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CDS Microsystems
Card Game
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Gwyn Hughes
Chris Bourne

So, there's a storm whenever I review a chess program because I'm not a Grand Master. On those grounds I shouldn't even be allowed to load Colossus Bridge! You see, the problem is that (gasp)... I can't play Bridge at all!

We're force fed the rudiments of the pawn game when we're young but not so Bridge. Don't let that put you offc Colossus is a good way to learn.

Of course, you must like card games in general, and sophisticated card games in particular. Bridge calls for two pairs of players, who sit opposite each other and are referred to as North, South, East and West . A game breaks down into two Parts.

Let's start at the end! in the second part, one player throws down a card. The others follow. trying to play a higher card, which has to be of the same suit whenever possible. The highest card wins the 'trick'. The only additional rule is that one suit may be nominated as trumps. If a player can't play the suit that's required, he may be able to ptay a powerful trump card.

This is all nice and simple, but complexities arise in the scoring. You don't just play for the greatest number of tricks, but you have to fulfil the 'contract' that you've made, and it you fall to do that, your opponents score penalty points.

The 'contract' is made in the first part of the game, when you nominate how many 'tricks' you think you and your partner will win, and what suit they'll be. Of course, this presents a slight problem as you can only see your own hand of thirteen cards. You might hold five strong diamonds, but you've no idea whether your partner can back you up if you contract to win three 'tricks' more than your opponents, with diamonds as trumps.

Never fear, for a clever system of communication has arisen... and I don't mean kicking each other under the table. Instead your partner's reply should alert you to the wisdom of a bid, if you open with one diamond and receive a reply of three diamonds, you can be pretty sure you're both . well placed.

If that doesn't sound too daunting, then Colossus Bridge is a great way into the game.

For starters, it comes with a paperback introduction. Then there's a tutor on the second side of the tape which presents you with ten hands that you have to bid correctty.

As with Colossus Chess, there's a good selection of optiona, including the opportunity to hold the auction again it you think you bid incorrectly, or to have the computer suggest a card in the second part of the game. The program's instruction booklet is a bit on the thin side, but you should find what you want there.

There's hardly a flood of Bridge programs on the Spectrum, and you could do far worse than this if you want to learn the game... though I suspect it'll give experienced players a good time too. For me, it built a bridge across a whirlpool of confusing rules and terms to a game I'm fast becoming hooked on.


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North declined to follow up your bid, and East/West failed to make a counter-move, so the game starts. East began strongly and this enabled your opponents to win four tricks, but then you took the advantage and won two. With Clubs as trumps and some powerful Diamonds, it should be possible to make that one Club contract without too much trouble - though for a low score.

The Auction. You partner, North, and opponent, East, have chosen not to bid, but you hold a good hand. It's valued at 17 points, found by counting the high cards, which is shown in the top row. Its strength is centred on the Clubs, so South opens with a tentative bid of one Club.