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The Great Dalmuti “One day I will ride a horse like that,”said the child to the woman as theywatched the noble procession pass.“Yes dearie.”“And I will have a palace, and lots of cake.”“Maybe,” she said,remembering the marble-linedhalls of her youth.“But today let’s just try to finishplanting to the stream.”THE ONLY PLACE THAT PEASANT AND PRINCESSCHANGE PLACES FASTER THAN IN A FAIRY TALE!

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE GAMEWhen I was in graduate school, I was introduced to afascinating card game by a friend (who I called “DoctorChocolate,” but that’s another story). I had never seena game like it before; it rewarded the player in the leadand penalized the player who was falling behind. Thegame was played for no other purpose than to play. Therewas no winner or loser at the end; there was only thelongest-lasting “Dalmuti” and the “peon,” the playermost talented at groveling.Later my friends and I introduced scoring to the gameand started playing it to get a winner. It was fun. I playedit with my bridge club. It was fun. I played it with myfolks. It was fun. I played it with gamers, nongamers,young people, old people, all kinds of people . . . and itwas always fun. Curiously, this game was fun no matterwho was playing. And the most curious thing of all wasthat no matter who I played it with, once we startedplaying we couldn’t stop.Intrigued by this game’s wide appeal, I tried to trace itsorigin. I couldn’t find it mentioned in any Hoyle, but Ikept running into groups of players who played theirown versions of the game. It went by different names in

different locations: “Super 2 Peasant” in Japan, “RichMan–Poor Man” in Alaska, “Scum” in Utah, amongothers. My hottest lead was a gambling game that wasplayed in Chinatown in New York City. Though I couldn’ttrack down its name, I learned that it had been aroundfor a long time, and it had qualities that would seem tomake it a parent to all these other games.Years later I found an amazing book that I recommendto anyone interested in games: A History of Card Games,by David Parlett. Parlett suggests that the commonancestor of these Dalmuti-like games is a Chinese game,“Zheng Shàng Yóu,” which literally means “ClimbingUp.” Parlett’s book also makes reference to a Japanesegame called “Dai Hin Min,” or “A Very Poor Man.” Thismeaning is ironic since I believe “Dai Hin Min” to be theorigin of the word “Dalmuti,” which means somethingquite different in our game!If you’ve enjoyed The Great Dalmuti and don’t usuallyplay regular card games, give them a try. For me thereare more hours of amusement in a single deck of cardsthan in all the world’s movies combined. And I love themovies.—Richard GarfieldThe Great Dalmuti game designer2

IntroductionThe Great Dalmuti card game is easy to learn andquick to play. It’s best with five to eight players,though you can play with four people and with nineor more. The faster you get rid of your cards, thehigher your social class will be in the followinghand. Since your social class is indicated by yourseating, each hand ends with players changing seatsto reflect the new social order. The Great Dalmuticard game is fun for just about anyone over eightyears old.Game ComponentsOne deck of 80 cardsOne rulebookThe DeckThe number on a card is called its rank. The lower therank, the better the card (see chart). For example, theBaroness (4) is better than the Abbess (5). A card’srank also tells you how many cards of its type are in thedeck. The only exceptions are the two Jesters, which are3

a type of wild card. A Jester played alone counts as a cardwith rank 13—worse than even the Peasants (12)—butwhen played along with one or more other cards, Jesterstake on the rank of the other cards.CARD RANKSJester stress13121110987KnightAbbessBaronessEarl MarshalArchbishopThe Great Dalmuti654321Object of the GameIn each hand of The Great Dalmuti card game, theobject is to get rid of your cards as soon as you can. Thefaster you get rid of your cards, the higher your socialclass will be in the following hand.SetupShuffle and fan the deck, and let each player draw andreveal a card. Players arrange their seating to reflecttheir cards’ ranks: The person with the best card is4

