip it over on the table, so it can’t be chosen again this round.

Keep on taking turns, skipping everyone who has fallen or who had matched all their marked cards. If you were on the “one-star side” (called being “in the dark”) and you did manage to match all your marked cards, you get a bonus: one extra point per card you had marked, kinda getting back all the points you were short by being on the one-star side.

That’s how one turn is played. There are four rounds.

What changed

The rulebook confusingly gives points equally but takes points away when the in-the-dark player falls, which I changed to instead giving one less right away (with the chance to earn ‘em as a bonus later), to take advantage of how the lantern tokens have a two-star and a one-star side, which makes explaining the scoring way clearer.

Stella houserule

According to the Stella rulebook, if people are tied having marked the most cards, neither gets flipped. That turned out to be exploitable and the cleanest fix is to have everyone who is up there getting flipped to the one-star side (“in the dark”).