We Dig Spades Instructions

History of the Game

Spades started in the midwest in the 1930s. Soldiers traveling around the world during WWII helped to increase its popularity. The game's attractiveness during wartime stems from its simplicity, and it can be more easily interrupted than poker. After the war, veterans brought the game back home to the U.S., where due to the GI Bill it became popular at colleges, as well as in living rooms and at kitchen tables. It remains widely popular in countries in which U.S. troops were stationed, both in WWII and later deployments. 

Players and Objectives

  • 4 players.  2 teams of 2 with teammates sitting across from one another. See www.gamenightkit.com for other variations. 
  • Objective - win at least as many tricks as you bid
  • Aces are high
  • No jokers

Winning the Game

The winning team is the first to reach the agreed upon number of points.  500 points is standard.

Dealing and Game Play

To start, each player draws a card from the deck, and the player with the highest card is the first dealer. The dealer shuffles the deck, and starting with the player on their left deals each player one card at a time, going clockwise, until all cards are dealt.

Once all the cards are dealt, each player determines the number of tricks they can win.  That is the number they bid.  The individual player bids are combined to make the team bid.  Hint: the max number of available tricks is 13, so the sum of all bids should not exceed 13.  Bidding sounds something like this:

1st player to bid (left of the dealer): “I’ll bid 5.”

2nd player: “I’ll bid 2.”

3rd player: “I’ll bid 4.”

Dealer: “I’ll bid 2.”

The player to the left of the dealer starts the round by placing a card faceup on the table. Going clockwise the next player plays a card that matches the suit.  If a player does not have a card in that suit, the person may play a card from another suit.  The person who played the highest card in that suit wins, unless a was played.  A will always win, and the person with the highest played wins the trick.  The winner keeps that trick to determine their score at the end of the game.  The winner starts the next round.  

The players will be scoring based on the number of tricks won, it is helpful to consider this when stacking tricks. 

After all rounds are played, each team counts the number of tricks won. 


If a person believes they can play a round without winning any tricks, they can bid zero and “go nil,” earning 100 points.  A person can go “blind nil” by declaring they will win zero tricks before the round is dealt, earning 200 points.    During blind nil, and after the bidding the blind nil player may exchange 2 cards with their partner. If at any time during the round, a nil or blind nil player wins a trick, they are unsuccessful and their hand will be scored like a regular hand. 


At the end of each round, each team counts the number of points they earned.  

Tricks bid & won = 10 points each

Tricks won that are fewer than bid = 0 points

Tricks won over bid (sandbags) = 1 point each.  If during the game, a team accumulates 10 sandbags they immediately lose 100 points, and their sandbag count resets.

Successful nil = 100 points

Successful blind nil = 200 points


Bid 7 & won 7 tricks = 70 points

Bid 7 & won 5 tricks = 0 points

Bid 7 & won 8 tricks = 71 points 

Can you dig it?