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The rules of Dixit that the game ends when the deck runs out (leaving players with full hands at the end). Every time I have played, the players have commented that this means that some players have been the storyteller more than others, and it doesn't seem fair. The players have wanted to continue playing after the deck has run out, until everyone has been the storyteller the same number of times, either by playing with fewer cards to choose from their hands, or by reshuffling the used cards.

What is the reason for not continuing until all players have been the storyteller? Do these methods of balancing the game have any unintended side effects?

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That particular rule isn't particularly balanced, and is included for convenience. However, playing with fewer cards in hand also imbalances the game, as storytellers have fewer cards to choose from to come up with a good hint, and other players have fewer options to play in.

Turns as the storyteller aren't the same value as other turns either; the storyteller is probably more likely to get their 3 points, but other players stand to gain more points by misleading other players and guessing the card correctly.

One way to fix this is, as you mentioned, to reshuffle cards until everyone has had an equal number of turns. When I play, we agree to finish at the end of however many more rounds.

Additionally, if you have extra Dixit card packs, you probably don't want to keep playing until you run out of cards.

  • This is what I was thinking. Additional cards so that we never want to use them all in one game sounds like the best idea. I will look into that. Thanks. – Carasel Jun 29 '15 at 11:22
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    I recommend Dixit Odyssey, which includes its own set of cards (compatible with the original), takes up to 12 players (adding an extra vote per player at 7+), replaces voting tokens with an easier-to-use voting card, and includes a scoreboard that's easy to read and has numbered spaces for cards in a round. Also the bunny figures are wider and fall down less easily :) – Samthere Jun 29 '15 at 11:26
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    Odyssey also has the rule that the game ends when one player reaches 30 points. – ConMan Jun 29 '15 at 23:30
  • @ConMan Right you are, though I just have bunnies turn around and keep playing until we call for a stop :) – Samthere Jun 30 '15 at 1:27
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Definitions

  • A turn consists of one player being the story teller and all other players guessing.
  • A round consists of as many turns as there are players, so that every player has been the story teller once.
  • A game is completely fair if only full rounds have been played, and players have the same number of cards to choose from in each turn.

A fair game

Since the only way to achieve a fair game is by playing only full rounds, we need to either reuse discarded cards by shuffling them back in, or calculate how many rounds can be played by using the cards only once. This may mean playing fewer turns than the number of cards allows for.
I would advice discarding the excess cards before playing, to avoid accidentally starting a round you can't finish.

Calculation

When playing with 4–6 players, each turn every player discards one card, so for n players, n cards are discarded every turn. After a full round, cards will have been discarded and after r rounds, r × n² cards will have been discarded.
Also, every player needs to have 6 cards to choose from for the final turn, so after that final turn, every player will have 5 cards left in their hand for a total of 5 × n cards.
So for 4 and more players, the formula c = r × n² + c × 5 for a fair game.

When playing with 3 players, players play with 7 cards in their hand of which they play two, except for the story teller who only plays one. This means that 5 cards are discarded every turn (the story teller 1, the other players 2 each). After a full round 15 cards will have been discarded.
After the final turn they should have 5 + 5 + 6 cards left in their combined hands, for a total of 16 cards.
This makes for the slightly different formula c = 15 × r + 16

From this, we can calculate the number of cards c in the deck that yields a completely fair game of r rounds. Excess cards can be discarded after shuffling.

3 players

c = 15 × r + 16

You can play 4 rounds for a total of 12 turns. You need to discard 8 cards from the deck and play with 76 cards. If more cards are available, add 15 for each additional round.

4 players

c = 16 × r + 20

You can play 4 rounds for a total of 16 turns. You can play with the full deck of 84 cards. If more cards are available, add 16 for each additional round.

5 players

c = 25 × r + 25

You can play 2 rounds for a total of 10 turns. You need to discard 9 cards from the deck to play with 75 cards. If more cards are available, add 25 for each additional round.

6 players

c = 36 × r + 30

You can play 1 round of 6 turns. Discard 18 cards from the deck to play with 66 cards. If more cards are available, add 36 for each additional round.

7 players

c = 49 × r + 35

While the rest of the game doesn't provide for 7 players (neither the scoring board nor the voting tokens), you could play 1 round with 7 players using the full deck of 84 cards. If more cards are available, you would need to add 49 for each additional round.

  • This does not answer the question at all. The OP is looking for ways to make the game longer and you are removing cards from the deck to make it shorter. Even with a set number of rounds there is no reason at all to remove cards because you can play the game for longer because you are suggesting to remove more cards then the number of players. – Joe W Jan 24 '18 at 12:45
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    @JoeW no, the OP's primary goal is not to make it longer, but to make it fair by having every player be "[...] the storyteller the same number of times [...]". To quote a bit more, "[e]very time I have played, the players have commented that this means that some players have been the storyteller more than others, and it doesn't seem fair." Now the OP seems to assume that means the game has to be longer, however as I have shown, it can be fair at the cost of a bit of length. Also, I have provided a way to make the game longer if more cards are available. – SQB Jan 24 '18 at 12:52
  • You don't need to remove cards from the game and shorten it to make it a fair game. All you need to do is calculate the maximum amount of rounds you can play with the deck size and end after that round. – Joe W Jan 24 '18 at 13:31
  • @JoeW which amounts to the same. – SQB Jan 24 '18 at 13:43
  • Yeah @JoeW, it's not so much removing cards from the game as it is preparing the deck to minimize the chance of accidentally playing an extra turn. You wouldn't play with those cards anyway, but removing them makes it so that you don't have to keep track of anything (e.g. how many rounds/turns you've played) during the game. – The Chaz 2.0 Jan 25 '18 at 15:08

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