How to Play Boston

Boston is a trick taking game developed in the 1700's. Despite being named after a key location in the American war for Independence when the game was developed, it is believed the game was actually developed in France. It is a direct descendant of Hombre and is itself a direct successor to Solo Whist. This game is also known as Boston Fontainbleau. While sometimes called French Boston, this is actually a misnomer as there is actually another, similar game called French Boston (see variations below). To confuse matters even further, there is a variation of this game which was widely played in the fledgling United States at about the same time, also described in the variations section below.

Boston is designed to be played by four players, each playing individually (no set partnerships). The game uses one the standard 52 card deck. The ranking of the cards during this game is as follows, from high to low; Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

Before play begins, the players should determine seating positions and the first dealer. The most common method of determining seating positions is for each player to draw a card, with the players seated in order of the rank of the cards drawn. If two or more players draw cards of the same rank, the suit of the card can be used to further rank these cards, using the following suit ranking for this purpose (from high to low): Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs. After seating positions and the first dealer have been determined, the dealer shuffles the deck and offers it to the player to his immediate right for the cut. After the cut, the dealer begins dealing the hand. After each hand the deal rotates in a clockwise direction around the table.

One special rule regarding the shuffle should be noted for this game. After the first hand, the cards are never shuffled. Instead, the cards are all gathered in a face down pile. Each player is then required to cut the deck one time. After all players have cut the deck the dealer then begins the deal. He begins dealing the cards in a clockwise rotation face down and one by one in a clockwise rotation starting with the player to his immediate left. He continues dealing in this manner until the entire deck has been dealt.

Chip distribution to each player to begin a game of Boston Boston is normally scored using chips in which each player is provided an equal number. Due to the high scoring nature of this game there are usually multiple sized or colored chips used which each represent a differing number of points or units. These are usually supplied in the following amounts: 20 chips of a specific size, shape or color representing 100 units, 80 chips which each represent 50 units, and 80 chips which represent 5 units each. These chips should then be divided up evenly amongst the players; 5 to each player representing 100, 20 to each player representing 50, and 20 to each player representing 5 units. Traditionally, each player was provided a special basket in which he kept his current supply of these chips.

After the deal is completed each player must place 5 chips or units in the center of the table, which is repeated at the start of each hand. After this, the bidding portion of the game begins. The player to the dealer's immediate left has the right to make the first bid. The bidding moves in a clockwise rotation around the table from player to player. A player may either pass or make a bid higher than any previous bid. If a player passes he must drop from the bidding during the current hand, passing on his turn to bid for the remainder of that hand. The bidding continues until there are three consecutive bids after the last high bid. The bids allowed during this game, in ranking from high to low are shown in the following chart:

