James Fehr
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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It may sound strange to play a 4-player partnership game like Tichu with 5 players, but this has now turned into a strong family tradition. I always play with my sister-in-law Rochelle as my partner, and my wife Heather plays as a team with the two-headed player across from her: her parents sharing a hand of cards together. They spend the whole game whispering or trying to talk in vague terms with one another, deciding on which strategy to use or when to play or refrain. A purist would probably not appreciate it, but it makes for many hilarious moments, especially as some of the time they turn out to be bluffing. Mind you, there's no table talk between them and Heather, so it doesn't really give them an advantage.

We hadn't played in over a year, so it was great to bring Tichu out again. The game started with a bang as I called Tichu each time in the first 3 rounds. I had great cards each time, and got my Tichu twice, but I failed to get it in the second round due to losing the lead to an incredible play from Mom & Dad. It was something like my playing a run of 7 ending with a king, only to have them play their own run of 7 ending with an ace. Rochelle later called Tichu once and didn't quite make it as the same thing happened to her. Heather and her folks never called Tichu even once, but ended up winning 560-240, helped by one round in which they went out 1-2. If just one card play in the final round had been different, we would have been within about 50 points of them. In the 8 or so rounds that we played, my team ended up having 3 bombs, and Heather's had one, a rarity for us.

One rule we have probably played wrong for the first 20+ games we played, we tried to play right this game, and it made it more interesting. It used to be that when I captured a trick with a dragon in it, I would set the trick aside so that the other team would get it included in their stack of points at the end of the round, no matter what. Another group I played with recently taught me that the trick with the dragon needs to be given to a specific person on the opposite team, which means that I have to decide which of the two people has the best chance of going out last. The hope then is that if I go out first in the round, but that person goes out last, they have to give all of the cards they've captured, including the dragon if they have it, to me at the end of the round. The rules seem a little vague in their wording around this issue, so I'd be curious to know if everyone else plays this way. It does add another little bit of strategy to the game as now the person on the opposite team without the dragon may deliberately try to go out last to try and keep the dragon with their teammate. Anyway, we played it this way and it actually helped Rochelle and I as Heather made the mistake of trying to go out before her parents did, allowing them to go out last with the dragon in their possession. I defnitely prefer it this way now.

Playing this game with this group of people has got to be close to the top of my list of the most relaxing, enjoyable activities to do while on vacation.


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Paul Beasi
United States
Easthampton
Massachusetts
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fehrmeister wrote:
Another group I played with recently taught me that the trick with the dragon needs to be given to a specific person on the opposite team, which means that I have to decide which of the two people has the best chance of going out last. The hope then is that if I go out first in the round, but that person goes out last, they have to give all of the cards they've captured, including the dragon if they have it, to me at the end of the round. The rules seem a little vague in their wording around this issue, so I'd be curious to know if everyone else plays this way.


This is the correct way to play.

From the rules: "The noble Dragon gives the trick away if it wins (including its own 25 points) to an opponent of its holder’s choice." (emphasis mine)
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Michael Deems
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Fullerton
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Absolutely concur that the Dragon and the cards in the trick goes to a member of the opposite team at the time of winning the trick with the Dragon. However, if you win a trick with the Dragon in it via a bomb then the trick wasn't "captured" by the Dragon and the Dragon and all cards in that trick would stay with the winning bomb player.
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James Fehr
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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Hi there! Follow my gaming exploits on Twitter (fehrmeister)
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CpaGuy wrote:
Absolutely concur that the Dragon and the cards in the trick goes to a member of the opposite team at the time of winning the trick with the Dragon. However, if you win a trick with the Dragon in it via a bomb then the trick wasn't "captured" by the Dragon and the Dragon and all cards in that trick would stay with the winning bomb player.


OK, I didn't realize that. Thanks for clarifying Michael!
 
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