Mike bought a new game that I was itching to try out. Martin Wallace’s new game Byzantium. In it, all players can controll the three sides that are fighting (the Byzantines, the Arabs, and the Bulgars). You score victory points based on your actions on one of two main sides (the Bulgars score victory points on the Arab track if they take out Byzantine cities or vice versa). If your two scores are “close” (the lesser is at least or more than 1/2 of the greater) then your scores are added together. Otherwise the lesser score is ignored. However, there is an alternate win of only the Arab’s score if Constantinople is taken over. This is remaniscant of Liberte.
Unfortunately, after the rules were explained, we realized that we were taking too long to play the game (aka Ashley-rollmaning). So we stopped after one round (out of three). I certinally would like to play this game again. And I think that this game can be played faster. The problem was that it was not obvious what the strategy was after the rules were explained.
An interesting situation came up in Tichu today. It had been discussed briefly but today I experienced its full force. My partner, Mike, likes to make random wishes. By that, I mean that he does not wish for the card that he passed. And instead tries to use some intelligence on what card to wish for. But it basically boils down to a guess that this person has the card and needs it versus my partner having the card and needing it. Since this is really a partner game, anything that hurts your team is a bad thing (in my opinion).
So, previously in the game he wished for a five and played a straight. Thankfully Adam could fufill the wish and play over it because I could as well and it would hurt my Tichu call. Now Adam calls Grand Tichu. Mike plays the Mah Jong, wishes for an Ace, immediately bombs it, and then leads two sequential pairs. Adam passes. Unfortunately, I can fufill this wish with my AAKK. And now Adam easilly makes his GT call. Our team has wasted a bomb and AAKK.
In a perfect world, Mike would always have the lead and work down the possibilities of Ace combinations and Adam would have to fill one of them. However, Adam’s team-mate would recognize what Mike is trying to do and try to stop it. If I passed on the sequential pairs, then Jon, if possible, would want to take control of the lead and lead a single if he has no Ace since that is the least destructive choice. The question always is, how likely is the Tichu caller able to fufill the wish compared to your partner.
And to leave you with an idea of just how desperate the last hand Grand Tichu’s can be. Here is Adam’s hand:
and my hand (for the GT call):
|GT/T||Team #1||GT/T||GT/T||Team #2||GT/T|
|Mark & Mike||Adam & Jon|