Dragons & A-Bombs

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He drummed up a game in the backroom of the souvenir shop of the Confucian temple. At first we were only allowed to watch. Then we played and the Chinese experts gave us good advice. A first rate introduction to the game, by the way. We recommend this method of learning most warmly.

The cards, with their four suits Jade, Swords, Pagodas, Stars , each of 13 values, correspond to the western bridge pack. The Ace is the highest in each family, the 2 the lowest. The 10s rank between the 9 and the Jack, as in most British and most US games not between the King and the Ace as in the American Pinochle and many continental European games.

The two partners in the two Tichu-teams sit opposite one another and try to help each other obtain points and opportunities to lead. Before the game starts the winner of the previous round shuffles the pack, allows it to be cut and places it in the middle of the table. The Chinese do not deal cards they take them. The dealer himself takes the top card.

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Now all in turn take one card at a time until the stock is exhausted and everyone holds a fan of 14 cards in his hand. Now comes the pushing. Everyone gives everyone else one card from his hand, face down, thus giving away three bad cards and getting three unknown cards in their place. Obviously a player can only pick up the new cards when he has made his own three discards. The game is begun by the holder of the Mah Jong. The player on lead may lay any of the following combinations on the table:. Exception: Bombs see below.

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Play continues to the right. As soon as 3 players in serie pass, the player who played the last highest combination gathers in the trick and leads a new one. If this happy player has no cards left, the right to lead passes to his right-hand neighbour passing further to the right if the latter has also got no cards left. Among the special cards. As a one, it can be included in suitable sequences e. The next player who has a card of the desired rank and can lawfully play it must play it possibly in a bomb!

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Someone who does not hold or cannot play a card of the desired value can play any lawfull card or pass. The wish remains in force until someone fulfils it. The faithful Hound has no trick-taking power at all. It can only be played by leading it as a single card and it transfers the right to lead to partner. If partner has already gone out, it passes to his right.

The ever-changing Phoenix is the most powerful card in Tichu. However it counts minus 25 points. It's value is half a rank higher than the card it's played on. If an eight is on the top the Phoenix counts as 8. The Phoenix can beat an Ace but not the Dragon. If led, the Phoenix is count as 1. The Dragon is the highest individual card and counts 25 points. However: it cannot take part in a sequence. They beat anything , be it a single card or a combination. The higher bombs beat the lower. The rank of bombs is determined 1 by the number of cards and 2 by the rank of the cards.

A player can even lead a bomb if leading a new trick.

The round ends immediatly if only one player has cards left in his hand. Then the tailender the last player with any cards hands over his remaining cards to his opponents, his own tricks to the winner the player who first got rid of his cards. If however the two players on one side achieve a double victory going out firtst and second the counting is skipped and they score points. Each player has the right, until he plays his first card , to announce " small tichu ".

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If he then wins the round being the first out of cards his team gets extra points, otherwise they lose points. Note that a tichu is an individual undertaking. How about tichurent? The points for tichu are scored independently of, and in addition to, the normal scoring of the game. A "tichu" can also be announced long before the player plays his first card.

A call before the cards are pushed can be useful as a request for partner to hand over his best card. Where the small tichu is romping around, there must be a grand tichu somewhere. An especially brave or desperate player may, before taking his ninth card , announce grand tichu, worth extra points. If both teams get there in the same round, then whoever have most points win. For hints on tactics it would be best to ask a Chinese bus driver. In case such a person should prove unobtainable, we will gladly pass on a few tips from our wretched experience, although when placed beside the wisdom of our chinese tutor this must look like a dusty dog-biscuit beside the highest culinary delights of Nanking for example the inevitable Sea Cucumber Soup.

Someone who is left, after a dazzling piece of power play, with a singleton four is either the poor victim of a bomb or has not yet fully grasped the game. If the score is , for example, a grand tichu is begging to be played. Pushing cards is the same as in a four-player game, except that you only exchange cards with the oponents. After cards are exchanged, the dummy is placed face up on the table. The dealer plays on the dummy's behalf.

The dealer may declare Small Tichu on behalf of the dummy before the first card is played from the dummy. And the dragons haven't kept Dany's enemies from sieging Meereen and destroying her navy. That's because her dragons operate like a conventional air force. The Red Keep needs food to survive the coming harsh winter and they've taken it from the recently conquered Highgarden.

To get it home, the Lannisters have formed a heavily guarded loot train. Dany and her troops assault the convoy and her dragon provides close air support. It's a strategy of air power as old as World War II. Ground troops assault the front and the air power swoops in to destroy and disrupt. But in reality, strategic air campaigns never win wars.

In fact, air campaigns without sustained ground action tend to prolong conflicts.

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After the invention of the airplane and strategic bombing, Italian military aircraft pioneer Giulo Douhet theorized that you could win a war by destroying civilian centers and forcing the populace to rise up against its government and demand peace. It didn't work.

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The Nazi Luftwaffe bombed Britain for more than eight months during the Blitz. It destroyed London and killed tens of thousands, but it also rallied Brits behind the war effort and was ultimately a strategic failure. Japan is the most extreme example. America's bombing campaign of mainland Japan before it used nukes was horrifying.

America's bombs were mostly incendiary and Japan's cities were wooden.

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The US bombing campaign alone killed , civilians. That's almost triple what Germany lost during the air campaigns against it during the end days of World War II. The US attempted to bomb Japan into submission and it didn't work. Not until those bombs were powerful enough to destroy an entire city in a single blow.

Dany's dragons are powerful, but they can't wipe out an entire city in the blink of an eye. They're an air force, not a super weapon. The weakness of strategic bombing campaigns repeated during the US led War on Terror.

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  4. In Syria, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, an air campaign without ground troops just creates an insurgency.

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