Spades is a card game for 4 or 8 players. Played without Jokers, the game is played in rounds with each round consisting of 13 tricks. A trick is one card played from each player (4 or 8 cards). The game is played with mandatory partners. The player sitting directly across from you is your partner. The objective is for you and your partner to catch as many of the 13 tricks each round as you can, preventing the other team(s) from catching any if possible. At the end of the round, each team is scored on the amount of tricks they they caught versus how many they claimed they could catch at the start of the round.
Most K.R. Engineering games have a variety of options or “house rules” that can be turned on and off by the game owner to change how the game plays. These options can include changing the winning criteria for a game, adding new rules or disabling other rules, or just placing time limits on how long you can be away before the game skips you. It is often helpful to know what house rules you are playing with when you sit down at a game. You can touch the game logo on any K.R. Engineering game to see a list of which options are enabled and which are not.
For owners/administrators wishing to change these options, please see the Administration section of this article.
If you are new to owning a K.R. Engineering game or have upgraded from an older game version, then you may have questions about your new table. Please see this FAQ for answers to some of our most common beginner questions.
Bug Fixes and Upgrades
Most owners of K.R. Engineering games are entitled to free upgrades to newer versions of the game. If a new update is available, then following the updating instructions for your game will result in a new copy of the most recent version being sent to you by the update server. This process is not automatic. You must request an update manually.
If you are having problems with your game, please search this knowledge base or contact us for product support. If the problem you are having has not previously been encountered, a new game version will be released with a fix as soon as possible, and you may qualify for a bug bounty.
DISCLAIMER: The appearance and feature set of games are subject to revision between versions as the capabilities of Second Life change over time. Please see the detailed ChangeLog for your particular game before upgrading. By upgrading. you are agreeing to accept any and all changes that have been imposed on the updated version of the game.
Joining the Game
Most K.R. Engineering games can be played simply by right-clicking on a chair and choosing “Play.”
K.R. Engineering games can be played on a variety of themed furniture objects, and the “chairs” may not always look like chairs. For example, on the Chess theme, the “chairs” are the giant chess pieces. If you are unsure what is a chair and what isn’t on a particular theme, that’s okay! You can right-click and select “Play” on any part of a theme and it will automatically place you in an available chair, even if you didn’t click on a chair specifically.
Important: K.R. Engineering games use a rezzing system. This means that the game (buttons, dice, cards, game boards, etc) is a separate object from the furniture/rezzer/theme. You must right-click on the theme to play, not the game itself, as you cannot sit on the game pieces (such as dice, game boards, cards, etc). You must sit on the furniture around the game to play, not the game pieces.
While most game themes include furniture that you can sit on, there may be some exceptions. The Pocket theme, for example, cannot be sat on, as it has no chairs. Instead, you can join a game on a Pocket theme by clicking the MENU button on the game.
Important: To play Spades, you must be wearing the Spades HUD. To get a HUD, press the ‘HUD’ button on the table. You will be given an object called Spades Game HUD. Find this under your Objects folder and wear it.
The object of Spades is simple: Catch as many of the 13 tricks each round as you possibly can. The person sitting across the table from you is your partner, so you do not need to beat them, their tricks count as your tricks as well. If they are winning a trick, let them win it, it will be good for both of you and saves your high cards for later tricks.
Spades can be played in Solo mode where every player plays for themselves, or in Team mode where you are paired up with another player. To play in Solo mode, you must have between 2 and 8 players present. To play in Team mode, you must have 4, 6, or 8 players playing. An even number of players is required in Team mode in order to pair them up and not leave anyone on their own against other teams.
Before each round begins, all players must make a bid on the upcoming 13 tricks to be played by pressing the BID button on the game table. This is a boast on your part about how good your hand is, making a claim about how many of the upcoming 13 tricks you feel confident that you can “catch.” If you bid too high and fail to catch what you bid, then you will lose points at the end of the round. If you bid too low, then you will gain less points than you would have with a more accurate bid. In general, underbidding is less damaging than overbidding. Your bid is combined with your partner’s bid for scoring at the end of the round. If you fail to catch all of the tricks you said you could, but your partner catches more than they said they could, then their extra tricks will count as your tricks.
