OBJECTIVE OF TICHU: The objective of Tichu is to be the first team to score 1000 or more points.  


MATERIALS: 2 Complete 56-Card Tichu Decks and a Rulebook 

TYPE OF GAMEClimbing Card Game 

AUDIENCE: Ages 10 and Up 


Players will work in teams of two, attempting to score 1000 points faster than the other team. In order to do this, players must win the bonuses that are available during each round of gameplay. Players may bet that they can empty their hand before any other players, allowing them to score a higher number of points if they are able to do so. In a cooperative fashion, players mut shed their cards in a way that benefits the team. 


The starting player is chosen first, and they will shuffle the card for the initial hand. The player to their left may cut the cards. In other hands, the winner of the last round will be the one to shuffle the deck. The deck is placed face down in the center of the playing area. In Chinese fashion, players will draw cards rather than dealing them.  

The player who dealt the cards will begin by collecting the top card. Then, in clockwise order, the players will take turns collecting one card at a time until the deck is empty. Each player should have fourteen cards in their hand. Players should keep their cards secret from everyone, including their partner.  

The players will then push cards to other players, one to each player. This is done by placing one card from their hand in front of another player, face down. When all players have pushed a card to each of the other players, they may all collect their cards, adding them to their hand. The game is then ready to begin. 


The player who holds the Mah Jong will begin the game, leading the first trick. The player may play a single, a pair, a sequence of pairs, a trio, a full house, or a sequence of five or more cards. The player to the right may either pass or play a combination that is higher in value. Combinations can only be beaten by higher combinations or higher value cards in the same combination.  

When three players pass, the last player will gather the trick and lead the next one. If this player has no cards in their hand, then the player to the right of them will lead the trick instead. The round comes to an end when only one player remains with cards.  

The player with cards will then hand his cards to the other players and the tricks to the winner, or the player who went out first. Players will then score the round. 10 points are earned for each 10 and King, 5 points are earned for each 5, 25 points are earned for a Dragon, and 25 points are lost for the Phoenix. 

If players want to take a risk and score additional points, they may do so by calling a small tichu or a grand tichu. Players may win tichus by going out before any other player during that round, and they must call it before their first card is played. If a player wins a small tichu, they earn 100 points, but if they win a grand tichu, they win 200 points!  

Special Cards 

Mah Jong 

The player with the Mah Jong will begin the game; however, it is considered to the the lowest card in the deck. When a player plays Mah Jong, they may request a card of a certain rank. The player who has that card must play it.  


This is the most powerful card in the game. It may be played as a joker or as a single card. It counts for -25 points.  


This is the highest card in the game, scoring 25 points. It is higher than an ace, and it may only be topped by a bomb. It is unable to be a part of a sequence.  


A bomb consists of two combinations, a sequence of five or more cards in the same suit or four cards of the same rank. Bombs can be played at any time to take a trick. They are able to beat any combination. Bombs can be played on bombs, and higher bombs can beat lower bombds.  


The game comes to an end when a team scores 1000 points. The round will continue until it comes to an end, and then the winner is announced. If two teams manage to score over 1000 points in the same round, then the team with the most points are declared the winners.  

Ellie Phillips
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