I'm surprised it has taken us this long to do the most granny of grandma activies: Play Bridge.
None of us knew how to play Bridge, except for what we knew from murder mysteries. Much in the same way we introduced ourselves to Maj Jong, we chose a simpified version of Bridge. Everytime I tried to get a handle on the more complicated aspects, like betting, I went crossed eyed. So, the version below is Bridge with training wheels, but it seemed to work for us.
You need 4 players. You will work in teams of two, with the person you are across the table from. There will always be one person who is not actively playing. At first, I didn't like this, but we found that the "dummy" was free to do things like mix us drinks, fill the plates up with more food, or murder someone and get Miss Marple on the case, but...I digress. Here is how you play:
Shuffle cards & deal in a clockwise direction. Players get 13 cards.
Organize your cards by suit and rank. Ranking order of cards are: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 There are no trumps unless called.
Count the value of your face cards as follows: J=1, Q=2, K=3, A=4 . Add your points together.
In clockwise order, declare the amount of points you have. Each team combines their points to determine player’s roles. The team with the most points are the attackers. The team with the least points are the defenders.
The player in the this team with the highest individual points is the boss. The teammate is the puppet and is a passive player. The puppet can either feed the cards as called by the boss or get up and mix drinks while the boss plays the puppet’s cards.
The player to the left of the boss is the lead. Both players in this team are active in the game & will try to block the boss from winning tricks.
The lead plays the first card to start the trick. The puppet’s card is played, then the lead’s teammate, and then the boss. The team who wins collects the cards. The leader of the winning team should arrange the cards in a staggered order to easily keep score. The player who wins the trick leads the next trick.
Simple scoring for beginning play No bids or betting. Tally the amount of tricks won by each team. The team that scores the most tricks wins. Boss trick target scoring Bids and betting allowed. The attackers bid the amount of tricks won according to team’s point count (as charted below). If the attackers do not win the bid or more, the defenders win. If the attackers win the bid or more, they win. Bets can be taken on any aspect of the score.
Pt. Total Tricks
I made little cheat sheets for everyone, so they could keep the rules and order of play at hand. You can download a PDF of this cheat sheet here. It is a double sided print, but you get four to a page, which is a perfect amount for Bridge. I found this video really helpful in understanding how to play.