Tichu is a partnership climbing card game, and the object of play is to rid yourself of your hand, preferably while scoring points in the process.
The deck is a standard 52-card pack with four special cards added: dog, phoenix, dragon and Mah Jong (1). 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, he wins the trick, clears the cards, and can 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 he 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 her playing any card. This indicates that she thinks that she can empty her hand first this round; if she does so, her team scores 100 points, and if not, it 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 her 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).
Tichu belongs to a family of Chinese card games referred to as "climbing games" by John McLeod. It is an evolution of Zheng Fen ("competing for points"). Tichu shares Zheng Fen's set of scoring cards (Kings, Tens, and Fives) and a subset of Zheng Fen's playable combinations. In Zheng Fen the primary goal is to capture scoring cards during trick play. Tichu shares this goal but introduces partnership play and newer/overriding goals which focus primarily on emptying your hand of cards before the opposing team members. Tichu also introduces 4 special cards. The Phoenix and the Dragon replace the 2 jokers in the Chinese game. In the Chinese game, the jokers can be used as the highest single cards or as wild cards in combinations.
How does one play standard Tichu (Nanjing, NOT Grand Seigneur) with five players? Answer: With a clever 15 deal rotation. This document lays out the seating for the 15 deals, how it's scored, and gives the method my group uses to play this game for small stakes.
Please let me know what you think in the comments section below. Suggestions are appreciated.
Full color player aid that fits in the AbacusSpiele box, one-sided, 4-up. Great for new players.
Originally based on Matthew Frederick's aid, with scoring, passing conventions, etc.
Includes a pdf for the Abacus metal tin, [b]the Rio Grande Cardboard Box[/b], and a single image in png for Artscow mousepads.
Version 2013-06: Updated from 2009 version: Put points in red. Marked single Phoenix as 1.5, showed 5 card bombs > 4 card bombs, swapped Dragon and Phoenix (for explanation so that Dragon is higher than Phoenix.). Added bombs may be played out of turn.
Print-out and cuttable two-sided cards which summarize a Tichu variant that includes Zheng-Fen bombing and full-house combinations, in addition to a newly-conceived "3-special-card" bomb.
For a slightly more chaotic Tichu experience! Highly recommended, but not for inexperienced players.
Basierend auf der Übersetzung der Spielhilfe von mfrederick, aber mit besseren Formulierungen, Layout und mehr Regeldetails.
Version 1.1 ist in der Mitte der Spielhilfe faltbar und hat nochmals verbessertes Layout.
Based on the german translation of the player-aid of mfrederick, but with better wording, layout and more rules included.
Version 1.1 is foldable in the middle of the player aid and has improved layout.