To obtain more points than your opponent.
By the end of a round, having more cards than your opponent counts as 4 points towards your score.
Having the 2 of clubs and each ace count as one point each. Having the 10 of diamonds counts as two points towards your score.
Having a xeri counts as 10 points towards your score. A xeri is described later.
The dealer deals each player 6 cards to start and places 4 cards on the board. The non-dealer player goes first.
Players alternate turns. Each turn involves choosing a card from your hand and doing either a drop, take, or a join with it and with cards on the board. When each player has used all of their cards in their hand, the dealer deals a new set of 6 cards to each player and game play resumes. This occurs until all of the cards in the deck are gone. This indicates the end of the round and the score is tallied.
A drop simply means to place a card in your hand on the board. A player would generally do this when he cannot (or does not want to) take or join cards on the board.
There are restrictions to when you can and cannot drop cards, in particular, when you have a joined set of cards on the board. This will be described below.
A take involves taking cards from the board with the card in your hand. You can take cards on the board that add up to the value of the card in your hand. For instance, you may take the 7 of clubs on the board with the 7 of diamonds in your hand. Or, you can take the two of clubs (a point card!) and the 3 of hearts with the five of spaces in your hand.
You may even take multiples of the same value with one card from your hand. For example, you may take the ace of clubs (a point card!), the 4 of hearts, the five of diamonds, and the five of spades with the five of hearts in your hand. Or, you may only take the ace of clubs (a point card!), the 4 of hearts, and the five of diamonds with the ten of diamonds (a card worth two points!) from your hand, leaving the five of spades on the board.
Face cards (jacks, queens, and kings) are special in that they do not have a numerical value. Therefore, you can only take one face card with the same type of face card from your hand.
A join involves combining one, some, or all cards on the board with a card in your hand such that it can only be taken by a card that you must have in your hand in your next turn. For instance, there's a two of clubs (a point card!) and a four of spades on the board, and you have an ace of spaces (a point card!) and a seven of diamonds in your hand. You can use the ace of spaces in your hand to join it with the two of clubs and the four of spaces on the board to form a 7-join. As a result, if your opponent has an ace, he can't take the ace on the board because it's included in the 7-join. Similarly, if he has a 3, he cannot take the ace and the two on the board because they are joined with the 4 as a 7-join. However, if he has a seven, then he can take it. Joins can be taken by a card of equal value by either opponent.
A join is shown in the game by stacking the joined cards as a column with a number on the top with a circle around it. A red background within the circle indicates that this is your join. A yellow circle indicates that it is your opponent's join.
You cannot drop cards while you have a join on the board. This is the restriction mentioned earlier. However, you can still take other cards on the board, or build on joins in special ways (described below).
Opponents can build on your join to make higher-valued joins to claim ownership of the new join. In the previous example, you have a 7-join on the board. If your opponent has a two of diamonds and a nine of hearts, he can join his 2 with the 7-join to make it a 9-join, and he claims ownership of the joined cards. That is, your obligation to the 7-join is gone. Now, you can drop a card, take other cards on the board, take the 9-join if you have a nine in your hand, or build a 10-join if you have an ace and a 10 in your hand.
You cannot build a higher-value join on your joined set. You can only do this on your opponent's joined set. However, you can build multiples of your or your opponent's joined set called a soy, which is described below.
Face cards cannot be joined in any way. Nor can they be used to take joined sets.
There's a special kind of join called a soy where there are enough cards in a joined set to represent a multiple of the declared join value. Soys are shown in this game by underlining the number within the circle on top of the joined card column.
Soys are special in that players cannot change the value of the soy. That is, soys are locked in to that join value, and cannot be changed while the soy is on the board. If cards are added to the soy by either opponent, it must preserve the value of the soy. For example, if there's a 6-soy and a four of spades on the board, and you have a two of diamonds and a 6 of clubs in your hand, you can join the 6-soy with the four and the two to build a larger 6-soy.
A soy is a particular kind of join. Therefore, the player who "owns" a soy on the board is under the same obligations for a join outlined above.
A user can only have at most one join or soy on the board. However, you can keep building upon a soy as long as you have the card to take the soy in your hand.
When adding cards to your join to make it a soy, it must preserve the original join value. That is, you cannot build upon a 4-join with an ace on the board and a 5 in your hand to make a 5-soy. However, you can build upon a 4-join with an ace on the board and a 3 in your hand to make a 4-soy.
When a player takes all of the cards from the board, it is called a xeri (pronounced kse-ri') and that is worth 10 points. Therefore, the general strategy to diloti is to take as many point cards as possible without allowing your opponent to get a xeri.