game: Contract Bridge (for two)

My wife and I have decided to play every board game/card game we own (including every game that we have an official set of rules for + the necessary equipment to play – close to 80 games), and blog about them together. Here’s one now:

Game: Contract Bridge (variation for two, “Draw Bridge”)
Overview: A trick-taking card game, intended for four players on two teams. One side attempts to fulfill a “contract” by taking a specified number of tricks; absurdly complicated scoring ensues.
Edition: Instructions from Play According to Hoyle: Hoyle’s Rules of Games, edited by Albert H. Morehead & Geoffrey Mott-Smith, 1946, re-published 1983. And a standard pack of playing cards.
Duration: About 75 minutes, plus an hour reading instructions, plus 45 minutes explaining the instructions. We only played one “rubber” (a set of “games,” which are in turn a set of hands); one would normally play more, over the course of many hours.

Winner’s Impression (Daniel)
Ugh. This game is crap. Basically, the only skill or strategy is card counting, which I find completely dull. If you spent the time figuring out how the odds work, the game would come down to mindless arithmetic. Which would be fine for a card game, except the scoring system is extremely complex for no apparent reason. A lot of consulting of charts is involved. With all that work and effort, I expect a game that is equally complex. Hoyle lists Whist, which is more-or-less the same thing with the scoring simplified and the “bidding” removed, as a variation of Bridge (although Whist is actually the older game); that might be a nice enough game. 3/10 (Bad).

Loser’s Impression (Lynn)
If this were the 1950s or 1960s, with nice dresses and suits and cocktails and bridge mix and four players and a lot of time to kill and a need for an excuse to catch up on each others’ lives, I can see how this would be an alright game. But for two players, it was a bit… meh. Too little game, too much excessive and arbitrary scoring. It was almost as if the scoring procedures had been developed and approved by Congress. I would try the game again in its four player version, but have no need to try it again as two players.

Addendum: We tried playing a quick game of Whist, adjusted for two players in the same fashion as Draw Bridge adjusts standard Contract Bridge. It’s a much less frustrating game, but still pretty dumb. Although, the fact that it is even possible to play “a quick game” says a lot for it, relative to Bridge. 4/10 (Eh). -Daniel, 11/21/10 (the next day)

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