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Dia de los Muertos
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Dia de los Muertos

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Ages Play Time Players
0 30 minutes 3-4

Designer(s): Frank Branham

Publisher(s): Sacred Chao Games

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Product Description

The Day of the Dead Card Game. Two pairs of partners play in this brain-bending trick taking game to try and feed the hungry souls visiting the world of the living during the three days of this traditional Mexican festival. The 48 cards are illustrated with the traditional Day of the Dead engravings of J.G. Posada.

Product Information


  • 48 cards in 4 colors (black, green, pink, blue):
    • 9 Food cards (value 2, black)
    • 12 Muertos cards (value 4, 4 each in green, blue, pink)
    • 27 other cards
  • 2 overview cards
  • rules
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Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4 in 2 reviews

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Tricky trick-taking
February 08, 2001

I'm not normally a fan of trick-taking games, but Dia de los Muertos is good enough to overcome this prejudice.

Your first game or two will probably be somewhat slow and confusing as you get used to the unusual card distribution, special card abilities, unique rules, and so forth. However, as you become familiar with the gameplay, the interesting strategies which the design permits will become apparent. Trading cards with your partner and opponents requires some careful thought, but allows crucial cards to be redistributed in your favor. The inability to follow suit can be used as a weapon under the right circumstances, and the 'Ask' card can be extremely useful if handled with care.

While the game is fairly quick, it's not as light as it might appear, and can probably handle as much strategy as you and your partner care to throw at it. Indeed, I can see 'Swap conventions' and 'Ask cues' being developed between partners that are serious about the game.

Solid components, an ingenious design and a low price make this a hard game to pass up. And if I like it, imagine how you'll feel if you actually like trick-taking games....

Deductive Trick Taking at its...First?
December 29, 2000

This game is based on Mexican Day of the Dead folklore.

Four players play in partnerships. There are three rounds, and in each round you add food cards and the appropriate 'Muertos' cards (children, animals and adults).

The object is for you and your partner to score points by taking sets of food and muertos cards (thus you are feeding the dead).

The cards come in four colors, and except for black, only one color can be played in each trick. This can be helpful in forcing your opponents to dump cards at inopportune times.

There are only 32 cards to play in each round, each in easy to remember sets. Every time someone wins a trick, the discarded cards are placed face up for everyone to see. There are also opportunities to spy on your opponents' hands and swap cards with your partner. All of these elements add a great deal of logic, deduction and strategy into the mix.

We played this game about six times in one day and each game proved to be much harder as we all got the hang of keeping track of who has what. However, the more we got the hang of it, the more we wanted to keep playing.

If you like trick taking games, or deductive games such as Clue, I'd definitely give this game a shot. It's like nothing I've ever played before and it might be one of the most original games to come out this year... at least as far as the type of strategy is concerned.

Frank Branham
November 30, 2000

This is a very happy accident. The rules create a trick taking game that relies more on deduction, tactics, blocking, than on traditional card strategies. (For the curious, the rules are archived at

The idea is to capture certain cards in tricks, representing the souls returned briefly from the land of the dead, and food. This takes place over 3 hands, with a tiny total of 9 points contested during the game.

The central twist from most trick taking games is that you may play any card from your hand of a color that has NOT been played. This limits the advantage of playing last. With each hand consisting of only 32 cards, players quickly learn to make good guesses about the contents of their opponents hands. And the small number of points seems to give every card play an agonizing weight to your decision.

While the game is very much a partnership game, a 3 player variant is included.

As to the theme, I have been trying for about a year to theme a game around the Day of the Dead. My wife and I have become quite fond of the festival ever since choosing to marry on November 2nd. (In a cemetery to boot!)

There is a long folk tradition that all of the souls are free to wander the earth starting on October 31. Animals must return to Heaven at midnight on the 31st, children get to stay out until November 1, and adults stay out through November 2nd (The Day of the Dead). Families build elaborate altars of food and trinkets to remember their departed, and create many unusual pieces of folk art for the celebration. One of the highpoints is a formal picnic in the decorated cemeteries (usually strewn with marigolds) on the morning of the 2nd.

Other Resources for Dia de los Muertos:

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