Game Review: The Great Dalmuti

GreatDalmutiGreat Dalmuti
Wizards of the Coast, 1995

I’ve got to admit, this is one of my family’s “Go To” games. This classic card game is awesome for several reasons. Rounds run quickly, but you can continue playing for hours having great fun. The game is for 4-8 players. You could have a few more, but it really plays best in the 4-8 range.

The deck consists of 80 cards, 12- 12’s, 11-11’s, 10-10’s… down to 1-1 and 2 wild “jester” cards. All the cards get dealt out. Each player has a position. The lead player is the “Great Dalmuti”, followed by the “Lesser Dalmuti”. On the tail end, you have the “Greater Peon” and the “Lesser Peon”. If you have more than 4 players, the rest of the players will fall into the middle, and be “merchants”.  Once all the players have their cards, there is a “taxation” phase, where the Greater Peon and Greater Dalmuti exchange 2 cards. The Greater Peon gives up their two lowest numbered cards in exchange for 2 cards of the Greater Dalmuti’s choice from their hand. The “Lessers” do the same exchange with only 1 card. Merchants may trade 1 card with permission from the Greater Dalmuti. Then play begins. The Greater Dalmuti leads in trick taking rounds. The lead player will play out any number of matching numbered cards. (for example, 4-12’s). Each player must follow with the same number of matched cards, of a lesser value (for example, player 2 could follow with 4-11’s) and so on until all players pass. The last person to play on the trick leads the next trick. The goal is to be the first to get rid of all your cards. The first person to divest themselves of cards becomes the Great Dalmuti for the next round. Play continues until all players are out of cards. The second player out becoming the Lesser Dalmuti then through Merchants if any, then the Lesser Peon and finally the last person out becomes the Greater Peon. It is suggested that the Greater Peon be the dealer, raker-in of card tricks, getter of sodas, and general butt of all Jokes. But beware, the mighty may fall easily in this game.

This game has a lot of fun trash talking, joking, and fun. We use fun hats for the various ranks to help identification. A classic that everyone should have in their game library, and keep on hand for any get-together. Easy to learn and tons of fun to play.

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October 2014 Minutes

  1. Call to Order - thanks to Jim for arranging the meeting space at ARC
  2. Minutes from last meeting: Moved to bypass reading
  3. Treasurer's Report Read More »
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Game Review: Love Letter

LoveLetter_lgLove Letter
Alderac Entertainment Group, 2012

Love Letter is a simple, quick, fun game. You are an eligible suitor, trying to get your love letter to the princess. In order to do this, you must end the game round with the courtier card with the closest number to the Princess, your card represents the courtier to whom you have given your letter. There are 8 courtier positions: Guard (1), Priest (2), Baron (3), Handmaid (4), Prince (5), King (6), Countess (7) and the Princess herself (8).  You begin with one card. On your turn you draw a card and play a card. Each courtier has a special power that you can use to guess other people’s cards and put them out of the round, discard their card, making them draw a new one, or looking at their cards. Through these means, you try to keep in your hand a high numbered card, survive to the end of the round, or knock other suitors out of the running.

The game is simple because all you have to do is draw and play, but deceptively difficult because of the cutthroat nature of the scramble to be nearest to the Princess. With only 16 cards, and a few wooden blocks, you wouldn’t think that there would be this much to this game. There Is a lot of luck involved, but an alert, focused player can really do well. A good poker face and a bit of deception can go far as well. All in all, a nice little fun game. Great for when you have a few minutes and 2-3 friends.

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Game Review: King’s Forge

KingsForgeKing’s Forge
Game Salute, 2014

So last time I wrote about my legendary terrible dice rolling, so you would think that this game would not be for me. The game comes with 91 dice! Toy value: awesome. It also comes with a nice plastic anvil first player token.

But, strangely, these dice seem to like me better, and I really like this game. The premise: Crafters wanted! The king was forced to behead his King’s Forge (blacksmith) due to the crafter’s annoying affinity for flatulence puns. (Not kidding). So now the position is open, and you are competing for the position. The first person to craft the required items (number varies on number of players), will win the coveted title.

This is a dice-pool-building game. You start out with a pool of 5 metal (black) dice. Each round is played in 3 phases: The Gathering phase, the crafting phase, and the clean up phase. During the gathering phase, you use your dice to purchase other dice, die roll bumps and other such game play events. Then you take the remainder of your dice, during the crafting phase, roll them, and use those dice to purchase the items you need to win the game. During the clean up phase, you return all the dice to your pool, add in the dice that you purchased during the gathering phase, the first player token moves to the next player, and you start over again. Pretty simple, but the game has a good amount of strategy.

Depending on the number of players, you will have a different about of Gathering cards available for purchase, and each card has 2 distinct options to choose from. There are more gathering cards and craft cards than you use in a single game, which gives the game lots of options for good re-playability. However not all cards are balanced, and as we found out in our first game, the wrong distribution of those cards can make for a frustrating game. (Bad? Maybe not. More challenging? Definitely) We had an abundance of craft cards that needed blue dice, but no gathering cards that produced blue dice. There is a balancing aspect though. There are 4 “docks” tiles. They allow you to “kill” dice (return them to the main supply) in order to gain a benefit. This is costly because it removes dice from your supply and you don’t get them back. We used the dock tile that supplies blue dice a lot. You “kill” any 4 dice to get one blue dice. Two people per round can use this phase, but the 2nd player has to “kill” any 5 dice. We had to have blue dice, though, so this gave an interesting dynamic to the game play.

I like this game. It’s got nice art, decent gameplay, and did I mention that you get 91 dice? And a cool plastic Anvil? It plays nicely to the theme and I can’t wait to play it again. The game is currently listed as $40 and there is an option to buy an “unnecessary, but totally cool game board” for another $10. Check it out on BGG as well, there are some variants and a solo game option. The game is just out, and already people are asking for expansions! Recommended!

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