Oh Hell

About Oh Hell

Oh Hell! is the world's most popular trick-taking card game in which the object is to take exactly the number of tricks bid. Also knows as Contract Whist, Oh Well!, German Bridge, Blackout or Up and Down the River.

The aim of the game is to score points by winning tricks (each trick scores one point) and by correctly predicting how many tricks you will win each round (this scores 10 points per round). The winner of the game is the player with the most points after a fixed number of rounds.

The rules of play are those of standard trick-taking games. A card is beaten by a higher card of the same suit or any trump card. When a card is played, the other players must follow suit (play a card of the same suit) if possible. If they do not hold any cards of the leading suit, they may choose to trump by playing any trump card to win, or throw away by playing any non-trump card to lose.

Our version uses 'standard' rules, but a few are optional to appeal to everyone's preferred way of playing oh hell:

  • You can set the 'screw the dealer' rule to be on or off
  • You can set nil bids to only receive 5 and not 10 bonus points if the contract is met
  • You can set the trump suit to be determined by the next card or to alternate
  • You can set the number of players to between 3 and 7
  • You can play 4 types of game; up, down, up and down or down and up
  • You can set the AI level to be either easy, or hard for a bigger challenge

A fast and fun card game for all levels of players!

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Available on App/Play Store

How To Play

Oh Hell is a game for three to seven players using one standard deck of 52 cards ranked Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 (low).

The aim of the game is to score points by winning tricks (each trick scores one point) and by correctly predicting how many tricks you will win each round (this scores either 10 points per round, or 5 if you bid 0 and the 'nil bid worth 5' setting is on). The winner of the game is the player with the most points after a fixed number of rounds, determined by the number of players and game type (see Settings). It is possible to have more than one winner.

The rules of play are those of standard trick-taking games. A card is beaten by a higher card of the same suit or any trump card. When a card is played, the other players must follow suit (play a card of the same suit) if possible. If they do not hold any cards of the leading suit, they may choose to trump by playing any trump card to win, or throw away by playing any non-trump card to lose.

Trumps

When the trump setting is set to top card (see Settings), the top card suit is allocated as trumps after the deal (the exception being when all cards are dealt, i.e. 13 cards each in a four-player game). When the trump setting is set to alternate, trumps rotates through spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs, and no trumps.

Deal

The initial dealer is chosen at random and moves to the next player clockwise for each hand. The number of cards dealt to each player depends on the game type (see Settings) and the round, and varies between one card per player, and the maximum number possible.

Play

Bidding:

The player clockwise from the dealer is the first to bid. They must decide based upon the cards in their hand how many tricks they think they will win. The other players then bid in a clockwise order, ending with the dealer. Most of the time players can bid anything from zero to the number of cards they hold. The exception is when the screw the dealer setting is turned on, in which case the dealer cannot bid the number that would make the total number of bids equal the number of cards dealt to each player.

Tricks:

Again, the player clockwise from the dealer is the first to play. They must choose a card to play in order to win or lose the trick, depending on their strategy. The other players must respond by playing a card from their hands. The winner of the trick receives one point and is the first to act in the next trick. The cards played are discarded. This repeats until all held cards have been played.

Scoring:

Each player receives one point for each trick they win, plus an extra 10 points if the number of tricks they won matches the number they bid, or 5 points if they bid 0 and the 'nil bid worth 5' setting is on.

Settings

Choose from the following settings (defaults shown in italics):

Sound: off, on.

Speed: normal, fast.

Hand display: one row, stacked (choose whether large hands are arranged in one or two rows).

Cards: modern, classic.

Deck: 4 card backs to choose from for the classic cards, and 16 for the modern cards.

Suit order: alternate: trump suit followed by alternating colours (where trump suit is black, hearts precede diamonds; where trump suit is red, spades precede club). classic: spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs.

Single click play: on, off.

AI level: easy, hard.

Game type: down(from the maximum number of cards to one), up (from one to the maximum number of cards), down and up (from the maximum number of cards to one and back again), up and down (from one to the maximum number of cards and back again).

Number of players: 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7.

Nil bid worth 5: on, off.

Screw the dealer rule: on, off.

Trumps: top card, alternate.

Interface

Home screen:

From the home screen you can access the following options:

  • Start new game or continue game.
  • Settings (cog icon, bottom left).
  • Statistics (trophy icon, top left): View all time stats and view and reset session stats.
  • Sound (speaker icon, top right): Tap to toggle between sound on and off.
  • Information (question mark icon, bottom right).

During a game:

Your cards are displayed face up at the bottom of the screen and your opponent’s cards are face down around you. Within a suit, your cards are ordered high to low from left to right. The suit order depends on the chosen settings (see Settings). Your opponent’s cards are ordered at random.

Each player’s score is shown next to their hand. A light is displayed above your hand which turns from red to green when it is your turn to act. The trump suit symbol, if applicable, is shown in the middle of the screen.

Drag or double tap a card to play it. If your chosen card ‘bounces’ and cannot be selected, it is because you are attempting not to follow suit or to play out of turn. When a hand has been trumped, a sound is heard and the trump suit icon pulses.

At the end of each hand a scoreboard is displayed, showing both the round scores, where asterisks show who has won a 10-point bid bonus, and total scores, where asterisks show the leader(s). From here you can choose Continue or Home. At the end of the game a trophy is displayed next to the total score of the winner(s). From here you can choose New game or Home to return to the home screen.