Tuesday, September 19, 2006

FAQ for English version of Bridge

I am pleased to announce that a new English edition of the Wolfgang Kramer game "Bridge" (the original German name is "Sehnen Sich Metallsache Die Einen K├Ârper Des Wassers Kreuzt") will be printed by Missouri River Games and should be available sometime next spring.

It has new box cover art and a few rule changes. I managed to obtain a copy of the FAQ that was created based on comments and questions from the playtesters. Here it is:

Differences between German and English editions

Q: What are the main differences between the English and German editions of the game?

A: The German edition has been simplified for the new English edition. The English edition should play in about 1 to 2 hours, where the German edition took up to 4 hours. We managed this by reducing the number of points needed to win and eliminating some of the time consuming mechanics, as well as streamlining the rules somewhat. I think English speaking fans will enjoy the new edition.

We eliminated the German advanced version of the game, as it was too complicated for most players; the basic German version is now the advanced English version. In the new basic English version, instead of an auction in phase 1, you draw five contracts from a deck of contracts, select one, and return the rest to the bottom of the deck.

We added the two and three player rules that were inadvertently left out in the German instructions. And we removed special bids such as "double" and "redouble", as these were confusing for most players.

Q: What are the two and three player rules?

A: For three players, you remove the "Club" nation from the game and play with only the three other nations. After the auction, the two non-winning auctioners play to prevent the winner from completing his political votes. As there's no partner, no hand is laid down.

The two player game is the same as for three players, except that the minimum bid starts at "3/Clubs ascendant" in the advanced version (remove all 1 and 2 level contracts from the contract deck in the basic version). When it is time for the third player to play a political leader, turn over leaders from the third player's hand until a legal card is revealed. If the third player has no legal leaders to play, the first card that was turned up is played.

Q: Was the game originally designed for two and three players?

A: The designer indicates that the game was originally designed for exactly four players, but that the German publisher insisted on adding two and three player rules for marketing reasons. Unfortunately, while they added the range of the number of players to the box, the rules themselves didn't manage to get into the box due to technical reasons. We found a copy of the rules shredded and buried in the designer's back yard under a Jerusalem cactus plant, and we restored them as the publisher tells us the designer really wanted.

Q: What happened to the "marker token" in the English version?

A: The "marker token" was only used in the advanced version of the game in the German edition. Since the German advanced version of the game was not included in the English edition, the token was not needed.

Q: What were the rules of the "marker token"?

A: The "marker token" was used in the advanced version of the German edition. The "marker token" was used to mark the location of the marker token. Whenever the marker token moved to a new location, you moved the marker token to the new location in order to mark the new location of the marker token.

Auction questions

Q: It seems that the first player has an advantage in the auction. Is there any way to balance this advantage?

A: The first player's advantage is not seen to be overly strong. Players are encouraged to rotate starting player in each voting year in order to offset any advantage the starting player may have.

Q: Can I continue to bid if I have already passed?

A: Yes, you may rejoin the bidding after passing.

Q: Can I name more than one ascendant nation at a time, for instance, "Four/clubs and spades?"

A: No, only one ascendant nation can be named at a time.

Q: Can I bid more than 7 / less than 1 in the bidding?

A: No, you can only bid between 1 and 7.

Q: The rules say "Leaders in the ascendant nation beat any leader in any other nation." Does that mean that in "no trump" leaders from any nation not lead beat any leader from the nation that is lead? In other words, is "No trump" considered a nation?

A: No, "No trump" is not a nation. No trump means that no nations are ascendant, not that all are.

Q: Can I bid the same ascendant nation as another player?

A: Yes, at a higher number of votes promised.

Q: Is the first person who mentioned the ascendant nation the auction winner, or the first person in the team who won the auction? I'm confused!

A: In the German edition, the auction winner was determined as follows: consider only the team containing the person who made the last bid in the auction. The first person of that team who mentioned the ascendant nation named in the last bid was the auction winner.

In the English version, we simplified this overly complex rule: the last bidder is now the auction winner.

Q: Can I bid Clubs as the ascendant nation if I have no Club leaders in my hand?

A: Yes, you do not need to hold any leaders of the nation that you name as ascendant.

Q: What happens if a player accidentally bids lower than he is permitted in the auction?

A: The player's bid is considered to be the minimum number permitted for the named ascendant nation.

Voting questions

Q: Do I have to play my highest leader in the current issue?

A: No, you may play any leader for the current issue. If you do not have any national leaders for that issue, you may play any leader from any other nation, although your leader played does not count (exception: a leader from an ascendant nation).

Q: Do I have to play a leader on each vote?

A: Yes, you must play a leader, even if it does not help you.

Q: What happens if an issue is being voted on, and two people play leaders of the ascendant nation?

A: The highest leader in the ascendant nation wins the vote.

Q: Do you keep your leaders after playing them, or are they discarded?

A: The leaders are discarded after playing.

Miscellaneous Questions

Q: What changes have been made to scoring?

A: The German edition used a complex table driven scoring mechanism. The English edition's scoring has been greatly simplified:

You get 10, 30, 60, ... points for a bid of 1, 2, 3, ... So a bid of 7 is worth 280 points. Extra votes secured above your promise are +10 points each. If you do not secure the number of votes promised, you forfeit your bonus and your opponents gain 10, 30, 60, ... points for each vote under what you promised.

Ascendant nation bonus:

Clubs---- x 1
Diamonds- x 1.5
Hearts--- x 2
Spades--- x 2.5
No Trumps x 3

This bonus applies to all scoring. Round all scores downwards to the nearest 10 points.

Q: What happens at the end of each round?

A: Move your scoring markers along the scoring track. Then remove the ascendancy token and votes promised token from the board. If no player has yet reached 500 points (1000 in the German edition), redeal the leaders and start a new round.

The publishers wish to thank our extensive team of American playtesters for their many hours of input and comments.



Simon J said...

I've heard a rumour that the English version has been made in China, and has poor production quality. I'd recommend trying to get the German version instead.

Yehuda Berlinger said...


Yes, I heard those rumors, as well. However, following the latest news about Missouri Game's financial difficulties, it is rumored that Fantasy Flight Games may be picking up the game, in which case we can expect some beautiful components. They are also rumored to be changing the theme to the Trojan War.