Saturday, October 20, 2007

Three Player Bridge

I spent shabbat at my parents. My brother was there as well. My father prefers not to play with us too often anymore; it's hard for him to sit at the table and he wants to read his newspaper. Still, he did play a few hands with us.

Otherwise, my brother, Mom, and I had to play the two card games we usually play with three: Progressive Rummy and Three-Handed Bridge.

If you want a good bridge game for three players, your best bet is for one player to play two hands, partnering for the other players. Or play a three player game, such as Skat or something. But my Mom and brother are used to this already, so it doesn't look like we're going to be changing to a new paradigm any time soon.

Three Handed Bridge Rules

Three-player Bridge has come in several forms, but the one we play is as follows:

Deal four hands. Turn face-up exactly 8 cards of the fourth hand. Players bid for the contract. Whoever wins the contract gets the fourth hand as a dummy. The remaining 5 cards of the dummy are revealed after the first lead.

This makes for difficult bidding, as you don't know if the remaining five cards contain no points or ten points, two suits or four suits. Furthermore, with players bidding without conventions, less information is available for the play of the hand. Still, a lot of the game still remains and it's still enjoyable.

Other sites I've seen indicate that 0, 4 or 6 cards are turned up, instead of 8. The people I played with in college played that the dealer could choose open as many or as few cards of the fourth hand as he or she wanted. In this case, the decision as to how many to open had to be finalized before looking at your own cards.

Wikipedia has another variant, and other variants exist, such as Dummy Bridge and Cutthroat Bridge.

Other games played

Ben also played some Carcassonne: Hunters & Gatherers with my mom, and Sorry! with his kids. I tried, again, to teach Ben how to play Netrunner, but he once again resisted. He keeps asking why we don't just play Magic.

Game News

Lifelearning is running a competition for a logo for their yearly award for best homeschooling resource. Prize for the logo is $100. What does this have to do with board games? Well, gaming and homeschooling are both non-traditional means of education. And Lisa's a cool chick who likes my site.

Do you live in Ireland? Invite me for a week! No wait, that's not what I meant to write. Oh yeah: schools across the Midlands are being encouraged to support children with autism by taking part in a National Boardgame Day.

A new company called I Can Do That Games has acquired the rights to produce games based on Dr Seuss books. Four games are already printed.

Police solved an old murder case by giving inmates playing cards with unsolved murder victims' information on them.

I somehow missed this entirely awesome ... something on the subject of video games and art: Gamescenes. It's packed with nifty articles on the subject.

Boylston's blog points us to Kasparov's appearance on the Colbert Report, where Steve beats Gary in a game of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.

There's an article in Wired magazine entitled "It's Alive" about the persistence of the Frankenstein myth. Someone should make a board game on the subject.

There can never be too many Islamic Barbie dolls. Here's the latest one: Elif, who kneels and performs namaz.

And JK Rowling has given many Q&A's about Harry Potter, but this one is one of my favorites. Aside from declaring that Dumbledore was, in fact, gay, she fielded this tricky question:
Q: In the Goblet of Fire Dumbledore said his brother was prosecuted for practicing inappropriate charms [JKR buries her head, to laughter] on a goat; what were the inappropriate charms he was practicing on that goat?

JKR: How old are you?


JKR: I think that he was trying to make a goat that was easy to keep clean [laughter], curly horns. That's a joke that works on a couple of levels. I really like Aberforth and his goats. But you know Aberforth having this strange fondness for goats if you've read book seven, came in really useful to Harry, later on, because a goat, a stag, you know. If you're a stupid Death Eater, what's the difference. So, that is my answer to YOU.

[loud applause]

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