Setback Card Game Rules

By Alan Kirk

Bidding and trick-taking are key components of the card game Setback. Players get six-card hands and try to be the first to score 11 points. Setback has similarities to other contract bidding games, such as Euchre and Pinochle.

Preparing to Play

Setback is best played by two and six players, though seven- or eight-player games are possible. Each player is dealt six cards, then a round of bidding is held.

Points in Play

Four points are possible in each hand. Taking a trick with the lowest trump card in play is worth one, as is taking a trick with the highest trump card. Winning a trick with the jack of trumps in it also is worth a point.

The player who takes tricks totaling the most points also gets a point. Each 10 is worth 10 points, aces are worth four, kings are three, queens are two and jacks are worth one. These point values are used only for determining who wins the one point for the hand.

Bidding

Starting with the player to the left of the dealer and proceeding clockwise, players get one chance to bid on how many points they think they can win in a hand. The player who makes the highest bid names trump. Bids are not required. A player may pass or bid as many as four points. If nobody bids, the dealer must bid one point.

Playing The Hand

The high bidder leads the first card, which must be a trump. Only when a trump is played are others required to follow suit if they can. A player without a trump can throw any card when a trump is led. The trick is won by the highest trump if any have been played. Otherwise it is won by the highest card in the suit that was led.

Scoring

Points are awarded as described above. If the player who won the bid doesn't make her bid number, she deducts her bid from her previous score. If she makes or exceeds her bid, she adds the points she made to her score. All other players also add their points to their scores.

Deal passes to the left for each hand. The game continues until one player wins by scoring 11 or more points.

About the Author

Alan Kirk has been writing for online publications since 2006. He has more than 15 years' experience in catering, management and government relations. Kirk has a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Maryland.