The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Boston (game)

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BOSTON, a game of cards played by four persons, with two packs of cards. Counters are used generally of three colors and values, and each hand is settled for as soon as finished. The entire first pack is dealt out by fours and fives, and the second pack is cut for trump, the suit of the card turned being “first preference,” the other suit of the same color “second preference,” and the other two “plain suits.” If the first player can make five tricks, he says, “I go to Boston”; and his competitors may overbid him by saying, “I go 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 or 13,” as the hand of each may warrant. Should either of them fail to make the number of tricks he “bids” for, he must pay to each competitor a forfeit regulated by a card of prices, which must be prepared beforehand. Without such a card Boston cannot be played. He may also bid to lose twelve tricks, after discarding one card that is not shown, which bid is called “little misère”; or to lose all tricks, which is called “grand misère.” If he wins all tricks it is a “grand slam.” Players who do not bid the first time may outbid the others only in “misères.” If a player should take more tricks than he bids for, he is paid for the extra tricks, but on a lower scale than if he had bid and taken the higher number of tricks. If no bid should be made, a “misère partout” is played, the trump being turned down, and each player trying to take as few tricks as possible. It is one of the most complicated of games. It is said to have been introduced into France by Dr. Franklin, who gave it the name of his native city.