Tichu is a great card game for two pairs of partners that is played by millions of people every day in Asia. While it may sound odd, the game has been popularized in the United States via Germany, where a version published by Abacus was picked up by Rio Grande Games and is now sold in a 2-deck box by RGG. It's a partnership climbing game in which you try to score 1000 points, but taking tricks can be truly tricky because of the multiple ways to trump any particular play. Special cards and "bombs" create a lot of tension, drama, and some surprisingly funny moments, all from a deck of 52 cards numbered 2 through Ace like a Standard deck, but with unusual suits and the four unique cards: Mah-Jong, Dragon, Phoenix, and Dog.

Daniel Hurst is a good friend of mine who taught me the game, and he's an excellent teacher with a natural, approachable style and sense of humor. I am confident that after watching this video and using the resources at the "BoardGameGeek.com" website, you will be playing Tichu in about half an hour of viewing it.

Contrary to the rumor that Tichu "cannot be explained," it's similar enough to Rook or Hearts or any other partnership trick-taking game that the unfamiliar elements, i.e. scoring, special cards, Tichu & Grand Tichu bets, and the slightly different poker hands, will soon become second nature. Be warned: Tichu can be quite addictive. That's why you get two full decks in a box! (The new, Rio Grande Games version box, that is)

We shot this in about an hour one afternoon at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. It was filmed with the new Sony HVR-Z5U, shot in HDV at 1080i, using the MRC1K Compact Flash recorder rather than on tape. CF cards are very efficient, durable, and fast-loading into the computer. The Z5 has a professional 20x optical zoom lens, which can achieve some really great shallow depth of field, that you can see in some of the cutaways in the video.

It was edited with Sony Vegas Pro 8. The 26-minute video clocked in just under 1 gig at the best HD compression rate for Vimeo, but to come in under the 500 mb limit I compressed it as a 2 mbps stream .wmv file, which got it down to under 400 mb while preserving the HD aspect ratio of 16:9 at 720 x 408.

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