Much like recipes you find online, there's a long story preceding the content that follows. However, it is not my story to tell. Suffice it to say, this version of Whist has been refined over many years by the Collett family, and it's such a great game that I felt the need to write it down and share it, with their permission.
This is a trick-taking game for 3-7 players, though it works best with at least 4.
You will need one standard deck of cards and a means of tracking scores (a spreadsheet works well, but paper/pen is fine too).
Select one person to start as the dealer.
How to Play
The game takes place over a series of 18 rounds, each round consisting of several hands/tricks. Each round, the dealer shuffles the deck and then deals out a number of cards to each player. Then the dealer flips over the top card of the deck. The suit of this card is the trump suit for the round. Players may then look at their cards. Starting with the player left of the dealer and continuing clockwise, each player bids on how many tricks they will take. After each player has bid, the first hand begins, starting with the player to the left of the dealer leading.
Rules for Playing a Hand
Starting with the leader, this player plays any card from their hand. Then play proceeds clockwise: on your turn, if you have a card of the same suit as the suit that was led, you must play a card of that suit. Otherwise, you may play any card. After each player has played a card, the player who played the highest card of the trump suit wins the trick. If there are no trump cards, the player who played the highest card of the leading suit wins. Aces are always treated as the highest card of that suit. The player who won the trick then leads for the next trick.
End of a Round / Scoring
At the end of the round, players earn points in this way: if you took exactly as many tricks as you bid at the beginning of the round, you gain 3 points plus 1 point for every trick you took. Otherwise, you score no points for that round. Then the player to the dealer's left becomes the dealer for the next round.
The 18 rounds are split into 3 phases: Ascending, The Rapids, and Descending.
In the first 7 rounds, the number of cards dealt ascends with the round number. So in the first round, every player is dealt one card; two in the second round, three in the third, and so on.
Rounds 8-11 are special and lovingly referred to as "The Rapids." All rounds in The Rapids play with 7 cards dealt to every player per round.
Round 8 - Half Blind
In this round, players bid their hand before the dealer reveals the trump suit.
Round 9 - Blind
In this round, players bid their hand before the dealer deals any cards.
Round 10 - Misère
In this round, there is no trump suit and players do not bid. Instead, every trick taken counts as -1 point.
Round 11 - No Trump
In this round, there is no trump suit. Bidding proceeds normally.
The last 7 rounds are similar to the first 7 but descend in cards. So round 12 plays with 7 cards per player, then 6 in the next round, and so on until the last round plays with 1 card per player.
End of game
After all 18 rounds, the player with the most points wins.