Let's play TICHU!

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DrClick
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Joined: 07 July 2011, 14:30

Let's play TICHU!

Post by DrClick » 09 June 2021, 11:12

Image


TI-CHU (and not tissue) has been a successful trick-taking game since it was released last century (1991 to be exact.. yeah I'm feeling old too) taking many of its rules and mechanisms from "Zheng Fen," a traditional Chinese game, that itself takes some scoring from "Da Bai" and "Tuo la Ji," two other traditional games.

TICHU has evolved to worldwide popularity since its release thanks to Urs Hostettler, and here is why:

The deck is a standard 52-card pack with four special cards added: dog, phoenix, dragon and Mah Jong. When it's your turn, you may either beat the current top card combination (single card, pair of cards, sequence of pairs, full house, etc.) or pass. If play passes all the way back to the player who laid the top cards, they win the trick, clear the cards, and lead the next one. The card led determines the only combination of cards that can be played on that trick, so if a single card is led, then only single cards are played; if a straight of seven cards is led, then only straights of seven cards can be played, etc.

The last player out in a round gives all the cards they won to the player who exited first, and the last player's unplayed cards are handed to the opposite team. Fives, tens and Kings are worth 5, 10 and 10 points, with each hand worth one hundred points without bonuses- but the bonuses are what drive the game. At the start of a round, each player can call "Tichu" prior to playing any cards. This indicates that the player thinks they can empty their hand first this round; if they do so, their team scores 100 points, and if not, their team instead loses 100 points. Cards are dealt at the start of a round in a group of eight and a group of six; a player can call "Grand Tichu" after looking at only their first eight cards for a ±200 point bonus. If both players on a team exit a round prior to either player on the opposite team, then no points are scored for cards and the winning team earns 200 points (with Tichu/Grand Tichu bonuses and penalties being applied as normal).

The first team to 1,000 points wins.

Easy, simple and clever: that's everything you need to play on your commute, or chilling at home, and it's available here:
https://boardgamearena.com/gamepanel?game=tichu

Due to its immense popularity, the game is distributed worldwide, and we would like to thank the game designer, Urs Hostettler, the publisher Fata Morgana, and the fantastic work of our three developers: vinayakr, tchobello and Ginso.

So now you can play this classic gem on BGA in a... *sneeze* ;)
That's it for now, don't forget that there is an official CONSPIRACY tournament held on BGA that you can join until the 14th of June, to win some awesome prizes.
TICHU next time! ;)

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RomulusMaximus
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Joined: 28 April 2015, 13:15

Re: Let's play TICHU!

Post by RomulusMaximus » 09 June 2021, 14:00

I feel so sorry for BrettspielWelt...
Played there for years, haven't been back since before lockdown...

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oniony
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Joined: 09 November 2015, 00:22

Re: Let's play TICHU!

Post by oniony » 09 June 2021, 14:38

Bless you, Flanders.

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ElNSTElN
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Joined: 30 October 2020, 14:34

Re: Let's play TICHU!

Post by ElNSTElN » 09 June 2021, 17:51

RomulusMaximus wrote:
09 June 2021, 14:00
I feel so sorry for BrettspielWelt...
Played there for years, haven't been back since before lockdown...
I'd rather see that as a chance for the BrettspielWelt. Tichu there plays way more fluid than here on BGA.

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lunatic4ever
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Joined: 02 July 2020, 15:47

Re: Let's play TICHU!

Post by lunatic4ever » 09 June 2021, 19:38

I would love an option for an even shorter game. Would make the game more accessible I think. Depending who you are gaming with, it can take forever to even achieve 500 points, especially when people don't have a lot of experience. It certainly is the case for me. So perhaps a beginner setup to get to 200 or 300 points would be really helpful.

jeffgoldsmith
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Joined: 25 April 2020, 15:21

Re: Let's play TICHU!

Post by jeffgoldsmith » 09 June 2021, 19:58

Some issues with the implementation:
- I think the bombing timing is wrong. Leader of the trick can't "collect" and prevent bombs. Everyone has to have a chance to bomb; trick winner's actions can be overridden.
- It's annoying to have the actions be at the top of the screen and one's cards to be at the bottom, forcing us to switch focus constantly.
- When someone calls tichu, a big green T appears in the middle of the screen. Perhaps it should be elsewhere indicating who did it.
- In general, the indication of who has or can call Tichu is confusing.
- when "Square layout" is selected, the center of the table is well to the right of the center of the screen. This layout ought to be the default.
- "Counterclockwise" play is quirky to the Tichu rules. Make clockwise be the default.
- autopass when you do not have enough cards to follow ought not be the default. It is confusing.
- how can some players play clockwise and some counterclockwise? That requires changing positions at the table. It is important that all players think the player layout is the same.
- it'd be nice to be able to review which cards you passed to whom and vice versa. Or change one's pass if not all have passed yet.
- The choice of whom to give the trick won by the dragon should be more visible to those not making the choice.

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FireManBearPig
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Joined: 20 February 2016, 20:15

Re: Let's play TICHU!

