Fun Bridge Variations
Here I list some variations to play either privately or in the bridge club on less serious occasions.
For in the Bridge club
Off Axis Bridge
Fun Bridge variations
Pass Left Bridge
Bingo Bridge is fun on the Club evening. The idea is this: Not only do you score the game like a normal MP game, also every pair gets a bingo card to score up their results!
Every time you play a board you will get a bridge result, for example making 3 Spades for 140. Both pairs may now cross off 140 from their Bingo card, regardless if they scored plus or minus on the board. A Bingo card is of the standard 5 x 5 size, and people are not expected to fill it completely over the whole club night. Special prizes can be given for full lines and similar. An example card may look like this:
Scoring after the game is as follows: First score like a regular pairs game. Then add/subtract 3% for every full square on the bingo card over 15 (for a 26 / 27 board club evening), i.e. add 9% if they have 18 full squares, subtract 6% if they have 13.
If you have an odd number of pairs, those who play less boards receive 1.5% for each board they played less (two or three depending on movement).
The tricky part is to generate the bingo cards. You can download some here.
A goulash tournament is one where the hands have extreme distributions. Normally these are dealt by first sorting the 4 hands by suit, then put them together, cut the deck and deal them either 4-3-3-3 or 5-4-4. If you like, you can also use computer generate hands with a special dealer script (use Hans van Staveren's dealer with this script to generate your goulash hands).
A couple of deal sets: 1 2 3 4 5
This game is a combination of "Who wants to be a Millionaire" and Bridge. I was introduced to this version in the Rieneck Bridge camp and it was invented by Robert and Daniela Klessing. They also organize Bridge holidays.
You play a normal bridge tournament, but every PLAYER (not pair) gets three jokers: 50/50, Audience and Telephone joker. He may use each of these exactly once during the evening, without consulting partner when to use it. The joker can be used only at one's turn to play, and not by dummy.
50 - 50: Cancels the board and both pairs get 50%. May be played at any time before the lead to the 10th trick.
Audience: You may look at the traveller (to director: make sure the hand record is not recorded!). May be played until the end of the auction.
Telephone: You may ask a non-playing expert (usually the director) for help on your next decision. May be played during the auction and for the opening lead.
In a crazy pairs tournament, special rules apply on certain boards. The play may go counterclockwise, Deuces may be high, or Spades are the lowest ranking suit. This is a lot of fun but may be very complicated for the players. Example rules may be found at David Stevenson's Bridge page - a fun night at the club
Off Axis Bridge
This variation is very simple but much fun to play. It was invented among others in HCØ Bridge Club in Denmark and is also mentioned on David Stevenson's site. The partners sit next to eachother instead of across, so one pair sits North and West and the other pair sits South and East. For scoring purposes and vulnerability, the N/W pair counts as N/S and the S/E pair counts as E/W. The opening lead is made by the defender left of declarer, or, if that is dummy, by the defender directly across declarer. Dummy is tabled directly after the opening lead.
Strategy: Some finesses now always work and some will never work. Secondary honors in East and West may be downgraded, in North and South upgraded.
Pass Left Bridge
This is one of the special rules that can be turned into a fun alternative to normal Bridge. After the auction, pass your cards to the left and THEN play the contract your bid. In short, you need to bid the contract that you expect your opponents to make, and then you get their cards and play it. Notice that declarer and his RHO will know all 52 cards (if they remember them). This is good to practice taking advantage of knowing all the cards.
Strategy: Think of a new system that works backwards. Bid on weak hands, pass on strong hands. Bid short suits instead of long suits. An example system could be:
1x: 0 - 10 HCP, at most 2 cards in the suit for a major, at most 3 for a minor.
1NT: 6 - 8 balanced
2x: 11 - 15 HCP, singleton in the suit bid.
2NT: 0 - 2 balanced (you'd be so lucky!)
You won't find out about opponent's shortnesses so it will be hard to bid distributional hands, however if you have a lot of high card strengths you may reach good games and slams. By the way, 4NT still asks for key cards. Sign off with two, bid something inbetween with one and go on with zero :)