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I played two games this evening with my girlfriend and my sister, using the cards from all three Dixit games combined.
I had previously only played Dixit Odyssey with four players, which I found to be a fun and balanced game.
With three players, using the 3-player rules variant in the Dixit Odyssey rulebook: players have a hand of 7 cards rather than 6, and each player other than the storyteller plays two cards instead of one, so there are five players to choose from each round.
These extra cards kept such a small game slightly more interesting than it would be with only 3 cards to choose from each round, but a couple of problems remained:
First, choosing two cards that both fit the storyteller's clue was fairly difficult; even with seven to choose from. We found ourselves having to play cards that were quite unrelated to the clue. I didn't mind the extra challenge, but the ladies were finding themselves frustrated.
Second, it was really hard for the storyteller to earn their two points by having exactly one other player vote for their card. It felt like 90% of the time, either both players or neither player guessed correctly, making it almost impossible for the storyteller to earn their two points.
Third, as the storyteller, I wanted something to do once the cards were all revealed, besides wait around to see who picked what.
In our second game of the evening, we introduced three house rules which I feel greatly improved my enjoyment of the game:
1. Player hand size increased to 8 cards. This gave just a little more flexibility in card choice, and with only three players you don't really have to worry about running out of cards before the game is over.
2. In addition to submitting his/her own card face down to the center of the table, the judge also takes one random card from the top of the deck (without looking at it) and adds it face down to the pool as well, so that there will ultimately be six cards to vote on: one from the storyteller, two from each other player, and one completely random card. Choosing from six images is more interesting than choosing from five, and with some of the more vague or open-ended clues, it became possible for the random card to actually be a contender. It was almost like adding an unpredictable fourth player to the game, and they earned votes from time to time, and made it more realistic for the storyteller to earn 2 points in such a small game.
3. Once cards for the round have been revealed and players are secretly voting on which card was the storyteller's, the storyteller also gets to cast a vote for his/her favorite card on the table besides his own, which results in that player earning a point. This gives the judge something to do once cards are revealed, as well as a way to show appreciation for particularly clever submissions. This makes it more fun to be the storyteller, and is reminiscent of playing the judge role in Apples to Apples.
Rules 2 and 3 interacted pretty well together. A hyper-competitive storyteller could try to figure out which card was the random one, and "favorite" that one in order to deny the other two players that bonus point, but we just chose our favorite cards, and people wound up voting for the random card more than once in a single game.
Overall, we had a great time, even if my sister did lose by a significant margin in both games (her clues were all super-obvious, resulting in the rest of us earning 5 points each time she was storyteller). I think I could live without the 8-cards rule. The random card could be a fun addition to a 4 or 5 player game, as choosing from 6 cards felt like the right number. Finally, the "storyteller's favorite" bonus point felt so right that I would play with that rule in any game, regardless of size.
It was a fun night. I can't wait to play the game with some larger groups, but I'm also really glad we tried with just three, because it can and does work, especially with a little bit of tweaking