(Tichu nanking for 3 players)
Shuffle and take cards as you would for a four player game. The shuffler plays with a dummy partner.
The shuffler may not declare Grand Tichu for either himself or the dummy.
Before any cards are pushed, the dealer may look at both his hand and the dummy's.
Pushing cards is the same as in a four player game, except that players only push cards to their oponents (two cards instead of three are pushed).
After cards are pushed, place the dummy face up on the table. The shuffler plays on the dummy's behalf. The dealer may declare Small Tichu on behalf of the dummy before he plays the first card from the dummy. The dummy does not have to fullfill any wish.
Scores are kept individually, even for the dummy. Each player in a partnership receives the same number of points that the team would receive if it were a four player game. The shuffle (and partnership with the dummy) passes to the left after each hand.
The game ends after a certain number of hands (divisible by three). We do not recommend a game to 1000 points, as the dummy player is likely to win such a game.
Tientsin (Tianjin) tichu is played six handed with two teams of three seated alternating around the table. We thank Mr Zhu, an exceptional tour guide, for this variant.
The rules of the game are the same as for the four handed version, except that:
Grand tichu must be announced before the seventh card is taken.
Each player pushes only two cards, to his own partners and gets one card back from each of them.
The hound transfers the right to lead to its holder's choice of partner.
In the scoring, the last loses not only his remaining cards but also all his tricks to the opposition; the fifth (the second to last to go out) gives his tricks to the winner of the round.
There is no special reward for a double victory, but a triple victory (one team gets rid of all its cards while all three opponents still hold cards) scores 300 points.
Grand Seigneur is not a partnership game, but rather a wrangle between individualists in a hierarchical system. To be frank, we did not learn this version of the game in China, but in Europe in the mid 80s, from a Japanese student of Criminology at Aix-en-Provence.
A simplified version has appeared as "Career Poker" by Hexagames.
We recommend the use of two decks when playing Grand Seigneur with 7 or more players. As there are no partners, dogs are not allowed in the game. Before beginning, remove all Hounds from the deck(s). Also, remove the Mah Jong from the second deck. Also:
In a trick, the second Dragon played beats the first.
Only four cards of equal rank in different suits count as a 4-bomb.
The refinements of the game of Tichu are of no worth in the rough and tumble of Grand Seigneur. No one bothers about points. Everyone just wants to get rid of his cards as quickly as possible. No one will announce "tichu!", no one will lovingly gather up his trick and count - just away with the cards! Tricks are taken only for the paltry right to lead.
And, collecting the tricks, shuffling, giving out the cards before play begins (yes, in this variant, the cards are dealt!), and all other dirty work is the duty of the poorest of the poor - the Wretch.
The seating order is the Alpha and Omega of Grand Seigneur. At the head of the table, in the most comfortable armchair in the house, sits the Great Lord himself. On his left is the number two in the hierarchy, the Lord. Further to the left, in third place, sits the Squire. In fourth place the Burgher. Number five is the Pauper. In last place - so at the right of the Great Lord - sits the Wretch on a simple kitchen stool.
The number of places corresponds to the number taking part. If need be, obscure forms such as Grand Burgher or Petty Pauper should be added.
The first hand is a simple round of tichu, without any pushing of cards or any point values, in which everyone tries to get rid of his cards as quickly as possible - to be elected as the first Great Lord of the day. Whoever gets rid of his cards second becomes the first Lord and so on. The players then move into the seats to which they are entitled.
The social injustice of the game of Grand Seigneur appears in the pushing in the second hand:
the Wretch pushes his best three cards to the Great Lord (including special cards, which rank Dragon, Phoenix, Mah Jong)., the Pauper gives the Lord his two best cards. and the Burgher gives the Squire his best card.
When five play, one card less is pushed at each level.
The recipients simultaneously push the corresponding number of cards back, but presumably useless cards of their choice.
The Mah Jong begins, the uneven contest takes it course and the winner becomes Great Lord and the tailender becomes the Wretch. The players take their new-won places, provided that any positions have changed. The Great Lord is difficult to overthrow.
There is no "normal" objecttive in the game. It is all for fun. At any rate, the Great Lord should be able to enjoy unrestrictedly all privileges and comforts of the house (a cup of tea, a little dance performance, a parasol, choice of TV channel, even the desire to continue this lordly game for another round).
The above is an ethnological error by our rule-writer, from which we Editors distance ourselves.
The editor responds: ignoramuses! Error be blowed! The Chinese greeting "Knee Howgh" (or "ni hau") means "Person good" and is part of the fundamental vocabulary of all Chinese games, except these dumb editors at Fata Morgana).
The Editors distance themselves from this distancing of their distancing. Hair splitting in poor taste has no place in serious game rules.