A card game for 4 or 6 players, popular in the Midwestern United States and elsewhere. I've come to enjoy it almost as much as my beloved Euchre, which is saying quite a lot.
For reasons more complicated than I'd care to explain, my own circle of friends refer to this game as "Pig-it & Hog-it". Again, don't ask me why. I'm sure that other folks have other names for it that are just as arcane and clever, but when surfing around, "Bid Euchre" seems to be the most common.
Like traditional Euchre, Bid Euchre is a trick-taking game, with the players divided into two teams that compete against each other for a number of rounds, until a set number of points is achieved. The object of the game is to be the first team to reach the winning score.
* Setting Up *
The first step in a game of Bid Euchre is to create a "Euchre deck" by removing the cards numbered '2' through '8' in a standard deck of playing cards. This will leave you with a 24-card deck of aces, face-cards, 9s and 10s.
For a 4-player game, this'll be all you'll need. For a 6-player game, make two Euchre decks and shuffle them together, so that you'll eventually end up with a deck of 48 cards total.
Now all you need to do is find a suitably large horizontal surface (i.e. a table), and gather your friends around it. Once everyone is seated, figure out what the teams will be. For a four-person game, the players sitting on opposite sides of the table will be partners. For a six-person game, simply alternate every other player to form two teams of 3.
* Basic Rules *
As in Euchre, the most confusing part of the game is the somewhat counter-intuitive way that the trump cards are ranked. (Note: Reading through this next section a few extra times will save you a lot of headaches later on, believe me.)
The highest trump card is the Jack of the trump suit, called the "Right Bower". The second-highest trump card is the Jack of the suit of the same color, called the "Left Bower". For the duration of the hand, the Left Bower is treated as being of the same suit as Right Bower. (For example, if Spades are trump, the Jack of Spades is the Right Bower, and the highest card in play. The Jack of Clubs is the Left Bower, the second highest card, and for this hand will be treated as if it was a Spade.)
After the Bowers, the other cards are ranked as you'd expect: A-K-Q-10-9 for the trump suit, followed by A-K-Q-J-10-9 for the "off" suits. (In other words, trump cards always beat off-suit cards.)
* Deal *
At the start of each hand, the cards are dealt two at a time (starting from the dealer's left), until the entire deck is in play. In a 4-player game, each person should then have 6 cards in their hand. For the 6-player version, each person should have 8.
* Bidding *
Trump is determined by a bidding round, which takes place immediately after the cards are dealt. Each player has one opportunity to either bid on the hand, or pass, starting on the dealer's left and ending with the dealer himself.
To make a bid, the player has to decide the minimum number of tricks that she thinks her team will be able to score, along with the suit that she wants to be made trump (For instance, if the player was to declare "3 Spades", it means that if trump was Spades, her team should be able to take at least three tricks).
Once the first bid is made, each consecutive bid must be at least one higher than the last. (E.g. if another player wanted to top the "3 Spades" bid and make Diamonds the trump suit, he would have to declare "4 Diamonds".)
If every player decides to pass, the entire hand is folded. Otherwise, the highest bid stands and that suit becomes trump.
Note, though, that there are also several special bids that can be made:
Most commonly, there's the bid of No Trump. In this case, the bidder still has to declare how many tricks her team is going to take, but if the bid stands, the hand will be played without any Bowers and with all four suits ranked equally. (For instance, a player with a lousy hand except for 3 high face-cards of all different suits may want to bid "3 No-Trump")
If the player thinks they have a great hand, they can also choose to "go alone". A bidder that chooses to go alone is allowed to automatically pick which suit he wants to be trump (or, alternately, can even decide to bid "No Trump"). However, the bidder is also obligated to take every trick of the hand, and to do so without the help of his partner(s). What's the pay-off? If a player can pull off a loner, his team nets 10 bonus points on top of the points earned that hand from normal scoring. However, if a loner fails, his team loses 10 points on top of the normal penalty for getting "set".
* Play *
Once the bidding round is finished and trump has been decided, the player with the highest bid has the "lead", and places one card (face-up) in the center of the table. Play moves clockwise, each player throwing in a card, until everyone has played.
During each round (or "trick") of the hand, each player is allowed to play any card they want, with one exception: You must "follow suit". That is, if the lead card is a Heart, and you have one or more Hearts in your hand, you have to play one of them. If you don't have any cards of the lead suit, only then you can play a card of another suit. (And remember, the Left Bower is treated as if it's the same suit as trump. That means, if all you have is the Left Bower, and the lead card is trump, you have to play it, whether you like it or not.)
When every player has thrown in a card, the team with the highest card takes the trick. As always: lead suit beats "off" suits (nonlead nontrump), high lead suit beats low lead suit, trump beats nontrump, high trump beats low trump.
(Note that, in a 6-person game, you're playing with a double-deck, and so there's two of everything. In the case that both cards get played on the same round, the first played takes the trick.)
The person that played the high-card for the last trick has the lead for the next. Play continues until all of the cards have been played.
* Scoring *
At the end of the hand, the tricks are tallied. If the bidding team was able to get enough tricks to meet or exceed the number they bid, each team scores 1 point for every trick they were able to take.
However, if the bidding team wasn't able to make their bid, then that team has been "set", and they lose the points they would have gained. The other team, however, still gets 1 point for each trick they took.
The score for the hand is then added (or subtracted) from the game's overall score.
* Winning *
The game is played to a certain score, which should be decided on at the start of the game. A typical game is played to 50 points. The team with the highest score once the magic number has been reached wins the game!
* Misc. Rules and Disclaimers *
"Table talk"-- that is, openly discussing your hand with your teammates during play-- is strictly prohibited.
Misdeals and reneging are punishable by loss of the hand, loss of points, public chastisement or, in some cases, merciless and savage beatings.
Deal to the right only at your own risk.