Tuesday, November 08, 2005

#42: Bridge

One of the few "standard" card games on The One Hundred, Bridge is a classic bidding & trick-taking game that inspires incredible devotion in it's fans.

Joe Huber: "Gotta love a fun game that you can study for years and still be learning..."

Dave Arnott: "Still read the Bridge column in the paper most days, but don't play this one very often - mostly because it's not as fun for me when played 'casually.' With the right group, however, it's just so very, very satisfying. Just an amazing game."

James Hamilton: "This is the game that caused me not to have a degree. It absorbed hour after hour of my student time and I am still happy to play whenever possible. Fortunately I have never found a truly serious bridge partner or I may well have never discovered the joys of all the other games I play."

picture from Artman Neuman



Blogger Brent Mair said...

I'm not in agreement with Bridge being in the top 100. The game is good enough as it is but when the bidding has moved into a metagame dance with conventions, unwritten rules, and an out-of-game pattern, the fun breaks down.

Is there any original thinking in bidding? Do partners develop their own signals to a great degree?
Even if that is the case it still requires quite a bit of work out of game. If that knowledge isn't transferable then Bridge becomes a way of life, not fun for me.

I had more fun when I was fourteen and we bid based on what we actually had.

8:33 AM  
Blogger huzonfirst said...

My list of 15 games was based on published designs, but if I had thought to include public domain games, Bridge would have definitely made the Top Five. It's the only game I've ever found sufficiently interesting to devote actual study to and I still find its nuances fascinating. Still the King of all card games, to my way of thinking.

To answer Brent, there is absolutely original thinking in bidding. It's very helpful if you know your partner, so that you can best interpret his unusual sounding bids, but that's true of any good partnership game. Many experienced partners have their own personal bidding and signaling systems, although it takes time to make sure there are no holes in them. As for "unwritten rules and out-of-game patterns", those are definitely illegal--you must tell your opponents the exact meaning of any bid or signal you make. The rules of tournament Bridge are such that a partnership who wants to "keep it simple, stupid" is at no disadvantage when playing those with more sophisticated systems.

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can stop saying things like "Game X is one of the few public domain games to make the list." If my count is correct, so far you've got Bridge, Go, Backgammon, and Spades. Add Wizard, which is basically Oh Hell, and you're up to 5% of the games on the list. Plus, we haven't seen Cribbage, Pinochle, Skat, or Chess show up yet.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

There's the little kid in me who wants to repeat "Game X is one of the few public domain games on the list" over & over just to spite you... but my inner child needs a time out, so we won't go there.

And you may just be surprised by what is and isn't in the remaining 40 selections... or not.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to add Poker.

Maybe Chess won't show up, is that your teaser?

3:17 PM  
Blogger Josh Adelson said...

I think Larry is oversimplifying the fabulous equalization capabilities of tournament Bridge rules. Given a pair of identically intelligent and reasonable partnerships, one using KISS bidding and the other using Precision, the advantage has to go to the partnership that is using Precision. Any system that allows for finer granularity of information conveyed is advantageous over one that doesn't. Simply being able to refer to a convention sheet to understand what your opponents mean with their bids can not overcome the advantage that being able to convey this information provides in the first place. Of course, it's all down to ability to make use of whatever information is conveyed by anybody, or not, and duplicate Bridge is an entirely different game than the casual rubber Bridge that gets played on game night at my house.

10:22 AM  

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