Bid NameDescriptionPoint Value of Bid
Simple BostonA bid to play the hand using a declared suit of the bidding player's choice. When making this bid, the player must also declare a suit in which he will play the hand if his is the winning bid. If this becomes the winning bid this player is required to win 5 or more tricks to win the hand. When making this bid, a player simply states the number five followed by the special suit of the bid (i.e. "Five Spades"). In this and several of the other numbered bids, the high bidder may also request a temporary partner, which will be described further below.2
Six LeveesThe next highest bid category in Boston is a bid of Six Levees. This is a bid a player makes obligating himself to win six tricks during the hand, using a trump suit that is also declared during the bid. Thus, when making this bid a player also declares the trump suit to be used for the hand.4
Little MisèreA bid to play the hand, winning zero tricks. No trump suit is declared or used during the hand. If this becomes the winning bid, before the first trick, each player selects any one card of choice from his own hand and discards it to the side not to be used during play of the hand. Thus, the hand consists of 12 tricks.4
Seven LeveesA bid to win a minimum of seven tricks during the hand. This bid is made in conjunction with a suit declaration which is the suit which would be used for the hand if this bid is the high bid.8
PicolissimoA Bid to win exactly one trick during the hand. No trump suit is declared or used with this bid. If Picolissimo becomes the high bid for the hand, before the first trick each player discards one card of choice from his hand and discards it face down, where it will not be used during the hand. The hand will consist of 12 tricks.8
Eight LeveesA bid to win at least eight tricks during the hand. The bid is made in conjunction with a suit declaration which is the suit which would be used for the hand if this becomes the high bid.8
Grand MisèreA bid to win zero tricks during the hand. No trump suit is declared or used during the hand. Unlike the Little Misère bid, players do not discard any cards from their hand before play begins.8
Nine LeveesA bid to win a minimum of nine tricks during the hand. This bid is made in conjunction with a suit declaration which is the suit which would be used for the hand if this bid is the high bid.8
Little Misère on the TableThis is similar to a bid of Little Misère, with the high bidder attempting to win no tricks during the hand. As in the standard Little Misère bid, each player discards one card of his choice before the hand begins in the event this is the high bid. Before play begins, however, the high bidder must lay his entire hand face up on the table and play the hand with his hand exposed in this way.4
Ten LeveesA bid to win at least ten tricks during the hand. This bid is made in conjunction with a suit declaration which is the suit which would be used for the hand if this bid is the high bid.8
Grand Misère on the TableA Bid to win no tricks during the hand. No trump suit is declared or used during the hand. No discarding occurs before the first trick, however the high bidder must place his entire hand face up on the table before the first trick and play the round with his entire hand exposed.8
Eleven LeveesA bid to win eleven or more tricks during the hand. A selection of trump suits is also declared as part of the bid which will be the trump suit used during the hand if this becomes the high bid. Dissimilar to the previous Levee bids, the bidder of this bid may not call for a partner during this hand.16
Twelve LeveesA bid to win twelve or more tricks during the hand. The bidder's choice of trump suits is also declared as part of the bid which will be the suit used as trump during the hand if this becomes the high bid. The bidder of this bid may not call for a partner for this hand.16
Grand BostonA bid to win all thirteen tricks during the hand. This bid also includes a declaration of the trump suit to be used for the hand as part of the bid. The winner of this bid may not call for a partner for this hand. This bid is also sometimes called Chelem.32
Grand Boston on the TableA bid to win all thirteen tricks during the hand with the added stipulation that the bidder must play the entire round with his hand face up on the table.. This bid would also includes a declaration of the trump suit to be used for the hand as part of the bid. The winner of this bid may not call for a partner for this hand. This bid is also sometimes called Chelem on the Table.32

Suit ranking in the card game Boston A bid of the same category can also be declared by a player as long as it is considered a higher ranked bid. A bid of the same category is considered higher if that bid, which is in the same category but is of a higher ranking suit. This obviously only applies for the bid categories in which a suit is named as part of the bid. The ranking of the suits for this purpose are as follows (from high to low); Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, Spades. As an example, a bid of "Eight Levees in Spades" would be outranked by a bid of "Eight Levees in Clubs."

If the high bid for the hand becomes Simple Boston, Six Levees, Seven Levees, Eight Levees, Nine Levees, or Ten Levees the high bidder may also opt to request a temporary partner (called a Whister). He would do this after his bid were determined to be the high bid for the hand. If he does request a partner, the player and the temporary partner must win three more than the bid number amongst them to be considered to have won the hand (for example, a Simple Boston with a partner would require that amongst the high bidder and his partner they win at least 8 tricks during the hand). If a player elects to request a partner for the hand he would then call out the suit and rank of a high card he lacks from his own hand (usually an Ace or King). The player who has the called card becomes the player's partner but does not acknowledge or otherwise state this, with the identity of the partner only becoming known when the called card is played to a trick.

If all four players initially pass during the bidding phase with no player making an actual bid, the hand is still played but with a different goal (see below).

