OBJECT OF DAI FUGŌ: The object of Dai Fugō is to be the first player to empty their hand of all cards. 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 to 6 players

MATERIALS: A standard 52-card deck plus one joker, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Climbing Card Game



Dai Fugō is a climbing game for 3 to 6 players. The goal of the game is to be the first player to empty their hand of all cards. Players do this by playing out combinations of cards. This game is usually played over several games, traditionally no score is kept but it can be played with a cumulative score to find an overall winner. 


The first dealer is chosen at random and in future games is the loser of the last game. The deck is shuffled, and cards are dealt, clockwise, one at a time as evenly as possible to all players. Some players will have more cards than others. 

In the second game and forward players will exchange cards based on who won the previous game. The Dai Hinmin (explained in Scoring) gives their highest-ranked card to the Dai Fugō, and the Dai Fugō gives the Dai Hinmin and two cards they wish. The Hinmin gives their highest-ranked card to the Fugō, and the Fugō gives them back any one card they wish. 

Cards Ranking and Values

The cards are ranked from the highest Joker, followed by 2, Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3, the lowest. 

During the game, the Joker can be used as a wild card in some sequences. When it is used this way, its rank becomes equal to that rank of the card it is being used for. For example, if a player is making a sequence using 7, Joker, 9 of hearts, this joker is equal in rank to the 8 of hearts. This also means that a sequence of 7,8, and 9 of spades is equal in rank sequence. 


For the first game, the first player is chosen at random, for future games the loser of the last game is the first player. Play passes from them clockwise. 

On a player’s turn to lead they may play any valid combination or a single card. Players who follow may pass or play. If they choose to play, they must play the same combination as the leading player but of a higher rank. Play passes around the table until a combination is played that cannot or players choose not to beat. If you passed on a previous turn you may still play a valid combination when it is your turn again. Once an unbeaten combination has been played that player takes the played cards and places them in a facedown pile near them. They will lead the next trick. 

There are 5 types of plays that can be made to lead a trick. A single card, a pair, a three of a kind, a four of a kind, and a sequence. 

When playing a single card any card can be led. Any card of a higher rank of the card led can beat it. 

A pair is two cards matching in rank. A higher ranked pair will beat a lower one.

Three of a kind involves three of the same rank of card. A higher ranked three of a kind beats a lower one.

A four of a kind involves 4 cards of the same rank. A higher four of a kind beats a lower one.

A sequence involves three or more consecutive cards of the same suit. A sequence is beaten by a higher-ranked sequence with the same number of cards. 

The goal of the game is to empty your hand first. Once a player empties their hand the remaining players keep playing till one remains. If a player runs out of cards during a trick, other players still get to attempt to beat it. If a player who runs out of cards wins a trick the player to their left will lead the next one. 


There is the option of keeping score but traditionally each game is stand-alone and each player ranked on their order of completion. With 5 plus players, the first player to run out of cards is the Dai Fugō, the next player is the Fugō. The second to last player to empty their hand is the Hinmin and the last player is the Dai Hinmin. With only 3 or 4 players the first player is the Fugō and the last player is the Hinmin. 

If keeping score the Dai Fugō gets 2 points and the Fugō one point. 


The game ends once all players empty their hands of cards. These players are ranked as above but the first to empty their hand is the winner of the game. Several games can be played in sequence, and a score kept, to find the winner. The number of games played should be discussed before the first game begins if a score is going to be kept. Otherwise, players can continue to play until they wish to stop.

Amber Crook
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