There’s a reason we have the saying that something is “positively Medieval”. The Middle Ages were a time of artistic suppression and oppressive social hierarchy. This may have made for a terrible living situation, but it certainly provides fodder for an imaginative and inventive card game. The Great Dalmuti takes on the classism of the Middle Ages by casting characters as different members of society in an effort to rise through the ranks and be crowned the Great Dalmuti.
Play or Pass
The Great Dalmuti comes with a deck of 80 cards. Each card ranks from 1-12, with the lower the number, the better the rank. There are as many cards in each rank as the number of the rank, meaning there’s only one 1 card, there are two 2s, three 3s, and so on. The Great Dalmuti also includes two Jesters, which are the wild cards of the game that can be played with any of the other cards.
The goal of The Great Dalmuti is to be the first person to get rid of all the cards in your hand. You’ll play the cards in sets of the same rank, starting with the leader. The next player must play the exact same number of cards from a lower rank. This means if the first player sets down three 8s, then the next player must set down three cards ranked 7 or below.
If you can’t set down any cards, then you can pass. Once all of the players have passed and no one can lay down any more cards, the next round begins. The last person to lay down cards from the previous round becomes the next round’s leader. This is a major advantage, as you get to set the pace for the rest of the round.
Becoming the Great Dalmuti
Whoever becomes the first person to successfully lay down all of their cards gets crowned the Great Dalmuti. Being crowned the Great Dalmuti is an excellent honor, as you get to lead the next hand. But the rest of the players each have their own roles as well, dictated by where they sit in relation to the Great Dalmuti.
The player to their left is known as the Lesser Dalmuti, while the last person to play is known as the Greater Peon. The second to last player is called the Lesser Peon, and everyone in the middle is a simple merchant. The ranking system is not only symbolic of the classism in the Middle Ages but also has actual implications for the game. Both Peons are “taxed” at the beginning of each hand, being forced to cough up one or two of their lowest ranking cards to exchange with the two Dalmutis for cards from their hand.
However, there is a chance for social justice. If one player gets dealt both Jesters, they can call a revolution and suspend the taxes for the turn. If the Greater Peon gets both Jesters, they can call for a Greater Revolution and swap roles with the Dalmutis. This adds a fun element of chaos to the game that can upend your strategy and reverse the luck just when you need it the most.
The Great Dalmuti Spinoff
The Great Dalmuti has a spinoff version of the game titled Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle, a card game that features beloved cartoon character Dilbert as he tries to climb his way up the corporate ladder. This spinoff to The Great Dalmuti adds a few new cards and rules while featuring unique Dilbert comics that add to the aesthetic and humor of the game.
The Great Dalmuti: A Medieval Card Game with Modern Day Fun
The Great Dalmuti is playable by 4-8 players, although it’s generally best as a party game with at least 6 players. It’s also suitable for ages 8 and up, so it’s great for kids’ parties as well as adults. Playing time lasts around 60 minutes, although you can pretty much play however many rounds you like.
The Great Dalmuti stands out with gorgeously illustrated cards and fast-paced gameplay mechanics. Take a trip to the Middle Ages and enjoy the beautiful illustrations of The Great Dalmuti! Buy it today!