Thursday session: Mahjong, Bausack

Our Thursday sessions have returned to Thursdays! We got our old location back now the university is again open in evenings. Actually, that happened last week, I just missed the first meeting. This time we had a nice turnout, I think we had four tables going on at the same time.

My table was playing Mahjong, again. This time we tried playing Riichi, the modern Japanese game. It’s a gambler’s game, where concealed hands and major point swings play the leading role. It’s fun, fairly simple and moderately short.

We played one three-player practise round, then the East round. One of the players had to leave early, but she was replaced with another, so we could finish the round. Everybody was more or less a newbie, particularly with the Riichi rules. Riichi has a minimum score, too, the hand needs to be worth one yaku (a double) — that’s not as hard as the 8-point minimum of the Chinese official rules, but still, with newbies we probably should’ve played without it.

Anyway, it was fun, and I’m definitely playing Riichi again. I’ve played about ten games with Four Winds and I do like the ruleset. The biggest flaw of Riichi is the tendency for draws, but fortunately there’s the tenpai-noten rule: after a draw, players who are tenpai (waiting) get points from those who are not (noten).

So, more Riichi!

Bausack box

Next up was Bausack, the old favourite from 1987 recently released in Finnish as Bandu (I did the rules). This is the dexterity game that looks like the odds and ends collection from a carpenter’s workshop. We played the Knockout game, where the last tower standing is the winner. To spice up the game, the blocks are auctioned, either “pay to take it” or “pay to not to take it”.

It was great fun, particularly our second game. The towers got outrageous. Petri, who has a history of doing miniature paintings, demonstrated his capabilities to put down difficult blocks between heartbeats while Make had definitely the worst case of shaky fingers, that was just nasty to even look at. Petri won the game, even though Harri had one more token — Petri had to add two tough blocks to his tower but he did it and won the game when Harri was simply unable to add anything to his tower.

There’s a bit of a luck element in the end game, I think, as the order of players can play a bit of a role in the end, but I suppose it’s not a huge problem, because in the end Bausack is such a fun game and watching the grand finale of the second game was just about as much fun as playing the game.

In the end I had the time to play a single round of Le Truc with Olli — another convert!

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