called the Greater Dalmuti and takes the seat of his orher choice. The person who drew the second-best card,who is called the Lesser Dalmuti, sits to that person’sleft, and so forth around the playing area. The playerwith the worst card is the Greater Peon. The person tohis or her right is the Lesser Peon. All other players arevarying classes of Merchants. Remember, the lower therank, the better the card; treat the Jesters as the worstcards possible. Break ties by drawing additional cards.The DealThe Greater Peon is responsible for collecting,shuffling, and dealing the cards. He or she deals outthe entire deck each hand, starting with the GreaterDalmuti and giving one card to each player in clockwiseorder until the deck runs out. Some players mayget more cards than others—after all, life isn’t fair!Players may look at their hands while the cards arestill being dealt.TaxationBefore play begins, the Peons must pay taxes. The5

Greater Peon chooses his or her two best cards to giveto the Greater Dalmuti, and in exchange the GreaterDalmuti chooses any two of his or her own cards togive to the Greater Peon. (Again, the lower the rank, thebetter the card, with the Jesters considered the worstcards.) The Lesser Peon and Lesser Dalmuti do thesame but with one card rather than two. All exchangeshappen at the same time.RevolutionIf any player is dealt both Jesters, he or she may call arevolution. A revolution means there is no taxation, tothe disappointment of the Dalmutis and the delight ofthe Peons. If the Greater Peon declares a revolution, it’scalled a greater revolution. In a greater revolution all6

players exchange seats with their opposites. That is, theGreater Peon becomes the Greater Dalmuti, the LesserPeon becomes the Lesser Dalmuti, and so forth.The PlayEach hand starts when the player who has the leadplays a set of cards of the same rank face up. A set issimply one or more cards. The Greater Dalmuti has thelead in the first hand, and then play proceeds clockwise. On his or her turn, each player can either play aset of the same number of cards of better rank or pass.(Remember, the lower the rank, the better the card.)A player who chooses to pass may still play later in thehand, when it’s his or her turn again. Play continuesclockwise until everyone passes in a row. This ends thehand, and the Greater Peon collects the played cardsand puts them aside. The player who made the last playthen gets the lead for the next hand.Going OutA player who has played his or her last card is said tohave gone out. The first player who goes out wins the7

hand and becomes the Greater Dalmuti for the nexthand. The second person to go out becomes the LesserDalmuti and sits to the left of the Greater Dalmuti, andso on around the playing area.After a player goes out, play continues clockwise asusual. If no one plays a better set, then the lead passesclockwise to the next player who still has cards.Winners and LosersEach hand of The Great Dalmuti card game is playedfor its own sake: Becoming the Greater Dalmuti iswinning and becoming the Greater Peon is losing, andall the other positions are somewhere in between. Likelife, the game isn’t fair, and it’s often difficult to holdyour position, let alone move up in rank.For even more flavor, get into the roles. Merchantsmight schmooze with the upper classes while snubbingthe lower. Dalmutis might be either kind or spoiled.Peons might show deference or defiance. Just makesure you have fun!8

Joining a Game in ProgressNew players can join a game at the beginning of anyhand. Because the Peons shouldn’t be deprived of thejoy of working themselves out of the lower classes,the new player enters as a Merchant, halfway betweenthe Greater Dalmuti and the Greater Peon. If there’sa choice of positions, the Greater Dalmuti decidesthe order.The Strategy of Saving CardsMost of the time you should play your worst cards whenyou can, but don’t be afraid to pass sometimes evenwhen you can play. A savvy player in a lower positionoften won’t play a good set until several people are out,saving it until he or she can use it to try to take the lead.Saving cards until they’re the best that are left is a goodidea if you’re only trying to move up one rank or youjust want to hold onto your position.9