Post by FireManBearPig » 10 June 2021, 14:08

jeffgoldsmith wrote:
09 June 2021, 19:58
- I think the bombing timing is wrong. Leader of the trick can't "collect" and prevent bombs. Everyone has to have a chance to bomb; trick winner's actions can be overridden.
Your chance to bomb is until the player has collected the trick. Tichu is not intended to be a dexterity game but you do need to play your bomb before the player has picked up the cards.
jeffgoldsmith wrote:
09 June 2021, 19:58
- When someone calls tichu, a big green T appears in the middle of the screen. Perhaps it should be elsewhere indicating who did it.
The green T/GT appears in that person's player card.
jeffgoldsmith wrote:
09 June 2021, 19:58
- "Counterclockwise" play is quirky to the Tichu rules. Make clockwise be the default.
You can make clockwise the default in your game options.
jeffgoldsmith wrote:
09 June 2021, 19:58
- how can some players play clockwise and some counterclockwise? That requires changing positions at the table. It is important that all players think the player layout is the same.
Notice that when you toggle clockwise/counter-clockwise, your opponents swap positions. Player's know that the layout is the same - the important thing is knowing in what order turns/priority switches.
jeffgoldsmith wrote:
09 June 2021, 19:58
- it'd be nice to be able to review which cards you passed to whom and vice versa. Or change one's pass if not all have passed yet.
You have to click a button that says "Pass selected cards" - why are you clicking this button before you are certain of what you want to pass?

A lot of your other concerns were related to the layout of the actual game screen - are you playing on a mobile device? Everything looks fine to me when I'm playing on a PC.

jeffgoldsmith
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Joined: 25 April 2020, 15:21

Re: Let's play TICHU!

Post by jeffgoldsmith » 12 June 2021, 04:30

You're wrong about the bomb timing. Everyone has a chance to bomb. It is not the case you have to bomb before the player has picked up his cards; he cannot do so until everyone has rejected their bomb opportunities. And when one bomb has been played, each player gets a chance to overbomb before the trick ends. On the upside, you got it right that the dog cannot be bombed. I understand that players might find it frustrating that they have to choose not to bomb, but they must be given the time to do so, even if they don't have bombs. Unfortunately, the decision to bomb is one of the trickiest in the game, so those often take more time than more common decisions. It'd be nice if that weren't the case, but restricting a player's options is not the solution.

The green T/GT does not appear on the player's card immediately. It starts aimed for the center of the table with some animation. The centering of this is not accurate; it depends on the browser. In Firefox, it appears large and roughly on top of the bottom player's cards in some layouts. It eventually appears in the upper right of the screen in the player boxes, but until one has seen that the T turns green after a call, the black "T" is quite confusing. Perhaps some hover text saying, "a Tichu call is still available for this player," vs. "this player has called Tichu" might be helpful. I can say without fear of contradiction that all four players in our game took a while to work this out. Because any player can call Tichu out of turn, figuring out who did should be easy.

What happens when two players pick clockwise and two counterclockwise? That can't work. And really clockwise ought to be the default in the US. Chinese players who are used to counterclockwise should be able to change it. Experienced players play with passing conventions; these depend on the sequence of play. Having that vary can cause real game play issues.

If you have to ask "why click pass when you aren't ready," you need to rethink your attitudes towards UI design. As much "undo" capability as possible without doing damage to the game is good for the players. (Probably the most common time a player wants to refresh his memory is when he splits a pair. One might easily pass before noting which suit was passed left vs. right.) Being re-told which cards were passed to you should also be easy; many players arrange their hands so that it is easy to remember this. The information is in the log, but why make players take the time to dig through it? Allowing the player to rearrange his hand seems like overkill, though I suspect some players would appreciate being able to put their melds together.

On a similar note to the passing readiness issue: a player is allowed to react to an opponent's slow pass. Knowing that one of my opponents isn't sure what to pass may cause me to want to change mine. But he is not allowed to react to his partner's slow pass. The speed of his partner's pass is unauthorized information to him. (You won't find that in the rules, but tournament players mostly use that rule.) It would be nice if this information could be hidden from partners.

I suspect your layout testing was done on only a few (one?) browsers. Firefox seems not to work well. I admit not to have tried any other.

If you are the developer and are this defensive about the implementation, perhaps it's a good idea for someone else to take over, or at least work with an experienced Tichu player or two going forward.

That the action buttons are opposite the cards is also frustrating. That may not be easy to fix; those are not the typical layouts for BGA games, but having the table between them is distracting and slows the game. Perhaps moving the player's hand to the top is the simplest solution. I agree that this is not how the table would look to a live player; his cards are next to him. But his ability to play cards is also next to him.

The automatic auto-pass when not having enough cards is probably wrong. Given the other options, there's no good reason for this to be the default. Getting a good handle on whose turn it is can be a little hard at Tichu. Making it even slightly harder is a bad thing.

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Museum13
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Joined: 03 September 2020, 11:27

Re: Let's play TICHU!

Post by Museum13 » 15 June 2021, 11:36

Could we not get the versions with Kerri Aitken or Christine Alcouffe's art?

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tchobello
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Joined: 18 March 2012, 13:19

Re: Let's play TICHU!

Post by tchobello » 15 June 2021, 23:24

jeffgoldsmith wrote:
12 June 2021, 04:30
I suspect your layout testing was done on only a few (one?) browsers. Firefox seems not to work well. I admit not to have tried any other.

If you are the developer and are this defensive about the implementation, perhaps it's a good idea for someone else to take over, or at least work with an experienced Tichu player or two going forward.

That the action buttons are opposite the cards is also frustrating. That may not be easy to fix; those are not the typical layouts for BGA games, but having the table between them is distracting and slows the game. Perhaps moving the player's hand to the top is the simplest solution. I agree that this is not how the table would look to a live player; his cards are next to him. But his ability to play cards is also next to him.

The automatic auto-pass when not having enough cards is probably wrong. Given the other options, there's no good reason for this to be the default. Getting a good handle on whose turn it is can be a little hard at Tichu. Making it even slightly harder is a bad thing.
Developers did have to adapt to 'very demanding' only Tichu players...
It seems to be very difficult for them to change their old habits even if they are not playing IRL.

First implementation was from top to bottom and they had to add that lousy old-fashioned and very XXth century table layout and there are still complains, as predicted.

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