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.