Interpretive card game Dixit is a mainstay in the modern board game space, often one of the first recommended to new hobbyists and play groups eager to explore beyond the shores of Catan. The series is now pushing boundaries itself with Stella, the first in the Dixit Universe standalone board games that adds a push-your-luck mechanic to the mix, out December 3rd.
Stella: Dixit Universe is designed by original creator Jean-Louis Roubira and Gérald Cattiaux - responsible for last year’s Master Word. Stella certainly looks like the kind of experience a team-up of these two would create, combining language clue cards with classic Dixit illustrations. The twist, as it were, is the addition of a better layer on top of everything using dry-erase board.
Stella: Dixit Universe supports three to six players sitting around a grid of 15 cards, all portraying imaginative and sometimes abstract art. Wherein traditional Dixit would have a rotating player provide a word, Stella instead draws a word card from a deck. All players then mark X’s on their boards coinciding with the cards they feel are tied to that round’s clue - whether through theme, metaphor or literal description.
Marking more cards could net a player more points, thus bringing them closer to winning, but the player each round who linked more cards than the others runs the risk of losing big. Like previous entries, accuracy counts for more than quantity in the long term. Players then strategically reveal certain choices they feel others in the group have made. If they match up, both score more points - it pays to think like the competition.
The box cover art and all of the cards inside were illustrated by Gérald Cattiaux, who previously worked on both Dixit: Memories and Dixit’s 10th anniversary edition, as well as the upcoming children’s dexterity game Bug Hunt. Cattiaux’s style easily fits the dreamy and ethereal nature of Dixit’s typical entries while also lending character to Stella that helps sell it as something apart from what players expect from the game at this point.
That’s likely for the better because it’s not clear what Dixit Universe is supposed to be. Stella was announced all the way back in January of this year, but nothing beyond what scant details are discussed here have been shared. It may very well be a line of title separate from the core Dixit experience that allows Roubira to experiment with other designers, throwing some mechanical chocolate syrup and whipped cream into the vanilla ice cream.
Stella is published by Libellud, who also handles the rest of the Dixit oeuvre, its ghostly cousin Mysterium (one of Dicebreaker's best spooky games for Halloween) and the mystical bluffing title Obscurio, among others. It said in the most recent announcement that Stella will be “compatible with all past and future Dixit Universe games and expansions”, lending weight to this nascent series planning much more than a few collaborative boxes.
The company also claimed that the Dixit franchise had sold more than 9 million copies of the games in 40 languages since it first released in 2009. That’s no small victory, and while it doesn’t break through to the echelons of Catan or Risk it does speak to the ubiquity of a design that doesn’t rely overmuch on words to convey meaning and connections.
Stella: Dixit Universe is currently planned for a December 3rd launch and will be playable as a standalone title, not requiring the base game or anything else beyond what comes in the box. Libellud did not provide a price at this time.