The game of Minibridge is played with a standard pack of 52 playing cards with the jokers removed. There are four players, who sit round a table and are usually identified by the points of the compass: North, South, East and West. They play as two partnerships, North-South and East-West. Partners can be agreed or designated, or the cards can be cut to determine who plays with whom.
Minibridge is a trick-taking game. One player starts by ‘leading‘ or playing the first card to a trick. Each player in turn clockwise contributes one card to each trick and the highest card played wins the trick. Aces are high, followed in order by the king, queen, jack, ten, nine and so on down to the two, the lowest card in each suit.
There are four suits of these 13 cards:
Spades and Hearts (major)
Clubs and Diamonds (minor)
When playing to a trick, each player must ‘follow suit’ with a card of the suit led if possible. Otherwise they may discard any card they like, but a discard cannot win the trick, however high the card chosen. The winner of a trick makes the lead to the next trick.
Deals may be played in ‘no trumps’ or with a trump suit – one which is more powerful than the others. Say spades are trumps then any spade beats any card in the other three suits. Players must still follow suit to each trick if they can, but when unable to follow, instead of discarding, a trump may be played which will win the trick (unless another player plays a bigger trump card to the trick).
The main feature of Minibridge that distinguishes it from whist and other similar trick-taking games is the existence of a ‘declarer’ who decides the ‘contract’ – that is, the choice of trump suit and a target number of tricks to be won by the partnership. The contract must always be for at least 7 of the 13 tricks available, but a higher target can be set, known as a ‘game’ contract, for which the declaring side scores more if it is made.
Next, please read: Eleven easy steps to play minibridge