Color Whist is slightly more complicated than your average trick-taking game in that the game play, partners and goal will vary from round to round based on the bidding. Some rounds will find two teams of two; others will pit three people against a sole player. No matter how it plays out, this game is actually quite fun once you get a handle of how it all works. For ease in explanation, the article has been broken up into two section—basic game play and bidding.
Deal out a set of four cards, then a set of five cards and then another set of four cards to each player until everyone has a hand of 13 cards—the entire deck will be exhausted.
Bid your hand, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. Your bid is based on your hand, obviously, but may also be based on a partnership that is made during the bidding process. Bidding for Color Whist is a tad complicated in that game play, partnerships and goals for the round will change based on the bid. Bids are as follows in rank order: Suit Bid, Solo Suit Bid, No Trump, Grand No Trump, Aces and Slam (see the Bidding section for further explanation of these bids). Once the bid is settled, the game of Color Whist may continue.
Lay a card from your hand, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. You must follow suit. Highest suited card takes the trick. If you are unable to follow suit, you may then throw off or play trump (if a trump suit is in play). If a trump suit is in play, the highest trump card would take the trick. The winner of the trick will lead the next card for the next trick.
Earn 1 point for each trick won (or lost in the case of “no trump” bids) if you’ve made your goal. Lose your bid amount if you were unable to make your goal.
Win the game of Color Whist by being the first player to hit 40 points.
Bid a suit bid. Players call trump suits, in turn. Another player may accept a previous player’s trump suit by calling the same trump suit, forming a potential partnership for the round. Suit bids start at 8 tricks and move up to 13 tricks that the team must win if they have the highest bid at the table.
Bid a solo suit bid. A player may call a “solo suit bid” in which he will go solo for the round (the other three players will form the opposing team). A bid of 6 “solo suit” starts and beats a bid of 8 “suit” (the partner bid above). For the partners of the “suit bid” to overtake a “solo bid” of 6, one of the members must bid 9. A “solo bid” of 7 would then overtake that bid and so on up.
Bid a no trump bid. A player may choose to bid “no trump” which overtakes any of the above bids, no matter the number. Everyone discards a single card and the bidder must take no tricks for the round (the other three players will form the opposing team).
Bid a grand no trump bid. A player may choose to bid “grand no trump” which overtakes all previous bids. This player must take no tricks for the round (the other three players will form the opposing team).
Bid an aces bid. A bid of “aces” can only be made if you have three aces in your hand. The player with the fourth ace automatically becomes your partner and chooses the trump suit. Your team must take 9 of the 13 tricks available.
Bid a slam bid. A player may choose to bid “slam,” the highest bid available for the game. He will play alone, choose trump and must take all available tricks (13). The other three players will form the opposing team.