Monday, 16 December 2013

Playing Whist

In my NaNovel, my characters play a game of Whist. Gaming is important to the plot of this novel, so I couldn't just make a reference, "And so they sat down to a game of Whist."  I had to describe a game in detail.  (Hope I wasn't too tedious. It fascinated me.)

Games and gambling were rife in the Regency era.  Even an innocuous game of Whist could be played for "penny points".  (And there goes all your pin money for the month.)

I've played Bridge (aka Contract Bridge) for many years (well, me and Dave my Bridge Partner. We once came Fifth Place in a state tournament).  But Whist?  I had the vague idea of how it worked.  And that was it.

Cue the Google Fu:

I learned enough to be confident to write about the game.

Then the Dashing Duchesses post the Whipster's Guide to Whist.  How timely is that?

Similarities between Whist and Contract Bridge:

  • Trick-based play (ie one person leads a card, everyone follows suit. Highest card wins the trick).
  • Tricks played in teams (ie if you're sitting West, your partner is East. Any tricks either one of you takes counts towards your team total).
  • Trumps will beat whatever suit is led.

Whist and Contract Bridge have their differences:

always has a trump suitcan be played No Trump
trump is determined by last card drawnbidding determines the trump
whoever wins more than six tricks ("book"), wins the gamebidders state how many tricks over the "book" they can take. If they can't make contract, they lose.
for every trick taken over the "book", score one pointThe higher the contract, the higher the possible points. This can range from 20pts up to over 1500pts per hand!

Compared to Contract Bridge, Whist is a simple game.  But it's so much fun!  It's a great way to learn Trick-based games.  So if you've tried Bridge and it freaks you out, consider giving a few hands of Whist a try.

Her Grace loves a good game of cards.  She tried teaching a few people to play Bridge, but they found it a bit hard to wrap their heads around.  Maybe they could try Whist.

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