Silicon Valley Youth Bridge

The Game of TRICKS

A kinder, gentler version of "War", and a precursor to Bridge.

For two players: Recommended Ages 3-8
(Great game to play with young children on planes, in restaurants, etc.).

Created by Debbie Rosenberg

Equipment: An ordinary deck of cards. That's it….

  1. Shuffle cards and deal one to each player so that each has 26, in a face down single pile.
  2. Each players flips over the top card on the pile. The higher card wins. Aces are high, and the rank continues from high to low: A,K,Q,J,T,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2
  3. The winner of the "trick" takes the two cards and keeps them in a face down trick pile, separate from her unplayed cards.
  4. If both cards are of the same rank (e.g. you each flip a Jack), each player keeps one card.
  5. After you've played all 26 "tricks", each player counts her cards, and the winner is the player with more cards in her trick pile. That's it.

Note that the game ends quickly and isn't open-ended like "War." There is no strategy involved; just as in "war" it's a game of pure luck. However, kids can still learn a lot of counting from the game.

Debbie: After playing many deals, my three-year old knew immediately, for example, that if he had 29 cards, his opponent would have 23. I'm not sure if he was really subtracting from 52, or if he just had it memorized, but it was a fun party trick

Trump Variation

Introduce the concept of trumps, and play "best of five deals".

Deal 1: Clubs trump. The highest club played to a trick wins. If no club is played, the higher ranked card wins (if equal, then each player "wins" one card)

Deal 2: Diamonds trump.

Deal 3: Hearts trump.

Deal 4: Spades trump.

Deal 5: Notrump.

This order reflects the rank of suits, from low to high, in the game Bridge.