Barbu Bridge

A hybrid of Barbu and Bridge contributed by Mark Brader. If you have any questions or comments, Mark's address is msb@irk.net, except with "vex" instead of "irk". Mark Brader writes:

"Inspired by estimation hearts, I invented this game in 2004, wrote a small page of notes, and proceeded to forget about it. Coming across it recently [in 2012], I tweaked the scoring a bit and persuaded some friends to try playing it. I don't put it forward with any sort of seriousness, but I think it's fun as a novelty game. If someone did take it seriously, they'd probably want to make major adjustments in their system of bridge bidding. In this game you really want to be in game or slam if it's possible, but if it isn't, you probably don't want to declare."

Notation: Capital letters are used for the sub-games of barbu, such as Barbu (no king of hearts), and lower case for the overall game.

The game consists of 16 deals, rotating clockwise. Players sitting opposite are partners as in bridge, and there is a single score for the pair. On each deal:

  1. Deal the cards and hold an auction as in bridge. This determines a bridge contract and who will be declarer and dummy. Doubles and redoubles are allowed as normal in bridge.
  2. The dealer (not the declarer) chooses a barbu sub-game: Barbu, Hearts, Last Two, or Queens. A sub-game cannot be reused by the same dealer, so on the last deals 13-16 the choice is forced. There is no doubling of barbu sub-games.
  3. As in bridge, the opening lead is made before the dummy is exposed. But as in barbu, the player who makes the lead is always the dealer (even if the dealer is declarer or dummy).
  • If a bridge contract was reached:
    1. The dummy hand is exposed before anyone else plays to the trick. (If dummy is dealer, he/she might as well expose the hand before leading.) Trumps are as determined by the auction.
    2. Play now continues as in bridge, with trick 1 played in normal rotation ending with the dealer's RHO, and the declarer playing all cards from dummy's hand (except for the opening lead if the dealer is dummy). Rules of play are as in bridge: any card may be led, players must follow suit if they can and otherwise may play any card.
  • If the bridge auction was passed out:
    1. There is no dummy and no trump suit.
    2. Play continues with each player playing from his/her own hand. Rules of play are as in the chosen barbu sub-game, so for example in Hearts, players are not allowed to lead hearts initially.
  1. Score as in rubber bridge. If a rubber is completed, score the rubber bonus, draw a double line below the line, and the next deal starts a new rubber. If this is the 16th deal and does not complete a rubber, score bonuses as usual for an incomplete rubber.
  2. Score barbu points above the line according to the sub-game as follows:
    1. Barbu -- 200 to the side that did not take in the king of hearts
    2. Hearts -- 30 per heart difference to the side that took in fewer hearts (i.e. one side scores 30, 90, 150, ... or 390). Note that the ace scores no more than other hearts.
    3. Last Two -- 80 to the side that lost trick 12, 120 to the side that lost trick 13
    4. Queens -- 60 per queen difference to the side that took in fewer queens (i.e. no score or one side scores 120 or 240).
  3. At the end, add all the points.