Thursday session: Xiangqi, Tarot, Tichu

Xiangqi board

We had to do a last-minute location switch because university is already closed for Christmas. Well, four players gathered at the bar we chose to play in. Not bad, really, as four is all you need… Jaakko was first to arrive and as I had set up a Xiangqi board to go through some example games while waiting, I immediately got him to play.

I won, which is hardly surprising when just about each turn we had a little conversation like “is this knight? no that’s a bishop” — figuring out the pieces isn’t easy, even when Xiangqi is clearly easier than Shogi (less pieces, bigger differences between the pieces). Despite that, Jaakko did ok, but I made a nice cannon checkmate after about 10-15 minutes.

I rather like Xiangqi, I think, it has several interesting features. The cannons are definitely one thing. It’s a pretty dynamic game, even though the pieces are very powerless when compared to western Chess. I’ve been playing on BrainKing, challenges are welcome.

We also played Slovenian Tarok, which is always fun. Some pretty good deals, there, including two hands with the called king in the talon. That’s always fun. Particularly the second time, when we then kontra’d Jaakko, our unlucky newbie. To balance that, both Hannu and Sami played unsuccessfull misere rounds and I screwed up otherwise, as is usual. What an excellent game, I love it even if (and especially when) things go bad.

Tichu box

Sami wanted to play Tichu and Hannu was eagerly in, so we played. I’m not much of an Tichu player and there I was, paired with the newbie against two clearly superior players. Well, that happens, but we certainly got a beating. Hannu did have some pretty good hands.

It’s a good game, but I think I prefer Gang of Four — maybe I’m such a loner I like to play on my own? My friends seemed to prefer Tichu, which I think is the majority opinion here.

We ended the evening with few rounds of Plus-Minus Jass, which is the original game behind Cosmic Eidex. It’s pretty good trick-taking entertainment for three players.

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