Back Alley


There are four players, and the game moves in a clockwise motion(deal)


54 cards. Standard 52 card deck plus two jokers, the big (red) and little (black), they are known as “bloopers”, they are the highest trumps, big blooper is the highest, little blooper is the second highest, then A-K-…2 in whatever suit is trump.


7 cards to each player in the first hand, then one fewer card each successive deal, down to one card each. Then another deal with one card, and then each hand after that add a card, all the way back up to 7 cards each. There are a total of 14 hands per game. Turn to deal turns clockwise each hand. After each hand is dealt to a player, the next card in the stack is turned up and is the trump suit for that hand. If the turn card is a blooper it is placed back in the deck and the next card is chosen.


Starting to the dealer’s left, each player will bid only one time. Possible bids are “Pass”(zero tricks), all the way up to “Board”(all tricks). If a player before you has already bid board, you will have to choose 2xBoard, 3xBoard, or 4xBoard, depending on how many players in front of you have bid board. You do not have to bid more than the player before you.


The highest bidder leads the first trick. If more than one player bid the same amount, the earliest of the bidders will go first. The only exception for this is the board bids, if someone bids board and then somebody else bids double board, the double board will lead. You must follow suit with the card that is led. If you are unable to follow suit, you may play any card including trumps. The trick is won by the highest trump, if there are no trumps played, then the highest card of the suit led wins the trick. The winner of the trick will lead the next trick. You cannot lead a trump if trumps have not been “broken”, unless you have bid board.


If a player wins as many tricks as they bid, they will receive 5 pts for each trick that they bid. For each additional trick won over the amount bid, the player receives 1 point. If a player does not win as many tricks as they bid, they will lose 5 pts for each trick that they bid. If a player bids board and wins all the tricks, they will win 10 pts for each trick, however if they do not get all tricks, they will lose 10 pts for each trick they bid. For example, if a player bids Board when a player receives 3 cards, they can win or lose 30 pts based on if they get all the tricks. If the player bids 2xBoard they can win/lose 2x the points. Using the same example, they could win or lose 60 pts with 2xBoard, 90 pts with 3xBoard, and 120 pts with 4xBoard.

Special Situations

Rainbow Bid

On the round of 4 cards, if a player has 1 card of each suit, they can declare a “Rainbow” bid. If the player successfully wins 1 trick, the player receives 40 pts. Also, when a player declares rainbow, they lead the first trick.


6 Responses to Back Alley

  1. Dan says:

    Our family loves Back Alley and it is fun to see that
    someone has developed an iOS app for it. Any chance you will be
    making this a multi-player game (like “Word with Friends” for
    example). I’d love to be able to play remotely with friends or
    family, even if we can’t physically get together to play the game.

    • Matt says:

      Dan I would love to do it, it’s on my list of improvements, unfortunately backalley has not sold they way I had hoped….it’s one of the nice to haves, not must haves unfortunately….


  2. Dan says:


    I fully understand development times and priorities.

    I went ahead and purchased the game and although it has it’s good points (i.e. it’s a pretty adequate representation of the card game), I’m afraid I have to give it a mixed review. I’d like to give it more stars at the app store but it is somewhat frustrating to play given some of its drawbacks.

    I’d love to recommend it to others and I’ll gladly give it more than 3 stars if some of the deficiencies mentioned in the two reviews at the app store are eventually addressed.

    Keep up the good work and I look forward to the next versions of the app.

    • Matt says:

      Dan I appreciate the review….the version my father in law(old marine vet) taught me was not a partnership game…when I looked for official rules when I began this project, I found the single player rules, not the partnership rules….I understand ur complaints about the speed. When I first designed the app, I was running/testing on my old iPhone 3G, and it ran a lot slower, now on the iPhone 4, it does run pretty I’ll see what I can do to improve gameplay and user experience

      Thanks for the critique,

  3. Matt says:

    Matt. I think the issue with sales performance is the lack of integration into teams, and friends. Words with friends sucked until I could play it with my friends and family. More important, the rules are very much available for teams, and the other variations if you want to call it that from what you designed… If you google back alley bridge, the first link is team and individual, also has many of the other common variations many of us play by. Having these as options would be nice…

    Aside from the bugs, the app needs work. If you made it something that was friend capible and something a bit more appealing with features and achievements, I think you may find that social media could spread the word and make this something people would want.

    But that’s my two cents worth… (Thx. Matt from Ohio)

    • Matt says:

      Thanks Matt, I’ll see what I can do. I also responded to your email you sent a few minutes ago.

      HFI Development

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