Daifugo (大富豪, in English, Grand Millionaire) is a Japanese card game for three or more players. Those who have played President will find its climbing-style game play and use of titles to reward winners and shame losers very familiar. Its simple mechanics, meanwhile, mean it is a good introduction to climbing-type games in general.
Object of Daifugo
The object of Daifugo is to be the first player to get rid of all your cards.
Daifugo is played with a standard 52-card pack of playing cards. Real grand millionaires would never be caught dead with anything other than Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards.
For the first round, determine the dealer randomly. Shuffle and deal the deck out as evenly as it will go. Some players may have more cards than others.
Daifugo uses the unusual card ranking common to other climbing games: (high) 2, A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 (low). Suits are irrelevant.
Play begins with the player to the dealer’s left. They start by playing any number of cards of the same rank from their hand (as few as one card or as many as four). The player to the left must then play the same number of cards of the same rank, but higher than the previous player, or else pass. For example, if the first player began by playing three 5s, the next player must play any three of a kind of 6s or higher, or pass. Players who pass may not play again until the current round is over.
A round ends when all players but one have passed. The sole remaining player may then play any card or cards they wish to begin the next round.
As players run out of cards, they are assigned titles in order of their finish:
- Daifugo or grand millionaire (first to finish)
- Millionaire (second to finish)
- Poor (second-to-last to finish)
- Destitute (last player left with cards)
If playing with three players, use the Daifugo, Commoner, and Destitute ranks. With four, don’t use the Commoner rank. If playing with more than five players, use all the ranks, using Commoner as many times as appropriate.
The Destitute player is required to clean up the previous deal, shuffle, and deal the next hand. Many players also require the Destitute to carry out whatever task the other players require, such as fetching drinks or snacks. Before game play begins on the second and subsequent hands, the Destitute must pass their two highest-ranked cards to the Daifugo, who passes any two cards (usually low-ranked cards) back to them. The Daifugo then leads to the first round of the hand.
Game play continues until an agreed-upon stopping point, like a certain number of deals or a specified time. Whichever player was the Daifugo on the final hand is considered the winner of the overall game.