Games of the Revolutionary War Era


Whist is a game that was widely played in the 18th Century. It is a game that is played by four players in partnerships. Cards in the 18th century had no numbers printed on them.


Two 52 card decks - kept separate

Pencil and Paper for scoring


Four players play in two fixed partnerships. The partners sit facing each other and the game is played clockwise. Two standard 52 card decks are used.


The player to the dealer’s left shuffles one deck of cards. The player on the dealer’s right cuts the cards. The dealer deals the cards one to each player in turn to a total of 13 cards each player. The final card – which is to the dealer – is dealt face up. This indicates which suit is TRUMPS. This card remains face up on the table until it is the dealer’s turn to play the first TRICK. The second deck of cards is shuffled by the dealer’s partner whenever the first deck is dealt. This second deck is then placed to the right. On the next hand the dealer picks up the cards from the left and passes them to the right to be cut. The second deck of cards is always to the left of the next dealer.


The player to the dealer's left leads to the first trick. The player may lead with any card. The players each play a card to the TRICK in clockwise order. Players must play a card of the same suit as the care that was led – a player with no card of the same suit may play any card. The TRICK is won by the highest trump in the TRICK. If the TRICK contains no trump then the highest card of the suit led wins. The winner leads the next TRICK.

Thirteen TRICKS are played. The team that the most TRICKS scores one point for each TRICK won in excess of six. The first team to win five points wins the game.  Several deals may be necessary to reach this score.

The four top trumps are called HONOURS. These are A K Q J. A team that holds all four HONOURS in their hands between them scores 4 extra points which are claimed at the end of play. A team that holds three of the four HONOURS can claim 2 extra points. If a team has four of the five points needed to win at the start of the deal, the team may not claim HONOURS on that deal. If on the same deal one team scores on TRICKS and the other TEAM scores on HONOURS, the TRICKS are counted first and supercede the HONOURS. HONOURS is part of the traditional game.