Thanks to Friedemann Friese for allowing me to use the name of his next game as the title of my article.
Scrabblette and I have been playing Tichu every Wednesday night against the CyberKev family. Sometimes they just beat us, sometimes it's a complete drubbing. Last night, we handed out a drubbing of our own.
The evening started well with Scrabblette leading us into a 1-2. I was quite relieved to actually see some high cards - after last week I was wondering if maybe they'd all got lost or something. The second hand was played without tichu calls - "for boring old points" as CyberKev described it. Normally he's the one who calls tichu, so that would be why. In fact, CyberKev was strangely silent the whole evening, only making one grand tichu call as far as I remember. I made a couple of tichus, for which I thank the cards I was dealt rather than any particularly good play.
Anyway, the fun part of the evening started when we were on 940 and the CyberKevs were on about -140 and Scrabblette called grand tichu. I think that's called joie de vivre. If I'd been on top of my game I could have finished the game on the previous hand (should have played the Ace first, but basic strategy eluded me), but instead we dropped 180 points. The next hand was one of the tichus that I made, and we somehow got to 990 points. This time we played the last hand very conservatively and just made 30 points. The final score was 1020 to us, -20 to the CyberKevs. We'll see next time whether this was skilful play by us, or just good cards.
One strategy tip from the night was "pass the dog to the tichu caller". CyberKev described it as "cute" when I did it to him, and Scrabblette became rather befuddled when it happened to her. It's certainly another thing that you didn't particularly want to cope with. So I'll keep doing it.