Two very different family-friendly games: Dixit and Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

It’s vacation week here, and we’re playing some games! We have two new (to us) games in the house, and they’re both good family games (i.e., designed to be played by people of different ages together), and they’re both easy to learn. Very different in every other way, though. 

First game: 

First Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

This is just a deck of cards that comes in a little box, and it costs about $10. You can play with two more more people, and it’s plenty of fun with just two. 

Each card has on it, as you might expect, a picture of either a taco, a cat, a goat, a piece of cheese, or a pizza, and also the word. You divide the deck evenly and then each players takes turns laying cards down for everyone to see; and as they do it, everyone chants, “Taco, cat, goat, cheese, pizza” in rhythm with the cards being laid down. The idea is to slap the card if the word everyone is saying matches up with the card that has been laid down.

If you say, for instance, “taco” and the card someone lays down is a taco, then you all try to slap it first.

The last one to slap it has to take all the cards. If you slap an incorrect card (for instance, you say “cheese,” but what you slapped was actually a goat),  you have to take all the cards. The object of the game is to get rid of all your cards.

But then there are a few other cards sprinkled in — gorilla, groundhog, and narwhal — and when those turn up, you have to do a special gesture (for instance, if a narwhal turns up, you make a horn on your head) and then slap it.

It is a fast-paced and silly game. It’s mostly about having good reflexes, but it’s surprisingly easy to get into a groove and have your mind play tricks on you while you try to sort out saying “cheese” while seeing a cat, of while you get used to not seeing the card and word match up, and then suddenly they do. I also find it difficult to do the gorilla gesture quickly but without whamming the hell out of my chest, for some reason.

A round takes about ten or fifteen minutes, and who’s winning can shift very quickly. 

It says it’s for ages 8 and up, but I think younger kids could play it together, and younger kids can definitely play with an older person who’s willing to hold back and bit and make it more equitable. Age (at least my age, which is 49) is not necessarily an advantage in this game, because you need focus and quick reflexes.

There is also an expansion pack, which can be played with the original game,  or as a standalone. We haven’t tried it yet, but it gets good reviews. 
It’s also available in Spanish, which would be a good way to learn how to say “taco,” “cat,” “goat,” “cheese,” and “pizza” in Spanish. 

If you like Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza you will probably also like Happy Salmon, which is also a fast paced, noisy, silly card game that you can learn in a matter of minutes. This one needs three or more players. 

A round of Happy Salmon can be very quick, like just a few minutes, and it would make a great party ice breaker, and can be played with younger kids (ages 6+). More detailed review here. You do have to get out of your seat for Happy Salmon, but you can stay sitting down for Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza.

The second game, Dixit, is played at a much different pace. It’s about $30.

The basic idea: Each player has an assortment of cards with dreamlike, evocative pictures on it. There is also a game board with little rabbit pawns, and each player gets a voting device.

Players take turns being the storyteller. The storyteller choses one card (keeping it secret), and announces a word or phrase that’s clue (or riddle, or story, or theme) about it — as specific or vague as they like. The rest of the players ponder this clue and then each turn in one of their cards that they think could serve as the solution to the clue (keeping it hidden from each other).

For instance, the storyteller might choose this card

and announce the clue as “calm.”

The other players look through their cards and decide which is best possible match for “calm.” They turn them into the storyteller, who shuffles them and then arranges them around the board, along with the original card. 


Everyone votes, (spinning their device to the number that corresponds to the number where the card has been laid down), and then the storyteller reveals which one was the original card.

You get three points if you guess the correct card (and the storyteller also gets three points), and you get one point if you’re not the storyteller and someone guessed your card. Your score is how many spots you can move ahead on the board. 

The interesting part of this game is that there’s not exactly one right, highest-scoring answer, because the scoring takes the psychology of it into account. If no one guesses your card, you get no points because you didn’t describe it well, and everyone else gets two points; but if everyone guesses, you get no points (and everyone else gets two points) because you made it too easy! So it’s sorrrrt of collaborative, because the real goal is to convey and understand something, but while still preserving the mysterious element. 

It’s fascinating how well the cards are designed to be interesting but ambiguous. 

That first card, described as “calm,”

could also have been something like “enormous” or “mismatch” or “wish come true” or “cat and mouse” or “gaze” or any number of things. 

This game is probably not the best for a small group of people who already irritate each other (ask me how I know), because personalities are very much at play in the choices all the players make. You can take into account what you know, or think you know, about the other person’s thinking patterns when guessing or while inventing clues, but it’s very possible to overthink or underthink it!

You can begin to play the game immediately even if you just learned it, but it’s easier to play with at least one person who’s already familiar with the scoring system, which is printed right on the board, but which I still found confusing. 


I did find myself wishing there were more cards in the deck, because it was a little taxing to the imagination when the same ones turned up several times, requiring a different take each time. They do have expansion packs, though; and I was told repeatedly that the game was more fun with lots of people, which I can easily imagine. I do think I prefer games where it’s more clear how to win! (I also don’t like Apples to Apples, which people say Dixit resembles.)

The kids all like this game, and I hope to try it again with a larger group and see if I like it more. 


That’s it! My other goals for this week, besides playing games (and working, boo) are: Spring yard clean-up (already mostly done), more planting (yay!), sort shoes and put away boots and winter jackets (done!), go on a hike (doing that today), going on a trip to a colonial recreation village (probably Thursday), and cleaning Corrie’s room (I’d rather eat an earwig, but it’s going to rain on Wednesday, so there it is). The kids’ goals are: Use every single pan in the kitchen, watch TV, and hang around in the kitchen and shout while I am trying to get work done. I really do like my kids, but dang, they are loud. 

And we’ll probably end up playing one of these ridiculous family games that need no equipment.

Speaking of games with confusing rules, this post has been my #1 most-read post almost every day for years and years. I think it got noticed by Reddit or something. Anyway, the kid in orange is now taller than my husband. Which is fine! Everything is fine.