13th March 2022
It's a Sunday evening and we're logged into Board Game Arena for some gaming fun.
As the title implies, Stella - Dixit Universe is a offshoot of the game Dixit and while it is different, it does share some elements with its predecessor, mostly notably having artwork on cards which share the same almost abstract, dreamlike quality.
In fact in the physical version, both games share the same backings for these cards, meaning they're interchangeable between the two.
Caveat: We've only played Stella - Dixit Universe digitally.
What's in a game?
There's minimal art elsewhere.
The game's iconography is also minimal to the point of being almost non-existent.
How's it play?
On to play
Similar to its predecessor, Stella Dixit Universe is word association game, but here, the word is chosen by the game.
4 rounds are played during the game and each round has 3 phases. The first 2 phases are essentially performed simultaneously, with the 3rd phases occurring in turn order.
Once the 4th round has been completed, players should total their scores from across all 4 rounds.
Points are tallied, highest score wins.
Like it's earlier iterations, Stella - Dixit Universe can be a divisive game, its core mechanic is acutely subjective in nature and it can be a real love/hate thing! Certain types of gamers; those who enjoy the heavier, analytically and mathematically driven games may well be frustrated with a game about trying to guess what other players might think of a particular word. Social skills are important here, it's more about playing the player than playing the game, understanding how they think and what they'll pick.
As with its predecessor, Stella - Dixit Universe uses a mechanism to score more VPs when making a slightly more obscure choice which can trigger a super-spark. I feel the game has the same quirk with the rule as well; players who know each other well will be at a advantage here.
Other than trying to predict what other players will do, there's also a balance between how many associations to make with a word.
Too few and players risk scoring less, while too many could end up costing points, generally it's prudent to err slightly on the cautious side and avoid being the player In The Dark.
It obvious why the rule exists, it's to stop players haphazardly selecting too many words but it's still a little frustrating and also a bit of a finicky rule.
That brings me to the one real bugbear I have with the game and that's the rule with Falling.
If a player Falls, they immediately stop scoring, so if a player falls at their 1st reveal, they score nothing for that round - and worse, other players can still score off them! Conversely, if they fall with their last choice, the damage is minimised.
I know that choices on the order to reveal cards are part of the game and cards which are seen as less risky should be selected fist and the rule offers a genuinely meaningful decision but even so, I found it immensely irritating.
Although perhaps I'm not the best judge, I can be ambivalent with this type of game, it generally doesn't suit my style of play and and maybe I'm a bit too harsh. When I remember to adopt a particular mindset to playing it, there's definitely fun to be had.
Stella - Dixit Universe plays with 6 and veers into party game territory, it's a light crossover game that's pretty easy to pick up and play and will allow non-gamers to get stuck in and enjoy themselves
Treat it as a fun diversion more than a serious game and Stella - Dixit Universe is an enjoyable experience.
I play, I paint.