BLIND NIL: To bid Blind Nil, you must press the bid button while the cards are being dealt and have not yet been revealed.
When bidding, remember that there are only 13 possible tricks to catch. If all players’ bids add up to more than 13, then it is guaranteed at least one person will not make their bid at the end of the round.
Once all bids have been placed, the first trick begins. The player who holds the 2 of Clubs begins the round by playing a card of their choice. Each player after them then plays one card of their own, until all players have placed down 1 card. This is called a “trick.” The trick is awarded to one of the players and that player must then start the next trick by placing down a card of their choosing.
Rules for playing cards:
- The first card played in a trick determines the trick’s suit. If the 2 of Clubs leads, then Clubs is the suit for this trick. All players after the first card has been played must follow the suit of the first card if they can. If they have no cards of that suit, they may “slough” a card (pronounced SLUFF) of their choosing. Sloughing a Club, Diamond or Heart has no effect, it is not possible to win a trick by sloughing a card of these three suits, it is simply thrown away. Sloughing a Spade, however, counts as trumping the trick. If a Spade is played, it automatically becomes the suit of the trick, beating out all previous non-spades. A 2 of Spades will win over an Ace of any other suit. However, trump cards can be further trumped by higher Spades.
- Example: The Jack of Clubs is played, followed by the Ace of Clubs, followed by the 4 of Spades, and finally a 7 of Spades. The trick started out being Clubs, player two took the trick with the Ace of Clubs, but was then trumped by the 4 of Spades. Player 4 must continue to play Clubs if they have any, if not, they are free to play an even higher Spade, in this case a 7 of Spades, ultimately winning the trick.
- The winner of the trick is the person who played the highest card that follows suit if no Spades are played, or the highest trump card if one or more Spades are played.
- Spade cards may not be lead with (played as the first card of a trick) until they are “broken.” Spades are considered broken the first time a Spade is used to trump another suit (in other words, is sloughed off).
- Exception: If you ONLY have Spades in your hand, you may break them by leading.
At the end of each round (when all players have played all of their cards, for a total of 13 tricks) the players are scored based on their bids from the beginning of the round. The cards are then reshuffled and redealt for a new hand.
How scoring works:
- If you successfully catch all of the tricks that you claimed you could, your team receives 10 points for each trick.
- Example: You bid that you could catch 3 tricks, and caught exactly 3 tricks. Your team now receives 30 points.
- If you catch MORE tricks than you said you could, your team receives 10 points for each trick you claimed you could catch, and 1 point for every trick you didn’t claim you could catch.
- Example: You bid that you could catch 2 tricks, and managed to catch 3 tricks instead. Your team will receive 21 points. This is where underbidding can hurt your team.
- If you catch LESS tricks than you said you could, your team loses 10 points for each trick you claimed you could catch.
- Example: You bid 4 at the beginning of the round, but only managed to catch 3 tricks. Your team now loses 40 points. Overbidding is much worse than underbidding.
- If you bid NIL, then you must not catch ANY tricks for the entire round. If you do not catch any tricks, your team gains 100 points. If you catch even a single trick, your team loses 100 points on a NIL bid. NIL bids can be declared after looking at your cards.
- If you bid BLIND NIL, then you must not catch ANY tricks for the entire round. If you do not catch any tricks, your team gains 200 points. If you catch even a single trick, your team loses 200 points on a NIL bid. BLIND NIL bids must be made before the cards are dealt at the beginning of the round, so you do not know what your hand will look like before you bid. This is an EXTREMELY risky bid, but with tremendous payoff if it works.
The game is won when a team goes over 500 points. At this point, the team with the HIGHEST score is declared the winner.
