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"there are more hours of amusement in a single deck of cards than in all the world’s movies combined" -RG

I've tagged a lot of climbing games in this post. If that brought you here, then I apologize that I'm not going to write anything useful or meaningful about those games. But I won't lecture you either. All I'm going to do is quote Richard Garfield and encourage you to play a new-to-you card game with a traditional deck of playing cards that you already own. You won't regret it.
Phelddagrif wrote:
When I was in graduate school, I was introduced to a fascinating card game by a friend (who I called “Doctor Chocolate,” but that’s another story). I had never seen a game like it before; it rewarded the player in the lead and penalized the player who was falling behind. The game was played for no other purpose than to play. There was no winner or loser at the end; there was only the longest-lasting “Dalmuti” and the “peon,” the player most talented at groveling.

Later my friends and I introduced scoring to the game and started playing it to get a winner. It was fun. I played it with my bridge club. It was fun. I played it with my folks. It was fun. I played it with gamers, nongamers, young people, old people, all kinds of people . . . and it was always fun. Curiously, this game was fun no matter who was playing. And the most curious thing of all was that no matter who I played it with, once we started playing we couldn’t stop.

Intrigued by this game’s wide appeal, I tried to trace its origin. I couldn’t find it mentioned in any Hoyle, but I kept running into groups of players who played their own versions of the game. It went by different names indifferent locations: “Super 2 Peasant” in Japan, “Rich Man–Poor Man” in Alaska, “Scum” in Utah, among others. My hottest lead was a gambling game that was played in Chinatown in New York City. Though I couldn’t track down its name, I learned that it had been around for a long time, and it had qualities that would seem to make it a parent to all these other games.

Years later I found an amazing book that I recommend to anyone interested in games: A History of Card Games, by David Parlett. Parlett suggests that the common ancestor of these Dalmuti-like games is a Chinese game, “Zheng Shàng Yóu,” which literally means “Climbing Up.” Parlett’s book also makes reference to a Japanese game called “Dai Hin Min,” or “A Very Poor Man.” This meaning is ironic since I believe “Dai Hin Min” to be the origin of the word “Dalmuti,” which means something quite different in our game!

If you’ve enjoyed The Great Dalmuti® and don’t usually play regular card games, give them a try. For me there are more hours of amusement in a single deck of cards than in all the world’s movies combined. And I love the movies.

—Richard Garfield
The Great Dalmuti game designer
In particular, today, you should check out the many traditional climbing games that influenced the games that were tagged in this post. This list by Shobu1701 is an excellent place to start doing that:
Chinese climbing card games
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