In the past I have looked at quite a few different trick taking games on Geeky Hobbies. I personally don’t have strong feelings either way about the genre. The trick taking games that I have played are perfectly fine but I don’t really see why so many people love the genre. While I really haven’t played any terrible trick taking games, I also haven’t found a great one either. Today I am going to look at Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle which is basically a re-themed version of the Great Dalmuti with a couple tweaks here and there. I was intrigued to try The Great Dalmuti since it is one of the higher rated trick taking games being just outside the top 1,000 games of all time on Board Game Geek. After playing the game I have to say that I was surprisingly disappointed with the game.
How to Play Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle
Shuffle the cards and have each player randomly draw a card. Each player reveals their card and each player’s position/rank is determined by the card they draw. The player to draw the lowest valued card becomes the big boss. The player with the second lowest card becomes the little boss. The rest of the players are ranked with the player with the second highest card being the senior intern and the player with the highest card being the junior intern. Players will sit in the order that they are ranked. The deck of cards are then reshuffled and the first round is ready to be played.
Playing A Round
The junior intern deals out the entire deck of cards starting with the big boss. If any player is dealt both Dogbert cards, a corporate takeover takes place with the player that got both Dogbert cards becoming the big boss, the player to their left is the little boss, and so on.
After all of the cards are dealt out the junior intern has to give their two best cards (wilds and then the lowest number cards) to the big boss and the big boss can give any two of their cards to the junior intern. The senior intern has to give their best card to the little boss and the little boss can give any card to the senior intern.
Each round begins with the big boss playing as many cards as they want of the same number. The next player clockwise must play the same number of cards of a number lower than the previously played cards. If a player cannot play any cards, they must pass. Players continue playing sets of cards until all of the players have passed. The last player to play cards wins the trick and gets to lead the next set of cards.
The first player to play their last card becomes the big boss in the next round. The second player to go out becomes the little boss and so on until the last player with cards remaining becomes the junior intern.
My Thoughts on Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle
Being a slightly tweaked version of a game that is close to a top 1,000 board game of all time, I was expecting Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle to be a pretty good game. While it is not a terrible game, I have to say that I found it to be underwhelming. I have never been a huge fan of trick taking games but this game made me wonder why The Great Dalmuti is so loved. The game honestly just felt like another extremely generic card game.
On the positive side once you figure out the Big Boss/Little Boss/etc. rules, Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle is a really simple game to play. Basically one player plays cards of the same number and all of the other players have to play the same quantity of cards of a lower number. That is basically all there is to the game.
There is nothing particularly wrong with this mechanic since similar mechanics are used in a lot of card games but it just feels like there isn’t much to the game. While people claim there is a decent amount of strategy to the game, I don’t really see it. Outside of keeping sets of the same number together, I think it is usually pretty obvious what cards you should play at a given time. While you can ruin your chances at winning the game by making a mistake, I don’t really see players winning the game due to their strategy.
Without much strategy, the game relies quite a bit on luck. Basically when you are dealt cards you want one of two things with the cards you are dealt. Getting a lot of low cards makes it easy to win hands since it is hard for other players to play lower cards. What might be even better though is to get dealt a lot of the exact same card even if it is a higher card. This might be better since if for example you get six cards of the same number you can get rid of all six cards right away and it will be hard for other players to match so you likely will win the trick as well. The absolute worst hand to be dealt though has to be to get a lot of high number cards without getting many cards of the same number. If you are dealt these cards I can’t see you ever winning the hand.
While we are on the topic of luck I have to say that I am not a fan of the Big Boss/Little Boss/Senior Intern/Junior Intern mechanics. I can see that the mechanics are in place so players at the bottom can climb their way up to the top while the players at the top can fall to the bottom. I just don’t think the mechanic is really worth it. It adds unnecessary complexity to the game for new players. The roles also make the game even more dependent on luck. Players stuck at the bottom have a significantly smaller chance of winning the game due to the top two players getting an unfair advantage. If I ever would play this game or The Great Dalmuti I can’t see using these rules.
While I have never played The Great Dalmuti, the similarities between it and Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle are pretty obvious. The basic gameplay of both games are exactly the same. You play cards in sets trying to be the first player to get rid of all of your cards. The only two differences between the two games seem to be the number of cards in the game and the inclusion of special cards. Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle has 20 less cards than The Great Dalmuti which comes from eliminating the eleven and twelve cards from the game. This means that Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle is made to be played with a smaller group than The Great Dalmuti. The other difference is that Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle adds a couple special cards to the game that mostly just add more randomness/luck to the game. Despite having never played The Great Dalmuti I believe it is probably a better game than Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle unless you plan on playing with fewer players or really like Dilbert.
As far as the components are concerned, you basically get what you expect out of the game. You get typical playing cards with a Dilbert theme. If you like Dilbert you will probably like the cartoons on the cards but if you don’t you probably won’t. Dilbert fans will probably enjoy the components but I don’t think other people will get much out of them.
Should You Buy Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle?
While I have mostly complained about Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle, it is not a terrible game. It is just a very average card game and I have played much better card games. The game is quick and easy to play and is perfectly serviceable if you want a card game that you don’t have to put much thought into. Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle has a little strategy but relies more on the cards that are dealt to you than any choice you make in the game.
As far as a recommendation, I can only recommend Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle if you like The Great Dalmuti style trick taking games and really like Dilbert. If you don’t really care for Dilbert you might as well stick with The Great Dalmuti if you have it since I think that is probably a better game. If you don’t really care for trick taking games I don’t really see any reason to pick up Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle or The Great Dalmuti.