Lightening Bolts to Playing Cards
Blogger Eric Sieg compares the game of bridge to the game of Magic.
by Eric Sieg March 27, 2016
Bridge and MTG (Magic) have a lot in common, which is why I’ve enjoyed playing both and traveled to play in tournaments for both. Sequencing your plays correctly can matter significantly in both games. Both games offer the ability to use the tried and true (netdeck/standard) or invent your own deck (MTG) or system (Bridge). Both games reward the ability to deduce what your opponent has in their hand by how they play and likewise both games reward the ability to bluff. The ability to anticipate possible situations a few plays ahead is rewarded in both games. Both games are dynamic, with a mix of known and unknown, unlike Chess where everything is known. Both games offer more relaxed events (FNM/clubs) and increasingly competitive events. MTG has PPTQs, RPTQs, GPs, and the Pro Tour, while Bridge has sectionals, regionals, Nationals (3x per year) and Worlds. If you enjoy MTG, there is a high likelihood you’ll enjoy Bridge. Bridge also builds on other games like Euchre, Spades, Hearts, and 500, so if you have experience with those (or any trick taking game) you are already ahead of the curve!
What’s so great about Bridge? I’m glad you asked! Let’s start with the scoring. When people think of traditional card games like Hearts, Poker, Spades, etc there is a lot of luck involved especially in the short term. If someone is dealt all the aces and kings in Spades or a four of a kind in Poker there’s not a lot you can do about it; they win that hand and you don’t. While some MTG players will blame variance instead of analyzing how they could have done better: sometimes it really is just bad luck that you drew 10 lands in a row and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it. Being on the cusp of victory and then losing the match due to crazy mulligans or flooding or mana screw is a crappy ending that no one enjoys.
Bridge improves on this with the concept of duplicate. Instead of random dealing, each deal is played by everyone present and your score depends on how well you did with what you were dealt compared to how everyone else did with the exact same cards. It doesn’t matter if your opponents had the better cards: your goal is to bid slightly better or play slightly better than everyone else who was in your position.