Sunday, 10 August 2014

Life's a Game 8: Whist


This year we're sharing with you our game of the month. These are all favourites from our collection, or ones we play with our friends.

August's game is Whist

If you have a good memory you'll recall that many many months ago, whilst talking about Cribbage, I said that my family have always enjoyed a game of cards. Whist has many different variations I've enjoyed both knock-out whist and nomination whist with different groups of friends and family.

Deciding which card to play... In this case clubs were played first so I have to follow suit with my Q.

All versions of the game involve playing cards in tricks; each person plays a single card and the person who played the highest card in the chosen suit wins that trick (if you've ever player Hearts on the computer thats also a trick based game). This continues until everyone's hands are empty when scores are tallied, the cards are re-dealt and it starts again. With nomination whist (sometimes called "oh, hell" whist apparently) you make a guess at how many of the possible tricks you think you can win in each hand before play starts and the scores are based on how accurate your prediction was. The number of cards dealt varies throughout the game adding an extra challenge of adapting your bidding tactic to match.

The advantage of this sort of scoring is that someone with a rubbish hand can correctly predict to win zero tricks and get almost as many points as person with all the aces who correctly bid four - its all about playing your hand to match your bid, and less about the cards you're dealt. Of course the person who was given a hand of 8's, 9's and 10's would probably beg to differ as making an accurate prediction is significantly harder with the middling cards.

This time spades were led, so I have a choice to make. The A on the table will win the trick regardless so I played my 10, hoping that my K might win me a trick later.




We've had so much fun playing this game over the years on all sorts of rainy evenings and family holidays and it has an added advantage that all you need is a pack of cards and pen and paper.

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