Minibridge is an adaption of bridge and it allows an easier entry into this complex game. Minibridge bypasses the bidding stage of the game (as described in ‘What is Bridge?’) and instead the attackers and defenders are decided by the number of ‘high card points’ each player holds, often simply referred to as ‘points’. High cards tend to win tricks for your side so we assign a value to the 4 highest cards in the deck, as follows:
Ace = 4 points
King = 3 points
Queen = 2 points
Jack = 1 point
Counting up the points
In bridge points mean prizes, so the player with most points tends to win the most tricks for their side so they are at a natural advantage. Minibridge (and ‘full’ bridge!) use these points totals to evaluate how good your hand is. You then add your total of points to your partner’s and you will get a total for your team, the more points the better! Whichever side has the most points becomes the attackers, with the player on that team with the highest number of points being the declarer. The partner of the declarer is the dummy and puts their hand down on the table face up for all to see. The other two players are the defenders and their job is to try to stop the declarer from winning the number of tricks required.
How many tricks?
In normal bridge, the bidding is also used to work out how many tricks declarer requires to succeed. For Minibridge we use a sliding scale to dictate the number of tricks needed – simply put the more points your side has, the more tricks you need to score points. This gives the defenders a chance because they need fewer tricks to defeat the attackers as they have very few points to work with in their defence so it is difficult to win tricks. Please see the sliding scale for points to tricks below:
You will see that the number of tricks starts at 7. This is because 7 tricks is just over the halfway point, and as a declarer with your side having more points than the defenders you are expected to take at least half the tricks!
What are trumps?
The declarer gets to decide what suit, if any, will be trumps for the play of the hand. This also normally gets decided by the bidding but in Minibridge the declarer first sees their dummy (their partner’s hand) and then chooses what suit they would like as trumps. The key here for declarer is to choose quantity over quality. If the declarer has 8 or more cards combined in any suit then this is a considerable numerical advantage and this suit should be chosen as trumps. The more trumps you have, the more likely it is you will make your trick target. The play continues as normal until the hand is over, and it is then revealed if the declarer made sufficient tricks to score points for the attackers or if the defenders stopped the declarer from making their contract, in which case the defenders instead score points.