Play of the Hand: Once the high bid is determined, the play of the hand begins. The player to the dealer's immediate left plays the first card to the first trick. Each player in a clockwise direction then plays one card to the trick. A player may lead any card of his choice when playing the first card to a trick. When playing to an existing trick, a player must play a card of the same suit as led to the trick. If the player does not have a card of the suit led to the trick he may play any card of his choice to the trick, including a card of the trump suit. Once each player has played one card to the trick it is determined who won the trick. The highest trump card played to a trick wins the trick. If the trick contains no cards of the trump suit, the highest card of the suit led to the trick wins the trick. The winner of each trick then leads the first card to start the next trick.

Winning the Hand and Scoring: Once all tricks have been played and won, it is then determined if the high bidder was able to make his bid. If the player was able to fulfill the obligation of the bid he contracted for and his bid was for seven or more tricks, he is entitled to collect all chips in the pile in the center of the table. If he had a temporary partner, and amongst them both were able to win the number of tricks of the bid, plus three more, he must evenly divide these chips with his partner, with any odd chips going to the actual bidder. In addition, all opponents are required to give a number of bonus chips to a successful bidder, the number depending on the number of tricks won. The following table shows the number of chips each other player must give the winner of a successful bid based on the number of tricks bid:

Player's Winning BidTrump Suit for Hand
 Spades (♠)Clubs (♣)Hearts ()Diamonds ()
510102030
630304050
750506070
870708090
99090100110
10110110120130
11130130140150
12150150160170
13 (Grand Boston)400400450500
13 (Grand Boston on the Table)600600700800

For the other bids which do not use a trump suit, the scoring table is as follows:

Winning BidScore
Little Misère75
Piccolissimo (1 Trick)100
Grand Misère150
Little Misère on the Table200
Grand Misère on the Table250

If the bidder has a partner and the player and his partner were able to make the bid plus three more tricks, one opponent pays the bidder and the other opponent pays the partner.

All four Honours in Spades Honours and Overtricks: In addition to these bonus scores, a player can also accumulate additional points for Honours and overtricks. The honours are the four highest cards of the designated trump suit for that hand. Honours only apply and can be potentially scored on bids which include a trump suit. A player who manages to make his bid can also earn bonus chips from his opponents for honors he had in his hand. If the winning player had three Honours in hand, he scores 10 points. If the winner had all four Honours in hand he scores 20 points. If the high bidder had a partner for the round, these honours may be split evenly amongst the player and his partner. In addition, players can score additional bonus points for winning overtricks (additional tricks beyond the number bid by that player). For each additional trick a player wins over the number required for his bid, he earns five additional chips.



If the high bidder does not manage to fulfill his contract, he must instead give a number of chips to each opponent. The number he must give to each other player is thus equal to the number of chips he would have won had he won the contract plus five for each trick less than his bid he actually did win during the hand. For the non-trump suit bids, if he does not manage to win as per the contract he pays each opponent the number of chips he would have won had he managed to make the contract. If he has a partner, the bidder must pay one opponent and his partner the other opponent. Similarly, for an inability to capture one of the special bid types, the player must give each opponent a number of chips based on the type of bid made.

Bid Not FulfilledChips to each Opponent
Piccolisimo30
Grand Boston on the Table225
Little Misère20
Grand Misère40
Little Misère on the Table80
Grand Misère on the Table160

Also, a player who bid 7 or more and is unable to capture at least 7 tricks during the hand must add an equal number of chips to the center pile as are already found there at the start of the hand. If he has a partner, each partner must place a number of chips into the pool equal to half the amount that was there at the start of this hand.

In the case in which no player made a bid (all players initially passing), the hand is still played, however, the goal of the game changes somewhat. The players attempt to win as few tricks as possible, using no trump suit for the hand. The player who takes the least tricks wins all the chips currently in the center. If two or more players tie for the fewest tricks won during the hand, the chips are split amongst these players equally. Any odd chips are left in the pile for the next hand.

After a pre-determined number of hands (usually set at 12) the player with the highest total point value in chips is declared the winner of the game. Once the Soloist for the hand is determined he states his actual contract for the hand. He may state as his contract his high bid or any higher bid. If the contract is "in suit" the Soloist declares his suit of choice to be the trump suit for the hand, but may not declare Clubs as the trump suit. If the Soloist declares "in color" as his contract for the hand, Clubs is set as the trump suit for the hand. If he declared a Frog contract he also declares a high card missing from his hand, with the player holding that card being set as his partner during the hand (as mentioned in the list of bids). This player does not make it known that he is the bidder's partner, with this fact becoming known once the called card is played to a trick during the hand.

