Spades is a trick taking card game intended to be played with four players. It can also be played with 2 players. There are options to either play it with four opponents or go for the team option and play on the same team with the person sitting across from you. Spades is based on scoring points, meaning that the point of the game is to have as many points as possible. The team or player with the most points wins the game. Note: If you're playing Spades in person, you can print a score sheet here.
Each player on the board receives 13 cards, and during each round, a card will need to be thrown on the table. Once all four players put a card on the table, the game determines who takes the cards, or in Spades’ terms, who performed a trick. When the game deals your cards, depending on the game, you will have the option to view the cards, make a bid, or make a blind bid. Bidding is when you guess how many tricks you think you will get during the game.
Since each player gets 13 cards, you can make up to 13 bids, deepening on the cards, and you also have the option to make zero bids or nil. It is essential to bid reasonably, based on the cards you have because bidding high and getting fewer tricks will cost you points. An unwritten rule is that your bid should be with the number of cards with spades that you have, but that is not always a good approach.
Once the bidding is done, the players can start putting cards on the table. The game is called Spades, so the cards with a higher chance of getting you a trick are the spades, while the rest of the suits are treated equally. The player that will throw a card first can throw any suit except a spade, after which the other players will need to follow the lead and throw a card from the same suit. If a player doesn’t have a card from the same suit, it can throw from any other. The first player cannot throw a spade card, but any of the other three players can.
To win a trick, there are a few things to consider. If none of the cards are spades, then the highest card wins. If one of the players throws a spade, then that player wins the trick. If there is more than one spade card on the table, the highest one wins. For example, you may have two of spades in your cards and think that it will be a winner, but your opponent may have five of spades, at which point he gets the trick. That is why the bidding is a crucial step, especially in the scoring section of the game.
Each game has 13 rounds, and in the end, the players get scored based on how much they bided and how many tricks they got. This is where things get a bit complicated. Biding fairly is essential because there are cases where you will be deducted points. If you have as many or more tricks as your bid, you get 10 points for every trick and one point for each trick over your bid. If your bid was three and you got four tricks, the score will be 31. You will lose 10 points if you get fewer tricks than your bid, so if your bid was five and you got four bids, you get 10 points deducted for each lost trick, or in this case, 30 points.
If your bid was nil and you get no tricks, your team gets awarded with 100 points. On the other hand, if you manage to get at least one trick, your team will lose 100 points. The score can be doubled if you went for the blind nil, where instead of 100 points, you can get 200 if you get no tricks or lose 200 points if you get a trick.
The game has a rule called over tricking. That is when you get more tricks than your bid. Even though each trick over your bid gets awarded with one point, managing to get to 10 overtricks will cost you 100 points. The number of overtricks is counted during the duration of the game, and for every ten overtricks you lose 100 points. If you get 35 overtricks, your team loses 300 points.
The game is played as long as it takes for at least one team or player reaches 500 points. During the game, the number of deals is not counted and plays no role in the points. Since the rules dictate that you can get and lose points, there may come a situation where both teams or multiple players will reach 500 points in one deal. In that case, the side with the most points wins.