The Great Dalmuti is one of those card games with an interesting publication history. It originally came out in 1995 and was designed by a chap called Richard Garfield, who is better known for more commercially successful card games such as Magic The Gathering and Keyforge. It’s a fairly simply trick-taking & shedding game and it’s had various permutations over its 25-year history.
This new edition replaces the traditional archbishops and jesters with creatures from the world of Dungeons and Dragons. You don’t need to know anything about D&D to play this game; it’s just an excuse to fill the cards with gorgeous Harry Conway art. It’s perhaps a credit to how popular Dungeons and Dragons is right now that they’ve decided to release this as something D&D adjacent.
The game itself is fairly straight-forward. They are 80 cards, ranked one to twelve. Each has a style, so for example nine is an apothecary, twelve is a ratcatcher etc. The names aren’t needed but it’s fun and the names give you an idea how low value each card is. The aim of the game is to get rid of your cards. The first player plays a cards into the table, all of the same rank. Everyone else Each must now either play the same number of cards of a better rank, or pass. The winner gets crowned The Great Dalmuti and then you go another round. (Usually equal to the number of people playing). They are some variants to keep the game interesting, but that’s pretty much the basics.
And yes, if the mechanics sound familiar that’s because it is; the shell that the game is based on is a pretty traditional card game, some of which crown the winner with a less complimentary name.
The big idea behind The Great Dalmuti is that it streamlines a fairly simple game, throws in some fun little rules such as Jester cards and shakedowns and looks very nice. These are high quality cards with some very nice art. The Great Dalmuti is a fun ‘starter’ or ‘appetiser’ game to play before you start an evenings gaming. Totally worth having a pack to hand in case you need to kill some time.