                     

Variations and Optional Rules


Russian Boston: Russian Boston is a variant of Boston which closely resembles standard Boston as described above. It is played identically to the standard variant of Boston described above with the following specific differences: In all other aspects Russian Boston is played identically to the standard variant as previously described.

American Boston: American Boston, also called Boston Whist, is a somewhat similar game to Boston which was widely played in the New World and said to have been made popular by Benjamin Franklin. The game is similar to the basic game described above with several differences in the rules.

The first major difference is that, although the game used for actual play of each hand still uses only a single deck, a second full 52 card deck is used for determination of the ranking of suits in the hand for purposes of setting the trump suit for the hand (to be described shortly).

American Boston is designed to be played by four players with no partnerships. Determination of seats and first dealer can be done using the same method as used in standard Boston (drawing of high cards). Also similar to Standard Boston, after each hand the main deck used for play is never shuffled until the end of a game. It is shuffled before the start of the game but not thereafter until the completion of the game. The secondary deck, which is used for determination of suit ranking in the hand, however, should be shuffled after each hand.

Determination of Preference Suits in American Boston After the players are seated, the first dealer then deals out the first hand the same way as in the standard game, until each player has a total of 13 cards. After the hands have been dealt, the second, shuffled deck is then cut by the player sitting opposite of the dealer (directly across the table from the dealer). The player to the cutting player's immediate left then exposes the top card from this second, face-down deck. The suit of this exposed card then determines the ordering of suits for the hand for purposes of indicating the potential trump suit to be used for this hand. The suit of the card exposed (called the Preference Suit) is considered the highest ranking suit for the hand. The differing suit of the same color as that exposed is considered the next highest ranking suit for the hand (called the Second Preference). The two suits of the opposite color of the drawn suit are called Plain suits. The two Preference suits will have special use during the bidding and determination of the final trump suit for the hand. As an example, if the card exposed from the top of the second deck was the seven of Clubs, Clubs would be considered the Preference suit for the hand. Spades would be the Second Preference suit for the hand and Diamonds and Hearts are considred the Plain suits for the hand. Other than for this determination of suit rankings for each hand, this exposed card and the secondary deck play no further part in the game.

After the hands are dealt and the Preference suits determined the bidding begins, starting with the player to the dealer's immediate left and proceeding in a clockwise direction around the table. The bidding format is similar as that used in standard Boston as described above. The following are the possible bids allowable in this version of the game in the order of ranking from lowest to highest:

Bid NameDescription
BostonBid to play the hand and win at least five tricks during the hand. When making this bid, a player simply states the number five, with no trump suit yet declared. If this becomes the winning bid this player is required to win 5 or more tricks to win the hand.
SixThe next highest bid category in Boston is a bid of Six. This is a bid a player makes obligating himself to win six tricks during the hand.
SevenBid to win a minimum of seven tricks during the hand.
Little MisèreBid to play the hand, winning no tricks. No trump suit is used during the hand. If this becomes the winning bid, before the first trick, each player selects any one card of choice from his own hand and discards it to the side not to be used during play of the hand. Thus, the hand consists of 12 tricks.
EightBid to win at least eight tricks during the hand.
NineBid to win a minimum of nine tricks during the hand. The basic bid can simply be made by a player stating nine.
Grand MisèreBid to win zero tricks during the hand. No trump suit will be used during the hand. Unlike the Little Misère bid, players do not discard any cards from their hand before play begins.
TenBid to win at least ten tricks during the hand.
ElevenBid to win eleven or more tricks during the hand.
Little SpreadA Bid to win no tricks during the hand. No trump suit is used during the hand. No discarding occurs before the first trick, however the high bidder must place his entire hand face up on the table before the first trick and play the round with his entire hand exposed.
TwelveBid to win twelve or more tricks during the hand. The bidders choice of trump suits is also declared as part of the bid which will be the suit used as trump during the hand if this becomes the high bid. The bidder of this bid may not call for a partner for this hand.
Grand SpreadBid to win zero tricks during the hand with the bidding player's entire hand face-up on the table.
Grand SlamBid to win all thirteen tricks during the hand.

