We played this game during our very first meeting at Nancy’s, and we’ll play it again Nov 7 at Cheryl’s clubhouse.
Full disclosure: the rules we played by that first time do not match any of the games I found online with the same name. I may have gotten some of this wrong, and we may have to figure out some of the details as we go again!
Overview: Up The River is a trick-taking game with trumps. Before each round, you bid (wager) how many tricks you will take that round, and scoring is based on whether or not you took exactly the number of tricks in your bid. To win, you need to have the most points after all fair hands have been dealt out of the deck.
Dealing: Each round deals an equal number of cards to each player, starting with the person to the dealer’s left, and also passing the dealer token to the left after each round. In the first round, each player receives 1 card, and there will be exactly 1 trick played. In the second round, each player receives 2 cards, and there will be exactly 2 tricks played. This increases for every round, until a fair hand cannot be dealt from the deck. In addition to the cards dealt to each player, the next card from the draw pile is turned up, and that card’s suit represents the trump suit of the round.
Bidding: After cards are dealt and trump is revealed, each player, starting with the player to the dealer’s left, guesses how many tricks they will take. For example, in the first round, there is only one trick, so exactly one person will take the trick, and the bidding is a guess at who will take it. If you have a trump card, or you are leading the trick with a high-value card, you might want to bid 1 because you are likely to take the trick. A bid of 0 is valid and may even be popular during the first two rounds.
Play: The person left of the dealer leads the first trick of each round. You do not have to play to kill. The person who plays the highest value trump will take the trick. If no trump card is played, the person who plays the highest value of the leading suit will take the trick. The next trick is led by the next person clockwise.
Scoring: At the end of each round, your score is determined by whether or not you took exactly as many tricks as you bid. If you did, then you are awarded your bid + 10 points. If you did not, then you are penalized your bid + 10 points.
End Game: The winner is the person with the most points when the deck can no longer deal a fair hand to all players.