Sandbagging occurs when you consistently underbid each round. A “bag” is any trick you catch over the amount you said you would. If you bid 3, but caught 4 tricks, then you collected 1 bag. When you accumulate 10 bags, you get penalized 100 points for sandbagging. This can optionally be disabled from the administration menu.
When Nil Passing is enabled, teams where one or both of the team members has bid Nil (or Blind Nil) can pass 2 cards across the table before the hand starts. This allows the Nil bidder the opportunity to pass high cards or trumps (Spades) to his partner to increase his chances of not catching anything. In turn, the non-Nil partner will often pass their lowest cards or non-trumps to the Nil bidder.
When Solo mode is enabled, the game is no longer player with teams. Every player must bid for and catch all of their own tricks, and is scored independently of every other player. In normal (or Team) mode, players catch tricks and bid in cooperation with the player sitting across the table from them and share a score with that player. In normal (Team) mode, you should never try to catch a trick that your partner across the table is already likely to win. In Solo mode, you should instead always try to catch tricks whenever possible, as every player is your rival.
For information on switching out tables and themes, please see this FAQ entry. For an overview of the theme/table administrative menu, please check out our Game Rezzer Administration article. For detailed information on customizing animations and camera views, please see our Player Experience Customization article.
Spades supports Card Design add-ons! Click here for more information.
K.R. Engineering card games that use a standard playing card deck (and some that use non-standard decks) will allow you to change the cards to be anything that you want if you’re willing to make your own textures for them. You can find more information and instructions by visiting our Custom Cards article.
Gaming.SL Live Integration
Gaming.SL Live (also known as Gaming.SL or G.SL) is gaming platform and services system developed by K.R. Engineering, which brings a variety of enhanced features to games in Second Life that are not possible with Second Life alone. In addition to the features described in this article, G.SL can integrate with your table in the following ways.
Gaming.SL connected games have a grid-wide top score database that allows players to compete and have a pervasive record of their high scores. These high scores can be viewed by using a Top Scores display board in Second Life or by accessing the Top Scores page on the Gaming.SL website. Scores can be filtered down by region, specific game tables, dates, and other criteria.
In addition to recording high scores, games keep a running tally of the total number of times players have won on a game. This information can be viewed on a Top Winners display board in Second Life or by accessing the Top Winners page on the Gaming.SL website. Winners can likewise be filtered by region and other criteria to see a more specific list of winners.
On supported games, players will also be assigned a rank that compares their performance to other players who have played the same game. Players can improve this rank by playing well against other players. Rank information can be viewed on a Top Ranked display board in Second Life or by accessing the Top Ranked page on the Gaming.SL website.
Gaming.SL includes support for Achievements in participating games, where-in you can unlock trophies by performing miraculous or mundane feats of gameplay. Achievements are awarded automatically and announced in Second Life when they are unlocked. Players can check their own achievements by visiting the Achievements page on the Gaming.SL website.
Gaming.SL supports the option to have ongoing recurring Jackpots where players can win cash prizes just for playing, no purchase necessary! Visit the Jackpots page on the Gaming.SL website to see the current jackpot standings, and who you need to defeat to win a prize. Prizes are based on ranking on a leaderboard that is erased during each jackpot period. Players must play during each period to be eligible to win during that period.
Gaming.SL connected games utilize a licensing system that allows scores, ranks, winners, and other attributes to persist between rezzes of the same game, regardless of location in Second Life. This licensing system also allows games to have COPY permissions while still offering instancing control.
Games that use Gaming.SL Live can also optionally be specified as a PUBLIC game by the game’s owner. This will display the game on the Gaming.SL Live Games page, including game status, options, and location, and a button to let a user teleport straight to the game to play. All games default to PRIVATE unless explicitly changed by the owner of the game.
To access the game’s administrative menu, simply click and hold your mouse button down on any part of it for two seconds. A menu will pop up on your screen displaying current settings and providing options to change them. (In slow simulators, this may take slighter longer than two seconds, just hold the mouse button down until you see a menu.)
