Tichu, a comparison against chess, chinese chess and go

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Tichu, a comparison against chess, chinese chess and go

Post by Moina2020 »

This is just a simple article on comparison of Tichu cardgame against chess, chinese chess and go. While there are some Tichu strategy tips articles written by Aaron Fuegi and others, out there in internet, I do not see any books written on Tichu cardgame that can be found in any bookstores that you walk in. Hopefully in the future, we shall see more literature written on Tichu cardgame.
So is Tichu a fun family cardgame? :roll: Let us examine the differences and similarity...


Team partnership
Since this is a team partnership 2 vs 2 cardgame, Tichu has a huge human factor in it. As they said " To err is human", people make mistakes, there is always a probability in that Tichu round: both you and your partner make mistakes or you make a mistake, your partner does not or you do not make a mistake but your partner does and the outcome of that round may come out differently. These mistakes usually occur during the Tichu gameplay phase. Unlike chess, chinese chess and go, if you make a blunder ? :?: move, you alone are responsible for that blunder move :?: . If your chess opponent exploit that blunder :?: , you will be in trouble and no one is coming to bail you out (no dog card in chess ;) ). In Tichu, you may make a mistake but your partner may cover your mistake by exiting first or second, thus preventing opponents' 1-2 and vice versa.

Analyse numerical situation
In chess, chinese chess and go, you analyse positional situation while in Tichu, you analyse numerical situation. Your gameplay or your decision to hit or to pass, depends on the logic of numbers, for example, if opponent plays a 3 out and in your hand, you have a single 5,9,K,A and combos (double, triplet, step doubles, straight, etc) in hand, you should play out your 5 out. Before card-exchange phase, you analyse to decide which 3 cards to pass on and after card-exchange phase, you analyse to decide if you want to call Tichu or not. A general rule of thumb: Single cards are bad, very very bad :evil: in Tichu. You and your partner, both have to minimize the number of singles to throw out from both hands before entering the gameplay phase, in order to make 1-2 likely.

Luck element
There is a luck element in Tichu called luck of card draw. Having a bomb in your hand is consider a lucky occurence :lol: . Having most or all of the 6 power cards: 4 Aces, Dragon and Phoenix on your opponent team's hands means your opponent team has a strong chance to make 1-2 or Tichu or Tichu 1-2 or Grand Tichu 1-2, the analogy of this to chess is like you :o are playing with 3 pawns and a knight missing from the starting 16 pieces against an opponent with all 16 pieces. Sometimes you may also be unlucky and dealt with a difficult hand with 5 or more singles to throw out, in this case, you just have to rectify this and move on. As a summary, you just have to play your best with the hand dealt to you, that is all, whether that hand is a very weak or very strong or just a normal mediocre hand.

No sense of invincibility
Due to human factor and luck element in this cardgame, you will find no sense of invincibility in this game unlike a chess grandmaster playing against any players of lower rank or no rank at all. A duo pair of 15 years-17 years old kids can win in a game against their parents with some luck on their side, so do not get surprise by this. You will win some and you will lose some games unless you and your partner are a cheating duo. A duo pair of chess grandmasters too will win and lose some Tichu games against any competent Tichu players here at BGA.

Table rules and variants
At our gaming table, using a physical deck of 56 cards, back in the old days, we have these 2 popular table rules out from 5 tables to play Tichu.
1st: Kiddie rule, this table is for adult beginners to Tichu cardgame and kids age 11 to 17 years old, there is no Grand Tichu call, all players are dealt with 14 cards right away. Tichu call and points can be earned even if the Tichu caller is exiting at step 8 or more. An example of 14 steps Tichu hand of lowest rank, you call Tichu and play 9,A,2,A,3,A,6,A,7,A,J,Dr,Ph,K(exit card at step 14). This table is a Tichu "boot camp", your journey of ten thousand miles or rounds ;) begins here.
2nd: Adult rule-easy mode, this table is where first 8 cards are dealt out and Grand Tichu may be call out. But all Tichu and Grand Tichu hand if called out must exit within first 7 steps or less, in order to earn that 100 or 200 points. You have to exit strong and exit fast at adult table. Both strength and speed are virtues you will learn in Tichu. Unlike chess, chinese chess and go, these games do not offer much of table rules or variants in which you can tailor the Tichu's table difficulty level. Think of it, Tichu like a PC game in which you can play it in easy, normal or hard mode.

Fun and lighter mood game
Tichu is a much much fun game compared to chess, chinese chess and go. You do not need to go deep in your thought and gets into a serious thinking mood as compared to chess, chinese chess and go. Unlike chess, chinese chess and go, there is no need to memorize and study various chess openings, countermoves, chess endgame, etc when playing Tichu. In other words, the mental load on Tichu is lighter than chess, chinese chess and go.


Early, middle and late stage of round
In Tichu, if all 4 players are still in play, this is early stage of a round, down to 3 players- middle stage and last 2 players in play-end stage. This is pretty similar to a game of chess with opening-beginning, middlegame and endgame.

Having said all that, though Tichu is a cardgame that is easy to learn, I have to say Tichu is still a very tricky game that requires a beginner player to scale a learning curve to reach a certain competent level. So is Tichu a fun family cardgame? Yes, it is.

Finally, I hope you all enjoy reading this article and have fun playing Tichu at BGA! :)
Last edited by Moina2020 on 23 September 2022, 04:07, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: Tichu, a comparison against chess, chinese chess and go

Post by Shobu »

If you want compare serious cards game to chinese games (chess,go), i would recommend taking a look at these 2 games, which are sometimes featured alongside Chess/Go in chinese official games events:
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/273913/guan-dan --> 4p fixed partnership, climbing game
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/85377/tuo-la-ji --> trick-taking, 4p fixed partnership, sometime called the "chinese bridge"

Bridge is also often featured
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