Wednesday, August 25, 2010


The King-Daddy of Card Games

What's that you say? You've never heard of Tichu? For shame! For years now it has been the highest-rated card game on BoardGameGeek, and that is saying a lot. So either you already know the game and love it, or you soon will. Those are the only two alternatives.

Tichu is a trick-taking game played by two teams of two players each. It is considered a climbing game rather than a traditional trick-taking game because you don't just have to play a single card per trick (though that is an option), but rather you can play on a trick as many times as you have valid plays. You can also pass even if you have a valid play if you feel that the card(s) would be of better use later. Why the (s) on card just then? Well, a trick starter doesn't have to be a single card and can, in fact, be a pair, a triple, a straight, or even consecutive pairs. The other players must match the type of trick, as well as beat it in value, if they want to play on that trick. Then their are super-combos of cards called bombs that will automatically win a trick, despite its type, unless it is bested by an even higher bomb. Add into this that the normal deck of 52 cards is supplanted by 4 special cards that each have a different function as well as the option to bet on your ability to become void of cards first, and you begin to see the strategic depth afforded by the game.

But basing an app on a great game doesn't guarantee a great app
. Luckily for us, the conversion was handled by Steve Blanding of House Full of Games, whose previous app experience includes the that other great trick-taking card game, . Mr. Blanding has once again delivered a portable gaming experience that is not to be missed by card game fans. It includes a thorough tutorial and the opportunity to receive hints at will about what card(s) to play and why. I heartily recommend abusing this particular feature until you feel comfortable with the rules and strategy of Tichu. Although you can play alone with AI's taking the place of your opponents and teammate, you can also play with up to 3 other players on their iDevices via Bluetooth.

Why settle for boring old solitaire or yet another hearts app when you can experience the strategy and delight of playing the gaming community's favorite card game?

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