On certain rezzer versions, depending on where you click, you may open the REZZER’S administrative menu instead of the GAME’S administrative menu. This is okay! If you are in the rezzer admin menu, you can switch directly over to the game admin menu by pressing the “Game ↗” button. Likewise if you open the game menu by mistake, and wish to switch over to the rezzer menu, you can simply press the “↙ Rezzer” button.
Some elements of the administration menu are accessible only by the owner, while others can be accessed by anyone who is considered an administrative user, either explicitly added or implicitly through the Group Admin feature.
There are too many options to fit in a standard dialog window, so the window has been divided into pages. You can use the <<< and >>> buttons at the bottom of the admin menu to change which page of options you are currently viewing. If you don’t see the option you want, it’s on another page!
Many options that were formerly in the game admin menu have been moved to the table/theme/rezzer admin menu. These are options that are game-independent, such as admin users, branding, sound volume, and updating. These options are now set on the table/theme/rezzer and apply automatically to whatever game is being played on that table or theme. For details on accessing the rezzer admin menu and what options are in it, please see the Game Rezzer Administration article.
- Indicators: A menu for changing the color of the turn indicator lights on the game board.
- Color: An alternate way to access the color/theme menu for the table. This is the same as pressing the Color button on the table top.
- Cards: Access the card customization menu. See the ‘CUSTOM CARDS’ section below for more information.
Administrative User Options
- ↙ Rezzer: This button will directly open the rezzer’s administrative menu instead of the game’s menu.
- Players: Access the player management menu to skip or evict players from the game.
- Abandoned: Select this button to change the number of seconds the table waits to reset an abandoned game after all players have left.
- Timeout: Select this button to change the number of seconds the table waits for idle players to begin their turn. If they don’t roll before the timeout occurs, the game will skip them for this round.
- Quiet: Enable quiet mode, reducing the amount of chatter that the game will send to local chat.
- Chatty: Disable quiet mode.
- Fast ON: Enable fast game, requiring only 300 points to win instead of 500.
- Fast OFF: Disable fast game, requiring the full 500 points to win.
- Solo ON: Enables Solo Mode gameplay. See the Solo Mode section.
- Solo OFF: Disables Solo Mode, returning to team-based play.
- NilPass ON: Enable nil passing, explained in the Nil Passing section.
- NilPass OFF: Disable nil passing.
- Low Nil ON: Makes Nil/Blind Nil worth 75/150 points instead of the default 100/200.
- Low Nil OFF: Restores Nil/Blind Nil to default point value of 100/200.
- Bags ON: Enable sandbagging penalty, explained in the Sandbagging section.
- Bags OFF: Disable sandbagging penalty.
- Board ON: Enable the “Board” house rule. With this enabled, teams must bid a minimum of 4 tricks each.
- Board OFF: Disable the “Board” house rule.
- Boston ON: Enable the “Boston” house rule. When enabled, a team that bids for all 13 tricks in a hand and successfully catches them wins the game instantly.
- Boston OFF: Disable the “Boston” house rule.
- 10-4-2 ON: Enable the “10-4-2” house rule. Also known as “10-for-200”, with this rule enabled, bidding for at least ten tricks and catching at least ten tricks counts for 200 points.
- 10-4-2 OFF: Disable the “10-4-2” house rule.
- Deuce ON: Enable the “Deuce Start” house rule. When enabled, the 2 of Clubs must be led on the first trick of every hand.
- Deuce OFF: Disable the “Deuce Start” house rule.
- Play Left: Game play passes to your left (clockwise) around the table.
- Play Right: Game play passes to your right (counter-clockwise) around the table.
- Text On: Enable hover text for player scores.
- Text Off: Disable hover text for player scores.
If you have more questions, please use the search tool on our main page to browse our many helpful articles and FAQ entries. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, you can contact us for assistance.
You can find the ChangeLog for Spades by visiting this article.