Optional RulesOnce you’ve got the basic game down, you might wantto try one or more of the following variations.First Deal RevolutionThe first deal automatically has a revolution, so no taxesare collected. If the Greater Peon is dealt both Jesters,he or she may still call a greater revolution as usual.Stripped Decks for Four or Five PlayersWhen playing with fewer players you may want to usea smaller deck so you have fewer cards to hold. Whenplaying with five players, strip out the Peasants soyou’re playing with a deck of sixty-eight cards. For fourplayers, strip out the Peasants and the Stonecutters tobring your deck down to fifty-seven cards.ScoringAs each player goes out, he or she gets 1 point for everyplayer still in that hand. Set a number of hands to play,and the person with the highest score at the end wins.Twenty hands is a fine number to start with.10

Philanthropic ScoringUse the scoring rules above. In addition, the GreaterDalmuti gets 1 point at the end of the hand if the GreaterPeon goes up in status, and the Lesser Dalmuti gets 1point if the Lesser Peon goes up in status.More Appropriate SeatingArrange the playing area with ranked seating. Thismeans the Greater Dalmuti gets the best or most comfortable seat; the Lesser Dalmuti gets a very nice seat;the Merchants get ordinary seats; and the Peons arestuck with the worst seats. The Greater Peon might evenhave to sit on a suitcase, a box, or the floor—if he orshe gets to sit at all!Other Status Symbols and PerksPlayers wear hats that indicate their ranks: A crownfor the Greater Dalmuti and a straw hat for the GreaterPeon, for example. Allow the Greater Dalmuti firstchoice of the snacks, with the Lesser Dalmuti gettingsecond choice, and so forth, so that the Greater Peononly gets the bubble-gum-flavored jelly beans. Use yourimagination and invent your own status symbols.11

Merchant ExchangeDuring taxation, the highest-class Merchant maychoose a card at random and exchange it with anotherMerchant of his or her choice.MisdealsIf the Greater Peon accidentally exposes a card whiledealing, the Greater Dalmuti decides whether it goes tothe intended person or to the Greater Peon. If the cardgoes to the Greater Peon, he or she must replace it withone randomly drawn from his or her hand.Questions?U.S., Canada, Asia Pacific & Latin of the Coast, Inc.P.O. Box 707Renton WA 98057-0707U.S.A.Tel: 1-800-324-6496 (within the U.S.)1-206-624-0933 (outside the U.S.)U.K., Eire & South AfricaHasbro UK Ltd.P.O. Box 43Newport, NP19 4YDUKTel: 800 22 427276Email: Other European CountriesWizards of the Coast p/a Hasbro Belgium NV/SA‘t Hofveld 6D1702 Groot-BijgaardenBELGIUMTel: custserv@hasbro.beKeep these addresses for your records.12

CreditsGame Design: Richard GarfieldDesign Contribution: Dave Howell, T. Brian Wagner, Vic Wertz, LilyGarfield, Beverly Marshall Saling, Kristin Looney, and Andy LooneyEditing: Jenny Scott and Darla KennerudArt Direction: Daniel GelonIllustration Line Art: Margaret Organ-KeanGraphic Design: Daniel Gelon, Anson Maddocks, Sandra Everingham,and Kim CasebeerTypsesetting: Monica Glasenapp-Horn and Nick IsaacProduction Management: Jane FlohrschutzBrand Management: Linda CoxThanks to all our project team members and the many others toonumerous to mention who have contributed to this product.Special thanks to Elizabeth Garfield for suggesting the project, and toall the playtesters through the years. 1995 Wizards of the Coast, Inc., P.O. Box 707, Renton WA 98057-0707, U.S.A. The GreatDalmuti, Wizards of the Coast, and their logos are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. in theU.S.A. and other countries. The Hasbro logo is a trademark of Hasbro and used withpermission. and denote U.S. trademarks. All rights reserved. MADE IN CHINA.Card illustrations by Margaret Organ-Kean.30021796000001 EN13

CARD RANKS Object of the Game In each hand of The Great Dalmuti card game, the object is to get rid of your cards as soon as you can. The faster you get rid of your cards, the higher your social class will be in the following hand. Setup Shuffle and fan the deck, and let each player draw and reveal a

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