Boomke Wies is a Belgian Whist game for four players in fixed partnerships. The main description on this page is of a version with an auction in which whoever commits their team to win most tricks chooses the trump suit. In some places Boomke Wies is played without an auction, making it very similar to classic Whist.
I am grateful to Nico Luijten and Freddy Verhuizen for providing information about this game.
Players and Cards
There are four players and a standard international 52-card pack is used, the cards in each suit ranking from highest to lowest A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2. Deal and play are clockwise.
At the start of the game the teams are determined as follows. Each player takes a stack of cards from the shuffled deck and shows the bottom card of the portion they have taken. The two players with the lowest cards form one team and the two with the highest cards form the other team. The player with the highest card becomes the scorer unless all agree otherwise. Team mates sit opposite one another, so that each player is between two opponents.
The player to the left of the scorer is the first dealer and the turn to deal passes to the left after each hand.
The dealer is free to shuffle or not to shuffle the cards. They are then offered to the player to dealer's right who cuts the pack. The dealer then deals clockwise, either two batches of 4 cards each followed by a batch of 5 cards each, or one batch of 5 cards each first followed by two batches of 4 cards each. The four players pick up their 13-card hands and look at them.
There is an auction in which the players bid numbers, committing their team to win at least that number of tricks if they are allowed to choose the trump suit. The lowest possible bid is 7 and the highest is 13, normally called Boom (tree).
The players speak in clockwise order, starting with the player to dealer's left and continuing clockwise for as many circuits as necessary. At their turn a player may either pass or bid a number, which must be higher than the previous highest number bid. A player who has passed is not allowed to bid at a later turn.
If any of the first three players bid, the auction continues until three players have passed. The final bidder will choose trumps.
If the first three players all pass the dealer must either bid 7 or bid Boom (13) or declare a 'Meetje'.
Meetje is a special game played when no one is willing to bid as much as 7: dealer chooses trumps and the team that takes the majority on tricks scores a point. The difference from a dealer's bid of 7 is that the dealer's team suffers no extra penalty if they take less than 7 tricks, but get no extra benefit if they take more than 7 tricks.
Note that after three passes there would be no purpose in the dealer bidding 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12 since the score in case of success is exactly the same as for a bid of 7, while the penalty for failure is the same or greater. A dealer who wants to commit to dealer's team winning all 13 tricks can however bid Boom, which gives a higher score than taking 13 tricks in a 7-bid, with a correspondingly greater penalty for failure.
Note also that no suit is mentioned when bidding. This can be difficult when both partners on a team bid, as neither can be sure what suit the other partner would prefer as trump.
The player with who made the last and highest bid leads to the first trick and the suit of that card becomes the trump suit for the deal. (In case of a Meetje the dealer leads to the first trick, thereby determining trumps).
Each trick is won by the highest trump in it, or if it contains no trump by the highest card of the suit that was led. The winner of each trick leads to the next.
Any card may be led to a trick. The other three players must always follow suit if possible, playing a card of the same suit as the card that was led. A player who is unable to follow suit may play any card in their hand.
Note that there is no obligation to beat cards previously played to a trick nor to play a trump when unable to follow suit.
When all 13 tricks have been played the hand is scored, according to the bid and the number of tricks won by each team.
In a Meetje the team that takes 7 or more tricks scores 1 point and their opponents score nothing.
If the final bid was 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12 and the bidding team win at least as many tricks as they bid, then the bidding team score
- 1 point if they win 7, 8 or 9 tricks
- 2 points if they win 10, 11 or 12 tricks
- 3 points if they win 13 tricks
and their opponents score nothing.
If the final bid was 7, 8 or 9 and the bidding team win fewer tricks then they bid, then the bidding team score -1 point and their opponents score
- 1 point if they win up to 9 tricks
- 2 points if they win 10 or more tricks
If the final bid was 10, 11 or 12 and the bidding team won fewer tricks than they bid, then the bidding team score -2 points and their opponents score 2 points.
If the final bid was a Boom (13 tricks) and the bidding team wins every trick they score 5 points and their opponents score nothing. If the bidders lose a trick then the play ends and the bidding team scores -5 while the opponents score 5.
In a tournament, each round lasts for a given length of time - for example one hour - at the end of which the team with the higher total score are the winners of the round. In case of a tie an extra deal is played to decide the winner.
There are various systems for deciding the tournament winners according to most rounds won or most points scored or a combination of these.
In some places Boomke Wies is played without bidding. In this simpler version the cards are dealt in three batches of 4 cards each followed by a single card each. The dealer's last card is turned face up and determines the trump suit. The player to dealer's left leads to the first trick and need not lead a trump. The rules of play are as above, and each team wins a point for each trick they win. This game is more or less equivalent to classic Whist.
Other Web Sites
The International World Whist Association organises tournaments and publishes rules, score tables and scoresheets for Boomke Wies and other Belgian games.
The Boomke Wies Wikipedia page describes the simple form of the game without bidding.