The Boston bid and each of the numbered bids can be overcalled by either a higher ranking bid from the table or by a bid of the same number, however the bid would also specify one of the two preference suits. Thus, a basic number bid can be overcalled by a bid of the same number specifying the hand will be played with the Second Preference suit (usually announced by the bidder declaring "I Keep"). This bid, in turn can be overcalled by a bid of the same number using the Preference Suit (which is often declared by the bidder stating "I keep over you"). Of course, a bid can always be overcalled by a higher ranking bid from the table. A player must either make a higher bid than another player (either a higher ranked bid, or a bid considered higher by virtue of use of a preference suit). If a player passes, he may re-enter the bidding on a later-turn, but only in the case to declare a bid of Little Misère or Grand Misère, and only if the current rank of the bid is currently lower than his Misère bid. The bidding continues until the last high bid is followed by three consecutive passes. That high bid is then considered the winning high bid for the hand and that bid becomes the high bidders contract. In this version of the game, the high bidder is always required to play solo and may not call for a partner regardless of the winning high bid.

If all players pass with no player making a bid, the hand is played with no trump suit and each players goal to win as few tricks as possible during the hand. The scoring in this case is somewhat different. The player who wins the most tricks must give each opponent a number of points equal to five times the difference between the number of tricks he won and that the opponent won. If two players tie for the most tricks, these player must all give the remaining two players a number of chips equal to half the difference between the number of tricks he won and that the opponent won, multiplied by five. If three players tie for the most tricks won, each of these three players must give the remaining player 5 chips.

Play of a trick in American Boston Once the high bidder is determined play of the hand begins, with the player to the dealer's immediate left leading the first card to the first trick. If the winning high bid included a call of one of the Preference suits, that is the suit that will be set as the trump suit for the hand. If the highest bid was a numbered bid but did not include a Preference suit as part of the bid, the high bidder may then select a suit of his choice to be the trump suit for the hand. The play of the hand is performed in exactly the same way as in standard Boston as described above, with each player playing one card to the trick in his proper turn. A player must follow suit if able, to the trick, and if unable, may play any card from his hand, including a card of the trump suit if he has such a card and elects to play it. After all four players have played one card to the trick in turn, it is then determined which player won the trick. The highest card of the trump suit played to the trick wins that trick. If no cards of the trump suit have been played to the trick, the highest card of the suit originally led to the trick wins it. The completed trick should then be set aside, out of play for the remainder of the hand. These played cards are usually set in a face-down pile near the winner of the trick to help determine, at the end of the hand, how many tricks the player was able to win. The winner of each trick then leads the first card to begin the next trick. After all tricks have been played and won, the bidder then determines if he was able to make his bid by counting the total number of tricks he has won during the hand. If he did manage to win at least as many tricks as his high bid, he earns a number of chips from each other player based on his bid and the number of tricks he actually managed to win during the hand. The following chart details the number of chips he collects from each other player in the event he managed to fulfill his high bid:

Tricks Bid
5678910111213
Tricks Won
512         
61215        
7131618       
813162023      
91417212432     
10141822263442    
1114192328364563   
1215202429394868106  
1315202631415272114166

For the non-trump type bids, the following chart displays the number of chips the winner collects from each opponent if he is able to fulfill his bid:

Winning BidScore
Little Misère20
Grand Misère40
Little Spread80
Grand Spread160

In the event the high bidder does not manage to win at least as many tricks as bid, he must give each opponent a number of chips. This number is based on his bid and the number of tricks he actually did win during the hand as shown on the following chart:

Tricks Bid
5678910111213
Tricks Won
0506682110127157208304433
141557289115145194286412
231456078103132180270390
32135506792119165252369
41124405682107151234348
5 1529466894138217326
6  19345782123200305
7   234470109182284
8    335695165262
9     4480148241
10      67130222
11       113198
12        177

For the non-trump bids, the bidder must give each other player the same number of points as he would have won if he had managed to fulfill the terms of his bid.

