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Tichu» Forums » General

Subject: History of Tichu rss

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Is tichu a recent game or something that has been around for a long time (decands or centuries?).

The last printing says something about 600+ Million chinese playing it but I work with a lot fo chinese americans and none of them ever heard of it.
 
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James Fehr
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I wondered the same thing.

See this thread: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/294311
 
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Geeky McGeekface
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Tichu was derived from a Chinese game that has been around for at least 30 years and possibly much more than that. But I haven't been able to find any source that estimates how old it might be.

The source game is called Zheng Shangyou, which can be translated as "struggling upstream". The Western world was made aware of it in 1979, during a visit to China by some British Go players. Zheng Shangyou is a climbing game, so players must play a card combination of the same type as the leader, but higher ranked. However, points aren't scored by winning cards, but only for going out first. It can be played solo or with partners. There are a number of other differences, but it would certainly be recognizable to any Tichu player.

There is a related Chinese game called Zheng Fen, which has point scoring cards identical to Tichu's. Interestingly, the types of card combinations that can be made in this game seem very similar to the ones in the commercial game Gang of Four (which has yet another way of scoring points, namely the number of cards left in your hand).

As far as I can tell, Tichu designer Urs Hostettler took a number of concepts from several Chinese games and possibly added a few of his own to come up with Tichu. So he deserves credit for creating the game that we know and love. But the games it was derived from have been played for quite a while--I just don't know how far back they go.
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Fraser
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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Ooh a little higher, now a bit to the left, a little more, a little more, just a bit more. Oooh yes, that's the spot!
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I heard that the Pirates involved in the Cartagena prison break used to play it all the time ninja
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Are Zheng Shangyou or Zheng Fen the same as Big Two?

My asian friends were familiar with Big Two - Tichu was quite easy for them to learn as a result.
 
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Jonathan Kandell
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Zhen Shangyou seems to be the origin of all the climbing games, including Big Two and Tichu. Big Two seems to be considered "lighter" and "more accessable" to real card fiends; they prefer Tichu. Tichu has more in common with Zhen Fen, in the tricks and card scoring.
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David F
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Concepts like the climbing cards and the bomb are definitely derived from Zheng Shang You. The 4 special cards replace the 4 jokers in the Chinese game (in the Chinese game, the 4 jokers all play a role similar to the Dragon). There are close to infinite card games in China, because each different region (or even village!) has its own variants, its own games, and refers to them by different titles. I am more familiar with northern Chinese card games. The 5-10-K scoring system is present in many different Chinese card games, and almost always in any Chinese card game that involves scoring (most Chinese card games just have the winner go out first).

The concept of 2v2 is much rarer in Chinese card games, however.
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