Control

Selecting a card to discard or play

Move the pointer (finger) along your cards to select the required card. Leave the card selected for about 200ms and lift the pointer, or just wait till the card starts moving.

A card can be also selected with hard keyboard, if available, using Left and Right arrow keys. To confirm selection press Up or Space key.

Game Menu

To get game menu click soft Menu(☰) button at top right corner, or tap central area of the board (where deal number is shown). As an alternative, press Enter key on hard keyboard.

The Game Menu allows to change settings, view the list of tricks, Game Chart and Information pages. To select a game menu item, click it or use numeric keys (1 to 4) on a hard keyboard.

In addition, Game Menu pauses background music, so it can be used for muting the device.

If cheat List active cards is enabled in Tweaks, the complete list of tricks is always revealed. Otherwise only the preceding trick is shown until the very last trick when the whole list becomes accessible.

Speeding up animation and reducing pauses

The animation speed is controlled by Animate dealing and Animate play parameters in Misc tab of Settings. Duration of pauses is set up by parameters Pauses in tricks and Other pauses in the same tab.

When animation is enabled, it can be cancelled it "on fly", by tapping game board outside middle area. In the same way you can interrupt a pause

Other controlling features

When background music is played, soft buttons ⏭ (▶︎▶︎) ︎or ⏮ (◀︎◀︎), as well as key combinations ⇧ Shift+⇧ Right or ⇧ Shift+Left are used for switching to next or previous music track.

To postpone a game click soft Back(⇦) button at top left corner or press Esc key on hard keyboard. The game will be saved, if necessary.

Context-sensitive help can be obtained by pressing ? button or typing ? key.

Computer players

They are honest!

The development is strictly based on the principle of computer honesty: a computer player cannot have access to something a human player must not know, like seeing other players' cards (apart from contractor's cards in Open Misère), knowing in advance content of the kitty or viewing discarded cards.

Bidding

A computer player of any skill is prone to make a higher bid that the cards allow, in hope to improve their hand after exchange, also because it doesn't like a game to be boring. (You would hardly like a session consisting of only All-Passes, and so are the computers. ☺) A bid tend to be higher, as one of other players is close to becoming a winner.

Discard and play

The tactics is "human-like". Instead of analysing possible moves and responses (typical for perfect information games like chess, draughts or backgammon), in this game a computer player attempts to remember which cards went out of play and pick up behaviour of other players, such as bidding, reneged or renounced suits. (Reneged suit is the leading suit player failed to follow, while renounced suit is the suit of renounced card).

For example, suppose player A bids 7 spades, player B overbids with 7 hearts and becomes the contractor. While discarding B takes into account that A is strong in spades, so spades have slightly bigger chance to be discarded than another suit. Then, during play, another opponent C, when in doubt, will preferably lead with a spade, expecting A to take the trick.

Be aware that this approach is not completely safe, so a computer player can be tricked to making a wrong conclusion. Suppose player A has Ace, King and Seven in clubs and has no trumps. When B (the contractor) leads with a trump, A renounces 7♣ so another opponent C makes a wrong assumption that A has has small clubs. For that reason C leads with another suit… making a favour to the contractor.

Quite often a computer player has several choices that appear equally good and has to select one by random… just like human players do.

Computer skills (levels)

The application offers three levels of computer players: novice, average and smart. Unlike other developers, we consider unfair to offer skilled players for an additional price. Moreover, while playing against two novice players, there are no annoying pauses even with a non-purchased copy.

The lower is player's skill the higher are the bids. Also a lower skill player is less likely to remember cards out of play, as well as reneged or renounced suits.

And, of course, computer player of any skill can lose a contract or even get a score below negative 500. It doesn't always mean that the computer was not strong enough, as it could have a great play, but just be a bit unlucky. Next time it will hopefully be more fortunate. ☺

At the same time we realise that the computer players are very far from perfection.