Dahimi is a fast, simple party game that can be as easy as you want it to be after you learn a few simple rules. All you need is one or more decks of cards.
Dahimi can be played by any number of people. People may join or leave the game at any time without creating any problems. It works best with at least 5 players but can be played with as few as 3, and we have played with as many as 13. The game lasts as long as people want to keep playing. There is nothing to write down, and you don't have to keep track of what has been played if you don't want to. Each round takes only a few minutes, and you spend little or no time waiting for other players to think. No matter how well you are doing, you may do better or worse in the next round, and how well you did in the past doesn't matter. Although these rules may seem long, actual play is very simple and fast.
The object is to get rid of all your cards as quickly as possible in each round, thereby improving your rank in the next round.
One or more decks of 52 cards (no jokers). Ideally you want each player to start with between about 8 and 16 cards, so you may want to add more decks for large groups, or remove some cards for very small groups.
These rules are alleged to arise from the game's Asian origin:
Dealing and all play proceed counter-clockwise.
The ranking of the cards is as usual except that the deuce (2) is the highest-ranking card instead of the lowest. So, the ranking is deuce (highest), A, K, Q, J, 10, and so on down to 3 (lowest). For small groups, you may want to use one deck with all the threes removed, or even the fours or more cards removed.
The first round:
Someone serves as dealer for the first round, shuffles, and deals out all the cards being used, counter-clockwise, starting with the player on the dealer's right. (Some players may get one more card than other players.) The player on the dealer's right then starts the play.
Starting the play:
The player who starts chooses one or more cards from his or her hand, from the following list of legal plays, and places them face up in the middle of the table.
- any one card
- any set of cards of the same rank: a pair, 3 or 4 of a kind; or more, if more than one deck is in use
- a run: 3 or more cards of consecutive rank in the same suit
Continuing the play:
Play then proceeds counter-clockwise. Each player may play or pass. A player may always pass, even if he or she could have played. To play, a player chooses one or more cards from his or her hand and places them face up in the middle of the table. The play must follow the pattern established by the player who started the play (must be the same type of legal play), and must be of strictly higher rank than the previous play. For example, if the play began with one card, each play after that must be one card and must be of a higher rank than the last card played. If the play began with a pair, each play after that must be a pair of a higher rank than the last pair played, and so on.
If the play began with a run, each play after that must be a run of the same length, all in the same suit (any one suit, not necessarily the same suit as the previous play). All cards in the run must be higher-ranking cards than any card played so far. For example, if play began with a run of 4 diamonds, 6-7-8-9, the next play could be a run of 4 clubs, at least as high-ranking as 10-J-Q-K. 9-10-J-Q is not high enough because it overlaps the ranks of the previously-played run, which had 9 as the highest-ranking card.
Ending the play:
Play ends when one of two things happens: Either everybody passes, bringing the play back to the player who most recently played; or somebody makes a play that can not be topped. (No player can ever play on his own previous play unless someone else has played in between.) For example, if the current pattern is one card and somebody plays a 2, play ends because there is no higher-ranking card.
All the cards just played are now placed face down in a discard pile for the rest of the round.
Starting the next play:
The last person to play starts the next play. He or she may make any of the legal plays listed above, establishing the pattern for the next set of plays.
- When a player plays the last card in his or her hand, he or she has gone out. Play continues around the table as usual until everyone passes or someone makes a play that can not be topped, except that players who have gone out are simply skipped while the others continue to play.
- If a player ends the play by playing his or her last card, such as by playing a 2, that player can not start the next play (having no more cards), so the next player to the right who has not yet gone out starts the next play (gets a free lead).
- Play continues as usual until everyone goes out.
- The first player to go out is given the rank 1, the next 2, and so on, until the last player has gone out and all the players have a rank.
All subsequent rounds:
After the first round, play is the same except for these additional rules:
The player who went out first (rank 1) is the Great Dahimi for the next round. He or she may sit at any seat at the table. The player with rank 2 must move to the seat immediately to the right of the Great Dahimi, and so on, so that the lowest-ranking player (known as the peon) sits just to the left of the Great Dahimi.
The peon shuffles, deals, and collects the garbage (sweeps all cards into the discard pile after each play ends).
After the deal but before play starts, the peon must take his or her two highest-ranking cards and place them on the table, face down, for the Great Dahimi. Rank is the only consideration. For example, if the peon has a deuce and a pair of aces, the peon must give away the deuce and one of the aces, even though a pair of aces might seem more valuable. In return, the Great Dahimi takes any two cards he or she wishes from his or her hand and places them face down on the table for the peon. Both players must choose the cards they are giving away before looking at the cards they will pick up.
The player with rank 2 (the second Dahimi) and the next-to-lowest-ranking player (the second peon) perform an exchange with exactly the same rules, except that each gives away only one card instead of two.
- After all exchanges are complete, the Great Dahimi makes the first play of the round.
The Great Dahimi may ask the peon for favors, such as bringing a glass of water. However, the peon may refuse. Players should not get carried away with requests or refusals, since people will usually move up or down with each round and will remember how they were treated. People have been known to move from first to last or last to first in a single round.
Ending the game:
Play continues until no one wants to play any more.
Copyright © 2006-2016 Alan Winson. All rights reserved.