If the high bid for the hand was equivalent to seven tricks or higher and the high bidder makes his bid he is entitled to take all the chips currently found in the pile in the center of the table. If the high bidder is unable to make his bid (no matter what the bid was), he must add a number of chips to the pile equal to the number of chips currently in the pile. On a hand on which all players had passed, the pile is not affected.

American Boston - Alternative Scoring: Some players prefer to play American Boston with slightly modified scoring. This is usually done in order to somewhat simplify scoring using round numbers for most of the point award and penalty amounts. In addition, when using this method, overtricks and honours are normally not counted, so the player wins a set amount of chips for making his high bid. The following chart shows the amount earned for winning the bid.

Player's High BidScoring Value
510
615
720
825
935
1045
1165
12105
13170

The penalty amounts are also updated when using this modified scoring method. The following chart shows the number of units the bidder must give to each other player if he does not make his bid, depending on how many tricks he actually does win during the hand.

Tricks Bid
5678910111213
Tricks Won
0506580115140170220320450
1405570100125155200300420
230456085110140185280390
32035507095125170260360
41025405580110155240340
5 1530456595140220320
6  20355580125200300
7   254570110180280
8    355595160260
9     4580145240
10      70130220
11       120200
12        180

The scoring for the Misère and Spread hands is identical to that used in standard American Boston.

French Boston: The standard game of Boston, as described above, is often incorrectly called French Boston. French Boston is actually it's own game but is played similarly to the other versions of Boston previously described. This variant is also sometimes called Boston de Nantes.

The game uses one standard 52 card deck with the standard ranking (with a small exception for the trump suit as described below). The game is designed for four players with no permanent partnerships, although on certain bids the bidder may request a partner for the hand.

Determination of seating positions and first dealer are traditionally done in the following manner for this game. To begin, any player picks up the shuffled deck and deals 13 cards to each player. Whichever player receives the Jack of Diamonds deals the first hand and has first choice of seats. The other players can then draw for high card for the remaining seats at the table if there is any dispute on seating for the remaining players at the table. Thereafter the deal rotates around the table in a clockwise direction from player to player.

Determination of Preference Suits in American Boston As opposed to most other variations of Boston, in French Boston, the cards are shuffled after every hand. The dealer then distributes thirteen cards to each player face down, except for his own last card which is dealt face-up. This card will be used to help determine the trump suit for the hand. Each game consists of exactly 40 hands or deals. At the start of the first 32 deals, the current dealer must place 10 chips in the pile in the center of the table. On the last 8 deals of the game, the dealer must place 20 chips into the pile.

The last card which is dealt face-up and belongs to the dealer is a special suit which has effects on scoring for the hand as well as has special rank during the bidding. On the first hand this suit is called belle, and on every subsequent deal it is called petite. If, after the first hand, the belle suit is turned up again, that round than has no petite suit. The suits have a permanent ranking in this game for purposes of bidding. The order is as follows from high to low; Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs and Spades.

The Jack of Diamonds is always considered the highest card of the trump suit. As such, this card is considered to be a member of that trump suit and should be played when a card of the trump suit would be required. If, however, the trump suit for the hand ends up being Diamonds, the Jack of Diamonds retains it's normal position between 10 and Queen, and the Jack of Hearts becomes the highest card of the trump suit.

