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The Great Dalmuti
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The Great Dalmuti

second edition

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Product Awards:  
Mensa Best Mind Game Award
Best Mind Game, 1995

Ages Play Time Players
8+ 15 minutes 4-8

Designer(s): Richard Garfield

Publisher(s): Wizards of the Coast

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Product Description

Life isn't fair... and neither is The Great Dalmuti! One round you're at the top of the heap, and the next you're peasant scum in this fast-paced card game of medieval one-upmanship. The players take their places in the pecking order, from Greater Peon to Greater Dalmuti, and try to get rid of the cards in their hands. Next round, everyone's roles could change because the faster you get rid of your cards, the higher you'll go. If you're unseated, you're really unseated: everyone moves around the table each round to take up their new positions. But don't get comfortable in the cushy chair of the Greater Dalmuti, because in a single hand even the lowliest Peon can boot you out the door. Sound unfair? Sure it is! But ah, the sweet taste of victory could make it all worthwhile....

Product Awards

Mensa Best Mind Game Award
Best Mind Game, 1995

Product Information


  • 80 cards
  • rulebook
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Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.3 in 35 reviews

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So much fun
January 14, 2011

Been playing this game for years, and still fun. We just bought a new deck as ours was so worn out from years of use.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
One of the reasons I game
May 16, 2006

My biggest problem with this game is finding people and situations to play with. Through high school and college it was easy, but now everyone seems less interested in games. But whenever I wheedle people into sitting down, they always bang down my door for when we're going to get together and do it again.

I, like them, didn't know what I was missing until my friends in high school got me playing. From there we took on more and more games but this one is the one that made it through the whole process and remains an active part of my collection.

It is based on games like Big 2 and Star Wars, which you may never have heard of, or a drinking game you probably have. Whoever starts the round sets the size of the trick at singletons, doubletons, and so forth. The rest of the round you can only play that sized trick, until no one more can play. You play lower and lower numbered tricks until everyone passes (voluntarily or involuntarily). The goal is to get rid of all your cards.

The best twist is that the winners are rewarded and the losers are penalized, going into the next round. Those at the bottom have to give their best cards to those at the top, while getting garbage in return. This unusual tactic, to try to keep people at their relative station, is wonderful.

So - you may be asking, why buy this when I can do it with a deck of cards? The twist Wizards provides is that there is 1 one, 2 twos, up to 12 twelves. This balances out the deck, while the 1 is the best card, a hand of 7 twelves is just as strong (although you have to have the lead to play it). Plus the 80 card deck lets you play with more people, without overweighting the best cards.

The strategy of trying to get rid of your cards without leaving yourself helpless (by having all high cards or just a single or pair, while everyone leads three of a kind just to laugh at you and you end up in last) is deep and inexhaustible. Add to that making fun of the misfortune of the peons, as they play last and lose their best cards, along with any extra rules the "Dalmuti" at the top wants to make (such as clapping for every play one player makes, or referring to each other as Mr. and Mrs. Biggles. While seeminly childish, matching rules to each person's sense of humor and particular acting skills can make for a great social occasion), and you're in for a fun evening.

By the way, making a "Dalmuti throne" or having a "Dalmuti robe" really motivates everyone to fight their way to the top.

Search for "Big 2" card game (ignore poker results) if you want a 52-card taste, and then trust me, it's better with the Dalmuti deck.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
My best memories stem from this game
April 15, 2006

It is kind of like the card game president, but much better. I remember when I was younger my family and I would play this for hours after dinner, or waiting for dinner, or chance we had. It is a great family game because younger children can play it...

I absolutely love it.

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