Bridge is a great partnership card game for 4 players; however has a complex set of bidding rules associated with it that makes it overly complicated for younger children to learn.
This page provides a simpler version of Bridge, ‘Bridge for Children‘ that is ideal for younger children, making it simpler to learn and enjoyable for younger players.
The Aim of the Game
Bridge for Children has two parts:
- Bidding – Players bid to see who the Declarer will be, what trumps are and how many tricks (sets of 4 cards) the Declarer and his partner will make between them.
- Playing – The Declarer aims to win as many tricks as possible with their partner (who becomes Dummy, while the Declarer controls both hands), specifically to win at least as many tricks as they said. The Opponents try to stop them by winning as many tricks themselves.
Starting the Game
Take a standard 52 card deck with no jokers and deal out the cards to all the players.
Each player will have 13 cards each and should order these into suits (Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds and Spades).
Players then go through their hand and count how many points they have (these points are only used at this stage and make no difference to the actual points won in a round).
Points are obtained either from picture cards and Aces (Ace is always high) or from having few cards in a certain suit, as follows:
A = 4 points
K = 3 points
Q = 2 points
J = 1 point
Void = 3 points
Singleton = 2 points
Doubleton = 1 point
A Void means that you have no cards in a particular suit, a Singleton one card and a Doubleton two cards.
If you started your game of Bridge with the following hand:
Hearts: A, J, 10, 7
Clubs: K, J, 10, 6, 4, 3
Diamonds: 4
Spades: K, 7
Then you would have a total of 15 points (12 from the picture cards, 2 from the Singleton in Diamonds and 1 from the Doubleton in Spades)
Bidding in Bridge for Children
In Bridge for Children, the bidding is simplified to make it easier to understand, but provides some common ground with standard Bridge.
The player after the dealer starts and bidding goes clockwise round the table. Each player must bid one of the following:
- Bid – You can bid if you have 13 points or more in your hand
- 7 card suit – If you have 7 cards of the same suit (e.g. 7 Diamonds) and at least 6 points, then you can bid ‘7 card suit’
- Pass – If you have neither of the above, you must pass.
In Bridge for Children you’re always partnered with the player opposite you. If only one player bids, then he or she becomes the Declarer and the player opposite them becomes Dummy.
If both players on the same parnership bid, then if one of them bid 7 card suit they become the Declarer, otherwise both players in the partnership count how many points they have and whoever has the most points is the Declarer. If both players have the same number of points, it’s whoever bid first.
If players from different teams bid, then if anyone bid 7 card suit they are the Declarer, if not, everyone counts their points and someone from whichever partnership has the most points becomes the Declarer. In that partnership, it’s then whoever has the most points (as above).
The Final Bid
After the Declarer has been decided, Dummy lays down his or her cards and then doesn’t have an active role until the next round. The Declarer then decides how many tricks they will win and what trumps will be (Hearts, Clubs, Diamons, Spades or No Trumps). 7 cards is the minimum bid.
The Declarer might for instance say ’10 Clubs’, indicating that they will win 10 tricks and that Clubs are trumps.
Players must follow suit if possible and if not, may play any other suit. If a trump is played, it automatically wins, unless another, higher trump is played.
Playing Bridge
The player after the Declarer leads and both parties try to win as many tricks as possible, like a normal card game, except that there are two piles of tricks won, one for the Declarer and Dummy and one for the opposition (the 2 other players).
Whoever wins a hand must then lead, so if Dummy wins a hand, then the Declarer must lead a card from the Dummy’s hand to start the next round.
If the Declarer gets the same or more tricks than they declared, they win, if not, their opponents win.
Scoring the Card Game
If you’re familiar with normal Bridge, then you can either score the game as you would a normal game of Bridge, or you can use the following scoring system.
If the Declarer wins, then for each trick they bid for and won, they receive:
Tricks won |
Points |
7 |
2 |
8 |
4 |
9 |
6 |
10 |
9 |
11 |
12 |
12 |
16 |
13 |
20 |
If the Declarer wins, then for each extra trick over what they bid they receive one point each.
If the Declarer loses, then for each trick that they are under by, the opposition gets two points each.
The winner is the first partnership to win 25 points.