Using Dixit for Session Aspects

Here’s a really weird, high-art idea for Fate: use Dixit cards as aspect inspirations. If you’re not familiar with Dixit, it’s a fascinating party card game that takes the “everyone plays to a single concept each round” idea that games like Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity has, but both makes it about artistic interpretation and turns it into a group bluffing game. If you’d like to see it in action, check out the TableTop video play of it.

The high art nature has always intrigued me. A good friend and master Fate GM Morgan Ellis has played with using images as Fate aspects for years—including threatening to (or perhaps running at this point) a Shadowrun Fate game where the cover of Shadowrun first edition was itself a game aspect. You could creatively invoke or compel it as part of the feel of a tone and genre.

That brings us to Dixit. I have this weird idea to make a curated, game-specific deck of Dixit cards and use them as Fate aspects as so:

  • At the beginning of a game session, the GM draws four cards and chooses two to be potential aspects for that session.
  • During the session, anyone can invoke (not a free invoke) or compel the potential aspect. This can be from a literal or figurative interpretation of the card. Once done, the aspect is then defined with words, as aspects normally as.
    • If the rest of the table thinks that the phrased aspect is bullshit, then it’s invalid. Try another aspect or drop it.
  • The aspect can be an NPC aspect, situational aspect, or even a game aspect for that session. How permanent or transitory it is is entirely situation-dependent. This can suddenly restrict the situation, if the aspect in and of itself adds a new fact or condition to the current situation.
  • At the end of the session, discard the Dixit cards. If a potential aspect wasn’t defined, it just goes away.

Because there’s no free invocation to this rule, the cards serve as an inspiration point to inform play rather than something folks would try to desperately shoehorn into an action for the +2.

This certainly wouldn’t be for every Fate game out there, but what settings or genres would you see this work in? What would you try it in?

– Ryan


6 Responses to Using Dixit for Session Aspects

  1. I have a couple of sets of the Everway cards (which were quite cheap a few years ago as they were overstock items), as well as all of the supplements and a bunch of cheap art cards I found at a Sports Memorabilia shop. They are all great with Fate.

    I use them at the Spark stage to help people decide what genre they want to play. I have stacks of characters, places, genres, monsters, items, etc. to inspire places, issues and faces. A few people say “I want to play him/her” and I give them the card.

    There are also some Paizo decks that are pretty good, but not very generic. Their faces of villians deck of cards however often don’t have fantasy elements on them so many are useful outside that genre.

    — Christopher Allen

  2. John Powell says:

    I was going to mention Everway vision cards too.

  3. Tom says:

    Huh! That could be very interesting. Some Magic the Gathering cards might work as well, though you would have to pick and choose.

    • Ryan Macklin says:

      Oh, yeah, I love a lot of M:tG art. I might want to divorce it from the rules and flavor text, so that the art stands alone as the aspect generator, but I’m with you.

      – Ryan

  4. Ryan Macklin says:

    Some neat discussion on G+ about hacking this a bit and pondering a “race to the cool” element: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RyanMacklin/posts/bgXC4mJV3Eb

  5. If you want to go full hilarity mode, use “Aye, Dark Overlord!”:


    The players are a team of goblins, who are sent on a mission by their evil overlord. Fate Accelerated, about one hour, a mission created from three cards and scenes, which were created with two more cards each. It works pretty good on cons to introduce players to Fate.