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How to Play Setback

Play Setback

How to Play Setback. Setback is a fun card game that requires cooperation between pairs of players to win tricks containing certain cards. You can play setback with two, three or four teams of two. Although it only takes a game or two to learn the basics, strategies and partner cooperation take a long time to perfect. Read on to learn how to play Setback.

Deal six cards to each player, three cards at a time.

Bid, starting with the person to the left of the dealer. See the tip section for scoring rules. Each person can bid two, three, four or pass. You must bid more than a person who bid before you. The player who bids the highest wins the bid. If no one has bid yet, the dealer must bid. There is one special hand, called a coke hand, that you can turn in for a new hand in place of bidding. A coke hand has all of its cards between three and nine.

Lead a card, if you are the person who won the bid. The suit of the first card led is trump for the hand. Players can play trump at any time.

Follow suit or play trump. You can't play one of the other suits, except for the trump suit, unless you don't have the suit that was led.

Give the trick to the player with the highest card in the led suit. If someone plays a trump card, the highest trump card wins.

Lead a new card if you took the last trick. Decide who wins it in the same way.

Award the points as described in Step 2 and Tip 1. Any team can score points, not only the team that won the bid. If the team that bid did not make it, subtract the amount they bid from their score. This is called a setback. If a team has three setbacks, they lose. Other teams can continue if there is more than one team left.


You can win up to four points each hand: one point each if you have the highest trump, the lowest trump or the jack of trump. Another point goes to the person who wins "game." To determine who wins game, each person must tally the number of game points in the tricks their team took. Aces are worth four game points, kings three, queens two and jacks one.


  • High and low are not always won by the Ace or two of trump since not all of the cards are in play.
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