The Games Journal | A Magazine About Boardgames

His Eyes Opened!

Dia de los Muertos 1.0 Solution

In this game South is playing the final hand of a 3 player game with his partner dummy, North. South knows that West has a black "10" and East has a pink "8" and a green "8". (The cards marked "E or W" are the other cards in East & West's hands. South knows this but not who holds what.) The real problem is that it is a tied game, and the team that takes the last "2" card will win.


The answer we were looking for is "South leads the Pink 7".

Winning the hand requires you to realize that East's card are completely worthless, as either North or South will always be able to block both pink and green. So the only card East would ever be able to play is the 2—if he should have it.

Problem is, if South leads the 1C, West can overtake with one of the green cards. (And if North calls the color as green, West can play the 10. North's 3 will be blocked.) West also takes the first trick with a green card if South leads the 3.

The second key to solving this is realizing that if East has the 2, it will fall on the first trick. So the second and third tricks can be planned with West having a 2 and the 10 or a green card.

Likely the best full description of the tree came from Clayton Colwell:

South must start by leading the Pink 7.

If East has the Black 2, then West has two choices:

  • If he plays Black 10, then North plays Green 3, forcing East to play the Black 2. North's 3 is used to remove West's 10, and N-S win.
  • If he plays either the Green 5 or 7, then East is again forced to play the Black 2, and South's 7 wins, again N-S win.

If East does not have the Black 2, then West has the Black 2 and a Green card (number is immaterial).

  • If West plays Black 2, then North plays Green 3 or Black 1(Green); East must discard, and N-S win.
  • If West plays Black 10, then North plays Green 3 and East must discard. North's 3 is used to remove West's 10, and South leads again, this time playing the Black 1(Green); West is forced to play the Black 2, and North's Pink 5 will win the trick and the game.
  • If West plays a Green card, North plays Black 1(Black), and East must discard. The Pink 7 will beat the Green 5 or 7 that West can play, and so South leads again, this time playing the Red 3. No matter what West plays, North plays the Green 3 and again East must discard. If West had played the Black 2, then N-S win. If he'd played the Black 10, then either of N-S's 3s is used to remove West's 10, letting South lead his last card, which must be Black 1(Green), followed by West's Black 2, North's Pink 5, and East's 3rd discard; North's 5 wins trick-and-game.

Congratulations to the winner Pete Staab who will be receiving a copy of the game shortly.

- Frank Branham

(Frank Branham is the designer of Dia de los Muertos and also the publisher of The Games Journal. You can find out more about his game at

Horizontal line

About | Link to Archives | Links | Search | Contributors | Home

All content © 2000-2006 the respective authors or The Games Journal unless otherwise noted.