When the cards fall right

In this week’s session, I hosted John, Sheer, and Yehuda.

We started with an extended session of Tichu. This is a trick taking partnership game. It uses a special deck of cards consisting of the usual 52 members, plus four extras with different abilities. Instead of the more usual trick taking of playing a card at a time, here the tricks can be – according to the first type of combination led – the best pair, triple, run of five, and so on. You score points for the cards you have at the end of each round of play which is when only one player has cards left. You have the ability to beef up your score by going out (ie having no cards left) first, and by declaring your intention to be first, and so on.

Sheer and I lined up as a partnership against Yehuda and John. The lead swung about a bit until we were around the 500 mark. Then a couple of declarations by Yehuda and John saw them reach the 1,000 point winning line.

i don’t particularly like the game because of the luck element. Unlike Bridge, for example, this is all or nothing. You are either out of cards, or you are not. So, what you are dealt makes a material difference. The one time I was dealt good cards, I went out first. Easy! I dare say skillful (and practiced) players like Yehuda play much better than novices like me (and Sheer and John), but I think there’s more skill in playing the classic Whist variants like O Hell! In short, it’s an OK filler game, but anything more than that is not for me.

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Next up was Among the Stars. This is a variation on the 7 Wonders type of game, here themed as building a space station. We played the basic game which has very little player interaction, but allowed us to get familiar with the cards. This will help when we add in the alien races, the goals, the challenges, and the other juicy add ons.

John and Sheer were the early leaders. I caught up and took the lead around the end of round two (out of four). But after that, I slipped back, with everyone else overtaking me. Yehuda’s long term VPs – the special ones you only score at the end of the game, gave him the win. Short, sharp, easy. I am looking forward to playing the more meaty version.

Thanks to my three guests for making a good night of it, again.

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