Saturday, May 22, 2010

Weekend Gaming: Tichu

We had a farewell lunch to our good friends Bill and Shirley, who are leaving the country for an indefinite period of time. We expect them back soon: either July, or September, or 6 months from now at the very least.

The Jerusalem Strategy Gaming Club gave them a copy of Rummikub: Israeli game, actually fun, language-independent, and also easy enough for any non-gamers they run into.

We split into two groups to play. Bill, Abraham, Sarah, and Nadine played Dungeon Lords. They started at around 4:00 and were still going when I left at 7:30. It's an epic game.

Meanwhile, Shirley, Tal (my daughter), Toby (her boyfriend), and I played Rummikub. I think she enjoyed it, although the game gets kind of thought-intensive near the end. Most players are usually one turn away from winning when the game ends.

After Rummikub, I taught Shirley and Toby how to play Tichu. Tal , who has played many times, insisted on being my partner, which left the teams a tad unfair. However, Tal is unskilled in the art of calling Tichu (she never does ... or had never done so until today). Shirley is Chinese and grew up in China, and so found Tichu's ad copy amusing. She says that the symbols on the backs of the decks are random gibberish words.

Both Shirley and Toby were overwhelmed by the initial explanation, but within a few hands, they were up to speed. Things swung our way to start with, and stayed our way throughout the game. At one point we were up around 600 points; that gap eventually narrowed to within 250.

Toby was the first, other than me, to venture a bid of Tichu. Unfortunately, it took him until the third time that he called Tichu before he actually made a bid of Tichu. As a result, they were down to nearly -200 at one point. Tal utterly failed to bid of Tichu early on which she should have, and then finally ventured to bid, but not make, Tichu later in the game.

With all of the failed Tichus, the game took quite a lot of time. Tal and I cycled up and down in the 600s for several hands, by which point Toby and Shirley had climbed to the 300s. We finally made it to 775 to 525. I then made a Tichu, and we made enough in the last two hands. In the very last hand, we only made it because Tal just managed to go out before Toby, and so didn't lose all of her accumulated trick points to Shirley.

A fun, funny, and long game.

1 comment:

Nadine said...

Dungeon Lords - I was losing at the beginning - locked out of getting a room twice, first position for the worst results, but that's actually mitigated later because it's somewhat related to turn order position. I was second. I was the only one able to pay two food for the Event, so everyone else had 3 or 6 negative points, putting me less behind suddenly. Bill used the capture both Paladins strategy to good effect and was able to carry it out despite some first time player rule setbacks. Sara and Abe had only played once or twice, but paid attention and seemed to be doing well. I was trying to get by and make up for what I didn't have. At one point I didn't have gold so couldn't try for food or some other things, and my gold was out for that round. I had the least first year rooms, only one. Sara had a produce two tunnels room but miscalculated on having enough gold to pay taxes. In the end, Bill won by a lot and I came in second, I had the least conquered tiles but not much else, I guess maybe the fewest negative points. I lost a jailed guy to magic. Bill won because he carried out his plans, I didn't have a plan and didn't play better than Sara and Abe. It feels like luck though I know it probably isn't. It's a long game with fewer decisions than it seems because it's pretty tactical. The theme does add something to the game, more fun than farmers.