OBJECTIVE OF BIRD DOG: Be the first player to earn 11 points or more
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 24 cards
RANK OF CARDS: (low) 9’s – Aces, Bird Dog (high)
TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking
INTRODUCTION OF BIRD DOG
Bird Dog is a modern trick taking game developed by Nathanial Meadow and his friends in 2017. The game’s development was inspired by Spades, Hearts, and Turn Up Euchre.
In this game, players are trying to capture tricks and collect pairs of face cards. Points are awarded for face card pairs rather than the number of tricks. This along with the inclusion of the Bird Dog card makes for a rather interesting trick taking game.
THE CARDS & THE DEAL
Bird Dog uses a 24 card Euchre deck that includes the 9’s – Aces. Shuffle and deal seven cards to each player. The last three cards are placed face down in the center and are used to determine the trump suit and the Bird Dog. Flip the top card over. Deal passes left each round.
Akin to Turn Up Euchre, players will look at the card that has been flipped over and determine whether they want that suit to be trump or not. This starts with the player left of the dealer and continues around the table. If the bid returns to the dealer and they pass, the bid card is flipped over and the next one is turned up. This continues until a player calls the trump card or the third bid card is flipped up. If the third card is flipped up, that suit automatically becomes the trump suit.
The three cards that were used to determine trump are kept separate from the game. They are placed to the side with the trump card showing throughout the duration of the round.
THE BIRD DOG
The card that is the same rank and color as the trump bid card becomes the Bird Dog which is the highest ranking card for the hand. The Bird Dog keeps its suit. For example, if the 9 of hearts is revealed as the bid card, and a player chooses it as trump, the 9 of diamonds becomes the Bird Dog. The 9 of diamonds becomes the highest ranking card for the hand, and it still acts as a diamond.
After the trump suit has been established and beginning with the player left of dealer, each person has the opportunity to declare that they are going Nil. Only one player may do so, and it means they think they will capture zero tricks.
During play, players are not just trying to capture tricks. They are trying to capture pairs of face cards. That is how points are earned.
Player left of dealer leads. They may play any card they wish. Other players must follow suit if they can. If they cannot, they may play any card they wish. The highest card in the suit that was led, the highest trump card, or the Bird Dog takes the trick. The player who captures the trick leads next. Play continues until all tricks are taken.
At the end of the round, each player looks at the cards they have captured. Any face card pairs are worth points. Each face card can only be used once to make a pair, so if a player captures three Kings, it only counts as one pair. 9’s, 10’s, and Aces are not worth anything.
Each pair captured is worth one point. If the player who captured the most pairs did not declare trump, they earn one bonus point.
If a player goes nil and is successful, they earn 3 points. If they fail to capture zero tricks, they lose three points. Scoring for pairs remains the same regardless of whether someone went nill.
The first player to reach 11 points wins. If there is a tie, play another hand with all of the players. Highest score wins.