What is this card game in the Whist family that I used to play as a kid?
June 16, 2015 1:08 PM   Subscribe

When I was growing up, my family and I played a card game we called Bid Bridge. I've tried looking online to find out the rules and scoring but I just keep finding similar games (Whist, Napoleon, etc) that are almost-but-not-quite the same. How do you play this game?

It was definitely not the complicated Bridge with all the rules and so forth, but a simplified trick-taking game that was easy to play with kids (or with booze). I can recall that each player was part of a partnership, that each person bid individually about how many tricks could be taken, there was always a trump that was random (determined by flipping up the top card on the remaining stack). This describes almost every single game in the Whist family to some extent.

I can't recall the exact rules of play (how many cards were dealt?) or scoring. I'd love to play it again but there's no one left that I could ask, so I go to you imaginary internet friends. It may have been a game my dad learned while in the army.

It's not Napoleon or Whist or Spades or Bridge but rather a similar game with similar elements.
posted by custardfairy to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total)
Best answer: Is it Oh Hell? (aka Scotch Bridge)
posted by warble at 1:13 PM on June 16, 2015

It sounds similar to a version of Up The River, Down The River we play (which also looks similar to Oh Hell that warble posted).
posted by lindseyg at 1:16 PM on June 16, 2015

There's also a version of Whist that involves bidding. This sounds even closer:

posted by lindseyg at 1:22 PM on June 16, 2015

I played a game we called Crazy Bridge, but the google hits for it aren't right.

The game is very similar to Wizard, and after reading up, looks a lot like warble's Oh Hell, only we didn't go back down (because the last few hands are always meaningless score-wise)
posted by k5.user at 1:36 PM on June 16, 2015

Response by poster: These are pretty close but not exactly it; I don't think we counted up and down so Oh Hell feels the closest possibility yet slightly off. Though if it was just some crazy version my family made up and there's no documentation of it elsewhere, at least I'm learning some great alternatives! :)
posted by custardfairy at 1:43 PM on June 16, 2015

Reminded of 110s the national card game in Ireland.
posted by smugly rowan at 1:49 PM on June 16, 2015

Is it 500?
posted by arha at 2:13 PM on June 16, 2015

I called it Pitch, which yet another variant in the bid whist family.

if this is the right answer, thank you Troop 424, Pioneer Valley Council, BSA, for tons of late nights arguing about table talk, whether my partner bid correctly, and which bands suck.
posted by gregglind at 2:43 PM on June 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

Was it Rook?
posted by brina at 3:16 PM on June 16, 2015

I found Contract Bridge while trying to jog my memory of a similar card game played in my family . . . still can't remember that one, though found it! Spades. Contract Bridge has the team aspect.
posted by carrioncomfort at 3:27 PM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Maybe a variant of Smear? I knew the game as Schmier and remember it being super easy (played with family as a kid), but no random trump cards the way we played.
posted by peep at 3:41 PM on June 16, 2015

I see the Wikipedia links so far do this to some extent, but you might also try browsing card game rules at pagat.com by classification/family, e.g. Games Classified by Mechanism > Trick Taking Games > Whist Group.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 6:30 PM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Other than the bidding on number of tricks to capture, it sounds like a version of Euchre that I played as a kid.

The deck was thinned to 9, 10 J,Q,K and Ace of each suit.

2 paired partners with each player getting 5 cards and the rest set down and the top card flipped to determine trump. The goal is to capture at least 3 of the 5 hands. The Jacks are the right and left bower determined by color. Which makes them the two highest trump cards.

Player to the right of dealer gets to decide first if they want to play the trick with that suit as trump. If not, then they pass and the next player gets the same opportunity.

If the current suit is rejected by all players, then the process begins all over again with any remaining suits being called as trump. (Don't be a dope and call the rejected suit)

The game was won by taking the best of 5 "hands".

The game was simple and we played it on the bus back and forth from school all through Jr. and Sr. High School.
posted by moonlily at 11:26 PM on June 16, 2015

Are you thinking of setback? I believe it has a few different names.
posted by vortex genie 2 at 11:41 PM on June 16, 2015

Could you be thinking of pinochle?
posted by saladin at 10:10 AM on June 17, 2015

Response by poster: All of these are close but not quite; I'm starting to think it may have been a weird regional or familial variant. I play euchre now that I live in Michigan and I've just been trying to remember this similar-but-different game to share with friends here. I'll mark this one as answered because even if it's not exactly a closed case, there's enough here to explore. Thanks everyone!
posted by custardfairy at 2:30 PM on June 18, 2015

Was it definitely four-handed? If it was three-handed, you could also be thinking of skat.
posted by saladin at 9:49 AM on June 30, 2015

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