As in most games of the Boston group, there are a series of bids in which a player can make on his turn. The following table shows the list of bids a player can make, shown in ascending order from lowest to highest:

BidDescription
Simple in PetiteBid to play the hand and win at least five tricks if playing alone. If the bidder elects to call for a partner, the bidder and his partner must win a total of 8 amongst them. The suit to be used as the trump suit during the hand is the exposed petite card during the deal. This bid may not be made during the very first hand of the game or on a hand in which no Petite suit is to be used.
Simple in BelleThis is a bid to play the hand, winning five tricks if playing alone. If calling for a partner, eight tricks must be won by the temporary partnership. The original belle suit will be used as the trump suit for the hand.
Petite IndependenceBid to win a minimum of six tricks during the hand, playing solo. If this bid becomes the high bid during the hand, the high bidder may declare any suit as the trump suit for the hand. When making this bid, the bidder should also state a trump suit for the bid. A bid of this type may be overcalled by the same bid providing that bid is in a higher suit.
Petite MiserèBid to play the hand and win no tricks during the hand. No trump suit is used. If this becomes the high bid, before the start of the hand, all players discard one card of their choice face down to the side. These cards are not used further during the course of the hand.
Grand IndependenceBid to win at least eight tricks during the hand, playing solo. The player may select any suit of his choice as the trump suit for the hand. A bid of this type may be overcalled by the same bid providing that bid is in a higher suit.
Grand MiserèBid to win zero tricks during the hand. No trump suit will be used during the hand. Unlike the Petite Misère bid, players do not discard any cards from their hand before play begins.
Miserè des quatre asThis is a bid to win no tricks during the hand, using no trump suit. A player may only make this bid if he has all four Aces. In play, when this is the high bid, the bidder for the hand is entitled to renege on the first 10 tricks of the hand. In other words, he is under no obligation to follow suit to the suit led during the first 10 tricks during the hand. However, for the last three tricks during the hand he must follow suit as in standard play. The opponents, as usual, must follow suit on every trick during the hand if able.
NeufA bid to win nine tricks solo, selecting a suit of the bidder's choice as trump suit for the hand. A bid of this type may be overcalled by the same bid providing that bid is in a higher suit
Neuf en PetiteA Bid to win nine tricks during the hand playing solo and using the Petite suit exposed at the end of the current deal.
Neuf en BelleBid to win nine or more tricks during the hand with the original Belle suit set as trumps for the hand. The bidder must play solo, with no partner for the hand.
Petite Miserè Sur TableBid to win nine tricks during the hand with the bidding player's entire hand face-up on the table. The player may select any trump suit to be used for the hand. This bid is made along with a declared trump suit. A bid of this type may be overcalled by the same bid providing that bid is in a higher suit. Before the start of play of the hand, each player is entitled to discard one card face-down to the side which is not used during the remainder of the hand.
Grand Miserè Sur TableBid to win ten tricks during the hand, with the entire hand face-up on the table for the duration of the hand. The bidder selects the trump suit of his choice to use during the hand if his becomes the winning bid. A bid of this type may be overcalled by the same bid providing that bid is in a higher suit

Potential partnerships in French Boston If making a bid of Simple in Petite or Simple in Belle, the bidder also must request a partner for the hand. He does this by stating "Je Demande" (equivalent to one of the Simple bids) but does not specify which of the opponents will be his temporary partner for the duration of the hand. When calling for a partner on a hand, the Petite suit or Belle suit must be the trump suit for the hand. After making this bid, the player places any card from his hand face-down on the table in front of himself. This card must be of the suit to be used for trump during the hand. On his turn, if a higher bid has not been made since the original request, another player may accept the request and becomes the player's temporary partner for the duration of the hand. After his partner his determined for the hand (if accepted by any player) and if bid becomes the high bid for the hand, the player then exposes the card placed into the center of the table, with the suit of this card indicating the trump suit for the hand. After all players have seen the exposed card, the player places it back to his hand. No players change or move seats regardless of whom might accept the request to be the bidder's partner. Once a player, on a hand has made a bid or accepted a request to be another player's partner, he may not bid any of the Miserè bids on that same turn.

For the bids of Petite Independence, Grand Independence, or Neuf, the player may opt to use any suit as the trump suit for the hand. A player electing not to bid on a turn may pass by saying "Je Passe." Once a player passes during the bidding he may not make any further bids during the hand, although that player could accept a request from another player who made a Simple bid requesting a partner. If all three opponents pass, and none accept the request to become the partner of the bidder, the bidder must play the hand solo, without a partner. If all players pass the cards are all gathered together and the deck passed to the next dealer in turn to be shuffled and dealt for the next hand.

Scoring: After all tricks have been played, it is then determined if the high bidder was able to make his declared high bid. If he is able to make his bid, he collects a number of chips from each other player based on the following chart:

BidTrump Suit for Hand
 Spades (♠)Clubs (♣)Diamonds ()Hearts ()
Simple In Petite or Belle481216
Petite Independence6121824
Grand Independence8162432
Petite Miserè16324864
Grand Miserè326496128
Miserè de Quatre As326496128
Miserè sur Table64128192256
Slam a deux (Bidder and one partner)50100150200
Slam seul (Bidder playing alone)100200300400
Slam sur Table200400600800

Although not an actual bid, a player does have the option to play for a slam. A slam is winning all thirteen tricks during the hand. If a player making a lesser bid (not counting any of the Miserè bids) and fulfills his bid he may opt try for a slam. After fulfilling the minimum necessary for his declared bid for the hand, he may declare he wants to continue on for a Slam. If he manages to make the slam he wins the points recorded on the table for the appropriate slam bid (either a closed hand or open hand, exposed on the table). He does not, however, earn any points for overtricks. If the player does not manage to make the slam after declaring he wants to attempt the slam, he is considered not to have made his bid and must give the indicated penalty to the other players for a slam. A player who makes a slam but does not declare he is attempting it does not score the slam but will score, as usual, bonus points for the number of overtricks won. Since the Miserè bids do not include the use of a trump suit during play, the points awarded are based on the suit of the turned card which was exposed at the end of the current deal.

In addition, for some of the bids, if the player has three or more honours in his hand, he scores additional points. If the player is playing with a partner, the honours can be amongst both of the players in the temporary partnership. Honours are the Ace, King, Queen and Jack of the trump suit used for the hand. The following chart shows the chips awarded by each other player for having the honours and successfully completing his bid:

BidHonours in HandTrump Suit for Hand
  Spades (♠)Clubs (♣)Diamonds ()Hearts ()
Simple In Petite or Belle336912
Simple In Petite or Belle4481216
Petite Independence3481216
Petite Independence46121824
Grand Independence36121824
Grand Independence48162432

In addition, tricks won above the number required for the hand also earn a number of bonus points for the player (and his partner if appropriate) on certain bids. The following chart shows the number of bonus points earned for each overtrick in the appropriate bid:

BidTrump Suit for Hand
 Spades (♠)Clubs (♣)Diamonds ()Hearts ()
Simple In Petite or Belle1234
Petite Independence2468
Grand Independence481216

Bonus score for the Jack of Diamonds in French Boston The player who has the Jack of Diamonds is entitled to collect two chips from every player in all bids except in the various Miserè bids, in which no chips are awarded for the card. In addition, if the bidder manages to successfully make his bid, he is entitled to take all the chips from the center pile. If he has a partner for the hand, each of the players take half of these chips.

If the bidder is unable to fulfill his contract, he must instead give each other player the indicated number of chips from the charts above. He must also add a number of chips to the center pile as are currently in that pile. If playing with a partner, the player who did not earn the necessary tricks for the bid must pay the other players and double the center pile. Thus, if the bidder wins five tricks himself, but the partner wins less than three, the temporary partner must pay the two opponents and double the center pile. If the partner wins at least three, but the bidder earns less than five (and the combined number of tricks are not enough to make the bid), the bidder must pay the two opponents and double the center pile. If the bidder wins less than 5 and the partner earn less than 3, the bidder gives the necessary chips to one opponent and his partner must give the necessary chips to the other opponent and each gives half the necessary chips to double the center pile.

Mariland: Mariland is a variation of Boston which closely resembles French Boston in many aspects. The following details the differences between this version and French Boston as described above.

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